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Teaching Common Core State Standards Lessons with

November 5, 2015

We are bringing you another installment of our Master Teacher guest blog series. Today, Master Teacher Andrea Praught breaks down the Common Core State Standards and describes how the BetterLesson site can help all teachers successfully implement the standards in their classrooms. Enjoy!


Common_Core_State_Standards_gif  There is much press about the Common Core State Standards, some of it good, some of it not so good, much of it confusing. In this post, I’d like to offer my suggestions for eliminating this confusion and moving into teaching high-quality, standards-aligned lessons.


First, it is helpful to look over the Common Core State Standards, through the CCSS website, or on BetterLesson by selecting the Browse Standards link. There is a also great app available on itunes called Common Core by (Mastery Connect) that is really easy to use when referencing standards.

Identify Differences:

Next, examine your lessons and ask yourself the question: “How are the Common Core Standards different than what I’ve been teaching?”

I found that looking at the key shifts for ELA and math helped me understand exactly how the new standards differed from the old. These shifts highlight the real crux of the Common Core State Standards; they show what you SHOULD be doing and help you, as a teacher to see, what is different that you were doing before.

Praught image 1

See examples:

BetterLesson has GREAT examples of how to teach to the Common Core State Standards. Here are a few lessons I love that address the standards in interesting ways:

  • Explain ‘text evidence’ in a quick write on a lesson from Jody Barnes, a 4th grade ELA teacher.
  • Provide an opinion and evidence to create an expository essay in the writing lesson about recess by Andrea Praught, a 2nd grade ELA teacher.
  • Compute math problems quickly with accuracy in this math doubles lesson by Kristen O’Connor, a 2nd grade math teacher.
  • Solve real world technology engineering problems in this lesson about math integration by Syndey Schuler, an 8th grade science teacher.


The BetterLesson site has thousands of lessons created by Master Teachers from across the country. To find lessons specific to a standard:

  • Start by browsing the standards
  • Select your subject along the top (Math, ELA, or Science)
  • Click on the grade level and strand
  • Select a standard, then click on the icon with the lessons and see what fits for you.

Another great way to search the BetterLesson site is to find a teacher who matches your style and look at how he or she weaves together standards throughout the curriculum. There are between four and six Master Teachers for each grade level of each subject (Math, ELA, and Science). Each of these teachers has an entire year’s worth of lessons on the site, broken down into units, and matched to standards.


Here are some examples of what you can expect when teaching lessons aligned to the standards:

Praught image 2

Andrea Praught is a 2nd-grade teacher at Prairie Point Elementary School in Oswego, Illinois. She holds a Master’s in Special Education, and a Bachelor’s in Elementary and Deaf Education, and was awarded a National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist. To see all of Andrea’s lessons, please click here.

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