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New Website Offers Common-Core Lesson Plans for Special Educators

Teachers looking for ways to weave technology into common-core themed lesson plans have a new resource in PowerUp WHAT WORKS, a federally-funded online collaboration between three education research and development organizations.

The website, which currently offers resources on 10 English/language arts standards and seven math standards, is meant to appeal both to special education teachers who want to dig deeply into the standards and to those who want "grab and go" strategies that they can implement right away in their classrooms, said Tracy Gray, a managing director at the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes of Research, one of the partners in the website. 

The principal investigators spent several years working directly with teachers, Gray said. From that, they learned that educators want "easy and simple. They want to be able to find information and use it." At the same time, she said, "there's a lot for the teacher who wants to be able to spend time drilling down," she said.

The website is aimed at teachers of students in elementary and middle school, and includes links to specific standards as well as videos and lesson suggestions. For example, in a standard called "math language," the site offers strategies for helping students "learn new words and symbols that are unique to math, as well as precise new meanings for words they are already familiar with."

All of the lesson plans focus on incorporating technology into the classroom, so this particular section offers a video explaining how "virtual manipulatives" can "concretely represent abstract concepts":

A suggested lesson plan walks teachers through an instructional strategy for teaching math language unique to geometry.

Gray said that the project partners, which include the Education Development Center, in Waltham, Mass., and the Center for Applied Special Technology, in Wakefield, Mass., will continue to add resources for common-core standards that can be supported by technology. 

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