The month of March is just around the corner, and you know what comes with March… St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick’s Day is always a fun day for me. I’m about 50% Irish – my mother was born in Montreal, Quebec (as was I), as were her parents, but most of her ancestors were from Ireland… though I think there might be a little French thrown in there on my grandfather’s side. Plus, on St. Patrick’s Day I get to wear my ridiculously green Guinness polo shirt that I bought at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin to celebrate the occasion. When else can you wear a ridiculously green Guinness polo shirt?
The other day, Yvonne was on her laptop working diligently on a St. Patrick’s Day packet for her TPT store. While she was working on one particular worksheet, she asked me: “Come up with a limerick about St. Patrick’s Day… quick!” So I came up with the limerick you’ll find linked to and available for free download below. Actually, the original limerick I came up with featured beer, but since you’re not likely going to want to display posters on your classroom wall where people are drinking beer, I changed one of the lines (however, I did create and upload the original version here).
I think it’s a great idea to write a limerick, of all things, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It seemed a fitting form of poetry to use on the occasion. A bit of trivia for you – did you know that Yvonne and I have visited Limerick, in Ireland, on multiple occasions? We are big fans of Ireland, and are especially fond of the lush and beautiful countryside and coasts.
The limerick can be found below, but first, a note from our storefront…
St. Patrick’s Day Stress-Free Printables
We have a number of St. Patrick’s Day products available at the store, the newest of which are the St. Patrick’s Day Stress-Free Printables. The St. Patrick’s Day Stress-Free Printables packet offers a variety of different worksheets aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts featuring a fun St. Patrick’s Day theme for the month of March, including leprechauns, pots of gold from Ireland, shamrocks, Irish dancers, and more. The pages are all ready to print out: no prep, no laminating and low ink which equals no stress. There are also several different levels of activities to help you differentiate within your class.
The printables are available for second, third, fourth, and fifth grades.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget that we also have a free download of reward bookmarks for your young readers for the month of March, featuring various themes for the month of March – including, of course, St. Patrick’s Day.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
All that being said, I hope that you have a terrific St. Patrick’s Day this year. Don’t forget to wear green! I hope you have a wonderful day!
As a family, we thoroughly enjoy getting out and exploring nature together. I’ve posted about one of our nature walks before, in this post about our visit to a protected forested wetland near where we used to live in northwest France. I have also posted about our son’s love for carnivorous plants, described some of the different species of carnivorous plants that we have collected, and explained why I personally think it’s a great idea to keep carnivorous plants in the classroom for your students to care for and marvel at.
Since writing these two posts, we have moved from Europe back to the United States, and are residing in a small town in central Florida, quite close to Disneyworld. This is great for several reasons – we can pretty much go to the Disney theme parks any time we like (which, in Yvonne’s case, turns out to be quite often!), and it also gives us an opportunity to explore some of the interesting and diverse nature that this region of Florida has to offer.
A trip to the Hal Scott Reserve
So, yesterday we took a trip out to the Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park, situated along the Econlockhatchee River (say that ten times fast!) in Orange County, Florida, just east of Orlando. We chose this place particularly because information about the site indicated that hikers can find carnivorous plants living in the wild at the park – something that I had certainly never seen in my lifetime. So we packed up the car and drove the short trip to the site.
I must admit, I was pretty skeptical about actually finding carnivorous plants at the preserve – the Sarracenia Minor (hooded pitcher plant) that we were hoping to see is an endangered species, and I had kind of figured that it would be difficult to find these plants along the hiking trail. But lo and behold, we found not only the hooded pitcher plant, but three different species of carnivorous plants in total. We found the Sarracenia Minor (hooded pitcher plant), a type of Drosera (sundew), and even an interesting variety of Pinguicula (butterwort) – a species we weren’t expecting to find, but that our son managed to pick out within the brush. If you don’t know what these plants are, don’t worry – I’ve included pictures.
Our hike was a five-mile trek that went around the park through huge, expansive fields of palm fronds and wire grass with small wet, swampy areas interspersed within. The course remained pretty much flat the entire way (this is Florida, after all), which made for a nice, leisurely walk. Not to mention that the weather in Florida in February is wonderful for going on a nice long walk with the family. There was a very interesting part of the trail that veered off the main path and ended up in a beautiful swampy wetland creek. There we found plenty of healthy cypress trees – complete with the “knees” that poke out of the ground to help the trees “breathe” (bring oxygen to their roots) – while five or six short-tailed hawks glided overhead, searching for prey. At least I think they were short-tailed hawks, and I think they were searching for prey – I admittedly know a lot less about birds of prey than I do carnivorous plants – thanks to my son – so who knows. But it was nonetheless cool to see.
