Story Ideas: New Education Standards Sets Topics

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Ours is a business of ideas: unique, fresh, high-concept, sweet, outstanding. Without a great idea, your story has little chance of flying in “today’s crowded market.” One new source of ideas is the curriculum that is taking shape around the Common Core State Standards. In the past two years, education reform has swept across the nation as many states adopted these new standards, and many are beginning implementation this year. It will be the face of education for the next decade.

Good bye, No Child Left Behind!

Hello, Common Core State Standards!

What Do New Education Standards Mean For Writers?


Our concern here isn’t the standards themselves. For that, you can read these articles from my sister site, commoncorestandards.com.

Important for us as writers, though, it to know what teachers are teaching and at what grade level. For this information, there are two sites you should know. First is corestandards.org which is the official site for the CCSS, and home of all the pdf versions of the standards themselves. Read these as you find time. The second is commoncore.org which is a non-profit organization, supported partially by the Gates Foundation. They have written curriculum maps, documents which give flesh to the CCSS by suggesting topics and units for every grade level; overall, the combined units should cover all the CCSS standards. These are often recommended by state department of educations, but they are NOT the official standards themselves. Still–they are often recommended, and that means, they are a good source for knowing what is being taught around the country at each grade level.

Here are links to each grade level’s curriculum maps. Have fun reading through these to see what is currently recommended. Use it as a prompt to jump-start age appropriate ideas. Of course, remember that picture books can take 2-5 years to be published and novels can take a couple years. So don’t write something just to jump on this new education bandwagon; but if you find inspiration here, you can be confident that some teacher will be looking for your story and will be more likely to buy it.

Links to the K-12 Curriculum Maps

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2 Comments
  • Kathryn Jankowski
    July 11, 2011

    Darcy, I typed in corestandard.org and got GoDaddy! It should be corestandards.

    I love that these are available online. Thanks for letting everyone know.

  • Darcy Pattison
    July 11, 2011

    Kathryn: Thanks. I keep doing that! I fixed it.
    Darcy