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!
Are you teaching according to the Common Core State Standards? Wouldn’t it be useful to have a diagram that shows a breakdown of the various Common Core domains for your grade level?
That’s what I thought, so I created some pie charts of the various Common Core domains for the various elementary school grade levels. I’ve started with charts for mathematics, but will also post the domains for English language arts.
Kindergarten skills learned
In kindergarten, the Common Core teaching focus is on the following sets of skills:
- Knowing number names and learning to count
- Beginning addition and subtraction
- Understanding place value using the numbers 11-19
- Learning how to measure and placing objects into categories
- Identifying, describing, and comparing different geometric shapes
Kindergarten Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standard domains for kindergarten mathematics are broken down like so:
- Counting and Cardinality: 7 standards (32%)
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 5 standards (23%)
- Number and Operations in Base Ten: 1 standard (5%)
- Measurement and Data: 3 standards (14%)
- Geometry: 6 standards (27%)
The percentages don’t add up to 100, but that’s because I’ve rounded up and rounded down where necessary.
I’ve also indicated the various Common Core skills, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, that students will be learning and practicing during their kindergarten year.
This is part three of a three-part series about the Common Core:
1. What is the Common Core?
2. Benefits of the Common Core
3. Drawbacks of the Common Core
Drawbacks to teaching with the Common Core
While using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in your classroom provides several advantages, there are also some marked drawbacks to being made to adopt the Common Core standards in your classroom. If you are using the Common Core to teach and assess student skills in your school, knowing these potential negatives can help you to recognize them, understand them, and attempt to mitigate them during your own teaching and testing of individual students. Here are some of the drawbacks to the Common Core.
Some teachers and schools place too strong an emphasis on the Common Core
Adoption of the Common Core standards means that teachers and schools have a goal to teach students the skills listed in the Common Core domains for mathematics and English language arts. It doesn’t mean that that’s all you should be teaching your students throughout the school year. Learning skills according to the Common Core is certainly important, and can help to keep a child on track to succeeding in education and in the workplace… but over-emphasizing adherence to the Common Core standards means that students may miss out on other important skills and knowledge. History, geography, fine arts, foreign languages… there is a lot of interesting teaching and learning to be achieved in a school classroom. Teach the Common Core standards, but make sure that your students benefit from learning other knowledge as well.
Stress on students, parents, teachers and schools to meet the Common Core standards
The Common Core standards define a set group of skills that should be attained by students of a specific grade level by the end of the school year. This expectation can put stress on students, parents, teachers and schools to meet those standards, and can cause more stress in those areas where standards are not being met. The stress of achieving certain skills during the school year can take away some of the fun of exploring, experimenting, absorbing knowledge, and making mistakes as a natural part of learning.
Some teachers feel that the Common Core standards set too low a baseline
While the Common Core State Standards are meant to provide a common baseline for all students in school boards across the United States, some teachers and school administrators feel that the standards in the Common Core State Standards Initiative set the bar too low for any particular grade level. This means that while students could learn at a level above the level set by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, in order to conform with the federal initiative to use these standards, those students will need to be tested at levels lower than what they are already capable of.
The Common Core standards do not take into account the whole student
A human being is an amazing mix of many skills, strengths, and weaknesses. The Common Core State Standards define a student based on a very particular set of skills and do not take into account a holistic view of the student. A capable student with many excellent qualities and capabilities in certain areas can be made to feel like a failure if he or she is not able to achieve the specific standards indicated by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
When adopting the Common Core State Standards, it is important to remember that while acquiring skills according to the standards is important to a child’s education, it does not make the child. Educators should make efforts to encourage the interests and capabilities of their students even if they do not correspond with particular Common Core standards.
The Common Core standards encourage an emphasis on testing
In order to prove that students have acquired skills according to the Common Core standards, those skill must somehow be assessed. In many schools across the country this constant assessment of skills according to the Common Core results in a lot of testing. Many schools are rated according to the degree to which their student bodies have achieved a certain level of progress with meeting the Common Core standards, which puts a strong demand on students and teachers to prepare for and take skills assessment tests. Some teachers complain that almost every week they are subjecting their students to one test or another; others complain that school boards are more interested in the ranking of their schools than they are the education of their students. This has resulted in a great deal of stress for many students and teachers.
