Open resources can help design attractive, engaging lessons with a Common Core twist
In 2010, my state, Mississippi, joined the growing list of states adopting the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math. This academic year has been especially pivotal, as we are now in full implementation. While the rigor of the Common Core will ultimately prepare our students for college and careers, implementation has its challenges. With more than 90 percent of the students in our school in Gulfport eligible for free or reduced lunch, we also have challenges in keeping them engaged and on track to meeting the new learning goals.
I teach sixth-grade reading to four classes of 20 students, most of whom have no internet access at home. We have some technology at school—a Smartboard, four computers in each classroom, and two busy computer labs that we use when available. While we may not have as much access to technology as we’d like, we take full advantage of what we have. Students today are so accustomed to videos, animation, and gaming that we need to look beyond our traditional tools—textbooks and lectures—to the true promise of what technology can offer in the classroom.
At the beginning of the school year, I set out to find online resources that were aligned to the Common Core but was largely disappointed. I couldn’t find the quantity or quality of resources I needed and resorted to of wading through multiple sites to find enough material for just a single class period (a time-consuming task, to be sure).