Alignment with Common Core Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) & English Language Development (ELD)

To date, 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core Standards Initiative for English Language Arts, including updated secondary English Language Development standards for English as a Second Language learners. In 2012, the Character Development & Leadership Curriculum and the Role Models textbook were aligned to serve these new national standards. We fully understand that budgetary decisions to purchase curricula must support core content skills and improvements in ELA and ELD test scores. Educators can feel confident that this program, regardless of instructional options selected, will always support student mastery of mandatory content core directives.

While the Character Development & Leadership program has traditionally been used in elective leadership classes, the current trend is to implement this curriculum in English, remedial writing or ELD courses. The main reason is the alignment with the national common core standards. Even if you choose not to use this in an English course, we recommend this curriculum as another avenue to improve reading and writing test scores and to meet new common core standards for ELA and ELD.

  • The course transitions seamlessly from a low-stress, casual student engagement environment to activities that supplement specific English & ELD Curriculum goals.
  • The structured set of 10 lesson plans per module address all learning styles and is highly engaging, interactive and meaningful, even to the most reluctant learners.
  • Each module starts with informal, social language inquiry survey questions & naturally progresses to the more formal, academic speaking & writing assessment language students must master. Weekly writing assignments provide expository and persuasive writing practice that exceeds national formal writing rubrics.
  • The Role Model textbook is chunked into high-interest biographical units that address the common core standard directive demanding 70% expository text use.
  • The reading, writing, higher-order thinking, public speaking, community involvement & debate aspects of this course develop better thinkers, readers, writers and students.

The Character Development & Leadership program provides consistent format options using 10 diverse lesson plans to teach the 18 character trait modules. Below you will see how the lesson plans align with the ELA & ELD national core standards:

Ethical Dilemmas: Each module begins with core ethical questions that relate to the featured trait. Students provide short-answer written responses and then engage in lively and persuasive discussion/debate. The teacher-lead activity supports the formal written assignment required at the end of each module. The end result is improved higher-order thinking and decision-making skills, delivered painlessly in a format that students and teachers enjoy.

Quote Exercises: Both monumental and whimsical quotes are chosen from history that relate to the featured trait. Students will write short responses about the meaning and context of each quote. This lesson plan is used to engage, inspire and promote thought-provoking informal language development. Teachers can socratically engage students in oral discussions to improve informal language development or focus on written responses to improve formalized ELA or ELD skill sets.

Character Movies: Students watch scenes from popular movies that focus on the featured trait. Students will decode video component and process the themes in an educational way via the use of ethical follow up questions. Verbal and/or written responses to these questions challenge students to critically analyze and put themselves in the character’s shoes.

Role Model Textbook: Each chapter is a short (10-12 pages), highly-engaging biographical sketch of an individual who exemplifies the featured trait. The common core standards for ELA requires 70% of the literacy component to focus on expository reading. The Role Models textbook fits this requirement perfectly. Dr. Hoedel provides multiple informational citations and excellent context clues to scaffold academic vocabulary acquisition. The end result is enhanced reading comprehension skills for expository text, stronger vocabulary and a growing ability to decode text.

Basic Skills: Practical and essential skills are provided for each module to help students become successful in school and beyond. Almost all of these skills are behavioral in nature, so differences can be observed immediately. This is yet another source of informal learning that gets students up and moving around, actively involved in the learning process.

Current Events via on-line blog: Dr. Hoedel finds both positive and negative current events related to character and leadership and places them on the website. A link to the video/article is provided along with the author’s perspective and follow up discussion questions. The goal is to inspire students to contemplate the importance of character and leadership in today’s society. Teachers can Socratically engage students in oral discussions within the classroom or have students provide written responses on the website to communicate with students around the world.

Virtual Leadership Principles: Virtual lectures on 17 leadership principles provided by Dr. Hoedel and other leaders are provided on the website. Students will learn specific leadership principles that will help them become successful in school, career and their personal lives. This real-world application will relate to all students, regardless of experience or ability. Discussion questions follow, and once again, this is another opportunity for the students to provide discussion or written responses.

Expository Writing Assignment: Each module culminates with an expository writing assignments, in response to essay-type questions about core beliefs and character related issues. This serves as a final academic written assignment that students will present in a formal oral presentation to classmates. If used as written, this provides students with the opportunity to write 18 expository writing assignments and present their work to the students on 9 separate occasions. This formal written and oral language output (1) is required by the national common core standards (2) tested on high school exit exams and (3) included on future college and work placement exams.

Writing and Reading Standards – ELD Specific Support

  • In this course, English Language Learners have daily opportunities for classroom discourse and interaction that enable ELLs to understand ethical and text comprehension questions being posed. This is done in a supportive, low-stress environment which allows them to practice informal and formal English academic language orally, a rare opportunity in a secondary classroom rarely found outside a formal ELD class.
  • The teacher-directed group interactivity allows for ELLs to gain ongoing formal and informal assessment and feedback regarding comprehension and understanding of content being presented, from both peers and instructor.
  • The class, which is usually taught with the specific stated purpose of leadership, allows for a very diverse class mix. Speakers of English who know the language well enough provide ELLs with models and support in the group feedback and individual choice activity setting.
  • The high-interest nature of the topics being studied, from the inspiring biographies to the engaging video clips to the lively debates regarding ethics, allow ELLs to fully participate in a true elective class setting that, while supporting their English language mastery, does NOT feel like a remedial English class.

Writing and Reading Standards – ELA Specific Support

The new national ELA and ELD standards pages define what students should understand and be able to do. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards listed below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements — the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity — that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.


UNDERSTANDING Text Types and Purposes:

  1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

  1. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  2. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  3. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

  1. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  2. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  3. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

  1. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

For students, writing is a key means of asserting and defending claims, showing what they know about a subject, and conveying what they have experienced, imagined, thought, and felt. To be college – and career ready writers, students must take task, purpose, and audience into careful consideration, choosing words, information, structures, and formats deliberately. The multiple inputs provided by this course, from oral debate to ethical dilemma Socratic discussions to video analysis to decoding text, primary and secondary course materials, require students to engage their critical thinking skills to render writing assignments to make sense.