DAY 2 - KYAE Skills U Lesson Bank Three-Day Discussion!

Day 2 Objective: Review a sample activity and share topics or ideas to develop together or individually. Optionally match a sample or suggested activity to CCR Standards.

You are invited to continue to respond to issues raised and shared in our Day 1 Discussion as you reflect and respond to ideas in our second day! 

Yesterday, you reviewed a sample lesson plan and explored the varied content offered in the Lesson Bank.  As you discovered, the Bank is very rich in contextualized lessons in a number of areas. Today, you will explore lessons in different career clusters and propose a simple reading and writing (or other) activity that will support skill development in a specific occupation.

A. Invitation for Day 2 Participation

Dear participants, as you reviewed the topics listed for integration/contextualization in different lesson plans, what activity might you suggest to engage students further in reading, writing, or a skill of your choice?

  1. Click on Search for Lessons > Employability or Career Sectors > Lessons. (Alternatively, use the lesson that you selected in Day 1!) You will see a tile for each of the National Career Clusters. Eleven of the tiles are teal, and the remaining tiles are tan. The tan tiles represent the five sectors with the highest projected job growth in Kentucky. Those tiles are populated with several lessons, and some of the tan tiles have lessons if they represent a sector that is in high demand in a particular region of the state. The remaining tan tiles do not currently have lessons, as KY Skills U chose to prioritize the occupations with the greatest job growth first. There are plans to add to the remaining sectors as time and resources permit. More than likely your state has some of the same top sectors as Kentucky.
  2. Explore lessons in one of the topics or clusters listed, and select a lesson that you would enjoy teaching or that aligns with the career goals of one of your classes or students.
  3. Describe a simple activity that you might add to the lesson that involves performance (something that students will do). (This activity will be only one of the many activities for the whole lesson.)
  4. State the level that you would address. NOTE: Those who are familiar with CRR Standards, please add one or more standards that might fit that topic and level. If you are not skilled with using CCRS, don’t worry. We will all work together on that if you like.
  5. (If you find a new suggested activity that appeals to you from someone else, you might respond to the person listing it.)

EXAMPLE: KYAE Career Cluster: Information Technology. Lesson: First Things First (Chronological development)

Performance Activity: Given a list of ingredients, students will write directions for making a favorite, nutritious sandwich. (6 minutes). They will use chronological transitions such as first, second, after that, then, finally, and more from a list of choices.

(Optional) CCRS > Writing: W3.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. a. Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension. b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details. c. Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information. d. Provide a concluding statement or section. We’ll all work together on identifying your CCRS level.

Now it’s your turn! Let’s exchange some ideas! Also, continue to ask questions of our guests!

B. Questions to OurGuests

  1. The greatest number of lessons in the bank are at NRS level 4, specifically because that level represents the majority of students served in Kentucky. Again, as time and resources permit, lessons will be added to address that gap. What ideas can you contribute to adding lessons or activities that meet the needs of lower level students?
  2. What are the best sources for matching activities to CCRS? How do you go about that process?

You are encouraged to continue to participate in this discussion and our previous discussion in preparation for our Day 3 Activities, which you are bound to enjoy if you work in Adult Ed, and, especially, if you teach adults! Leecy


1.  As I mentioned in the Day 1 post, lots of engaging information is out there for adults, but most articles we see on a daily basis are for NRS 3-4 at the lowest.  It can be challenging to find both level-appropriate and adult content simultaneously. is probably my favorite resource for lower-level, adult-friendly texts.  With the changes in ESL instruction moving more toward an intentional combination of language and academic development simultaneously, many of the same scaffolds and strategies that are helpful for ELLs are also really valuable for lower literacy native speakers.  Vocabulary place mats, think-aloud modeling, and sentence stem starters are things I like to use in both ESL and low-literacy lessons.

2.  The Internet is my best friend.  There are some really creative ideas out there that can easily be adapted for adults, with some of my favorites found on  I always then consider the alignment of the skills taught and assessed vs. the activities I’m planning: Do they match, or do I need to make an adjustment?  I have a tool I developed that is a checklist for things to check alignment. Here's a blog post I wrote and a podcast episode I have on resource alignment that walks folks through my process, and the tool is also found there.

Susan, the tips you shared in your short  blog post  provide very helpful tips of matching activities to standards. As with all planning, it helps to do and redo until we cue into the process and it becomes second nature. What do others here think of those steps. Are they helpful? Do you try to align your activities to standards? Please share your views. 

