May 2020
Link Lines
William & Mary Training & Technical Assistance Center
Incorporating the 5 C’s in the Planning and Delivery of
Quality Instruction for All Learners
By Susan Jones, Donni Perry, and Mary Stowe
How can my instruction prepare my students to be critical and creative thinkers? What instructional strategies support the development of my students’ communication and collaboration skills? How do I link student learning to citizenship?

“A student meeting the Profile of a Virginia Graduate (POVG) has achieved the commonwealth’s high academic standards and graduates with workplace skills, a sense of community and civic responsibility and a career plan aligned with his or her interests and experiences. In preparing students to [graduate], schools are required to ensure that [they] develop the following competencies known as the “Five C’s” ( Virginia Department of Education, 2018 ).
Essential Question : What characteristics do students who are competent in the 5 C’s exhibit? Watch these short videos to find out.
Essential Question: What instructional strategies will help my students acquire life-ready skills through generalization across content knowledge?
To support students’ growth, teachers must use techniques and strategies to target learning. Research translated into practice provides teachers with strategies to meet the diverse needs of learners and ensure they develop content knowledge and workplace skills as outlined within the Virginia Standards of Learning .   

For Tier One instruction, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) showcases instructional plans across content areas.

For students struggling with content knowledge and the acquisition of 5 C’s competencies, teachers may need to intensify instruction (Tier Two and beyond). Explore resources available through the VDOE to assist in providing more intense instruction.
In Virginia, the “Life Ready” individual will, during his or her K-12 experience, achieve and apply appropriate academic and technical knowledge. The table below provides specific examples of how teachers can integrate content and instructional strategies across tiers in order to develop students’ 5 C’s competencies.
Table 1

Linking the 5C's, Content and Instructional Strategies

Competencies of Students Developing the 5 C’s
Content Knowledge
(Standards of Learning)
Examples of content that would include the development of the 5 C’s

Critical Thinking

  • identify issues and formulate questions for investigation
  • provide solutions
  • appreciate multiple perspectives
  • apply, analyze, interpret, and synthesize
  • reason and make inferences
  • reflect on their own thinking
VA SOL Mathematics A.1b – evaluate algebraic expressions for given values of the variables
Tier One -
VA SOL Mathematics A.1ab Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond -
Pretest vocabulary from lesson above (e.g., “a number,” “sum,” “quotient,” “of,” “than”).
For students who need reteaching, explicitly teach vocabulary before asking them to use it to write/translate expressions, with particular attention to “Turn Around” words from above lesson (“than” and “from”).
Provide extra opportunities for students to practice simple expressions (“five times a number”) before moving to more complex expressions (“three times the absolute value of two less than a number increased by five”).
VA SOL English 8.5e – draw conclusions and make inferences with support from the text
Tier One -
VA SOL English 8.5e Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond -
Creative Thinking

  • take risks
  • experiment and learn from failures
  • build on the past and embrace new ideas
  • recognize and utilize their individual strengths to reach goals
  • employ their imaginations with confidence
  • value the process of producing original work
  • demonstrate resourcefulness
VA SOL English 2.10 - write in a variety of forms to include narrative, descriptive, opinion, and expository
Tier One -
VA SOL English 2.10 I nstructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond -
Modeling or Use of a Graphic Organizer as described within Intensive Interventions (link above).

VA SOL Mathematics 1.8 –determine the value of a collection of like coins (pennies, nickels, or dimes) whose total value is 100 cents or less
Tier One
VA SOL Mathematics 1.8 Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond
Using a step-by-step procedure with modeling and think-aloud, identify the value of each, combine and recombine the values in various manners to achieve the desired value. 
Use play coins and markers/stickers to identify touch points. Explicitly teach students to touch points on coins, counting by fives, then count by ones for each boxed penny.
For students who need assistance keeping their place as they count, consider a hundreds chart with highlighted columns for fives and tens. Fade supports (concrete objects, hundreds chart) as students become able to use pictures of coin collections.

