Resources. That’s my biggest fear about Common Core. Well, lack thereof. Or perhaps it’s the lack of time to create resources. Or perhaps it’s the lack of time to create quality resources without fully understanding exactly what students are being expected to be able to do. This list could go on. Even as we implement CCSS, I still have fears. It’s going to take me several years (that is – if I ever get there!) to feel really confident about the standards AND confident that I have materials to teach and assess them all well.
I recently read an article about how it’s important to ‘give yourself a break.’ The magazine article was about life in general, but for me, it certainly included teaching! I’m obviously, even with the most amazing team there is (It’s okay to be jealous – my colleagues really are the best!), not going to be able to create all of the resources I need at once as CCSS gets implemented. Neither are you. So give yourself a break! While you’re doing that, check out Engage New York!
I love Engage New York! I mean really love it. Like ‘I love a fresh pedicure on a sunny day’ kind of love! I find it so easy to beat myself up over creating the perfect CCSS lessons. It wasn’t until this spring that SBAC released the most recent item specs so I didn’t have a perfect idea of where SBAC and CCSS aligned until then (I’m still figuring it out! Hello, Summer!). The time it took to get all of the pieces together was to be expected, but it didn’t help my stress level about … you got it … where the resources would come from. It’s hard to know what materials you need to teach when you’re still figuring out what to teach.
Instead of giving up every waking hour (and some of the sleeping ones, too), I like to beg, borrow and steal from the best teachers out there and then adapt the material to meet the needs of my students right now. There’s lots of material out there that you can buy or even download for free. It’s all certainly worth a look. However, use a cautious eye. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe there’s a magic curriculum. Engage New York is pretty good though.
New York State Education Department, much like other states, has put together a website of all their materials.
The reasons I like this site are:
· Everything is free and easy to download!
· The site is user friendly! It is searchable by grade level, content and key words!
· Math and ELA lessons and materials are available!
There are a couple of things to watch out for:
· New York participates in the PARCC assessment, while Washington State has joined SBAC. Both of these consortiums use the same Common Core standards, but the item specifications for testing are different.
· The ELA materials come in units. HUGE units. The material is very well aligned to CCSS, but it doesn’t always fit into the work we’re doing in my district and building. I, just like everything else, use what I can.
I have found it works best to search the site for the kinds of materials I need (i.e. mythology, vocabulary, close reading, etc). I take the parts I think I can use, check it against the SBAC item specs and try to integrate GLAD strategies as much as possible. Voila! Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a perfect script. It takes time. But it takes a lot LESS time than re-creating the wheel. If you haven’t heard of Engage New York, check it out! It might save you some time. After all, teachers are always looking for a place to find great resources!
Don’t forget about the other resources the Corelaborate authors have shared with you, too! What are your favorite resources to help you implement CCSS? I’d love to add it to my favorites!
I grew up here in Western Washington, wanting to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. As the oldest child in my family, I had plenty of opportunities to "practice" teaching my younger siblings. I enjoyed this. They may not have. :) When I'm not working, I enjoy outdoor activities with my husband and our two Australian Shepherds (whom are far too spoiled for their own good!). I also love spending time with my family, being an auntie (to the cutest kids ever to grace this planet!), hosting dinner parties for friends, crafting, taking photographs and shopping.