Take advantage of where you live
The moral of this story is that we managed to find a magical place, full of really interesting carnivorous plants – not to mention plenty of other varieties of flora and fauna – a short drive from our house! And there are plenty of other neat parks and special areas that we hope to explore in the coming months. I suggest taking some time to figure out what interesting sorts of places are located near where you live – parks, reserves, museums, libraries, zoos, theaters, historical sites – and take special trips to those places to explore, enjoy, and learn. Have fun!
If you’re interested in teaching your children or students a little about outdoor science, here is our Outdoor Science packet for second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, featuring various interactive activities and projects for them to work on. With this packet, students will learn about:
- Food chains and food webs
- The life cycle of a frog
- Forests and forest layers, and
- Tree growth and decomposition.
If you decide to purchase and try out these activities with your class, please leave a comment to let us know what you think about them! And if you have recently taken your kids or students on any interesting outdoor adventures near where you live, I’d love to hear about those adventures as well.
Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades
Outdoor Science Activities and Projects
In those final weeks of December leading up to 2014, I started coming up with some New Year’s resolutions. Without going into too much detail, the resolutions I started coming up with were your typical New Year’s resolutions… those that involved giving something up. In fact, this year I decided to give up two things. Then I started steeling my resolve in preparation for January 1st.
Then, the other day, a friend posted her own New Year’s resolution on her Facebook page. Her New Year’s resolution is – get this – to go to a different restaurant every week in her hometown (and our former hometown) of Charleston, South Carolina.
This resolution turned my idea of New Year’s resolutions on its ear. Not only is she not giving anything up, she’s making a resolution to do something that is fun, and pretty much guaranteed to cost money. How dare she make a resolution like this? Here I am, hunkering down for a year of giving up two things that I enjoy, while she’s resolving to go out and have fun in her hometown.
That’s when I realized that she’s right!
New Year’s resolutions are all about making your life better. When you resolve to lose weight, or quit smoking, or stop spending so much, or cut down on alcohol or caffeine, you’re doing these things because you think you’re going to gain a net benefit from them. No pain, no gain, so to speak. But if your goal is to come up with a New Year’s resolution to make your life more enjoyable, why not make a positive New Year’s resolution instead, or as well? Resolve to do something positive that is going to enhance your life – to make your life more enjoyable.
Why not resolve to experience more this year… to go for more long walks in nature, or to eat different foods from different countries around the world? Maybe visit a country you’ve never been to this year, or resolve to meet someone new every week. Resolve to get back in touch with old friends or distant relatives. Learn a new musical instrument, foreign language, or skill that has always interested you. If you’re a teacher, resolve to come up with one really fun activity every week for your students, or to add one new unique decoration to your classroom every single week – by the end of the school year, your classroom will have that much more character because of it.
Whatever you resolve, or don’t resolve, to do this year, we wish all the best to you and yours in 2014!
Happy New Year!
For a while now, we’ve been sharing updates about the upcoming book that we’re publishing with Compass Books, the educational department of Brigantine Media. Well, this month, the book has finally been released in both paperback and digital (PDF) formats. We’re very excited about it!
The book is called The Crawfords’ Big Book of Math-tivities, and it features a variety of different fun-filled lessons for teaching mathematics for grades K-2. The book was created to align with the Common Core State Standards for mathematics; all Common Core skills for mathematics for grades K-2 can be found in one or more activities in the book. That is to say that if you’re teaching according to the Common Core to students in kindergarten, first grade, or second grade, you’ll be able to find a sample problem or activity that corresponds with each Common Core standard in your grade level.
Fun and creative Common Core math activities
Activities in the book include:
- Mathbooking, a creative take on math journal prompts
- Goofy Glyphs, an engaging and potentially silly glyph activity
- new ideas for incorporating the joy and energy of holidays and seasons into your math teaching
- fun ideas for puzzles and games
- ideas for teaching math outdoors
- unique ways to combine math with storytelling
Instructions and tips for using these methods can be found in the book, as well as ready-to-use sample activities included with each chapter.
We are very excited about this new book – the folks at Brigantine Media have done an amazing job of bringing our activities to life with a fantastic layout and incredible graphics (as you can see by the cover). If you’d like to learn more about the book, here is a PDF preview of the book that you can check out; the book also has its own website.
