For those who know me well – or kind of well, you KNOW I love Pinterest for all things clothes, hair, home, recipes, entertaining and even for blogs, videos and resources!  (In fact, come see me at http://pinterest.com/jill_m_jackson/)

But there’s some education-related stuff on Pinterest that’s really popular but not necessarily something I find helpful for use in the classroom.

For example, if you search “Common Core” on Pinterest, you’ll receive TONS and TONS of “hits” on your search…many of which are really enticing and seem to solve the problem of “What do I teach tomorrow with the Common Core?”  But my real concern is this: Are these resources truly valuable and of HIGH QUALITY as we teach the Common Core?  

In fact, I am always saying, “The LAST thing we need is more ‘stuff’ – we need to figure out whether to and how to USE the ‘stuff’ we already have.” 

Part of determining whether a resource is appropriate and useable in the classroom is figuring out whether it’s actually needed!  Sometimes we add MORE resources and more instruction when all we have to do is re-configure what we already have.  In fact, we are doing more work in the area of helping people use the programs and resources they currently have and ramp them up to the Common Core, rather than adding a zillion doses of “new” to the mix.

So, as you encounter new resources, I’d like to get you thinking about some questions that will help determine whether a resource is potentially valuable to you as you implement the Common Core:

  • Question 1: Does this activity/resource teach to the complexity level of the standard at my grade level?  
  • Question 2: Does the activity/resource get kids to write, speak, discuss and explain like they never have before?
  • Question 3: Does this activity/resource require students to explain their responses, using the text they’re reading as a support?
  • Question 4: Does this activity/resource help my students connect text to text or content to content or is it going to stand alone?
  • Question 5: Is this a teach, a model, a practice or just an independent-type activity?  

The LAST thing you want to do as you implement the Common Core is to “teach” the Common Core at a low level of intensity – – I don’t want you to spend a ton of time using resources that won’t get you what you want in the end!

All in all, the Common Core is going to require us to go deeper – and plugging the Common Core need with low-level activities or not-so-hot resources, isn’t going to get us any closer to that.  Skepticism toward online resources is important!  It doesn’t mean that you won’t or can’t use them, you just have to make sure you get to the right ones that will make a big difference in your kids!