EL Education.

Meet the Modules: Orienting to a Lesson

What should I consider when looking at a module lesson?

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.”  —Reif Larsen, author

The lesson is the heart of the module "map." When teachers ask, "How am I going to get from Point A to Point B?" the lesson shows them how to do so concisely, thoughtfully, and successfully on a day-to-day basis. 

This page will walk you through a typical module lesson, showing you its structure and the purpose of each component, and providing suggestions for using those components to plan and implement your instruction. 

Learning Targets

  1. I can find and download the lessons within a module. 
  2. I can describe how a module lesson is structured. 
  3. I can use the module lessons to help plan my upcoming instruction. 

Other Topics in This Pack

Need help?

Not sure how to use this site? We've made a demo to walk you through the structure and features.

Watch: Orienting to a Lesson & Locating Lessons

Orienting to a Lesson

Watch the screencast below for an orientation to the various sections of a lesson. 


Locating Lessons 

Watch the screencast below to learn how to locate lessons via the Common Core Success website. Please note that the same steps can be followed to locate lessons in all modules and grade levels. 

Independent Practice

Locate a Lesson

Open a new tab and visit the Common Core Success website.  Follow the steps in the video above to practice locating and downloading a single lesson of your choice for the module you intend to explore (begin with Module 1/1A).  You will use this file to answer the questions below, so keep the file open once located.

Questions to Guide Exploration

You will now have an opportunity to explore the lesson you have downloaded for your chosen grade level.  Summarize your thinking by answering the questions below, or click here to download a note-catcher to download and print. 

  1. What Common Core State Standards are at the heart of the lesson? 
  2. How do the lesson activities connect to the supporting learning targets?
  3. What literacy tasks (reading and writing) are students expected to complete in this lesson? 
  4. What vocabulary are the students working with in this lesson? (Note the division signaled by the semicolon in the Vocabulary section. Words before the semicolon are academic vocabulary taught during the course of instruction; words after the semicolon are any vocabulary from the text itself.) 

  5. How are students communicating orally and listening in this lesson? 

  6. How is the teacher formatively assessing the students in this lesson?  

Check Your Understanding 

Are you unsure if you are on the right track with your responses to the questions above? Click here to see a sample note-catcher.

Preparing a Lesson

This PLP gives a useful basic overview of what a lesson contains. When you and your team are preparing to implement a specific lesson in real time, we strongly encourage these additional steps to dive deeply into the content of your chosen lesson. 

  1. Read the lesson with the lesson texts in front of you. Whether your text is  To Kill A Mockingbird or an informational article contained in the Supporting Materials, have that text physically in front of you (or open electronically) as you read through a lesson. This makes understanding the context of the lesson easy. It also allows you to think efficiently about how the lesson will "live" in a classroom, and what sort of supports your students will need with the text in order to succeed. 
  2. Be a student. It is powerful to live a lesson through the eyes of its recipients. We strongly encourage you to "test drive" all lesson tasks as if you were a student: filling in the graphic organizers, taking the assessments, and writing the essays. Doing so allows educators to get a first-hand sense of how a lesson will "land" with real students, and creates proactive thinking about what educators need to plan in order for a lesson to go well. 
  3. Think ahead. A lesson plan in a module is a rich resource, but it can't account for the real time conditions and needs in your classrooms. We encourage you to be proactive, intentional and formal about shaping these lessons to answer your instructional needs. Lessons are in Word format, which allows you to modify the text of the lesson to include any notes or extra planning steps you may require. You can also click here for a sample lesson prep form. Click here for a sample lesson prep form for co-teachers. 


Read the learning targets below and self-assess your current progress using this rubric. Choose the number you feel best represents where you are right now. If you're working in a group, share that number with your colleagues. 

  1. I can find and download the lessons within a module. 
  2. I can describe how a module lesson is structured. 
  3. I can use the module lessons to help plan my upcoming instruction. 

Click here to view a list of implementation questions to guide your thinking. 


  1. What steps will you take to prepare to teach and further your understanding of lessons?


  1. What structures can be implemented to support teachers in the preparation and planning process?