New website unpacks the Common Core standards for educators, parents

Scholastic has launched a new website, “Common Sense for the Common Core,” that aims to help teachers, school leaders, and parents understand the standards, and provides instructional programs to implement them.

Built in consultation with Common Core experts, the website answers questions about the standards and points parents and teachers toward resources to help them understand what is changing and what is not.

“Common Sense for the Common Core” includes:

• Answers to frequently asked questions, including “Do we need to use the exemplar texts cited in the Common Core State Standards?” and “How do we evaluate the complexity of the texts we select?”

• Sortable lists of literature and nonfiction books for grades K-12, curated by librarians and reading experts, to help teachers go beyond the “exemplar texts” in Appendix B of the standards and find examples of complex texts arranged according to theme and genre—from nonfiction themes like animals or the solar system, to genres of literature like historical fiction, poetry, and drama.

• Tips on how to craft effective evidence-based questions, sample lesson plans for using “paired texts” or teaching multiplication, and other free resources.

• Professional development and school improvement services from Scholastic, to help districts implement the standards (for a fee).

• A special section for parents that provides tips and resources to help support the Common Core standards at home.

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