Re ELLs, you are right that, especially now, much of the material written for ABE students can be easily adapted to reaching ELLs. Now, all we have to do is to create more reading and writing materials to engage learners at the NRS 3-4 levels. Leecy

1. What ideas can you contribute to adding lessons or activities that meet the needs of lower level students?

I agree with Susie that it is difficult to find resources that are appropriate for adults who are at lower NRS levels. The difficulty lies in the fact that many free online resources that teach phonics, for instance, are designed with the specific audience of children rather than adults. I create many of my own worksheets and handouts for this reason, but I haven’t created lessons for NRS Levels 1 or 2. Two resources I have found useful for word pronunciation are Youtube videos by Pronunciation Pro and Pronuncian (developed by Seattle Adult Education program). Here are links to one of each of these:

Pronunciation Pro:


2.            What are the best sources for matching activities to CCRS? How do you go about that process?

I find myself often talking about how reading is a skill that must be practiced. I appreciate the Lesson Bank’s emphasis that almost every lesson has a text that matches the corresponding level of the lesson. It’s likely that most adult learners who come to our centers read mostly literary texts in the English classes that they attended during their years of K-12 education. One current trend in high school English classes is to teach reading of informational text more systematically and thoroughly. I feel that adult learners need instruction in this area to be successful in their future careers.

I mentioned previously that I use free accounts at Readworks and Newsela. At, an instructor can sign up for a free account and access hundreds of articles. You can quickly learn how to use the search features to find an article on the topic that you need. You can search by grade level or Lexile score, choose informational or literary text, and choose between categories that include Social Studies, Science, Literary, Skills and Strategies, and Special Collections. This is one way to match a CCRS standard to a text in a specific category. Some of the subtopics or skills emphasized are Author’s Purpose, Character, Classify & Categorize, Inferencing, Explicit Information, Fact & Opinion, Figurative Language, Genre, Main Idea, Plot, Predicting, Setting, Theme, Vocabulary in Context, Voice, Cause & Effect, Compare & Contrast, and Sequence. So, if I want to teach about an author’s purpose, I can narrow my search to only articles that emphasize this or have questions related to this skill. Almost every article has some selected and defined vocabulary from the text in addition to a few comprehension questions with an answer key. This is one resource that I find myself coming back to again and again.

The second resource that I mentioned is Newsela. Once again, you must create a free account. This site has only nonfiction and includes many current events article. I wonder if this would meet Maryam Ayazi’s desire to “find meaningful activities that draw students’ attention to the world around them using text, text features, images, and media.”(Maryam, I loved your idea of using photos, Youtube videos, and ads to teach main idea. My students loved this activity, too!) All of these texts have accompanying photos as well. You can change each of the articles to 5 different Lexile scores to meet students’ varying reading levels. If you click on Open Activities at the top right of each article, you will find a vocabulary quiz, a comprehension quiz, and sometimes a short writing prompt. The quiz questions change to match the Lexile level that you choose. This site also has high interest pop culture articles to spark discussion. I used this site to create a current events lesson on DACA this spring.

Bethany, yes, unfortunately, much of what is published online for phonics development is geared to K-12. However, there is hope. In late August, we will be hosting an event, shared with the Teaching and Learning, and Professional Development CoPs: Let’s Talk Phonics! This will be a six-day discussion, during which we will view and evaluate six videos (Parts 1-6) on decoding using different strategies for practicing phonics. August 27-September 1, 2018. This site and the great instructional tools shared are all geared to adults. I hope everyone here will also join that event late next month!

Thanks for the fantastic resources you have shared here, along with helpful tips on how to use them.    Those of you reading this thread, what comments can you add to what Bethany and Susan have shared here? If you don't wish to complete the activities proposed for participants, please don't hesitate to skip those and simply become part of the discussion on all that our guests are sharing. Let's hear from you! Leecy

   This site has lots of good resources including some that would work for our studenst   (and lots for teachers).    I"ve also got lots of things from back when I taught  Orton-GIllingham at The NEw Community School.   

(However, I'm trying to get a project to apply those same multisensory principles to math so no time for full participation here...) 

Greetings, All. Please don't feel that you must respond to the requests posted here for participants regarding the exploration of all of the KYAE Skills U Lesson Bank. If you wish, please ignore the "assignments" and simply jump in to join the dialogue around the wonderful comments shared here by our guests! Let's hear more from you. Thanks!!! Leecy

Thank you Leecy, This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with professionals who are thinking about how academic skills relate to the working world. Below is my response to (A) your invitation for Day 2 and (B) a question for Our Guests.

A. Response to Invitation Day 2

KYAE Career Cluster: Information Technology. Lesson: The Legos of Language (Text Structure) 

Performance Activity: Students will upload to Padlet an answer to a question (produced using keyboard skills) and one on-line link to a relevant source for classmates to review.

