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Classroom Curriculum Planning

Some people argue that a curriculum in the classroom is important to a teacher just as a rifle is important to a soldier in a battle. A well-designed curriculum not only outlines the class's majors milestones and deadlines but also gives the teacher an overview of the big picture of the class.

Therefore, it is essential for a teacher to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to classroom curriculum planning. In order to come up with a successful curriculum, here are the 4 recommended tips for teachers.

Establish the objectives of the curriculum in the classroom

First of all, before actually getting any actual work done, the teacher should identify the main objectives that he wants his learners to achieve. He needs to take into considerations the characteristics of his target learners such as their age, general backgrounds and the reasons why they take this specific course.

After that, the teacher should decide the primary purposes of his class, whether to teach the learners a practical skill or to provide theoretical background for a subject. Based on the information, he can proceed to select the most effective teaching methodologies, approaches, and resources for the class.

Map out the classroom curriculum

After having a good idea about the main goals of the class, the teacher can select the most suitable teaching materials and resources. The next step in classroom curriculum planning is to make a map of the whole course's process and divide the resources into units and lessons.

For example if the course is 4 month long and should cover 16 units, on average, each week, the teacher has to complete 1 unit. By studying the materials in advance, the teacher can allocate more time to more important or harder topics, and spend less time on other units. Each lesson should also have its own objectives and specific activities that best convey the materials.

Incorporate projects for individual learning and further research

A great class curriculum should have plans for students not only during the class time but also in the future when they finish the course. When crafting the curriculum, the teacher can pick some important topics and introduce some self-learning materials, references or individual projects for those who wish to study further about the subject.

Determine evaluation measures during the process of classroom curriculum planning

Class evaluation and student evaluation are crucial parts of a curriculum. For students, the curriculum should point out how they are evaluated through exams, quizzes and their class participation. For the class as a whole, the teacher should also think about what make his course a success or a failure.

Without clear predetermined assessment criteria, the teacher will not be able to evaluate his class' strengths and weaknesses to improve his curriculum for future uses. Moreover, students also benefit from a well-defined evaluation standard as they understand what the teacher is looking for and plan their study accordingly. 

In essence, without a good curriculum, it will be difficult for the teacher to keep track of his teaching. Nowadays, there are many free online classroom curriculum resources available on the Internet, and teachers should definitely take advantage of them.


Creative Curriculum Classroom

Teachers these days are trying harder than ever to make sure their classroom reaches and touches the most students. They want to make sure every facet of their classroom reflects adherence to core curriculum and standards.

They understand the importance of trying to reach students in all possible ways. This would include appealing to all of the senses and facets of the imagination to make sure the core curriculum is represented in a variety of ways.

Integration of the Arts is important in the classroom and there are a number of important art modalities that you can use to make sure curriculum standards are presented in forms that students can reach, touch and use to integrate within the core curriculum.

Arts integration efforts seem to be the way that various ideas are implemented together into the classroom. This type of integration takes the arts and the practical approach to learning. Integration of all these concepts seems to be the buzzword in all classrooms today.

Generally this type of integration is the most practical in the STEM fields. It requires collaboration research and practical application between art teachers and those that are in the classroom teaching traditional core curriculum ideas.

Not only do educators have to collaborate with the ideas, but also students who work with an integrated approach know that it demands more of students, in thinking, processing and assessments that take learning standards to new levels.

These are some of the things you can expect when you put them all together. Natural standards and assessments are being brought together to allow creative curriculum classrooms. K-8 classroom curriculum can be integrated with artistic methods to help reach the common goal of enhancing the core curriculum and making it meaningful to students.

You can use a variety of curriculum integration techniques like mirroring for instance. It is good for common core math standards. Students mirror each other and it helps with concentration and math skills. Students can also create meaning from a painting and interpret personal meaning for each other.

Call and response used in music classes can help both with reading and rhythm. It can also be used with both reading and math concepts. Teachers can lead with hand clapping. Common core standards and arts integration programs are available online for those who want to use these methods.

Teachers can adapt the materials to suit themselves and the age group they are working with. Creative curriculum for the k-8 classroom can also be found through access points as teachers can weave creative curriculum with ipads, ipods or ways that technology appeals to students while integration is the creative way to teach core standards.

Classroom Curriculum Resources

OnBoard Academics is an ELITE publisher for SMART Technologies.  We got our start creating lessons for whiteboards and now have a collection of over 700 lessons aligned to the common core and next generation science standards.  Our lessons align to state standards for those states who have not adopted the national standards.

Our product line includes whiteboard lessons for computer screens and whiteboards, iBook products for iPad, and eWorkbooks Printables for paper. 

