Navigating the Common Core

comcoreDoes hearing the phrase “common core” make you want to scream and run away! Does it make you scratch your head in confusion?

If these two simple words conjure up feelings of anxiety, mistrust or bewilderment, rest assured that there are resources available to help you navigate the path to understanding and implementing the Common Core State Standards.

 What are the Common Core Standards?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). According to the CCSSO, the purpose of the standards is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them” (2012).

Forty-five states have adopted the new standards (including New York State) in hopes that students in every state will be held to the same level of expectations and that students will be college/career ready at commencement.


One of the many challenges or concerns about the common core is that it focuses on the knowledge and skills students should learn (the whys and whats) but not on the how to teach these skills. Instead of seeing it a challenge though, having the autonomy to teach in a creative and innovative manner can make owning the how a benefit.  There is help for teachers (and future teachers) in creating lessons that support the Common Core and on how to deliver those lessons.

Resources available to help in teaching the Common Core

In response to concerns over the Common Core, a plethora of resources have been created to help ease the transition, including; websites, books, articles, tutorials, & workshops (to name a few). Listed below are just a sampling of what is available.

Books (those owned by Milne Library include a call number)

  • Understanding Common Core State Standards by John Kendall (ISBN-13: 978-1416613312).
  • Pathways to the common core: Accelerating achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, & Christopher Lehman – LB3060.83 .C36 2012
  • The core six: Essential strategies for achieving excellence with the common core by Harvey F. Silver, R. Thomas Dewing, & Matthew J. Perini – LB3060.83 .S576 2012
  • Common core mathematics in a PLC at work. Grades K-2 by Matthew R. Larson – QA13 .C5656 2012
  • Building number sense through the common core by Bradley S. Witzel, Paul J. Riccomini, & Marla L. Herlong – QA141 .W58 2013
  • Close reading of informational texts: Assessment-Driven instruction in grades 3-8 – Electronic resource
  • Common Core curriculum maps in English Language Arts, grades K-5 – curr CC 372.6 C657 2012
  • Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts: Grades 6-8 – Electronic resource
  • Supporting students in a time of core standards : English Language Arts, grades 9-12 by Sarah Brown Wessling, with Danielle Lillge, & Crystal VanKooten -LB1631 .W358 2011


  • – Common Core-aligned educational resources, instructional content, performance tasks, and assessment guidelines and materials developed by NYSED.
  • – New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy and Core Curriculum.
  • – The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project provides educators with high-quality, low-cost curriculum tools based on the Common Core State Standards for ELA.
  • – Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics and Core Curriculum.
  • – Core Math Tools is a suite of interactive software tools and are appropriate for use with any HS mathematics curriculum and compatible with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
  • School Library Journal – Common Core blog, chock-full of wonderful articles and resources to help in lesson planning.



  • Teaching Channel – Contains videos on implementing the Common Core.
  • EngageNY – Common Core Video Series.
  • The Hunt Institute – a series of video vignettes that explain the Standards in far greater depth.
  • – bringing the Common Core to Life videos.


April 10, 2013, 2:30pm-4:00pm, Newton 209
Why School Librarians can be a teachers best ally: Common Core support from the library (Jim Belair, Kathleen Jaccarino, Ann Fox & Howard Enis)

In this panel presentation school librarians will share their knowledge about the Common Core and the resources and collaboration services they can provide to help teachers understand and implement the standards. Librarians will be represented from an elementary school, middle school, high school and BOCES.  For more information about how School Librarians can help educators with the Common Core Standards, take a look at this article.

To register for the presentation click here.

For questions or concerns about any of these resources, please contact Michelle Costello (

CCSSO & NGA Center. (2012). Mission Statement. Retreived from