New teacher evaluations. New state tests. New standards. The myriad educational changes may seem overwhelming at times, especially for teachers who are trying to juggle the typical demands of a classroom, all the while adjusting their instruction and practice to reflect the continual educational shifts. And although the extra time and effort needed to make these changes are unavoidable to a certain extent, there are resources available to help make the transition smoother. Consider using the following teacher resources, materials, and samples to help out with your lesson planning, instruction, and materials:
•The Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium provides information regarding what to expect with the new generation of standardized tests (45 states will be using PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessments), along with sample test questions for Math and ELA.
• Achieve the Core was created by several lead writers for the Common Core. This site allows you to search for free lesson plans and resources by grade level and subject area. In addition to the lesson plans, there are student writing samples (for ELA), sample assessment questions, an “Understanding the Math” section, and professional development opportunities via power point, videos, and more.
• Corestandards.org provides not only a listing of the Common Core Standards but also additional information in its appendices that could serve as a helpful resource. Specifically for ELA, Appendix B includes text exemplars and sample performance tasks while Appendix C includes student writing samples for grades K-12.
• Scholastic offers “core-ready programs and materials”, including free lesson plans, reading lists, “product finders” for Math and ELA, a Q and A section, videos, and other free materials/ideas. ELA teachers may wish to check out some of Scholastic’s nonfiction magazines like Action (grades 6-8) for high-interest, core-aligned reading materials and activities. Math teachers may be interested in Dynamath (grades 3-6) or Math (grades 6-9) for math-related articles and skills practice.
• The Teaching Channel offers Core-aligned videos of innovative lesson plans and teaching practices. You can search the subject and grade level to find a video that focuses on the topic you are preparing to teach. This robust library includes over 300 ELA and Math videos for you to view. Best of all, you can watch the teacher utilizing the strategy or lesson plan idea in his or her classroom, along with an explanation of the correlations to the Common Core Standards.
• The National Education Association (NEA) has synthesized the massive amounts of information regarding the Common Core and new standardized tests and compiled The NEA Common Core State Standards Toolkit. This 53-page document begins with an overview that dispels many myths surrounding the Common Core and then addresses key curricular shifts, resources for professional development opportunities, and an assessment. Finally, this PDF discusses the implications of the Core for English Language Learners and students with disabilities.
Of course, many lessons and resources that teachers have used for years are still effective and are consistent with the new standards. In these instances, the aforementioned resources may simply enhance or provide additional insight and ideas. However, for aspects of the curriculum that include topics, reading materials, and concepts that you have not taught in the past, these resources may be a timesaving link between what you are expected to teach and what your students are expected to learn.
What resources do
you use that align with the Common Core? We’d love to hear from you!