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Online Videos Aim to Help Parents Make Sense of Common Core

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GreatSchools, a national nonprofit that assists parents find schools and educational resources, launched a series of online videos this week to help demystify the Common Core State Standards.

The Milestones video collection features students and teachers working on math, writing, and reading questions that every child is expected to master under the common core by the end of the year in grades K-5. GreatSchools designed the videos with Student Achievement Partners, a New York City-based nonprofit founded by some of the common-core standards' lead writers.

With the first round of common-core-aligned assessments set to be administered to students nationwide this spring, the new standards continue to confound many parents. The brief videos break down concepts like comparing fractions and how to organize and write an essay. Just imagine strapping a GoPro video camera onto your child's head as he or she works on a math problem. Not particularly exciting, but very informative nonetheless.

"There is no better way to gauge how your children are doing in school than to actually see other children their age demonstrate critical skills," Bill Jackson, the chief executive officer and founder of the Oakland, Calif.-based GreatSchools, said in a news release.

With more than 120 videos in English and Spanish in the online collection, perhaps parents can gain some semblance of clarity on the standards. Every video also has links to worksheets, booklists, and other resources to help students. GreatSchools, which received support from several philanthropic groups for Milestones, including Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will produce videos for grades 6 to 12 as well.

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