Using the Technology Issue of The Change Agent to Teach to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards

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The Change Agent has heard from teachers and programs that they need materials to help them teach to the new College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards, and we have engineered our lesson plans and activities accordingly.

For example, turn to the story called “Finding Felix” in our latest issue, and on the surface, it is simply a moving account of a young woman who used social media to find her long-lost brother. But by using the carefully designed activities we have included, your students will have the opportunity to work on anchor standards 1-3 of the CCR standards in reading as well as writing. These include being able to determine what the text means and how you can prove it, and being able to write in various ways in response, including providing reasoning, evidence, and details.

Look on page 3 of the Technology issue, and at first glance, the story is a moving plea from a father: How can he afford to buy his daughter that fancy smart phone? But it’s not just a highly relevant account of a problem that almost every parent can relate to, it is also an opportunity for students to work on anchor standards 1-3 for speaking and listening as well as 4-6 for language. These include being able to converse by expressing yourself and building on others’ ideas, and being able to independently build your vocabulary. The online audio version of this article, available to subscribers, gives students a chance to listen to the article while they read along (an evidence-based strategy for improving reading comprehension, as well as grammar and pronunciation).

If you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the new “Common Core,” and if you’ve been wondering what resources are available for bringing that work into the classroom, you should know that The Change Agent lends itself rather seamlessly to the key shifts in the new CCR standards. What are those shifts? In English Language Arts, they can be summarized as: 1) expose students to increasingly complex texts, 2) give them opportunities to analyze readings and be able to cite evidence from the text for their analysis, and 3) help them build actual knowledge in science, history, and technical subjects.

The Technology issue of The Change Agent (published September 2013) is filled with extensions, factoids, background details, and research opportunities that help students build knowledge in exactly these areas (see #3 above). Discussion questions and writing prompts send students back to the text to find out what the author said, why she said it, what she meant, and how you know that’s what she meant. Articles reference each other and build on each other, offering a built-in “staircase” to more complexity and more knowledge. Opportunities to practice grammar and vocabulary exist within content that is interesting and relevant to adult learners. Not only that, but most of the content is written by peers, so readers have role models on every page! Look at pdf of the table to see which articles address which standards.

The Change Agent has a long history of using socially relevant material to teach reading, writing, and math. With back issues on everything from fashion to health to the economic crisis, our articles impart knowledge, and the lesson plans and extensions help students distinguish fact from opinion, build their knowledge, assess the author’s point of view, analyze evidence, and build math skills based on real-world problems. So if you’re already using The Change Agent, you’re a step ahead when it comes to teaching to these standards. And if you’re not using The Change Agent, consider subscribing. It costs just $20 per year to access the current issue, all the back issues, and all the online audio and issue extras.

Adapted from “College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education,” Susan Pimentel, 2013; and with thanks to

Photo credit: Jon Crispin

Published by

Cynthia Peters

Cynthia Peters

Cynthia is the editor of The Change Agent, a magazine that provides socially relevant content, powerful student writing that inspires discussion, and ready-to-use, CCRS-aligned lesson plans – all oriented toward a multi-level audience. She presents at national and state adult education conferences on a variety of topics, including persistence, civic participation, math, digital literacy, and using socially relevant materials that are aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards. Since 2002 has taught a wide range of adult education classes, including ABE, ESOL, GED, Bridge to College, and the Adult Diploma Program. In her spare time, she volunteers with City Life/Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization, and practices Aikido.