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These Practical Tips Will Help Jump-Start Your Year

August 20, 2014
CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Technology Integration

One thing's for sure this school year: Many of you (not countin' Texas and some others) are on the hook for implementing the Common Core State Standards and accompanying assessments with unprecedented fidelity.

No matter what your stance is on these standards, Common Sense knows you need practical tools and ideas to help you meet them creatively. Push boundaries with the Common Core? Depending on your educational, philosophical, or political stance, this statement might seem reasonable, exciting, or possibly naïve.

We challenged our Certified Educators -- essentially our vetted power users -- to create cutting-edge Field Notes (teacher reviews) and App Flows (tech-rich lesson plans) for 20 websites that are intentionally designed to meet Common Core State standards and are also highly rated. These Top Picks for Back to School are solid products in and of themselves, but they're also good for meeting these standards.

Here are some exemplar Field Notes and App Flows from the talented Certified group. Many of these products were recently mentioned in a blog post by Bill Gates! (Please note that while Common Sense Education is supported by Bill Gates' bgc3, we operate with a clear editorial boundary between us.) They exemplify some of the best of the 4Cs: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

LightSail

Robust, responsive reading tool measures meaningful literacy outcomes

Learning Rating:

5

Field Note

Jessica L.
Los Altos, California

App Flow

Ashley K
Brentwood, Tennessee

Think Through Math

Great adaptive learning comes with live teacher support, unique rewards

Learning Rating:

5

Field Note

Lindsay F.
Fort Worth, Texas

App Flow

Kelly A.
St. Louis, Missouri

Mathalicious

Toughest palates can't resist appetizing look at real-world math

Learning Rating:

4

Field Note

Chip M.
Novi, Michigan

App Flow

Kelly A.
St. Louis, Missouri

ThinkCERCA

Critical reading program buoyed by high-interest texts, clear structure

Learning Rating:

4

Field Note

Hattie M.
Novi, Michigan

App Flow

Stephanie T.
Beverly Hills, Michigan

Goalbook

Tailor kids' targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Learning Rating:

4

Field Note

Chip M.
Novi, Michigan

App Flow

Jessica L.
Los Altos, California

Curriculet

Elegant reading tool promotes comprehension with embedded assessments

Learning Rating:

4

App Flow

Lisa B.
Hershey, Pennsylvania

Educurious (with LMS)

Spark deep curiosity with PBL courses that connect life and learning

Learning Rating:

4

App Flow

Amy B.
South Park, Pennsylvania

ReadWorks

An ELA teacher's one-stop shop for reading comprehension resources

Learning Rating:

4

App Flow

Dena G.
Poway, California

"05062014 ED Goes Back to School 5" by US Department of Education. Used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.