The purpose of this post is to start a discussion on TeachThought about the online resources available to teachers as they learn how to align curriculum with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Since nearly all of the 50 states have adopted the Common Core, the majority of our readers need access to high-quality resources they can use for professional development (“Common Core State Standards Initiative | In the states,” n.d.). I am going to propose a short list of such resources and hope that you will contribute to the conversation with some of your own. One common characteristic of those that make it to my list: They are either free or low cost.
Before you go anywhere else, you should visit the Common Core website. There, you can download the standards and read them for yourself. Talk to the text, just as our students do when they are tackling something complex. Write your questions and opinions out on the print out. Now you know where you are cognitively in this process.
You can also download and read through resources on this site. I recommend reading “Myths v. Facts,” a paper located in the Resources section of this site.
1. Your State Department of Education Website
I can only speak for Pennsylvania, since that is where I live, but I am sure that states that have adopted CCSS have also provided information for teachers about its implementation. Yesterday, I took a look at the professional development center for Pennsylvania’s Standards Aligned System and found a self-paced course entitled “Effective and Engaging Standards-based Instruction.” It promises to help teachers “…examine the Common Core Standards and identify connections to the current PA Standards.” It also awards teachers 10 Act 48 credit hours upon completion, at no cost to the teacher.
Your district may also have some great resources for its teachers, so visit its website as well. A quick Google search revealed that many states are building a page or site to support teachers implementing CCSS.
In addition to their blog posts (our own Terry Heick is a regular blogger there) and videos on what works in education, Edutopia has also collected some strong Common Core specific resources, including information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a “a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness.”
3. The Teaching Channel
If you visit TeachingChannel (teachingchannel.org) and search for Common Core, you will be handsomely rewarded with helpful videos for teachers learning to implement Common Core and align current curricula to its standards. You can also set up email alerts and find out when new resources have been added to the channel.
The NCTE Common Core page offers videos, “teaching vignettes,” open letters, Council reports, and other resources for English Language Arts teachers. Some resources are not free, like the webinars, but many are.
5. Eye on Education
Eye on Education is a for-profit publisher of materials for educators that also offers free resources, some of which are related to implementing CCSS. The organization publishes white papers and podcasts, for example, that can be downloaded for free. The organization also provides webinars that teachers can attend or view on-demand at no cost to them.
What resources would you suggest to teachers trying to “wrap their head around” the standards?
6. Engage NY
There are also resources for collaborative professional development. Learning independently can often take longer than learning with a group, and if you are Vygotskian like me, it makes more sense to learn in a group than to plod through content all by yourself.
In my search for collaborative resources, I found engage ny. Its purpose is to bring teachers, administrators and teams together together to collaborate on CCSS, data-driving instruction, and professional development. Although it is intended for New York State teachers, I think teachers in any state can get useful information from this site. NY teachers will find a valuable resource for the discussion of the Common Core.
7. Common Core on Linkedin
There are a number of groups dedicated to a discussion of CCSS on Linkedin. Some are for broad discussions of the standards and others are focused more specifically. For example, some groups focus on English Language Learners.
8. Classroom 2.0
Classroom 2.0 is a Ning that serves teachers interested in educational technology and social media. It is a site where teachers can develop a professional learning network and start group discussions about topics of interest to teachers. There is already some discussion on this site about CCSS.
ASCD has their own resources for Common Core, in addition to their typical offerings for instruction, assessment, and other pedagogical tools.
10. National Science Digital Library
The National Science Digital Library–or NSDL for those hipsters that speak the edu-lingo–has some excellent STEM resources for integrating Common Core Math and Science.
Of course, you can also use Twitter to build a PLN and learn more about the standards from other teachers’ points of view. What other resources would you suggest?
And what online tools (for example, Evernote) would you recommend to help teachers keep things from becoming overwhelming?
Common core state standards initiative | In the states. (n.d.).Common Core State Standards Initiative. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states