SMART Technology created a simple whiteboard file reader that is completely free.  This reader is similar to the adobe pdf reader but for whiteboard files instead. Please click here to download your version.

With the development of this free reader our lessons now work with any computer so students can use them independently, in small groups or at home.  

All of correlation documents are available in the product resource section.  For a complete listing of products please click here download the file.

common core lessons

Our lessons are used in over 15,000 classrooms.  Educators love our lessons because they are standards aligned and very easy to use. Within 5 minutes from install a teacher can actually be teaching.  For less than $5 we provide an engaging, fun lesson that would take hours to create! 

Our design and development process is driven by educators. After production our lessons are place on trial in schools and evaluated for quality.  Any lesson that is deemed less than A+  is sent back for rework.  The result is a library of practical, effective lessons that are all teacher approved!

We are so confident about our lessons and their value that we offer a money back guarantee.  A return policy for software is unheard of but we are happy to do it.

Common Core Curriculum Pros and Cons

There are various common core curriculum pros and cons according to certain points of view. Teachers will find they will need to adapt to the new common core standards because it is currently being instituted across the country. These standards will set new benchmarks on how instruction will be done in the classroom and how students will learn from these instruction practices.

common core curriculum pros and consIt is one of the many options that is being used to standardize curriculum all over the US. Teachers have the options they need and can take advantage of the common core to teach some of the fundamental concepts that all students need to be aware of and that are part of their education.

Those who advocate common core curriculum have perspectives as to why this is important to educators. Here are some of the pros and cons of common core curriculum standards:



  • It standardizes learning concepts in K-12. Many teachers will find the options they need in terms of getting the standards that all students need to know. This is one of the critical objectives of this curriculum.
  • They are internationally benchmarked so can be used by students all over the world.
  • Allow states to compare issues internationally.
  • May lead to the development of higher order cognitive skills in various individuals.
  • It will allow individuals and teachers to monitor the progress of students throughout the years, these are some of the best things that these standards can do for students and schools.
  • States will share the same standards in terms of curriculum so students that are geographically mobile will share standards that are the same throughout the states. These are some of the pluses of these standards.
  • The standards allow students to better understand what is expected of them in terms of the curriculum and academic expectations. This will lead to increased understanding of objectives by both teachers and students.
  • They will allow better teacher standards and development throughout the years. These are some of the things you can expect with these standards and some of the best expectations that may be utilized throughout the years.


  • Needless to say there are cons with common core curriculum some of these are listed as follows.
  • These standards will initially be very difficult for student and teachers to adjust to. It will require a different mindset.
  • Teachers may burn out and pursue other career options rather than adjust to the new standards.
  • Some will say that common core standards are not well defined.
  • They will require younger pupils to learn at a faster rate than they have in the past which may lead to problems.
  • They will not have an equivalency tests for individuals, who have special needs.
  • The standards could be devalued or watered down and not be available to allow individuals to meet stringent standards.
  • Many current materials and texts may become obsolete
  • It will cost schools more money to update their materials and technological methods as to how they teach.
  • Even more value will be placed on standardized testing. Teaching to the test will continue and be increased most likely.
  • Core Curriculum only has skills associated with language arts and math.

These are some of the common core curriculum pros and cons to this type of standard.

Common Core Curriculum Overview

Common core standards are high quality academic standards in mathematics and English .These standards outline what students should know and be able to perform at the end of each grade regardless of the state.

The standards were created to guarantee that students graduated from high school with knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, college and career regardless where they live. The District of Columbia and 45 states as well as the Department of Defense of Education Activity have accepted and adopted Common Core standards.

common core curriculumCommon Core standards were developed in 2009 and 2010.Within months the standards were adopted by the District of Columbia as well as 45 states. These standards were developed at a time when key policymakers, major foundations and corporations at the Department of Education agreed that public education was a disaster and the only way to make things right was to standardize education and tests .

This was critical in order to ensure quality and accountability in education. The standards were designed through collaboration among teachers, administrators and school chiefs as well as other experts to offer a consistent and clear framework for educators.

Previously various states had different education standards which made it almost impossible to harmonize skills and knowledge in schools. Having common core standards across the US guarantee that students receive high-quality education which is consistent from state to state and school to school.

This makes it easier for students who relocate such as military families that usually relocate to new duty stations to have consistent education standards no matter which state they move to.

Different states which have adopted these standards have individually decided on what skills and knowledge students should have by the time they have graduated from high school.

common core curriculum overviewCommon Core standards are:

  • Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills
  • Clear, consistent and understandable
  • Established upon the lessons and strength of current standards
  • Aligned with career and college expectations
  • Evidence and research-based
  • Informed by top performing countries in order to prepared students for success in the modern society and economy
  • The standards were released in 2010 and have two broad categories:
  • Career and college readiness standards which cover what students should know as they graduate from high school
  • K-12 standards which cover elementary to high school expectations

Basically Common Core standards are not a curriculum. They are a set of expectations and goals for skills and knowledge required by students to succeed. The standards leave room for local teachers, superintendents and principals to decide how the standards are to be met.

