Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 1: BURRO’S TORTILLAS by Terri Fields - A Common Core Unit for ELLs

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Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

RL.1.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

RL.1.10 With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.


W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of "how-to" books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

Speaking and Listening

SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts bwith peers and adults in small and larger groups.

SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.


L.1.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.1.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

Description of Unit

This Grade 1 unit titled “BURRO’S TORTILLAS by Terri Fields—A Common Core Unit for ELLs” posted on the website is organized into eight lessons of approximately thirty minutes each. Although the unit is written for Spanish-speaking ELLs, teachers of students speaking other languages may wish to adapt the lessons by connecting to other languages, cultural elements, or related stories. The lessons develop students’ reading and writing abilities through targeted activities built around interactive shared readings of a text where the teacher engages students in ongoing dialogue to develop students’ language proficiency and comprehension.  In the first interactive shared reading spread over four days, the focus is on helping students understand the text though the use of literal questions and targeted key vocabulary.  In the second shared reading, students work in groups and with partners to analyze the text. Vocabulary instruction is embedded throughout the unit.   As a culminating activity, students individually write an opinion piece and provide reasons from the text.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that this unit does not include a Common Core-aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted grade-level standards listed above. Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively.   Additional instructional time may be necessary based on the varied needs of students.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is a good example of how to integrate appropriate supports in reading, writing, speaking and listening for students who are ELL, have disabilities, and/or read well below the grade level text band. It provides all students with multiple opportunities to engage with a text of appropriate complexity for the grade level— BURRO’S TORTILLAS (540L) is at the high end for the Grade 1 Lexile band. Each lesson has a Teacher’s Guide that includes the following components: teacher prompts, read-aloud cues, comprehension questions, vocabulary words, and partner talk. Extension activities and optional lessons are also provided.

Related materials, classroom videos, and teacher videos are available on the Colorín Colorado website: