Common Core is all the rage in K-12 publishing catering to middle and high school students these days. When Common Core first began to make waves a couple of years ago, reference publishers in particular were quick to recognize the value of their content—especially in digital form—for educators implementing the newly proposed standards into their curriculums. This is why we are starting to see more releases (and re-releases) of products strongly aligned with (and supporting) Common Core coming from major aggregators as well as publishers like Facts On File.
Common Core calls for a deeper understanding of the context behind each text to be gained via discussions and close readings of primary sources (rather than traditional textbooks). This has prompted reference publishers like Facts On File to refurbish their online offerings as tools for “background” information. They also see an opportunity to draw attention to the value of the resources produced by traditional publishing houses, where content originates and is vetted by in-house editorial teams, versus the resources put together by aggregators pulling content from disparate sources.
U.S. History front and center
Facts On File’s newly revamped Issues and Controversies in American History (ICAH) is the perfect example of an online resource being marketed to librarians as a Common Core-aligned product curated by a traditional publisher. Covering what is perhaps the most heavily represented subject on Common Core’s middle school and high school recommended reading lists—U.S. history—ICAH is as heavy on text as it is on pictures, videos, and various interactive learning tools. Since Common Core encourages the use of multi-media as an integral part of the classroom learning experience, the product is likely to attract educators looking for innovative ways to teach history.
Taking a quick look at the list of recommended history readings by Common Core—many of which include presidential speeches, letters, and various primary documents—subjects such as slavery, racism, Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement pop up repeatedly. ICAH covers these extensively, arranging them according to the ten major eras that conform to national history standards.
- new introductory videos for selected articles
- bibliographies and web sites
- counterfactual “What if?” sections
- ability to search for articles by Common Core, state, or national standards for grades 8-12
- persistent record links
- citations in MLA and Chicago Manual of Style
- new educator support materials such as suggested discussion questions
- inclusion of primary source documents, timelines, biographies, etc.
- historical cartoons with discussion questions
- overviews of all presidential elections, with voting statistics
A PDF fact sheet for the product is available for viewing and download here.
Facts On File’s offerings
The following is a listing of databases available from Facts On File supporting Common Core, broken down by subject.
Chelsea House Biographies Online
Curriculum Resource Center
The World Almanac® for Kids Online
The World Almanac® Online
Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center
Issues and Controversies
World News Digest
World Geography and Culture Online
Health Reference Center
LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE
Bloom’s Literary Reference Online
Writer’s Reference Center
World Religions Online
African-American History Online
American History Online
American Indian History Online
American Women’s History Online
NEW AND IMPROVED! Issues and Controversies in American History
U.S. Government Online
Ancient and Medieval History Online
Mirela Roncevic is an independent writer and content developer. She contritues articles and stories to NSR on reference and digital publishing and content development. Publishers and content aggregators may send all PR materials directly to Mirela at firstname.lastname@example.org.