The Common Core standards are not used everywhere
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has been adopted by 48 of the 50 states; however, it is not used in either Texas or Alaska, and Minnesota has chosen not to use the mathematics standards in their school districts. The standards are also not found elsewhere in the world; while some United States overseas territories do use the Common Core State Standards, other English-speaking countries around the globe such as Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand employ completely different approaches to education. In addition, certain private schools within the United States do not use the Common Core State Standards, as they are not mandated to do so.
Using the Common Core State Standards
This post and the previous two posts have outlined what the Common Core State Standards Initiative is all about, and some of the pros and cons to adopting the teaching of the Common Core State Standards in the classroom. I hope that you have found them interesting and informational.
If you have any views of your own to share about the Common Core State Standards Initiative or about teaching according to the standards, I’d be pleased to hear about them. Feel free to leave a comment or question below.
This is part two of a three-part series about the Common Core:
1. What is the Common Core?
2. Benefits of the Common Core
3. Drawbacks of the Common Core
Adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
Since 2010, school boards across the United States of America have been adopting the use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) within schools in their school districts. Teachers in those schools have since discovered several pros and cons to using the standards to teach skills in mathematics and English language arts (ELA) to their students, and to evaluate their students’ progress and assess their abilities with those skills throughout the school year.
Here are some of the benefits to using the Common Core State Standards to teach and assess students in the classroom.
The Common Core standards are clear and consistent
The Common Core State Standards were designed to be clear and consistent. For mathematics, certain Common Core domains, such as Operations and Algebraic Thinking (OA) and Number and Operations in Base Ten (NBT) consist across several elementary grade school levels, and build upon skills learned in previous standards contained in those same domains.
With standards that are consistent and simple to understand, expectations of student progress can easily be made clear to students, parents, teachers, and the public.
The Common Core standards encourage quality skills-based instruction to students
Using the Common Core State Standards, a school can compare the progress of its students in a fair and unbiased manner. Incorporation of the Common Core in the classroom results in quality skills-based instruction and assessment of all students in any given school, with agreed-upon guidelines for instruction and assessment worked into the academic program.
The Common Core standards prepare students for future success
The Common Core standards are an internationally benchmarked set of standards designed to help a student succeed and achieve in each progressive school year, to be ready for post-secondary education, and to see further successes in the workplace after formal education has been completed.
The Common Core standards align curriculums between schools
The Common Core standards help to align levels of teaching and assessment at schools across the country. This allows for the collaboration between teachers at different schools, and between schools in different states, to compare best practices and effective teaching methods. Instructional materials can be shared from region to region. Professional development and teaching conferences can be centralized to reduce costs; further cost reductions can be realized by sharing learning and knowledge through face-to-face meetings or over the Internet.
The Common Core standards also provide stability to mobile students. By meeting the standards of the Common Core for a particular grade level, students who move from school district to school district can be assured that they have achieved the required skill sets to be able to jump right into lessons in a new classroom at an unfamiliar institution in a different state.
The Common Core standards make it easier to choose teaching materials
Taking advantage of the Common Core State Standards makes it easier for teachers to choose teaching materials for their classrooms. Teachers will be aware of the skills that they need to cover during the school year; choosing curriculum is as easy as creating a simple checklist of materials that indicate which materials align with which Common Core standards for mathematics or English language arts. Once this material has been purchased in a way that ensures that all Common Core standards for the teacher’s grade level have been covered, a plan can be built to schedule the teaching of the various materials throughout the academic year.
If a textbook or product is aligned with the Common Core standards for your grade level, you will know in a general sense what sort of information it will include and what skills you will be able to teach your students by using it. Once you are familiar with the Common Core State Standards for your grade level, you will very quickly be able to pick out a selection of effective teaching materials for your classroom.
More about teaching and skills assessment using the Common Core
In this post I have discussed some of the benefits to adopting the Common Core State Standards. In my next post I will discuss some of the potential drawbacks to using the Common Core.
If you’re a teacher or a school board administrator and have opinions of your own about the pros and cons to using the Common Core in the classroom, I’d appreciate hearing them. Please feel free to leave a comment below.