Common Core Matters

September/October 2012

Technology Integration

The Common Core Standards call for technology to be integrated seamlessly into instruction, thereby empowering students to publish online, critically evaluate Internet resources and use and understand multimedia's impact on instruction. I would appreciate the opportunity to collaborate and partner with you on any/all technology projects. Together, we can make research and learning projects fun and engaging for your students!

Learn Zillion

Learn Zillion has an amazing collection of Common Core lessons for Math and ELA. There are videos, slides, and commentaries to help you teach many different concepts. You can also filter the lessons by grade level, standard, strand, and topics.


Storybird is an excellent literacy resource for creative writing. Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make, share, read, and print. Students choose from art hosted on the site and build a story around those images. It could also be used for working collaboratively. The final product can be printed, watched on screen, or shared in an online library (or kept private). Click here to download a storyboard template that students may use to plan and organize their story.


Prepdog is a site created by teachers for teachers and is currently a work in progress. The intent of the site is to provide practice tests (aligned with MAP, RIT, and Common Core), lesson plans, and online tutorials for grades 2-10. There are a number of practice tests available at this time that may be beneficial to you.

Teachable Novels

This PDF presents teachable novels that meet the Common Core lexiles for 6th to 8th grade. There are also teacher's guides for each novel.

Article of the Week

Kelly Gallagher, high school English teacher and author of the book Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, states: "Part of the reason my students have such a hard time reading is because they bring little prior knowledge and background to the written page. They can decode the words, but the words remain meaningless without a foundation of knowledge. To help build my students’ prior knowledge, I assign them an 'Article of the Week' every Monday morning. By the end of the school year I want them to have read 35 to 40 articles about what is going on in the world. It is not enough to simply teach my students to recognize theme in a given novel; if my students are to become literate, they must broaden their reading experiences into real-world text." Here is a link to the articles (including the archives) he uses, along with discussion questions. Note: I have his Readicide book if you'd like to read it.

Vale Middle School has adapted his "Article of the Week" program to make it more appropriate for middle schoolers. Check out their articles and discussion activities:

The Reading Zone also has suggested ways to use "Article of the Week" in the middle school. You can read about it here:

This site has a list of online resources offering high interest, cross-curricular articles that will help to build your students’ background knowledge:

New Resources in the Media Center

Text-marking Lessons for Active Nonfiction Reading by Judith Bauer Stamper

Presents text-marking lessons for active nonfiction reading for grades four to eight, providing reproducible nonfiction passages with lessons that guide students to read strategically, identify text structures, and activate comprehension. Grades 4-8

Lessons for Guided Writing by Mary Sullivan and Kelli Holden

Contains lessons and strategies designed to help students in grade five and up develop skills in nonfiction writing, offering information on generating ideas, conducting research, using electronic tools, drafting and revising text, and more. Grades 5 & up

These books are available for checkout. If interested, please let me know, and I will place in your box.