4 Reasons You Should Keep a Checklist of ELA Standards

Do you use Common Core Standards at your school? Do you find it difficult to fit in all of the ELA standards you’re required to teach in 180 days? Today, I am going to talk to you about how checklists will help you with this! Here are 4 Reasons you should use checklists to track your standards!

Standards Checklists can Keep You on Track

Common Core Standards ELA Checklist for Elementary Teachers

First, checklists will help you stay on track. It is a simple way of holding yourself accountable. Having a physical list that shows what you have and have not taught will keep your planning focused and intentional. I would use a checklist like the ones above, that has multiple columns. You can check off each standard as you teach them, and again as you revisit or reteach the standard. Seeing this checklist as a whole can focus your instruction and will prevent you from getting to the end of the year with loads of standards still untaught.

Checklists Make for Easier Planning

Common Core Standards ELA Checklist for Elementary Teachers

Second, checklists make for easier planning. As you teach the standards and check off the list, you will know exactly what you have left to pull from. When planning, for initial instruction, you will want to focus on just the first column. You’ll know when your first column is complete, you will be ready to get in there and reteach standards that your kiddos may need more instruction on. Depending on your pacing guide, it may make sense to teach the skills in order. Or, if your planning leads you to teach them out of order, this will still allow you to easily see what you need to add to your upcoming lesson plans.

Checklists can Help You Track Mastery

Teacher with students, tracking mastery Common Core Standards ELA Checklist for Elementary Teachers

As we are teaching all of these standards, we are also using formative and summative assessments to check our students’ progress and understanding. Using these checklists to track mastery is an awesome way to allow for more time with skills that haven’t reached that level.

For example, if I teach a standard, like RI.3.6 and my students all pass the summative assessment to a level of mastery, I am going to highlight that standard with a green highlighter to denote that I no longer need to include that skill in my whole-group teaching. This will give you more time with standards that need extra instruction.

However, let’s say I have taught RL.3.1 and after the assessment, I see that only 30% of my class has reached mastery. I know I will need to revisit that standard again in whole-group instruction. Later, after I teach it again and reassess my students, mastery level reaches 80%. I am going to highlight that second column checkmark in yellow to show that a majority of the class is ready to move on. I may just need to work on the skill with the remaining 20% of students in small group until they reach mastery. Again, when that happens, when we reach 100% mastery, I will highlight the entire standard, in green.

Checklists will Keep You Student-Focused

Students working together, Common Core Standards ELA Checklist for Elementary Teachers

Lastly, standards checklists are going to keep you student-focused. As I mentioned in the previous section, you can use your checklist to track mastery. Knowing student mastery levels will allow you to easily form small groups and provide additional instruction for students in need. Students will be able to work on standards and skills that are specific to their needs, as opposed to all students working on the same standards at the same time, for the same amount of time.

Suggested Resources

If you’d like a set of Common Core ELA Checklists, you can get them sent directly to your inbox when you sign up for my email list. Grab your set by clicking your grade-level button below.


When you sign up, you’ll be delivered this FREE TRACKING SYSTEM FOR 1ST GRADE ELA STANDARDS directly to your email inbox.

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