This product is no longer available. Check out top picks for more great tools.

Countdown for Teachers

Calendar tool loaded with 2nd-8th CCSS, but some features fall short

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 3 reviews

Privacy rating

Not yet rated
Expert evaluation by Common Sense



Great for

Classroom Management, Lesson Planning

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: Sharable, digital calendars benefit teachers and schools; this one offers pre-loaded CCSS for 2nd-8th.

Cons: Many teachers will miss clear user guides/tutorials, and may find certain tasks difficult.

Bottom Line: With other services that provide easier functionality and more options, this may not make your favorites list.

As with most things new, your CCSS roll-out unit (or year), will probably warrant some tweaking. Use Countdown to make your projected calendar, and then adjust with real-time edits and use a section in the lesson plan to make notes to yourself. Alternatively, you could share a copy of the calendar with yourself, saving it with “next year” in the title, and fine-tune this one as a record for the future. But, because edits in your original calendar wouldn’t automatically populate, this choice might be best at the end of a unit.

The sharing option allows a teacher to send a calendar to another Countdown user. Mentors to new teachers could helpfully make and share calendars with mentees. Though feedback can’t be shared electronically, the calendar itself can later serve as a starter for conversations about practice. The co-planning feature (not available for this review) might provide an option for teachers within a school to edit one calendar.

Editor's Note: Countdown for Teachers is no longer available.

Countdown for Teachers is a digital calendaring tool that offers pre-loaded Common Core standards information for grades two through eight. Creating an account is free, but requires teachers to identify their school. From the home menu, teachers can create new calendars and edit saved ones -- additionally, they can access shared calendars. With a district-level paid option, teachers can create calendars that align to district pacing guides.

Teachers will find instructions via mouse-over and pop-up, but no step-by-step guides or video tutorials. Generally, users begin by selecting a calendar (or starting a new one), choosing a CCSS standard, and then dragging component objectives onto a specific day. Lesson plans can be added through the “day” view (though the template is not adjustable). Files and links can be added here, and also added by unit via the “Overview” button. Read-only calendars can be shared to other users.

Access to pre-loaded CCSS (grades 2-8), and their component objectives, is a valuable resource for teachers. Math objectives are helpfully color-coded by type. Teachers beginning to implement CCSS will want to sketch out a timeline for a year or unit. Calendars can be adjusted for unexpected days out or simply edited to reflect real class coverage. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in reflective, “for next time” option.

Generally, teachers may find the site more plodding and less intuitive than hoped. This means more time learning how to use the tool (and finding work-arounds), and less time actually accomplishing the tasks of sequencing and planning. The site would be easier for newcomers with a few quick tutorials. Teachers could work more effectively viewing more information on one screen, and being able to make changes – like adding new objectives – with fewer clicks and wait-time.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

Unfortunately, yearlong calendar development continues to be chore-like with this site. The interface is a little clunky, the features periodically frustrating, and the automatic messages aren’t particularly uplifting.


Clear timelines for covering grade-level CCSS will benefit both educators and kids. This tool allows objectives to be plugged into a calendar and counts the number of uses. Still, awkward or missing features limit classroom impact.


The calendar tool is pretty straightforward, and information via mouse-over or pop-up help. But with no tutorial videos or step-by-steps, many users will feel adrift.

Common Sense reviewer
Jeff Knutson
Jeff Knutson Senior Producer & Content Strategist, Education

Community Rating

Muddy organization hurts a solid lesson planning and sharing tool

While the idea behind Countdown is valuable, the execution of the planning tool isn't so hot. Navigating the standards and learning objectives can be confusing. The flow of the steps in the planning process can be counterintuitive, and several features are missing that would improve the tool (such as collaborative notes). Countdown does not include standards for science or social studies, which could be a major turn-off for elementary teachers. Overall, there are several better-done choices out there to meet all of your lesson planning needs.

Continue reading

Privacy Rating

This tool has not yet been rated by our privacy team. Learn more about our privacy ratings