Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Walking Dead Meets Common Core



Believe it or not The Walking Dead is literature. In the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) standards students are asked to analyze literature, make inferences from the text, determine the central ideas and basically learn how to extract meaning from the author's words. The Walking Dead is the material, but the after show, Talking Dead, is the classroom.  

Regardless if your a fan of the AMC television series or the comic books educators would benefit from watching the after show to get a feel about how to talk about text and deconstruct it to get the most meaning for students. 

In Talking Dead, the host deconstructs the text of the show by using many Common Core standards for ELA (they are listed above). For example, look at the standard below and watch some of the video. 

Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

Click here for the video. Start at 1:50.

"How does a character like Carol keep from becoming like the Governor?"

This question goes to the heart of the standard above. It allows the readers to think about the similarities and differences of Carol and the Governor and how the characters might develop in the future. These are important skills that students need to learn to get the most out of literature. If they can do it with The Walking Dead, then students can learn how to do this with Shakespeare.

Read more of the standards below and watch more of the video to start to see how to make analyzing text in your classroom a reality.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.2
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3
Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.6
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).


Project Ideas. 


  1. Watch the show Talking Dead. 
  2. Ask students to participate in an analysis of The Walking Dead focusing on certian standards listed above and make it like the show Talking Dead.
    1. Do this by having a host, panelist, audience questions and fan questions from social media.
  3. After you practice with The Walking Dead do this same thing with Shakespeare  
  4. Create an after show, film it and put it out on YouTube.  

Final Thoughts.

Popular culture demands citizens understand text. Understanding it enriches our culture and gives us the opportunity to learn from the characters. That is the whole point of literature. I am glad Hollywood has learned from the Common Core and gave us a classroom discussion to understand good literature.