CCRS:> Writing: W3.6 - With guidance and support, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others. 

B. Question for Our Guests

I am confused about the Key Shifts (Complexity, Evidence, Building Knowledge) included in each complete KYAE Lesson. The criteria that is most confusing are Key Shift 2 (Evidence) and Key Shift 3 (Building Knowledge). Could one of the guests (or all) explain the rationale for including the Key Shifts in the lesson plan? How do these Key Shifts help a teacher is using that lesson? How does it help the teacher/administrator/developer who created the lesson?

Thank you for sharing. 



Thanks for sharing your activity, Maryam. Way to go! Tomorrow, I hope to have you and others who share their activity develop one single rubric criteria for that activity, using 3-4 different levels. (I'm crazy about rubrics and I know our guests are fans as well!)   I am new to Padlet. It sounds like a free tool that has many good applications for teachers. It's great that you are adding technology to other skills students will acquire. If the app is free, tell us more about it. Thanks! Leecy    

Thank you Leecy. I just learned about Padlet at a NYCCAL (New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy) Social Media for Advocacy workshop.. It is a free tool found at Here is a link to an blog with 30 creative ways students and teachers can use Padlet.

A Padlet can be thought of as a digital blackboard/whiteboard to which a digital post-it can be attached. Each digital post-it allows the user to upload documents, videos, etc. After the Padlet is created a link will be created. That link can be made more user friendly by taking it to another free tool at 

Unlike Hyperdocs (which requires students to sign up for a Google account), Padlet allows one person to sign up and then create a link to share with others. The other people do not need to sign up for anything.

Here is a link to YouTube which I think can help one make a Padlet.



Hello!  I also love Padlet.  I have used it as a place to have all students turn in an electronic assignment.  They simply posted their link and a short explanation on their digital post-it.  Using this format to turn in the assignments allowed for individuals to be able to create whatever type of project they were the most comfortable with.  Examples of project types that I have had turned in on Padlet are papers, videos, blogs, wikis, pictures, and websites.  

Using Padlet allowed each learner to be able to view the other learners' projects and it created one place that I could access all of the projects.  Most of my students have found it very easy to use, which is helpful when working with learners who struggle with technology; what a great way to boost their confidence. 

Have a great day!

Your question about the key shifts is an EXCELLENT one, Maryam, and I'm so glad you asked. :)

When I'm explaining why the standards matter to teachers, I start with the key shifts. I think of the key shifts as the important instructional changes that we should see in a classroom and lesson as a result of the CCRS.  (For more details on the ELA key shifts, here's a podcast episode I've recorded).  Since the CCRS tell us that text is "king" in ELA lessons, the changes we see in instruction all center around the text.  We should ensure students are interacting with texts that are appropriately complex; that they're looking for evidence in the text to answer questions; and that what they're reading builds knowledge

In the KY Skills U lesson template, authors go through the process to determine textual complexity so that it's easy to see why the rating has been chosen by the lesson's author.  For instance, if I grab a lesson that Beth has written, and I have students who are at a lower level than the lesson is written for, I can look at her detailed analysis of the text to see whether or not I can make adjustments for my class.  Perhaps vocabulary is the main reason she feels a text is more complex (as indicated by language features), and I could just provide more support and scaffolding in the area of decoding.  

Essentially, on the lesson template, it's a quick way to see the why behind the what for the texts chosen in the lesson.  The templates are extremely detailed so that we can really gain insight into all the processes the author went through to create a lesson for others to use.  To me, the changes in instruction (the shifts) are just as important as the CCRS themselves, if not more so.

Thanks so much for joining the conversation and taking the time to comment!  I hope this helps.

Maryam, thank you for the excellent question and participation. 

Susie, thank you for that great explanation about the Key Shifts. 

I cannot say enough about how important it is to be teaching the students how to use evidence to support their claims. Although I try to include a lesson that focuses on teaching the RLA extended response for the GED exam in every contextualized unit, I have also worked on a unit specifically on the extended response (It's not complete just yet.) Anyway, the ability to evaluate the evidence a writer gives to support a claim is so important to writing an effective extended response. Is the evidence relevant? Is it strong or weak? Does it come from a reputable source? So, even though we have lessons in the bank that focus solely on evaluating the relevance and sufficiency of evidence in a text, every time that a student finds the evidence in a text, he/she is practicing Step 1 of writing an extended response. The more students practice this skill, the better they will be able to write an extended response and find evidence in workplace texts.  

Hello everyone,

The lesson I chose was: My Bedside Manners: Putting Thoughts into Written Word


I chose to share this lesson because I would like to expand upon the lesson, or develop a separate, but related contextualized lesson that involves speaking and listening and writing skills.