Purchase the book
If you are interested in taking advantage of the special offer, here are links to purchase the book on the Brigantine Media web site:
The Crawfords’ Big Book of Math-tivities (paperback)
The Crawfords’ Big Book of Math-tivities (PDF)
If you do purchase a copy, we’d be very interested in hearing what you think, and how you plan to use the activities in your classroom. Thanks for your interest in our educational products!
Here is the Common Core at a glance for the sixth grade. I’m hoping that teachers will be able to use these graphics as posters for their classroom walls to remind them of the Common Core domains that they will be teaching throughout the academic year, and that parents of students who are studying according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative will be able to glance at this pie chart to understand generally what sorts of Common Core math skills their children will be learning. The infographic is available as a free downloadable PDF document that can be found at the bottom of this post.
You will notice that the colors I’ve used in the pie chart for sixth grade are, for the most part, different from those colors I’ve used in my previous charts. This is because in the world of the Common Core, the sixth grade is where things start to get “shaken up a little”. While I’ve been indicating generally the same Common Core domains from kindergarten through to fifth grade (Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base Ten, Geometry, etc.) in sixth grade nearly the whole set of Common Core domains changes; only Geometry remains (Geometry remains a Common Core domain all the way through the eighth grade, and then has its own special section during high school, where the Common Core standards are laid out differently from those in elementary school).
Sixth grade skills learned
During the sixth grade, students will be learning, practicing, and reviewing the following CCSS skills:
- Understanding ratios and using ratios to solve problems
- Applying understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions
- Fluently solving problems with multi-digit numbers and finding factors and multiples
- Understanding rational numbers
- Beginning algebra and learning about variables
- Solving one-variable equations and inequalities
- Tackling problems involving area, surface area, and volume
- Beginning statistics and understanding statistical variability
- Describing distributions
Sixth Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for sixth grade mathematics are broken down in the following percentages:
- Ratios and Proportional Relationships: 3 standards (10%)
- The Number System: 8 standards (28%)
- Expressions and Equations: 9 standards (31%)
- Geometry: 4 standards (14%)
- Statistics and Probability: 5 standards (17%)
Beneath each of the domain names you will find what Common Core skills students will be approaching as they work their way through the sixth grade.
Thanks for reading, and please let me know if there are any other interesting charts or infographics you’d like to see about elementary school teaching or the Common Core – I’d be more than happy to create them.
Here is the Common Core at a glance for the fifth grade, available as a free PDF download at the bottom of this post. This graphic shows the percentage of Common Core standards per Common Core domain, as laid out by the Common Core State Standard Initiative.
While I’ve divided up the skills per domain and shown where the Common Core focus is for this grade level, this doesn’t necessarily mean that teachers should be teaching all of these standards throughout the year using these percentages as a guideline… some skills will of course take longer for students to learn, practice, and review than others. Nonetheless, it is interesting to use this pie chart to see which domains have what focus during the fifth grade year. For example, in the fifth grade, a larger focus is placed on working with fractions; during this school year, students will be learning to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and work with fractions and whole numbers.
Fifth grade skills learned
Here are some of the fifth grade mathematics skills according to the Common Core State Standard Initiative:
- Writing and interpreting numerical expressions
- Showing an understanding of the place value system
- Working with multi-digit whole numbers and decimals to hundredths
- Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions
- Converting like measurement units within a measurement system
- Representing and interpreting data and data series
- Understanding volume and relating volume to multiplication and addition
- Graphing points on a coordinate plane to solve real-world and mathematical problems
- Classifying two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties
Fifth Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for fifth grade mathematics are broken down in the following manner:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 3 standards (12%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 7 standards (27%)
- Number and Operations-Fractions: 7 standards (27%)
- Measurement and Data: 5 standards (19%)
- Geometry: 4 standards (15%)
The various Common Core skills that students will be learning and practicing during this academic year can be found beneath the headers showing the various percentages of skills learned per Common Core domain.
I hope that this resource serves as a useful tool throughout the fifth grade year!
Here is the Common Core at a glance for fourth grade mathematics. It is my hope that teachers will use this infographic to share with parents to illustrate some of the various skills that their students will be learning and practicing during the fourth grade academic year. It can also be posted on a classroom wall as a poster, or simply kept as a reference in a desk.
The poster shows a breakdown of the Common Core domains according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and how many standards are in which domains. Of course, teachers aren’t going to be exactly dividing the school year up into the percentages shown on this pie chart – some skills will take longer than others to teach and assimilate. But it does help to show where the CCSS has placed a focus on teaching and learning.
Fourth grade skills learned
Here are some of the skills that children will learn and practice in math class during their fourth year:
- Solving problems involving the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- Learning about factors and multiples
- Creating and recognizing patterns
- Working with place value and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic
- Working with fractions and fraction equivalents
- Understanding decimal notation for fractions, and comparing decimals
- Solving problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from larger units into smaller units
- Representing and interpreting data
- Understanding and measuring angles
- Measuring perimeters and areas
- Drawing and identifying lines and angles
- Classifying shapes by properties of their lines and angles
Fourth Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for fourth grade mathematics are broken down in the following manner:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 5 standards (18%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 6 standards (21%)
- Number and Operations-Fractions: 7 standards (25%)
- Measurement and Data: 7 standards (25%)
- Geometry: 3 standards (11%)
Underneath each Common Core domain you will find a list of the various skills that are practiced within that area of knowledge.
I hope that this free PDF download serves as a useful resource!
Here is our latest classroom resource, available as a free PDF download at the bottom of this page, for the Common Core domains for third grade mathematics. It is my hope that teachers will be able to use these graphics as posters for their classroom walls, or to distribute to the parents of the students they teach so that they will have an idea of some of the skills their children are going to be learning and practicing throughout the third grade academic year.
Third grade skills learned
The following Common Core skills are learned during a student’s third grade:
- Solving multiplication and division problems within 100
- Tackling word problems involving the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
- Recognizing patterns in arithmetic
- Using place value to perform multi-digit arithmetic
- Understanding and using fractions
- Solving problems involving measurement of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects
- Understanding concepts of area in geometric measurement
- Recognizing perimeter as an attribute of plane figures
- Working with geometric shapes and their attributes
Third Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for third grade mathematics are broken down in the following manner:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 9 standards (36%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 3 standards (12%)
- Number and Operations-Fractions: 3 standards (12%)
- Measurement and Data: 8 standards (32%)
- Geometry: 2 standards (8%)
Beneath the breakdowns I’ve included summary line items for the Common Core skills that students will be learning during the academic year according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Below, please find the PDF for the infographic. I hope you are having a wonderful fall season!
As I’ve already done with kindergarten and first grade, here is a breakdown of the Common Core domains for second grade mathematics. I’m hoping that this free PDF can serve as a resource for teachers’ classroom walls or for teachers to distribute to the parents of children in their classes so that parents can see at a glance what sorts of mathematical skills their children are going to be learning during the school year.
Second grade skills learned
The following Common Core skills are practiced during second grade:
- Addition and subtraction within 20
- Working with equal groups of objects in preparation for multiplication
- Using place value to add and subtract numbers
- Measuring lengths in standard units
- Solving problems with time and money
- Working with data
- Reasoning with geometric shapes and their attributes
Second Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for second grade mathematics are broken down as such:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 4 standards (15%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 9 standards (35%)
- Measurement and Data: 10 standards (38%)
- Geometry: 3 standards (12%)
Underneath the breakdowns I’ve included the summary line items for the Common Core skills that students will be learning during the academic year.
I hope that this chart serves as a useful resource! If you have any other ideas for resources that could help you teach according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, please let me know in the comments – I’d be glad to hear about them.
Here is the first grade version of the Common Core Breakdown for mathematics. I’ve taken the various Common Core domains from the Common Core State Standards Initiative and broken them down using pie charts. I’m hoping that this free PDF can serve as a useful resources for teachers who are discussing the skills that they are going to teach their children math during the first grade academic year.
First grade skills learned
The Common Core teaching focus for first grade mathematics is on students learning the following skills:
- Using counting as a strategy for solving problems
- Understanding place value
- Addition and subtraction within 20
- Properties of operations
- Measuring lengths
- Telling and writing time
- Understanding geometric shapes and their attributes
First Grade Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for first grade mathematics are broken down like so:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 8 standards (38%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 6 standards (29%)
- Measurement and Data: 4 standards (19%)
- Geometry: 3 standards (14%)
As with the kindergarten version, the percentages on the first grade chart add up to 99% and not 100%; this is because of the way the numbers ended up rounding. I thought it would look nicer not to use decimals on the chart (plus, that Common Core skill isn’t learned ’til a later grade)!
On the chart, I have also indicated the Common Core skills that the Common Core State Standards Initiative indicates that teachers should be teaching their first graders.
If you’re teaching first grade this year, I hope you are having an excellent year with your students!