Both teachers and administrators agree that finding high quality instructional materials that are Common Core-aligned is the biggest challenge to implementing the Standards. Here are seven free sources that can help.
This open database of learning materials aims to help personalize instruction. Educators can browse, search, rate, add, share, and organize their favorite Common Core-aligned resources, and put them together in personalized playlists for students. The content, which covers nearly all subjects for grades 6-12, has been collected with the help of Summit Public Schools in San Francisco and High Tech High in San Diego. As of July 2014, there were more than 27,000 resources available, organized into more than 3,000 playlists.
This free resource from Common Sense Media helps educators find high-quality apps, games, and websites to use in their classrooms by offering in-depth ratings and reviews. A new search tool within Graphite, called the Common Core Explorer, helps educators find the best digital resources that are aligned with the Common Core Standards in math and ELA.
This popular online resource now includes thousands of interactive math problems fully aligned to every Common Core math standard in grades K-12. Created and reviewed by some 40 math educators, the exercises focus on conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world applications of math.
This website gives educators a searchable catalog of more than 250,000 teacher-curated, standards-aligned resources to enhance their lesson plans, and help students either in class or at home. While the resources can be used with any learning management system, OpenEd offers its own free LMS, allowing teachers who sign up for a free account to create playlists of materials that can be shared with students, parents, or colleagues. What’s more, the site offers a free tool for teachers to create assessments with the question types required by the Common Core Standards.
SAS, a major business analytics company, has updated its free Curriculum Pathways resource for middle and high schools. The new version of SAS Curriculum Pathways includes enhanced search capabilities that can help educators find materials for teaching specific state or Common Core standards.
A website for independent math practice, instruction, and assessment, TenMarks was acquired by Amazon in fall 2013. Its library of 20,000-plus math problems is Common Core-aligned and includes questions that vary in answer type and difficulty. To guide students through math practice, TenMarks provides hints and video lessons that offer scaffolded explanation.
Wolfram Alpha’s Wolfram Education Portal is a free website that offers teaching tools such as lesson plans and interactive demonstrations that are aligned with the Common Core math standards. Created by noted scientist Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram Alpha is a research site powered by a computational knowledge engine that generates answers to questions in real time by doing calculations on its own vast internal knowledge base.
Bonus resource: Teaching Strategy of the Week
Each week, School Improvement Network releases one of the videos from Edivate, its on-demand professional learning platform, for teachers and administrators to access free of charge. In the Teaching Strategy of the Week archives, you’ll find dozens of free examples of Common Core-aligned lessons for teaching skills such as solving math story problems with hidden information, persuasive writing, and more.
As you’re searching for high-quality, Common Core-aligned resources to support your teachers, it’s important to note that the Common Core doesn’t define a curriculum; it’s “simply a framework for engaging with whatever curriculum you are teaching,” says Lisa Leith, Vice President of Education for School Improvement Network.
“Don’t let yourself be fooled that a new curriculum is going to bring the Common Core into the classroom,” Leith says. “The Common Core teaches us a new way to engage students with content”—but it’s ultimately applicable to nearly any resources you might be using.