Review by Kirstin Sobotka, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2015

Standards Planner

A step up from standard calendars but has room to grow

Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Teachers can plan lessons and activities, align to a large variety of standards, and share with all classroom stakeholders.

Cons: Limited integration of third-party vendors.

Bottom Line: With proper maintanenance, good curation of relevant resources, and up-to-date classroom lessons, Standards Planner can give teachers and students a learning advantage.

Naturally, teachers can use the linked sites such as Khan Academy and engageNY to spice up lessons in addition to finding standards-related content to include with their own lesson uploads. But, let's not forget how powerful this site could be for parents who want to stay abreast of their child's learning for the sake of helping at the dinner table in the evening. Open the calendar and watch a resource video or participate together in an at-home activity. Tech-savvy teacher? Plan on a cloud-based platform for the week or month. Create an online best-lessons-and-practices storage room to refer to when planning. Better yet, prep for upcoming snow days or summer refreshers to keep the learning from sliding. Or simply create a flipped classroom of resources that students can access without dragging home textbooks.

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Standards Planner is a free, active calendar planner that allows teachers to map lessons, standards, and additional resources for weeks or months in advance. The calendar can be shared via hyperlink, social network, and Google Calendar, allowing for distribution of upcoming learning targets and tasks. Teachers can search for resources through Khan Academy, CK-12, Global Oneness Project, and engageNY as well as align standards (including Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, ISTE standards, and all 50 state standards) to daily lessons and resources. Favorite resources can be added to a list for easy addition to a calendar. To communicate with other classroom stakeholders, teachers can set up several calendars to share based on each person's needs. Users can sign in with Google, Office 365, Clever, Edmodo, or email.

Standards Planner is good for promoting self-initiated/student-driven learning; teachers can curate vetted resources for students to choose that align to the current (daily, weekly) learning goals and standards. No matter the content area, teachers of all grades can use this site to stay personally organized, plan lessons, or provide assistance to students when they're away from the classroom. Though the site helps the teacher organize lessons and prioritize standards, it can't evaluate or monitor student progress or engagement; teachers will need to direct students on how to get the most from the site for scaffolding, relearning, and extension purposes. There are plenty of tutorials and tips for how to use the site, but younger students may need some guidance on how to work the calendar early on. However, once students and maybe parents learn how to use the site effectively, the learning that starts with the teacher could transition to remediation or discovery at home.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's a solidly designed experience with convenient drag-and-drop functionality. Students and teachers will appreciate the "to-go" feel of the classroom and sneak peeks of what's to come in a class.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Building a calendar of upcoming or extended lessons and resources will definitely be beneficial to students, but it's up to teachers to make the most out of the tool.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The calendar-based resource holder/planner doesn't offer any means to track data, evaluate, or provide learning support.

Common Sense Reviewer
Kirstin Sobotka Classroom teacher

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