Best Websites to Explore the Common Core

Are you familiar with the Common Core State Standards, but want to dig deeper? Check out some of these helpful websites.

By Stef Durr


Women on laptop

The Common Core State Standards Initiative has gained a lot of attention, especially in the past few months. As a teacher, you know that within the next two years, these are the standards you will be required to implement in your classroom (unless you currently reside in one of the five states who haven’t fully signed on: Alaska, Minnesota, Texas, West Virginia, and Nebraska). But how much do you really know about the upcoming shifts?

When the idea was first coming to fruition about two years ago, I was actually living abroad in Spain, completely unaware of the massive project. When I returned, hoping to transition back into the classroom with ease, I had no idea what to expect! To tell you the truth, I’m still learning about these standards every day. Below are some of the websites I found helpful for understanding the Common Core, identifying the differences it will make in my classroom, and learning how to write the standards into my lesson plans.

For Parents      

Even if you aren’t a parent, I highly recommend starting with these websites. The teacher jargon is removed, the sites state what the standards are, what they hope to achieve, and what changes are in store for your class, in plain terms:

For Educators

  • Basics are covered here, as ASCD was given a grant to support the implementation of Common Core State Standards. This site will answer many of your initial questions, point you to resources, and give you up-to-date information on progress and changes.
  • How do you implement the Common Core school-wide? This is actually a workbook designed for schools and teachers to use to determine if their current resources are aligned, and what they can do to ensure a plethora of aligned resources are accessible for the school year. Exercises, graphic organizers, and ideas are included; this would be an excellent resource to bring professional development to your school.
  • Particularly useful for district representatives, administrators, or school leaders to scour, this packet encourages the comparison between one’s current state standards and the newly adopted standards. It aims at the larger picture of how they translate state-by-state.
  • Visit this site if you’re still wondering how you can slowly integrate the new standards into your daily lessons. Be sure to utilize the “Steal these tools” section, where you can download different ideas for how to create text-dependent questions, encourage careful reading in your students, and measure text complexity. It is definitely worth bookmarking to see how their resources grow over time.

  • Are you a visual learner? Would it help you to see teaching practices lined to the Common Core? You have to create a login to access all of the videos, but if you’re really looking to see what the standards look like in a variety of settings, it’s worth the small inconvenience.
  • Use this website to find K-12 lessons aligned to the CCSS. Not all of the standards currently contain lessons, but the website is growing and their video format is engaging and easy to follow after a long day of teaching!
  • Recently unleashed, Scholastic has come out with a webpage to bring attention to their Common Core aligned materials. They are categorized by subject (English, math, etc.) and by grade level. Browse them, sample what they have to offer, and create a convincing argument for either your principal or district to fund it.

Changes at Lesson Planet

As all education-based companies must accommodate the shift in education, so must Lesson Planet. Over the past few months, our team of teachers has been clicking away to find plenty of resources that align to the CCSS. To find them, click Standards on the blue bar at the top of the screen. From there, choose either English Language Arts or Mathematics, select a focus, choose a grade level, and finally, choose a standard. The final row of the grid that pops up contains all of the resources we’ve currently pulled for that specific standard. Now all you have to do is find one that suits your kids!

As Common Core awareness spreads, and the two-year timeline dwindles, more and more resources are sure to pop up on the web. If you’ve found any resources particularly helpful that are not listed here, do your fellow educators a favor and share them below.

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