  • actively listen for understanding
  • know and respect their audience
  • recognize and effectively use verbal and nonverbal cues
  • effectively use all forms of communication (listening, reading, speaking, composing)
  • provide and receive constructive feedback
  • ask clarifying questions
  • recognize gaps in their knowledge and understanding

VA SOL Mathematics K.1a and b – a. tell how many are in a given set of 20 or fewer objects by counting orally; and b. read, write, and represent numbers from 0 through 20
Tier One
VA SOL Mathematics K.1a and b Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond
Use manipulatives/concrete objects to count with a number line to find the correct number in the set. Fade the number line as students become able to move toward representations (drawings, pictures).
Ensure students have prerequisite skills:
  • rote counting to 20
  • one-to-one correspondence

Explicitly teach counting using a variety of objects (counters, rekenreks, Unifix cubes, etc.) with a variety of visual counting aids (number line, hundreds chart, ten-frame, subitizing cards).
Provide extra opportunities to practice in a variety of situations.

VA SOL English 4.3 (EU) – understand attributes of a constructed message (i.e., audience and purpose)
Tier One
VA SOL English 4.3 Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond
Teach students to use a graphic organizer and a constructed word bank indicating words that identify attributes.

  • work toward and support a common goal
  • compromise and demonstrate flexibility
  • value and search out a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and abilities
  • share responsibility
VA SOL English 11.4 EKS – analyze and critique themes and issues within and across text related to religious diversity; political struggles; ethnic and cultural mores and traditions; and individual rights, gender equity, and civil rights
Tier One
VA SOL English 11.4 Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond  
Use a graphic organizer designed to isolate the characteristics of the analysis (i.e., semantic feature analysis map); then model using a think-aloud to provide a process to follow as students complete the analysis.

VA SOL Mathematics 5.18 EKS – identify, create, describe, and extend patterns using concrete materials, number lines, tables, or pictures
Tier One
VA SOL Mathematics 5.18 Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond  
Model the process with a think-aloud to demonstrate the metacognitive process involved.

  • demonstrate trustworthiness, respectfulness, fairness, responsibility, and caring
  • appreciate democratic values and institutions
  • strive to understand the past, participate in the present, and care about the future
  • recognize diversity as a strength
  • act as a steward of self, community, and the world
VA SOL Mathematics ( Curriculum Frameworks , p. 6):  Equity
Mathematics programs should have an expectation of equity by providing all students (students with disabilities, gifted learners, and English language learners) access to high-quality mathematics instruction and offerings that are responsive to and respectful of students’:
  • prior experiences;
  • talents;
  • interests;
  • cultural perspectives; and
  • individual learning needs
Tier One
To ensure that the tenets of equity found within the Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks, differentiation , Universal Design for Learning techniques, and cooperative learning opportunities will be used within the classroom, to support the growth of citizenship characteristics. 
Tier Two and Beyond

VA SOL English 4.5a – describe how the choice of … characters contributes to the development of the plot
Tier One
VA SOL English 4.5 Instructional Plan
Tier Two and Beyond
Teach students explicitly to use a graphic organizer to categorize the appropriate information necessary to complete the target task.
“Students in every grade will experience a new approach to instruction that focuses on key skills for success in a modern world – Virginia’s 5C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship skills. This approach will prepare every student with the content knowledge they need and the skills they need to apply it successfully after graduation” (Lane, 2020).Within school divisions, the work of linking content and the 5C’s through instruction has begun. 
Instructional lesson plans require teachers to link the Standard of Learning to the competency that is supported through instruction. Follow this link to view an instructional lesson plan modeling this work by Scott Belako and Cheryl Gray in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
Lane, J. (2020, February 24). Literacy symposium: Virginia is for learners. Presentation at the Virginia Department of Education's Literacy Symposium, Charlottesville, Virginia.