New Tools for Teachers Quick Guides Explain How to Use Resources and Strategies

Website Landing Pages Provide a Deeper Dive into Smarter Tools  

Ready to learn how Tools for Teachers‘ lessons and activities engage students in setting learning goals? Want to dive deeper into strategies that make using the formative assessment process a seamless part of instruction? New quick guides explain how different resources and strategies in Tools for Teachers support educators—all in one convenient location. 

A Quick Guide to the Quick Guides

Each guide serves as a landing page for a specific type of resource in Tools for Teachers. To make the guides easy to navigate, they share similar layouts and sections. Among the six new guides, you will find: 

New! Quick Guides to resources and strategies in Tools for Teachers. A computer screen displays a screen shot of the landing page for instructional resources next to a teacher standing at a table talking with students.
Quick Guide it Interim Connections Playlists. A teacher and student stand among floating objects depicting a calculator, a book, a laptop, and a data chart.
  • an introduction (of course!) that provides a high-level definition of the strategy or resource,  
  • a “How will they help me?” section that details how the resource or strategy will impact your work with students, 
  • a “How can I use…?” section that provides specific scenarios for how you can use resources and strategies in your teaching practice, 
  • a “Dive Deeper” section with additional related resources, handouts, videos, etc., 
  • a “Start Using” search bar that lets you find, sort, and browse resources or strategies of that specific type so you can quickly find what you need, 
  • a “Samples” section with quick links to examples of publicly available resources and strategies, and 
  • videos that highlight the Smarter Balanced ecosystem of tools and resources. 

A Deeper Dive for Deeper Understanding

Interim Connections Playlists 

With Interim Connections Playlists, you can match student performance on Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks to specific topics and find related instructional resources to use in the classroom the very same day. Visit the quick guide for a directory of playlists organized by subject/grade and insights into how you can use them to help students progress to the next level in their learning. 

Instructional Resources 

Lessons to differentiate student learning—one step at a time! Spend less time on planning and focus more time on student learning. Learn more about the hundreds of educator-created math and ELA lessons in Tools for Teachers by visiting this quick guide. 

Formative Strategies 

The formative assessment process is the heart of Tools for Teachers. Learn how Formative Strategies allow you to quickly check student learning and adjust instruction in real-time.  Sample strategies include Entrance Tickets and Mini Whiteboards! 

Accessibility Strategies 

Remove barriers to learning using Accessibility Strategies designed to support students’ individual learning needs and preferences. These strategies are embedded in Tools for Teachers’ instructional resources and can be seamlessly integrated into your teaching practice. Check out this quick guide for insight into how using Accessibility Strategies during instruction can help students learn more about the tools available to them on Smarter Balanced assessments. 

Professional Learning Resources 

Strengthen your teaching practice by growing your expertise! Whether you want to learn on your own or work with your colleagues to grow as a teaching team—it’s easy with Tools for Teachers’ Professional Learning resources. This quick guide includes links to information about the full Smarter Balanced “ecosystem” of tools and a directory to browse all Professional Learning resources. 

Interim Assessment Item Portal  

One of our most recent additions! Educators with access to interim assessments can view individual test questions through the Interim Assessment Item Portal (IAIP) available in Tools for Teachers. How does it work? Each Connections Playlist links directly to the corresponding interim assessment questions in the portal. Learn more about how the IAIP can be used to support instruction and learning. 

A teacher stands with a hand on her hip while green blocks float above her open hand, each depicting a different type of interim assessment from smallest quantity of knowledge assessed to largest.

Tools for Teachers launched in September of 2020 as the new home for Smarter Balanced instructional resources. Our team  works closely with educators throughout the year to build and release new standards-aligned lessons as well as to support balanced assessment needs. These new quick guides are an example of our ongoing collaboration with classroom teachers to make Tools for Teachers the best resource available to support student learning.   

About Tools for Teachers

Tools for Teachers is an easy-to-use website featuring standards-aligned lessons and strategies designed by educators to save teachers time and boost student learning. 

Educators can use Tools for Teachers to find trusted lessons and activities that they can use flexibly for remote or in-person instruction. The website was developed by Smarter Balanced with a commitment to accessibility, making it easy for educators to find strategies that support diverse learners.