The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been met with varied opinion. National PTA president, Betsy Landers, describes the introduction of the standards as “the single most important step towards raising the achievement bar for America’s students and improving academic performance”. Yet, critics suggest the CCSS will damage our education system by promoting a more rigid approach to teaching, and increasing the emphasis on high-stakes testing. Whether for or against the changes, as with any major disruption to the comforting norms, the questions multiply, and the concern takes hold…

How will this affect my teaching?

How do I know what to teach?

Where do I get my resources?

How will this affect my students?

Will I (and they) be ready to meet the standards being set out?

Before delving into such questions, let’s familiarize ourselves with the reasons why the Common Core was introduced in the first place.

Core Skills

The implementation of the shared standards came in light of ‘revelations’ that deemed our youth unprepared for college, career and life, thus pushing us to focus our attention more on ‘soft skills’ that prepare them for the outside world. Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, challenge (differentiation), problem solving and digital literacy all lie at the ‘core’ of these standards. While as teachers we may like to believe that we encourage and nourish these skills as much as possible, this is not as easy a task as it may seem, and adapting each lesson to meet all of these needs at once can prove close to impossible. Not only that, but the Common Core also came about as a much-needed response to questions surrounding differentiation, and how every student learns in different ways, at a different pace. That response was to create common standards across state lines that meant no student was left behind, students learned at their own pace, and that all students left school with the same essential skills.

Perhaps this video can explain it better.

Common Concern

Four years into the initiative and it seems teachers are still coming to terms with the new standards and how to implement them effectively. A shared sentiment seems to emanate across state borders that changes are being implemented too quickly, hindering teachers’ abilities to up-skill in time and to introduce these changes to the best of their ability. A further cause for concern lies in the confusion surrounding the ‘core skills’ being emphasized, and most importantly, how teachers can effectively educate and promote these skills in a classroom environment. Essentially, it all boils down to the one thing we need to create an effective lesson: resources.

How can I find resources that integrate all of these skills, that allow for differentiation and personalized learning, which are fully aligned to the CCSS?

Fishtree’s Common Core Alignment


One of the biggest obstacles as a teacher is finding the time to trawl through resources that best suit a particular lesson, without having the added worry of ensuring they are aligned to common standards. With more than half of respondents agreeing that their curricular materials are not aligned with the CCSS, finding the necessary resources is becoming more of a concern.

Through Fishtree’s next generation learning platform, that extra concern is erased as all resources generated are automatically aligned to standards such as the Common Core, and all content is personalized to suit every learner, so no one gets left behind. This means that not only can you prepare a dynamic and inclusive lesson, adapted for every learner, quickly and easily, you don’t have the added worry of having to find specific resources tailored to suit the CCSS.

Conquering the Common Core lies in the discovery and use of various modes of resources that are aligned to the state standards, that are adapted to suit the needs of every learner, and that allow for quick and effective methods of tracking progress, ensuring all learners are on the same path. Using generic textbooks and online content, this can prove to be the greatest challenge a teacher has yet to face, with Fishtree’s next generation platform, it’s a breeze.

Conquer the Common Core standards today with Fishtree’s standard-aligned resources. Get your FREE account at

About the author:


Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.