It's been nearly two years since I first wrote up "Resources for Understanding the Common Core State Standards," Edutopia's roundup page for all things Common Core, and the demand for tools and resources only grows as we get deeper into implementation. Like any major (and mandated!) educational initiative, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have their fans and their detractors, but if you're in one of the 45+ states that have signed on, they are here to stay. I highly recommend reading an excellent recent opinion piece from The New York Times, by Charles M. Blow, "The Common Core and the Common Good," which provides a compelling and succinct summary of the potential problems and the opportunities around the Common Core.
Edutopia's team of bloggers have been exploring every corner of the Common Core. "How Will Common Core Change What We Do?" is a post by Erin Powers which did a great job of encapsulating all the questions educators have. Successfully implementing the new standards is a challenge many are dealing with daily. What's all the talk about? Why are they so important? And how can you sort through the noise to find the best information about this complex topic? Here's a list of videos I've chosen to help you wrap your head around what the Common Core actually means -- both in theory and in practice.
Video Playlist: Digging Into the Common Core State Standards
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards (03:11)
I love this RSA Animate-style video that breaks down the CCSS for educators; it's positive and straightforward without getting too inspirational or overly cute. Produced by the Council of the Great City Schools, which also published the useful resource site Common Core Works.
- Halftime in AUHSD: A Common Core Initiative (03:52)
This district-produced video is clearly meant to boost morale and mobilize teachers who are likely overwhelmed by the Common Core. Like the New York Times article above, I think it could be a helpful tool to re-frame thinking -- to see the standards as an opportunity rather than a drudgery.
- Teaching Channel Presents - Common Core State Standards (01:19)
Teaching Channel is the go-to spot for classroom practice videos about implementing the Common Core. They have over 175 videos covering all aspects, in all subjects, for all grade levels -- from three-minute lesson videos to longer overviews that explore in more depth.
- Defining What Public School Students Should Know (06:51)
Need to inform parents? Published just a few weeks ago, this special report from PBS NewsHour's education correspondent John Merrow provides a great state of the state, giving context to the Common Core for anyone who is not yet in the know.
- Common Core: A New Foundation for Student Success (02:55)
The Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, an org that aims to inform policymakers and leaders about educational issues, paints a glowing picture of the promise of the Common Core. You can find more videos on their YouTube channel, and they also offer a viewing guide (PDF).
- Teacher Strategies for Implementing Common Core Standards (02:15)
The devil's in the implementation details, of course. National Louis University offers a whole video playlist of Katie McKnight, an associate professor in the National College of Education, giving simple and actionable tips about the Common Core.
- Common Core How-To Part 1 (05:23)
Educational consultant Preston Webster outlines the key to successful implementation: give teachers enough time to plan, teach, and revise their new lessons in a collaborative way. This no-frills video is the first in a series that offers ideas on how to use the time we have more effectively.
- Common Core 360 Free Resources (06:56)
While edtech companies are scrambling to build tools teachers can use to help understand and implement the CCSS, many are behind paywalls. Intrepid teachers like Quisha Brown, who made this screencast about Common Core 360, are hunting down the free resources.
- Common Core Blues (07:01)
There's more than one song on YouTube about the Common Core, most of them painfully silly and overly optimistic. But if you need a little soul in your Common Core training session, Scott Simpson and his team of teachers from South Dakota will definitely get your feet tapping.
- How the Common Core is Changing Assessment (12:19)
Perhaps the most anxiety-generating piece of the Common Core is what will happen when it's time for new assessments. This useful, if dry, video from We Are Teachers explores ways to integrate assessment into your daily instruction and prepare for exams.
More Resources for Integrating the Common Core
You can see the spectrum of heated opinions about the Common Core in the comments of some of the videos above, but one thing everyone seems to agree on is that teachers will need excellent resources for successful implementation. Since we've published a whole resource page dedicated to this, I'll just direct you there for a much deeper exploration of the resources available online; it's the first link on the list below. I've added just a few additional useful links to get you started, on Edutopia and out on the Web.
- Edutopia's Common Core Resource Page
- Common Core Videos on Teaching Channel's website
- Common Core Works
- "Shaping Rigorous, World-Class Education Standards," The Hunt Institute's Common Core resource page
- Common Core State Standards Resources from ASCD
- "Why the Common Core Could Bring the End of One-Size-Fits-All Learning," by Dennis Van Roekel, GOOD
- "Teachers Hit The Books To Master New Education Standards," by Cory Turner, NPR
- "For Libraries, the Common Core Presents Extraordinary Opportunity," by Andrew Albanese, Publisher's Weekly
- Parent and Family Resources to Prepare for Common Core, EngageNY