Common Core

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are meant to align instruction across the country and even internationally. This toolkit is intended to help school leaders understand and meet the challenges of these standards and—in the process—elevate learning for today’s young learners.

All Common Core toolkit items

A zip file containing all the downloadable files listed below.

Common Core Toolkit Resource Matrix

An easy-to-use overview of the resources found within the K-12 Blueprint Common Core Toolkit, along with suggested uses. 

K-12 Blueprint Common Core Graphic Organizer

A one-sheet PDF that includes the graphic organizer and more details about the K-12 Blueprint's support for Common Core State Standards.

Overview of Common Core State Standards

The Common Core Standards were designed with great care—by states, for states—as  a result of an unprecedented collaboration between governors and state education chiefs. This article provides an overview of what the standards are and why they matter.

Common Core Overview

The Common Core State Standards were forged as a promise for consistent, shared and rigorous education standards for all students. This customizable presentation allows you to provide an overview to those new to the Common Core standards.

Common Core Myths

With the sweeping changes brought about by the new Common Core standards comes sweeping confusion. The following customizable presentation will help to dispel the many myths associated with the Common Core State Standards and give you just what you need: the facts.

Myths About Common Core Standards

Grounded in research and evidence, the new Common Core State Standards specify K–12 expectations for college and career readiness to assure all high school graduates are ready to succeed in their careers and lives. These new standards not only come with expectation, but with some confusion. This article helps you to separate the fact from the fiction.

Blended Learning and the Common Core

By elegantly blending assessment with daily classroom instruction, technology-based learning platforms can serve as the cornerstone of revolutionary change. They have the potential to personalize the learning process; support teachers in enacting best teaching strategies; and help students meet ambitious and rigorous standards.

Common Core and Differentiated Instruction

Personalized learning emphasizes a shift from a single teacher delivering knowledge to his classroom of students to teachers as facilitators of learning.Through further differentiation of the teacher’s role while still adhering to the Common Core standards, student-teacher ratios and instructional relationships can be varied to meet the diversity of student needs. 

Common Core Approach to Assessment

The Common Core Standards are a paradigm shift in how students can learn: giving them the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the 21st century. While devices are important, the value comes from the content and experiences that devices allow students to access.

Common Core Approach to Lesson Structure I

The Common Core standards push higher text complexity and higher level Lexile texts. The key to success is in finding texts that are irresistible. Here are the critical first steps in finding texts that will have students redirecting their focus to the text and task at hand rather than on the teacher’s direction.  

Common Core Approach to Lesson Structure II

The Common Core State Standards push for more authentic learning assessments and projects where students have the opportunity to show their knowledge with real world relevancy. Learn how to take the lesson further with cross-curricular planning and project-based learning.

Common Core Language Arts Overview

Compared to previous state language arts standards that were quite wordy, the Common Core focuses more succinctly on what is most essential but not on all that can be taught. Instead, start focusing on the wording of the Standard itself and how you might allow the students to reach those language arts' goals and potentially go beyond them. 

Common Core Math Overview

The math Standards are broken down into two separate practices; those dedicated to creating students that are avid and participatory practitioners of math, and then those content standards used to guide the teacher in developing student fluency in procedural and content understanding. Where these two different styles of standards intersect is in the goal to improve the overall achievement in math instruction. 

Math Curriculum Overview Chart

This Common Core curriculum map shows a year-long math curriculum overview, ranking from preschool to fifth grade.

Preparing for Online Assessments

The new Common Core assessments  will mark a fundamental change from paper-and-pencil tests, while ushering in a wave of infrastructural, administration, and technology challenges. The new digital tests—designed to measure Common Core Standards—will also bring with them considerably different questions, required student responses, and overall heightened expectations. Here's how to prepare for the future of standardized testing.

Standards for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities

Common Core standards provide a greater opportunity for states to share experiences and best practices within and across states that can lead to an improved ability to best serve English language learners and young people with disabilities. 

Planning and Rebuilding with Help from HP Chromebooks

Brick Township Public School District, in Ocean County, NJ, has built a thriving program where student learning comes first. In the wake of a devastating hurricane, teachers, leaders and tech personnel worked as a team to plan and implement their most recent educational technology initiative. Intel-powered HP Chromebooks are a key component of this student-centered middle school program.

Parents For and Against Common Core

Elliott Levine explores the testing questions associated with Common Core testing through the lens of a parent. 

Elliott's Two Cents - Re-Imagining Common Core

As we look at Common Core Standards, might there be a way that K12 Districts can re-imagine standards and classrooms? Read Elliott Levine's reflection on collaborative efforts that can be taken towards achieving the desired outcomes for students and educators.

Choosing the Right Device for Digital Learning

This analyst report will offer key factors for consideration when choosing the best device for your school environment.

A Guide to Common Core Implementation

A quick overview, from Lenovo and Intel, of the timeline and system requirements for the SBAC and PARCC Common Core assessments.  [2-page brief]

Common Core Links and Resources

Some useful links to resources that help prepare and support Common Core

Useful links
Are You Ready for the Common Core Assessments?

Available on demand, this archived webinar will help you stay ahead of the curve on PARCC, Smarter Balanced and other CCSS assessments.

Consumer vs Enterprise Tablets: Issues for K-12 Decision Makers

Tablet computers -- including the consumer tablets that led the way -- have set new expectations for mobility and interactivity. But, as friendly as they might seem at first glance, consumer tablets come with many hidden costs for schools. Knowing your options can help you select tablets that are right for your K-12 setting.

What Standards Mean for College and Career Readiness

Learn how Common Core requirements and assessments help students learn skills needed in higher education and the global workplace.

Mitigating Bandwidth Limitations for Online Assessment

The implementation of Common Core-aligned online assessments in many states by the spring of 2015 is one of the most complex and mission-critical endeavors ever taken on by en education institution or system. Are we up to the task? One challenge stands as the single most probable point of failure: bandwidth and related network reliability. Read on for more on how to avoid that failure.

Top Tips for Moving to Common Core

Check out these tips for incorporating CCSS into the curriculum and supporting the entire school community as the move is made.



Introducing the New Get Active Guidebook

The adoption of active learning techniques means discarding the traditional notion of what a “classroom” is and developing a new type of contemporary learning space: one that is more flexible, agile adaptive and equipped with technology to both personalize and expand conditions for learning.

The comprehensive research, real-world examples, insights and exercises contained within the pages of Get Active: Reimagining Learning Spaces for Student Success provide that crucial first step for any educator or administrator looking to support today’s learners with active learning concepts that will best prepare them for tomorrow’s world.