A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - Don't Be Afraid of the Common Core State Standards
In the first lesson, you'll examine some of the most common myths about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). You'll learn the history of the standards and how they'll help you prepare students for the 21st century. You'll also learn the basic elements of the standards and discover how they relate to each other and get a handle on the terminology. By the time you finish this lesson, you'll understand the CCSS document and how to use it and be ready to start examining the standards in greater detail!
Lesson 02 - The Reading Strand
In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for reading. First, you'll explore the 10 anchor standards and see how their broad goals are consistent throughout the grades (kindergarten through grade 12). Then, you'll see how those broad goals are articulated for each grade level in K-5. You'll spend some extra time with the 10th standard, discussing text complexity and how it's measured, and get a chance to explore the text exemplars from CCSS Appendix B. By the end of this lesson, you'll be ready to examine those Reading strand grade articulations that will be relevant to your own classroom.
Lesson 03 - Foundational Reading Skills
This lesson talks about foundational reading skills. You'll examine the Common Core Standards for foundational reading skills and learn how these standards address the most basic literacy skills. You'll discover ways to incorporate them into lesson plans that easily adapt for inclusive classrooms, and there will also be some time devoted to exploring CCSS Appendix A. By the end of this lesson, you'll be on your way to creating a personalized glossary and a focused collection of grade articulations for your own classroom!
Lesson 04 - Reading Informational Text
In this lesson, you'll look at how the CCSS focus on informational text prepares students for 21st-century life. You'll learn some tips to help you differentiate between literature and informational text, and take a quick look at the informational text exemplars from the CCSS Appendix B. You'll also discover how text exemplars can help you determine which informational texts satisfy the Common Core Standards. And finally, you'll review some guided reading and close reading techniques and discuss why these are integral to science, math, social studies, and arts classes.
Lesson 05 - Reading Literature
In this lesson, you'll discover how literature—stories, poetry, and drama—prepares students for their role in 21st-century society. You'll explore two more close reading strategies and look at how the tools and strategies that were covered in the discussion of the Reading strand align with the CCSS Anchor Standards for Reading.
Lesson 06 - The Writing Strand
In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for writing. You'll explore the 10 anchor standards for writing and review how their broad goals are consistent throughout all grades—kindergarten through 12th grade. You'll look at how those broad goals are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level and also take a peek at the writing exemplars from the CCSS Appendix C. By the end of the lesson, you'll be prepared to study the Writing strand grade articulations that will be relevant to your own classroom!
Lesson 07 - The Speaking and Listening Strand
In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. You'll learn how the speaking and listening anchor standards relate to comprehension, collaboration, and presentation of ideas. You'll also examine how these broad goals are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level. Afterwards, you'll go over a few tried-and-true techniques for maintaining control in a conversational classroom!
Lesson 08 - The Language Strand
Here you'll explore the Common Core Standards for Language, the fourth and final ELA strand. You'll learn how these anchor standards relate to the conventions of standard English, how language functions in different contexts, and how young people acquire and use vocabulary. You'll also review how the broad goals of the anchor standards are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level. You'll look at some practical examples of classroom activities that encourage students to play with language and examine how "playing with language" helps students actually understand language!
Lesson 09 - Technology and Literacy Skills
In this lesson, you'll learn how each anchor standard and grade articulation is identified by a simple-to-understand abbreviation. You'll look at all four strands and discuss the many ways technology and literacy work together in the 21st-century classroom. You'll also be presented with lots of great Web resources—for you, your students, and your students' families. Integrating technology into the classroom and curriculum can be a great way to reinforce literacy skills and improve learning!
Lesson 10 - Fitting It Together in a 21st-Century Classroom
In this lesson, you'll come to understand how integrated literacy, curricula, classroom lessons, and homework fit together to create a CCSS-aligned learning experience. The lesson will provide you with some strategies for integrating literacy across the curriculum, and then you'll look at some ways to bring homework back into the classroom! You'll also be given a tool for examining your school's curriculum to ensure that it's aligned with CCSS. By the end of this lesson, you'll have the tools and knowledge you need to create a 21st-century classroom.
Lesson 11 - Assessments: How Will You Know It's Working?
This lesson discusses assessments. These are a significant concern for many teachers—the changes to assessments aligned with CCSS, as well as the administration of the new assessment. This lesson will discuss summative assessments and the two new assessment consortia, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. It will also discuss formative assessment strategies that you can implement throughout your lessons and units. You'll be relieved to discover that you can still exercise a lot of control over the assessments you use in the classroom!
Lesson 12 - Making CCSS Come Alive in the Classroom
In the final lesson, you'll see how you can make CCSS come alive in the classroom. The lesson will talk about some strategies that will help you determine which lesson plans are already working well and align with the CCSS goals, and which you might consider replacing with new and improved lessons. It will also talk about ways you can differentiate your classroom instruction to meet CCSS goals and also meet the needs of your individual students. Finally, you'll look at some helpful resources for involving parents, family members, and the community in your 21st-century classroom!