Smart implementation of the Common Core State Standards requires both an overall understanding of the standards and a grasp of their implications for planning, teaching, and learning. This Quick-Start Guide provides a succinct, all-in-one look at * The content, structure, terminology, and emphases of the Common Core standards for English language arts at the middle school level. * The meaning of the individual standards within the four ELA strands--Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language, with an emphasis on areas that represent the most significant changes to business as usual. * How the standards connect across strands, domains, and grade levels to build on prior learning and prepare students for the nuanced communication and analytical work they will encounter in high school. Here, middle school ELA teachers and school leaders will find information they need to begin adapting their practices to ensure that all students master the new and challenging material contained in the standards. A practical lesson planning process to use with the Common Core, based on Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Ed., is included, along with three sample lessons. LEARN THE ESSENTIALS OF THE COMMON CORE The grade-level and subject-specific Quick-Start Guides in the Understanding the Common Core Standards series, edited by John Kendall, are designed to help school leaders and school staffs turn Common Core standards into coherent, content-rich curriculum and effective, classroom-level lessons.