Teaching Profession Opinion

Lessons for Summer Learning

By Learning Forward — June 18, 2015 3 min read
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Stephanie Hirsh

If you haven’t already figured it out, I am a fan of the Common Core State Standards. I believe in their potential to increase equitable access to rigorous teaching and learning across the country.

This does not mean that I am opposed to local decision making, in fact much the opposite. I served nine years on a local school board. I recognize the importance of members of local communities speaking out on the design of policies that impact their children. That doesn’t mean, however, that community members in any locale won’t benefit from expertise from across the nation to inform what they offer their children. And that’s why so many state governors collaborated to create a set of guiding standards more than five years ago to benefit our students.

While I support states that believe they need to revisit college and career-ready standards to ensure they capture everything they want for their students, a clear benefit of the Common Core is the power of sharing great lessons and materials across the nation. With aligned standards in place across many states, math teachers in Idaho can network, problem solve, and share resources with math teachers in West Virginia. The best of the best can rise to the top and students will experience engaging lessons every day.

Over the past several years I have seen some remarkable resources developed by, for, and with teachers and thought I would share some of my favorites. Combine these resources with relevant and sustained professional learning and teachers will have the support they need for deep implementation of high standards with fidelity. The steps that teachers take to collaboratively develop, adapt, practice, observe, and revise lessons based on these resources are among the most valuable professional learning they will experience as they improve their knowledge and skills to reach all students.

I know there is a danger that as soon as I publish my list I will remember others that I should have included. I invite you to add your favorites so together we create a list of great resources to explore this summer.

Learn Zillion

With both free and premium accounts available, Learn Zillion offers educators the opportunity to collaborate with other educators and access to thousands of teacher-crafted lessons with information about alignment to specific standards and video tutorials.

OER Commons

Educators will find thousands of open source education resources along with a platform to use in collaborating with other educators and designing standards-aligned teaching and learning materials and experiences.

Better Lesson

This source of more than 10,000 Common Core-aligned lessons supports a collaborative teacher-inquiry cycle and the support of coaches in lesson implementation.


Created by the New York State Education Department, this website offers educators across professional learning tools and classroom resources to support educators in reaching the state’s vision for a college and career ready education for all students.

Literacy Design Collaborative

LDC is a national community of educators offering a teacher-designed and research-proven framework, online tools, and resources for creating literacy-rich assignments and courses across content areas.

Mathematics Assessment Project

The Mathematics Assessment Project offers tools for formative and summative assessment that expose students’ mathematical knowledge and reasoning, helping teachers guide them towards improvement and monitor progress.

Teaching Channel

Watch hundreds of classroom videos and collaborate with other teachers about specific teaching and learning topics and questions.


EQuiP (Educators Evaluating Quality Instructional Products) offers a supply of lessons and units aligned to the Common Core standards and builds the capacity of educators to evaluate and improve the quality and standards alignment of teaching resources.

PBS Learning Media

Drawing on public media sources, this site offers thousands of digital resources to use in the classroom. Standards-aligned resources include video, audio, documents, and lesson plans.

Stephanie Hirsh
Executive Director, Learning Forward

The opinions expressed in Learning Forward’s PD Watch are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.