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.Continue reading Show less
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.