Ready or not, here they come. Currently adopted in part or in full by 45 states, the Common Core (CC) standards are seemingly on everyone’s mind. At almost every school I visited this year, teachers asked me to address the Common Core in my workshops. Planning lessons with CC in mind presents a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. New sites and services are popping up on the Web every day with the express purpose of helping plan lessons around Common Core. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Online resource Common Curriculum is designed to help educators align their lesson plans with CC standards. Common Curriculum provides an online plan book, which enables you to keep track of your class schedules and write your lesson plans. Enter a lesson into your Common Curriculum planner, then click “search for standard” to find a match for your lesson plan. Including more text in your lesson will improve search results, I’ve found.
A free application, Common Curriculum also enables users to attach files and links to their lesson plans, which really makes it easy to organize those digital materials in one place. Common Curriculum also has a built-in blogging feature. Once activated, the blog option will automatically post your lesson plans for you.
The heart of the Mastery Connect (see screencast below) service is an assessment tracker in which teachers and administrators can monitor each student’s progress toward meeting specifically selected Common Core standards. That data can be extremely useful in planning lessons. In an especially nice feature, Mastery Connect offers an app for iOS and Android that makes all of the Common Core standards available for immediate access from a smartphone. The app has been used by teachers more than 5.6 million times, according to the company. And you needn’t go it alone when planning your lessons. Mastery Connect offers an online network in which teachers across the country can connect to share ideas and lessons planned around the Common Core.
Need some inspiration for planning a Common Core-related lesson? There are a couple of places to start your search. The One Laptop Per Child project (one.laptop.org) recently created a wiki of elementary school lesson plans aligned to Common Core standards, XO Plans For You. Select your grade level, then a content area to find sample lesson plans. The lessons are archived as Google Documents, which you can download and or save onto your Google Drive account.
Popular virtual penpal service ePals has recently launched its own Common Core standards resource. The ePals Common Core Implementation Center is a bank of free project plans created by teachers and ePals staff. Search for projects by grade level and content area—currently limited to ELA and science. Many of the projects, though not all, involve using ePals. There are alternatives, if you don’t choose to use the service, but it might take a bit more creative effort on your part to make those particular lessons work.
As you plan your lessons in the new year, remember these free resources and take some of the stress out of aligning your plans to Common Core standards.
Here’s a “bonus” screencast of a recently discovered application, Teaching Objects:
Richard Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org), a high school social studies teacher, writes the award-winning blog “Free Technology for Teachers.”