Lesson PlanningPlan with the Shifts in mind

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What is the Lesson Planning Tool?

The Lesson Planning Tool guides teachers through a series of prompts about the lesson content, structure, and activities to ensure the Shifts required by college- and career-ready standards are central to the lesson. English Language Arts teachers will be guided through the process of creating a close-reading lesson. Math teachers will focus on grade or course-level standards while developing lessons.

What are the Shifts?

The Shifts represent the fundamental principles of the Common Core State Standards and other college- and career-ready standards.

Learn more about the Shifts

How do I use it?

Planning a Standards-Aligned Lesson

Start with “Planning a Standards-Aligned Lesson” to tackle the most critical aspects of alignment. Once you’ve completed this section, explore the other modules to deepen the alignment of your lesson. Don’t worry - all of your work will save automatically!

Need Help?

If you need support answering a question, you can always click on the “Examples & Support” link to find background information, sample answers, and the related Core Actions and Indicators (from the complementary Instructional Practice Guide).


Math Teachers - your learning goal will be accessible throughout the process


ELA Teachers - your Big Idea will be accessible throughout the process

Email, Share and Print

From the "Home" page, you can print and share your lesson, start a new lesson, or access previous lessons.

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When sharing your work, you’ll be asked to choose from one of two formats:



This format presents your answers in the order the questions appeared in the Lesson Planning Tool.

This format presents your answers in the order of the Core Actions and Indicators of the Instructional Practice Guide (IPG). This layout was created to help facilitate discussion with a peer, coach, or supervisor using the IPG for non-evaluative observation.

How will I know if the lesson I plan is aligned?

Ask a coach or peer to use the Instructional Practice Guide while observing your class. The Instructional Practice Guide gives the observer specific “Core Actions” to look for to see if the content and instruction incorporate the Shifts. Throughout the Lesson Planning Tool you can see the related Core Action and Indicator for every question.

Learn More about Instructional Practice Guide
It is important to complete the Planning a Standards-Aligned Lesson module prior to moving into additional modules. Return to Home to continue Planning a Standards-Aligned Lesson.X
Related Core Action
& Indicator(s)
Each question in the Lesson Planning Tool relates to a Core Action and Indicator from the Instructional Practice Guide: Instructional Practice Guide. In order to make that connection explicit, the related Core Action and Indicator is shown below.

Standard(s) Selected X
Examples and Support X

Download the questions


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