I’m very fortunate to be one of 70+ educators from around the United States who was chosen to become a Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Teacher Ambassador. In a joint grant, SBAC, the National Education Association, and WestEd have created a Teacher Ambassador program to provide more information about the Common Core State Standards and the SBAC assessment system directly into the hands of our country’s teachers. This grassroots effort will include trainings and webinars for participants, as well as support for Ambassadors to provide professional development in their home states.

I am so excited to be part of this dynamic team of educators and am already so impressed by what I’ve learned so far. My first training took place in February 2014 in San Francisco at the WestEd headquarters, and our next face-to-face training will be this June in Washington, D.C.! (I’ll be sure to give Barack a high five if I see him). We will also collaborate remotely through webinars during the next year.

I can’t wait to learn more from all the coordinators and the other participants! And I hope to provide valuable resources in my own neck of the woods, and in yours, through LitCentric.com. This Common Core page will be dedicated to my Teacher Ambassador work, but I will post related resources here too. (Rest assured, all the instructional materials and strategies here at LitCentric.com are always Common Core aligned.) 😛

***Update:  I’ve been learning more and more about the Smarter Balanced assessment system over the last few months.  I’m excited to report that soon I’ll be reviewing and submitting materials for the Digital Library!  Also, I recently completed training from WestEd and Stanford SCALE on SBAC Performance Tasks.  What a wealth of information we learned!  And once again, I was surrounded by incredibly talented and thoughtful educators from around the country who are engaging in important work on behalf of teachers and students.  I’m looking forward to training teachers here in California about the Performance Tasks and hoping that I’ll be able to continue participating in this project as the next phase unfolds.  Exciting stuff!


Here I am with Joe Willhoft, SBAC Executive Director, and my friend Gabriela
Here I am with Joe Willhoft, SBAC Executive Director, and my friend Gabriela



Here I am at NEA headquarters in Washington, DC with President Dennis Van Roekel
Here I am at NEA headquarters in Washington, DC with President Dennis Van Roekel


Instructional Resources for the Common Core – and more!

Check out my growing collection on my Resources tab

LitCentric Posts

CTA Teacher Leadership Cohort 2013 wraps up!

Give feedback on your CCSS testing experience

An opportunity to learn about Close Reading with me!

Common Core Planning Template – This One Really is Useful!

See Ya Next Time Chicago – Great Lakes TURN Conference 2014

Washington, DC:  Here We Come!

Common Core 2nd Grade ELA Unit – Incredible!

I’ve Been Published! – A Common Core writing idea for persuasion in the primary grades

Close Reading Q & A

Looking at Student Work- NWP Webinar Resources

SBAC Performance Tasks: 3-5 Rubrics

Do you have what it takes to create a Performance Task? Yes you do!

The Best Resource for Common Core Writing is Finally Here!


CCSS Links

Common Core State Standards – Home page.

eStandards iPhone app for California CCSS – From Sacramento County Office of Education.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – I’m affiliated with SBAC and work in a SBAC state.

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – For educators who work in PARCC states.

SBAC ELA Stimulus Specifications – A fascinating resource on the types of selections students should be exposed to in reading and listening. Great rubrics are included.

Easy Listening Formula – This formula is referenced in the SBAC ELA Stimulus Specifications document as one method for evaluating the “listenability” of an audio text.  A brief explanation of the ELF can be found on page 9.

SBAC Content Specifications for English Language Arts – A document that outlines the claims and targets in the SBAC assessment system.

SBAC Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines – The information you need to make smart decisions about how best to provide a positive testing experience for students with unique considerations, such as students with special needs and English learners.

Smarter Balanced Digital Library – A database of vetted instructional resources available starting October 1, 2014.  Teachers are granted access through their state and/or district testing coordinators.  Available only to Smarter Balanced states who have purchased the entire SBAC assessment system.

Smarter Balanced Testing Tools Video – Available on YouTube from Palo Alto Unified School District.

Another SBAC Testing Tools Video – Available on YouTube from Fresno Unified School District.

Engage NY – A site with Common Core resources and more.

Literacy Design Collaborative – Professional development and resources for creating your own Common Core units, including exemplars.

Understanding Language – Common Core units designed for English speakers and English learners alike, from Stanford.

Teaching Channel – Awesome instructional videos for free, and professional development resources for districts and schools.

Share My Lesson – Find lesson plans and videos, free!

Student Achievement Partners – So many resources and they’re adding to it all the time. I especially liked the writing samples. So helpful!

Testing Talk – A site specifically designed for collecting feedback from teachers, students, parents, and more.

Better Lesson – Common Core lessons from master teachers around the country.

Digital Chalkboard – Sponsored by the California Department of Education, formerly Brokers of Expertise.

In Common – Student writing samples for every grade and text type from the Vermont Writing Collaborative, Student Achievement Partners, and Council of Chief State School Officers.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Common Core aligned student writing samples.

Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) – Organization that holds regional meetings and conferences to provide professional development for teacher leaders.

GPS Network (Great Public Schools Network) – Social networking and professional learning sponsored by NEA.

Common Core PR Toolkit – Find out what the research says about productive ways to communicate with the public about CCSS, from FrameWorks Institute.

NEWSELA – A site loaded with current nonfiction articles that teachers can adjust by reading level.  A great resource!

Common Core Video Series – An interview style video series by PBS.

America Achieves – A site containing a collection of videos and other resources that help illustrate what Common Core instruction can look like in real classrooms.

CAASP – California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress is a site with information about SBAC summative tests for California educators.

Common Core Rubrics – These tools from Council of the Great City Schools help educators evaluate the alignment of text books to the standards.

Teaching the Core – Common Core videos from Student Achievement Partners.

What Common Core State Standards Say (and Don’t Say) about Kindergarten – a document that highlights important information about CCSS for teachers of young children.