Searching for Resources to Teach the Common Standards

By Catherine Gewertz — January 23, 2012 2 min read
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If yearning had a sound, the air would be full of noise right now. That’s because teachers across the country are looking for help in teaching the common-core state standards.

We heard this message loud and clear in August, when we hosted a webinar on the common standards. The biggest vein of questions pouring in during the Q&A period could be summed up this way: “Help! Where can I find resources to help me teach these new standards?”

Immediately, we felt their pain. We looked around on the Web to see what kinds of help was out there for teachers, and it wasn’t easy to find, at least in any centralized kind of way. (See our blog post here.)

That isn’t really a surprise, since each state and district is grappling with the issue its own way. The two consortia of states that are developing assessments for the common core have instructional resources planned, but most of them aren’t available yet. The groups that organized or advocated for the common core have a few things out there. (Consider this resource list from the Council of Chief State School Officers, which includes links to a math curricular analysis tool, sample instructional English/language arts units, and some other information sources, and this CCSSO roundup of resources.) But either the pickings are still a bit thin, or folks just can’t locate them easily, or both.

Little by little, though, resources are trickling out there. There are private efforts, such as the Common Core’s curriculum maps, which we’ve told you about before. And states are starting to build a bigger resource bank of instructional assistance.

Consider eStandards, a new web application developed by California’s Sacramento County Office of Education. It allows teachers to look up standards by grade and subject on their computers or Smartphones., a clearinghouse developed by the New York state department of education, has been getting increasing amounts of attention for its common-core resources. Among its offerings are a 15-part video series that walks viewers through the key shifts in the common standards. Some math teachers I know have been circulating links to the math videos on local listservs.

I’ve heard, also, that the Kansas education department has developed some text-complexity tools that are proving helpful to people in other states. Those tools are part of a bunch of resources Kansas assembled on its website (here and here).

Do you know of good storehouses of common-core info that you can share? Has your state or district done a particularly good job of creating or sharing resources? Let us know!

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.