According to the United States Department of Education, October is Connected Educator Month. The sharing of knowledge and resources during this month is especially crucial since many states and school districts are not yet fully prepared to meet the challenges presented by the implementation of the Common Core standards. For October, we highlight some education and Common Core-related resources with a focus on connecting:

Networking Opportunities

The Professional Learning Network: A popular and increasingly accessible, the Professional Learning Network (PLN) offers instant access to everything from new lesson plans to information about cutting edge technological resources and supportive advice from sage educators.

A PLN is a group of like-minded educators that come together to discuss all types of educational issues and share resources. The group has the option of meeting in person, or online. Many online PLNs consist of educators from across the country who have never met in person, but collaborate virtually on a regular basis.

3 Nondigital Ways to Become a Connected Educator: If you are not ready to go digital to connect with a PLN, this article from the International Society of Technology Educators offers options for reaching out to colleagues without staring at a computer screen.

Resources Provided by States

Additional resources are available on a state-by-state basis, and some states have done a tremendous job in making resources and tools available for teachers, administrators and parents.

EngageNY: New York State teachers are privy to a wealth of resources via this Web site including modules for teaching and sample curriculums.

Kansas State Department of Education: Groups of teachers and librarians have been working with the Kansas State Department of Education to provide access to educational materials including blogs, wikis, and forums on education. Also included are videos of teachers giving testimonials about the Common Core in their classrooms.

Ohio Library Council: This Web site contains resources for public librarians so they may help students, parents, teachers, school librarians and community members navigate the changes in Ohio's PreK-12 education system.

Resources for Publishers

Publishers Confront Challenges of Crafting Common-Core Materials: This is a timely article from the Education Week blog.

Impact of CCSS on Educational Publishers: This site contains eight tips and words of wisdom for publishers provided by nSight, a content development and communications services firm.

Social Media

One example of a thriving PLN, which relies on social media to facilitate conversations involving educators across the country, is the Twitter stream that uses the hash tags “edchat” for all educators and “tlchat” for teacher- librarians.

Other useful documents and postings can be located by following the hash tags of “commoncore” “cc” or “ccss.” Having access to a digital network that provides instant feedback and updates can be life-changing for many teachers, especially those that are the sole teachers of a subject in their school or district and for teachers working in isolated rural areas.

On Twitter follow the hash tags: #edchat, #tlchat, #ccss, #commoncore, #ccchat

Additionally, librarians and educators not on Twitter can still participate in the conversation by accessing some of the TL resources available online from the comfort of a home computer:

TL Virtual Cafe - View webinars, access resources and participate in chats all for free. Stop by and make some new friends. TLCafe "meets" on the first Monday of each month.

TL Chat Live! - Ask questions from teacher-librarian experts working in the field! TLChat Live meets on the second Monday of each month.

TL News Night - This is a live show presented in news show format featuring a wrap-up of “This Month in School Libraries” and deeper discussion of topical school library issues with special guest experts. TL News Night goes live on the third Monday of each month.

Webinars and Other Online Forms of Professional Development

Since many district budget allocations for conference attendance and travel expenses are dwindling, teachers are exploring options that allow them to remain close to home while gaining valuable expertise. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to participate in online webinars given by experts in the field.

Check out Ed Web, a social network and professional learning community that makes it easy for teachers and all educators to connect and collaborate with peers, share information and best practices, and spread innovative ideas to improve teaching and learning.

Below is a sampling of upcoming free Ed Web Webinars on the Common Core:

Reading Informational Text: Focus on Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 4 PM Eastern Time

Using the Big6/Super3: More on Putting the Common Core to Work

Tuesday, November 12, 2013- 4 PM Eastern Time

Share My Lesson’s Common Core Confident Series

Register for one or all of these free webinars on the Common Core, provided by Share My Lesson, which was developed by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect, the largest network of teachers in the world.

Below is a sampling of upcoming free Share My Lesson Webinars on the Common Core:

Working with the Next Generation Science Standards

Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 8 PM Eastern Time

Common Core Math Practices, Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 8 PM Eastern Time

SimpleK12 - A Teacher Learning Community that offers a simple way to get professional development by learning to integrate technology in the classroom through online tutorials. The first step is to become a member. This then allows you to share resources and have access to the forum. There is a subscription fee for full content to webinars; however there are also a limited amount of webinars you can view for free such as the ones mentioned on their “IHeartEdTech” blog that offer greats tips on the Common Core.

Teaching Channel - is a video showcase—on the Internet and TV—of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America's schools. Check out the Let’s Chat Core Series of videos for insights on the Common Core.

Edmodo – Celebrate Connected Educator Month with Edmodo. Visit the Edmodo blog, join the Connected Educator group and watch for details on how you can enter to win a free trip to the Florida Educational Technology Conference, along with information on free upcoming webinars and other valuable teaching resources.

Achieve the Core -This Web site is full of free content designed to help educators understand and implement the Common Core State Standards. The site includes professional development modules complete with PowerPoint Presentations and speaker notes, along with videos and tutorials.

Advocacy and Outreach

October is also National Information Literacy Awareness Month. Librarians: Do not forget to promote the role you play in the library and in developing information literacy skills for your students, staff and patrons. This type of advocacy can be ongoing and does not need to be limited to the month of October. For an easy way to get started share this proclamation from President Obama with your community members, fellow educators and administrators to highlight the important ways librarians are able to help meet the Common Core standards.

The Common Core Toolkit: Past Issues

For more resources and links, check out previous issues of PW's Common Core Toolkit:

The Common Core Toolkit: September 2013