As states start phasing in Common Core standards in public school classrooms, no Common Core textbooks have been written yet, and new assessments are still being developed.
So, teachers are creating their own lesson plans as they begin to implement the standards.
They’re not doing it alone.
A Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education funds a website called CPALMS: Florida’s platform for educators to Collaborate, Plan, Align, Learn, Motivate, Share.
It’s full of free resources that have gone through a rigorous review process.
“We’re building up to 3,000 original lesson plans for the Common Core and the science standards in Florida,” Project Director Rabieh Razzouk said. “We provide content and tools to support the learning of Common Core and the instruction planning.”
“The work started in February of last year,” said Razzouk, and now “CPALMS is the official source for the standards in Florida.”
Before anything is posted to the website, CPALMS uses small teams of local facilitators to review content for accuracy and alignment to the standards. Then, subject area experts and peer educators from around the state are consulted.
“We work with teachers throughout the state to develop units, not just individual lessons, to cover a whole topic,” Razzouk said.
CPALMS seems to be working well, based on testimonials from teachers like Katie Brown. She teaches 6th grade math in Manatee County.
“The way I’ve been using it lately is to search for keywords for mathematical concepts, and it links me right to the standards that relate to that concept,” Brown said.
CPALMS is developing lesson study toolkits to support review teams. They cover math, science, and English/language arts in grades K-12.
The new iCPALMS platform is also part of the mix, offering an assortment of web applications.