Cross-Curricular Lesson Template - Building Textual Evidence

This template supports middle and high school teachers across disciplines in working collaboratively to create lessons that address the Common Core literacy shifts around close reading and building textual evidence, as well as subject specific content standards. Select any starting point from the steps below to begin building your lesson. When your lesson is ready, delete the instructions before you publish it.

1. Lesson Abstract

Briefly summarize your lesson and its overall teaching and learning objectives, for future users of the lesson. Indicate the time span of the lesson as you envision it, and any resources needed.

2. Lesson Themes

To Do
Collaboratively identify 1-2 lesson themes that put students in the position of practicing scientific inquiry, constructing arguments, and building textual evidence. Enter your lesson themes below.



3. Essential Questions

To Do
Collaboratively write a unifying, essential question for your lesson that is tied to your identified lesson themes. List your unifying essential question below.

To Do
Identify additional supporting questions for your lesson that are specific to the STEM subject (or subjects) addressed. List your questions below.


4. Standards Addressed

Choose Your Standards

Read and get familiar with the anchor standards below. These two standards have been selected as representative from the CCSS in helping students to focus on building evidence from text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments. They make conjectures and build a logical progression of statements to explore the truth of their conjectures.

To Do
For each subject represented, choose at least one additional content standard that each teacher on your cross-curricular team would like to address. Work with your cross-curricular team to list your subject specific standards below

Related Resources

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts


5. Learning Objectives

To Do
Tie your learning objectives to the specific standards you want to address by answering: What must the student know and be able to do to meet the content standard? Enter your learning objectives below.


To Do
Write the learning objectives that are specific to each discipline, and enter them below.

 Related Resources
Tips for Writing Student Learning Outcomes - IUPUI


6. Text Set

Choose an Anchor Text

An anchor text is the central text around which a lesson or unit is built. This may be, for example, a narrative piece, a data set, or an image. Students across disciplines will engage with this anchor text throughout the lesson or unit, using it as base upon which to build skills and knowledge. A few simple guidelines for selecting anchor texts include:

  • Look for texts that are more general, and that are relevant and usable across disciplines
  • Look for texts that help your students reach the learning goals you want to emphasize
  • Look for texts that are meaningful, rich and worthy of study
  • Choose appropriately challenging texts

Visit a Primary Source Collection to browse for possible anchor or supporting texts.

To Do
Choose 1 anchor text for each lesson or set of lessons you would like to create. Enter the name of the anchor text and its URL below:

Title of Anchor Text:

URL of Anchor Text:

 Related Resources
Support for Selecting an Anchor Text

Choose Supporting Texts

Supporting texts should help students to successfully move through the learning objectives for your lesson, and can help to build the knowledge necessary to access the anchor text in your lesson. They can be framing texts, background texts, or texts that complement your anchor text.

To Do
Choose a series of supporting texts, based on your analysis above, that will help your students master the necessary concepts, skills and knowledge needed to meet the lesson's learning goals. 

  • Consider learning objectives that will be addressed through your anchor text, but that you may want to strengthen through supporting texts.
  • Consider background concepts that students will need to master in order to access the anchor text, and that supporting texts can help your students to acquire.
  • Consider texts that are typical for your discipline (e.g., data sets for science).

For each STEM subject addressed, add the name of your supporting texts and their URLs below.       

 STEM Subject   Title of Supporting Text                URL of Supporting Texts


 Related Resources

Creating Text Sets for Whole-Class Instruction

CCSS Text Selection Toolkit

Implementing the CCSS for Mathematics: CCSS Curriculum Materials Analysis Tools

Selecting Texts for Teaching and Assessing

Build & Organize the Text Set

Your text set should provide opportunities for students to build knowledge about a topic or subject through analysis of a coherent selection of strategically sequenced, discipline-specific texts.

To Do
Consider how the anchor text and the supporting texts should be sequenced within the lesson to develop necessary skills. In the table below, organize your texts into a sequence that represents how you want to develop students’ knowledge in line with your identified learning objectives. Consider how the anchor text, which is the most complex and challenging of your text, will be referred back to repeatedly through the lesson by students to scaffold their learning.  

 Text Sequence for Lesson/Unit       Learning Objectives


7. Student Tasks

To Do
Identify how you will direct learning through questions and inquiry, and how these questions relate to your team's overall essential question(s) that unifies learning across texts and disciplines. Your questions should facilitate rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts through a sequence of specific, thought-provoking questions. Determine your text-dependent questions and enter them below.


To Do
Develop your formative assessment strategy. Consider how and to what extent your methods of formative assessment elicit direct, observable evidence of student learning in targeted CCSS skill areas. Enter your formative assessment strategy below.


 Related Resources

Short Guide to Creating Text Dependent Questions

Complete Guide to Creating Text Dependent Questions

Checklist for Evaluation Question Quality

LDC Template Task Collection 2.0

Improving Student Achievement in Mathematics Through Formative Assessment in Instruction


8. Culminating Learning Experience

To Do
Develop your summative tasks with your team, and answer: How will the culminating tasks provide for summative assessment of the standards targeted and the skills and knowledge developed during the lesson? Enter your summative assessment(s) below.

 Related Resources

Graphic Organizer Assessment Rubric

ASCD Common Core: Assessment Shifts

Selecting Texts for Teaching and Assessing



9. Pre-Requisite Learning

To Do
Collaboratively with your team, make a list of the background knowledge and prerequisite skills that your students will need to succeed in the lesson/unit. Enter your list below.


 To Do
Use the following guiding questions to develop your pre-assessment approach with your teaching team:

  • How might students’ background and skills be pre-assessed to determine their readiness for learning?
  • How will the pre-assessment reveal gaps in students’ knowledge in alignment with our selected standards and learning objectives?
  • How will we use pre assessment data to revise our teaching and challenge students at an appropriate level?       

Enter your pre-assessment approach below.

 Related Resources

Pre-Assessment Strategies


10. Organization of Instructional Activities

To Do
Determine with your team the sequence of your instructional activities. Use the following, guiding questions:

  • How should major instructional activities be sequenced to provide a coherent progression of learning?
  • How are learning activities designed and sequenced to develop students’ literacy and emphasize the key areas of focus (shifts) in instruction?
  •  In what ways does the instructional sequence prepare students for the summative assessment?

 List your instructional activities below, organized sequentially. Add notes about length of time for each activity, or for the lesson overall, as well as the preparation and materials needed for each activity. Consider adding notes about specific strategies for diverse learners including those who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below (or above) the grade level text band.



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