Unlike what critics say, the standards do not hamper learning as teachers will continue to make lesson plans and customize instruction to the various needs of individual students in their classrooms.

Common Core Curriculum Goals

Common core standards were developed in collaboration with schools administrators, teachers and education experts. These standards establish a set of goals for learning to prepare children for college and the workforce. The standards are based on research, evidence and international benchmarks.

They have been adopted by not less than 45 states and the District of Columbia. The standards focus on core concepts and procedures starting in early grades which gives teachers the time required to teach them as well as offering students’ time to master them. 

common core curriculum goalsCommon core curriculum goals seek to harmonize learning in various states to ensure that teachers can share ideas. At the same time they ensure that students who move across state lines have a smooth academic transition. These goals are based on the concept that math in one state is not any different from math in another state. 

Common core standards seek to enhance students’ analytical and critical reading skills. The core mandates that by grade 12, 70 % of reading assignments across all subjects use informational texts and 30 percent use literary texts. While change is easily noticed in English Language Arts courses, these changes also apply to subjects such as history and science as well.

Common core requires students to read stories and literature as well as complex texts that provide background knowledge and facts in areas such as social studies and science. Students are challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they have read. This stimulates problem-solving, critical-thinking and analytical skills that are needed in career, college and life.

For decades research studies of mathematics education in high-performing countries found that mathematics education in the US needed to become more focused and coherent in order to improve. To deliver on this promise common core standards sought to build on the best of high-quality math standards from states across the country.

The standards draw on international models for mathematical practice, research and input from various sources. These cores concentrate on a clear set of math skills and concepts. The standards help students to learn these concepts in a more organized way during the school year and across grades. At the same time the standards challenge students to solve real-world problems.

In addition to the concepts stipulated above, common core curriculum goals put an emphasis on:

  • Fewer standards to teach at each grade level in favor of greater depth
  • Integration of math in science and technical subject areas

Common Core Curriculum Assessments

Common Core Curriculum Assessments are created to help all students prepare themselves for achieving the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards are specially created for several subjects, such as K-12 English language art, K-12 mathematics, 6 – 12 literacy in social/history studies, technical, and science subjects. Almost all states are using these standards for improving their education system.

Why Common Core Curriculum?

These standards bring a lot of benefits for all students, schools, and other related parties in the United States these days. The CCSS are internationally bench marked. It means that these standards are comparable with other standards from other countries from around the world.

The assessments are specially developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium (SBAC) and also PARCC (Partnership for Assessments of Readiness of College or Careers). All students are required to take the benchmark assessment from the beginning of the year. These assessments are also done for the ongoing progress monitoring for monitoring all students' progress.

common core curriculum benefitsThey are also done at the end of the school year as the final conclusive assessments. All of these tests are created to help all teachers monitor their students during the school year. Teachers are able to check all students' strengths and weaknesses accurately.

There are several types of questions that all students can see from these tests. Students should defend their ideas or answers through constructed essay response. The written response is useful to help students show their ideas or thoughts properly. In most type of common core curriculum assessments, students have to write coherently in argumentative, narrative, and informative form.

The writing skill of all students is going to be analyzed by their teachers. Therefore, all students have to learn how to write correctly and accurately. They also need to construct a proper response based on all questions that are available on the common core assessments.

There is some good information about these assessments. It is important for students to prepare themselves for getting through these tests. They should also be familiar with these tests. Most common core assessments are done via computer. Computer-based assessments are usually more efficient than any other types of tests, such as paper-based tests.

All students with grades K-12 are required to participate with certain level of testing. There are some training courses that are specially created to help all students prepare themselves properly. They can take these training sessions for learning how to pass through several common core assessments in their schools.

Common Core Curriculum Critics

The Common Core education standards were adopted by every state in the US except Texas, Nebraska and Virginia in 2010. This was part of the requirements for securing financial support from the federal government under Obama administration’s program commonly referred to as Race to the Top. Though these standards were adopted without much debate, educators, policymakers and parents are beginning to raise concerns about it.

common core curriculum criticsCommon core curriculum critics feel that the program is a poor choice and lowers the standards of education in the United States. As a result of this debate many states are now holding discussions and hearings on whether they should continue implementing this policy or back out of it completely.

Basically the common core program is a set of requirements for what elementary and secondary school children should know in each grade in subjects such as English and Mathematics.

