September 20, 2012

How to Find Great Common Core Resources

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by all but 5 states in the U.S., and it seems that nearly every teacher is scrambling to find materials to help them teach these standards. As you may know, one objective of the CCSS is to provide a clear and consistent framework throughout the nation for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. It’s a worthy objective, but that doesn’t make it any easier for you to create the dozens of lessons you’ll need this year to meet the new standards.

Luckily, you don’t have to create all of your lessons from scratch. You can find a wealth of great digital resources online that are ready for immediate download to use in your lessons right away. Just follow other teachers on Pinterest or do a simple Google search on your lesson topic. However, when you start actively looking for resources, you might be overwhelmed by what’s out there. How can you possibly sift through them all to discover the nuggets of gold buried in the mass of relevant Google search results or appealing items you see all over Pinterest?

Buyer Beware!
First of all, read beyond the words “Common Core” on the cover of a product and look to see if the description lists the specific standards that are covered. Just about any teaching resource can have a connection to the Common Core, but you may be disappointed in your purchase unless the preview shows exactly which standards are covered.

Also, be sure that the product’s preview allows you to see enough of the item to determine if it will meet the specific needs of your students. I’ve always made a point to make complete previews available for my digital resources because I know how frustrating it can be to purchase something that you can’t see in advance. When it comes to math resources in particular, it’s important to be able to see all of the math problems to decide if they are suitable for your students.  

Common Core Aligned Guarantee
One way that you can be sure of finding quality materials to help you teach Common Core Standards is to look for the CCA apple logo when you visit my Mini Pack page on Teaching Resources. Mini Packs are digital lessons and teaching materials designed to teach a lesson or a unit, and many of them fit quite nicely into the new standards. I’ve been placing this Common Core Aligned logo on the corner of each Mini Pack cover that is aligned with at least one standard, and I write the standard number or numbers on the cover as well. Take a look at the cover of my Sentence Go Round Mini Pack to see what I mean. This logo is my personal guarantee that the item includes material that will help you teach a specific Common Core standard at a particular grade level. In fact, I always include a paragraph and sometimes an entire page that outlines the specific Common Core Standards that are addressed by the materials. To make it easy for you to find all of my Common Core Aligned resources in one place, I created a board on Pinterest that includes all of these items. Follow my Common Core Aligned board and check it from time to time to see the new resources I've added.

Common Core Planning Pitfalls
One potential pitfall in searching for Common Core lessons is assuming that you should stick to resources that are specifically labeled for your grade level. While the Common Core does outline the content you are responsible for teaching at your grade level, nowhere does it prohibit you from teaching or reviewing the standards from the previous grade level. Good teachers know that you can’t teach a new skill unless the foundation for learning is solid, and if your students have not mastered basic concepts from the previous year, you may need to back track a bit.

For example, one of the 5th grade Math Standards requires students to round decimals to any place. However, if your students can’t round whole numbers, there’s nothing wrong with dipping into 4th grade teaching resources to find lesson plans to help you build that missing foundation. To show you what I mean, this Place Value Spinner Games Mini Pack is aligned with 4th grade standards, but the games would serve as wonderful math center activities in 5th and 6th grade to review whole number place value. In short, make sure you understand your standards thoroughly, but don’t be afraid to look beyond the CCSS number designations to find the resources you need to help your students become successful.

No Common Core in Your State?
For those of you who live in states that have not adopted the Common Core, I want to reassure you that all of my teaching resources are just as applicable to your curriculum as they are for the Common Core standards. If you have any doubts, just preview each item completely before purchasing. You’ll notice that the directions and student activity pages do not refer to specific Common Core Standards. Mini Packs that have the Common Core Aligned logo are aligned with the Common Core, but they are not exclusively focused on teaching only the Common Core standards listed.

Connect and Collaborate
I’m committed to bringing you great resources and tips for teaching Common Core State Standards, and you can be sure of seeing those resources when you connect with me in any of my social networks. For starters, you can follow this blog by email, follow my Common Core Aligned Pinterest board, and sign up for my Candler’s Classroom Connections newsletter. I also upload my Common Core Resources to my TeachersPayTeachers store, so if you are TpT fan, be sure to follow me there as well. If you have questions or concerns about implementing the Common Core standards, feel free to post them on my Teaching Resources Facebook Wall. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll share your questions with over 50,000 educators who like the Teaching Resources page, and I’m sure someone will be able to help! We’re all in this together, and collaboration is the key to smooth implementation of the Common Core Standards.


  1. Hi Laura. I love your blog so I have given your blog the Liebster Award!! Please check it out!

    -Paige Turner

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Question about eighth grade common core math. Without a calculator finding square root to hundredths place? Is there a good way to teach it? Is it really necessary to go to hundredth spot without calculator?