When I think about entry level health science careers, I immediately think about the need for high level communication skills.  For example, nursing assistants require effective communication skills, both with patients, as well as with other healthcare professional team members.  NA’s would need to be able to verbally provide concise, specific information about patients to nurses and doctors. They would also need to be able to use specific, health-related medical terminology to clearly write notes in the patient’s medical record.

That being said, it might be beneficial to create activities that would require learners to participate in scenarios/ simulation exercises that include sending and receiving both verbal and written communication, to emulate beginning and end of shift duty activities, including charting (both written and electronic).

The associated CCRS standards could include:

Speaking and Listening Anchor 4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Speaking and Listening Anchor 6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Writing Anchor 4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Writing Anchor 6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.


Performance Activity Sample: Given a list of patient details, students will update (written and electronic) patient medical records, before verbally updating the next shift with pertinent details, before being dismissed for the day.   Clear, concise, and well-chosen details will be monitored for review (a scaffolded list of choices could be provided if warranted).


Questions to our Guests:

  1. In response to meeting the needs of lower level students, I have found allowing learners to be in the classroom with the expectation that they could listen, take notes, observe, and participate only when/if they feel comfortable has worked well in the past.  In some cases, it allowed learners a greater sense of what it meant to be in entry level healthcare setting.  I can remember one learner getting sick when a service dog happened to be sick in the classroom.   This was good, because the experience allowed the learner to recognize that helping sick people was just not for her.  By allowing individuals to observe without investing too much time or money (by money I mean by not working while attending free classes), the pressure to perform was taken away, and the opportunity to learn was increased.  For some learners, the observation time gave them a greater appreciation of what would be required if they were to fully participate enroll in the course.  A few learners were allowed to observe in the classroom over a two year period, while they were improving English language proficiency skills. 


Scaffolding is a great tool to help lower level learners take in new information.  As they increase in English language proficiency, they should be able to learn and engage in the classroom with less scaffolding.


  1. Honestly, I’m not sure if I have a best source for matching activities with CCRS.  What I try to do is use a backward/ universal design model, where I keep the end in mend.  I first look at the task/ job requirement/ activity that a learner needs to master, and then I choose a few standards that meet the criteria of the objective.  Beyond CCRS, I also look at incorporating technology integration, employability skills, contextualized instruction, and sector priorities (New Hampshire specific) into the lesson.   It has helped me understand that what teachers, administrators, and volunteers already do, meet the initiatives.


The key is to help others understand that the work they do is valued and does meet the necessary requirements.AE professionals need to grapple with the various initiatives to feel comfortable with stating which standard(s) are being addressed within the lessons.Often, I find that I need to refrain from adding too many CCRS standards to the lesson.It is a work in progress to concentrate on a few, so that I can then work on building DOK/ higher order thinking skills into the lesson plan.

"Often, I find that I need to refrain from adding too many CCRS standards to the lesson.It is a work in progress to concentrate on a few, so that I can then work on building DOK/ higher order thinking skills into the lesson plan."

Another great observation Ginette. Since adult learners have limited time to attend class and experience breaks in attendance due to life's circumstances, it can be tempting to want to address a broad spectrum of standards "while you have them". But as others have pointed out, the learning still needs to be scaffolded in a way that is logical and aimed at deeper levels of DOK. Patience is required to allow students the time needed to think critically and  develop an understanding of how they learn best through self-reflection. These are definitely skills needed for both college and career success.

We found the same to be true of the employability standards. On the surface, a case could be made that many (if not all) employability skills are used in the classroom. However, on our template we limit the number to 3 (at the most) for the same reason, to ensure that the standard is not just referenced but truly evident in the student experience during that lesson or learning activity. Regular and on-going opportunities for self-reflection in a risk free environment, better equip students for the transition to their next step.

Ginette, because I have created a lot of curriculum to prepare adults to succeed in very entry-level health careers, I really appreciate your choice of lesson and activities. Your ideas are perfect for stressing the oral communication requirements for health workers! 

Your Performance Activity is very well stated for other instructors. If you decide to create a rubric for students as they complete the activity (Day 3), you might simplify and break the activity into two parts in order to help students evaluate their own performance as they go along. In Day 3, we have a few comments shared on rubrics that might clarify what I mean a little better. 


Activity 1: Given a list of patient details, students will update (written and electronic) patient medical records. The rubric would provide the quality criteria for that activity. (clear, concise, and well-chosen details...)

Activity 2: Submit a written update for the next shift with pertinent details, before being dismissed for the day.   The rubric would provide the quality criteria for that activity. (clear, concise, and well-chosen details...)

Just a couple of cents added, Leecy