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5 Ways to Ease into the Common Core State Standards

Meredith // July 6th 2012 // ,

Common Core State Standards Just over a year ago, LearnBoost saw the Common Core Initiative on the horizon as a bold move toward standardizing the way our schools view student achievement. At that point, the LearnBoost team actually manually transcribed the Common Cores State Standards (CCSS) and shared the editable XML formatted standards for free (here’s the original announcement).

Despite growing support for the nationally “rigorous” Common Core State Standards, for teachers and schools who have been working with other standards, objectives, and general practices, the transition is not always easy. Aligning teaching practice to new standards involves a lot of change and professional development, and in some cases, even pedagogical overhaul. Though it may not be easy, we want to offer helpful tips on getting started with the Common Core State Standards. Don’t forget to share this post to promote best practices in implementing the Common Core State Standards.

What are the Common Core State Standards?

For those of you just starting your education careers, here’s a run-down of the Common Core Initiative. Until 2010, State education systems were left largely to their own devices when it came to crafting appropriate benchmarks for measuring student achievement. Given variation and lacking a real way to gauge fundamental learning from state to state, the Common Core initiative rose as a national effort to create a clear framework for understanding student achievement and holding students to high expectations. The movement was spearheaded at the state level by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and though supported by almost all 50 states, the Common Core State Standards Initiative has a hefty amount of criticism.

Currently, the CCSS includes K-12 standards for Math and English Language Arts – you won’t see many overarching standards for history, social studies, or technology. Currently, however, common standards for Science are under development.

5 Resources for Transitioning to the CCSS

1. Downloadable, editable CCSS list.
Common Core State Standards Download XML, CSVStandards without thorough understanding and aligned practice don’t do anything. To make learning standards a real part of the curriculum, teachers and admins must really dig into the standards to understand what mastery does (and doesn’t) look like. Just starting out with the CCSS? Download an easy-to-read, editable list of the math and language arts standards to make curriculum mapping more accessible.

2. Align assignments & lesson plans.
Common Core Gradebook and Lesson PlannerOnce you’ve downloaded the CCSS and become acquainted with the grade level benchmarks, it’s time to start planning for success in your classroom and assessing students on their development against the standards. LearnBoost’s free grading and planning tools allow teachers to tag assignments and lesson plans with standards quickly and easily. So, grab a free LearnBoost account to be sure you have the powerful software you need to reach your class goals.

3. PD simplified: Common Core Shifts Guide.
Common Core Standards Professional DevelopmentStudent Achievement Partners put together an easy-to-navigate set of helpful guides for helping staff get acquainted with the Common Core State Standards. The organization encourages teachers and school leaders to “steal these tools” to start professional development and tactful implementation right away. Hint: don’t skip step one – downloaded standards make for a great launching point during collaborative PD.

4. Go mobile with CCSS.
Common Core State Standards Mobile AppWhen we open-sourced the Common Core State Standards, we were thrilled to see them adopted by other app providers to help more teachers. Mastery Connect, for instance, built great iOS and Android apps that educators, parents, and students can use to carry the Common Core with them wherever they go. Bring the CCSS along with you to staff meetings, parent-teacher conferences, or your daily commute to work them into your routine.

5. Keep it Simple, Smarty.
I can statements for CCSS Enough of the 14 page PDFs about Common Core implementation. You need actionable, real-world tips and tricks from teachers who are successfully making the transition to CCSS. Teachers are sharing amazing resources, and we wanted to give you two of our favorites.

1. Teacher Cheryl’s Common Core math checklists is the perfect CCSS printable for taking quick notes on achievement while moving around the classroom.

2. To foster accountability and invest students in their learning, some schools mandate that standards being worked on during specific lessons are proudly displayed. Erin Eberhart’s creative and eye-catching “I can…” display helps students follow the curriculum and keeps classroom visitors (like admins) in the loop on which standards you’re targeting – no more instructional interruptions!

Supporting net image courtesy of

Check out LearnBoost’s Common Core grade book & lesson planner and sign up for a free account!