Though public schools comprise a dramatic centralization of the authority over the nation’s historically decentralized education system, a large portion of the public does not know about these standards.

Critics argue that the public’s lack of knowledge about the program is troubling since what is taught in schools is of fundamental importance to the country’s democracy, individual prosperity, as well as freedom.

Though proponents of this program insist that it is not a curriculum, critics say that common core standards are being used to write tables of contents for all textbooks used in English and math classes. While this may not be a curriculum, it defines what children are taught since teachers are rated using performance on national tests linked to the standards.

These standards are likely to form the core curriculum of public schools which will drive another wave of high stakes testing and eventually become student selection criteria for K-12 school programs including gifted and talented programs, Title I services as well as high school placements.

For most critics, imposing these standards is the equivalent of national takeover of schooling. Studies show that education standards have no effect on student achievement. No substantial link has been found between high student achievement and high state standards. Though a common regime has been imposed on most states, each state shows tremendous variation in achievements within various districts.

Common core curriculum critics feel highly uncomfortable with a program never before used in any state or school. Basically` the common core program has no track record, however most states rushed to put students into a test tube without any evidence of the effects.

These critics argue that credible programs should be implemented gradually to give time for policymakers, experts, teachers as well as parents to review and give feedback on it. Unfortunately proponents of the program rushed in the core standards claiming they are internationally recognized without backing their claims.

What Are Some Common Core Curriculum Benefits?

There are several Common core curriculum benefits to K-12 schools today and why they are being implemented in schools all over the nation. One of the top reasons for the implementation of the common core is getting students prepared for a global market and the competition that will of course come with it.

Currently, there are so many different nations ahead of the global curve, that educators in America began introducing these new initiatives to provide their students with the leverage that is needed for the future.

So now, the national focus is switching to a common core curriculum that all states will need to adhere to. As part of its main concentration, teachers will be working with their students to deliver what is needed in order to be proficient in Math, English and the language arts. So, hopefully what this will mean is instead of being behind the global curve in education, the children can be prepared in a multitude of different ways.

common core curriculum benefitsThe original state standards have created a quality foundation for the Common Core State Standards and will be the first step in giving these young students the best education possible. These common core curriculum benefits provide understanding that every student, teacher and parent knows precisely what the standards of success should be in all schools.

These standards were developed for grades K-12 in the areas of English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The standards were written to be challenging and to help prepare students to enter the workforce or college after graduating from high school.

These national standards will also alleviate the costs that states would usually have to pay to develop their own standardize tests by splitting the costs among the states. Another common core curriculum benefit is that these standards will increase classroom rigor and help students become competitive in the job market place.

The Common Core Standards assessments will permit teachers to monitor students’ progress throughout the year. The assessments will have optional pre-test and progress monitoring tools that teachers can use to determine what a student knows, where they are going, and also to establish a plan to get them where they should be. This gives teachers a method to compare an individual student’s progress instead of one student against another.

The Common Core Standards will enhance teacher collaboration and professional development. Teachers throughout the country are going to be teaching the same curriculum. This lets teachers in opposite corners of the nation to share their best practices with one another and apply it. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for meaningful professional development because the education community is all on the same page.

When Teachers Don’t Have Time to Create Lessons

We all know that being an educator is a very difficult job. We also know that managing curriculum on a daily basis is also a big challenge. So finding lessons that are aligned to the common core compounds that challenge.

There is a solution to this problem and its a company called OnBoard Academics which can help you with your common core curriculum planning. OnBoard Academics provides these solutions for K-8 teaching by providing math, science, and ELA lessons that are aligned to the common core. 

What level of technology does your school have?

These lessons are currently being used in over 15,000 classrooms. For high technical environments you can use OnBoards interactive lessons that contain over 700 topics.

For mid-level type technical environments you can use OnBoard Academics eWorkbooks that are suitable for projectors and printing. Finally if your school is low tech you can use their workbooks. It's really nice for schools to have these solutions for different levels of  school tech.

Curriculum Planning For Your Classroom

Please take a look at these short videos below for more information on the lessons:

OnBoard Academics' new Lesson Locker provides educators with access to over 700 lessons for K-8 math, science and ELA and for any technological environment! See video below for more information.

Why not book a no obligation online demo? Just click here!

Some other things to think about when doing your common core curriculum planning is this: OnBoards lessons are definitely based on a constructivist learning theory.  Their interactive activities guide students to manipulate objects, make predictions, pose questions, test ideas, draw conclusions and apply new knowledge.  

The use of technology allows students to test multiple variables and then quickly see the results.   Multimedia simulations enhance student understanding through visualization.  Students are challenged to explore and apply newly learned knowledge.  Students and teachers are encouraged to work collaboratively, communicating their ideas to each other and making decisions as a group.   

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. 


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