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excerpt from winning poem by MacKenzie V of Oregon, Grade 9

Common Core State Standards

using the


writing component

If your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards, here are some ways you might be able to use the "FISH MAKE YOU SMARTER" essay writing component in your classroom:

READING:  In deciding which fish to illustrate and write about, students will need to read informational texts and may gain an understanding of the text while they gather information on their chosen fish. 

WRITING: The FISH MAKE YOU SMARTER writing component requires that students include factual details about their chosen fish. Students will need to research their fish, analyze and distill the information they gather, and present their findings in writing. Depending on the writing style chosen by the child, this component may include a combination of argument or opinion, information or an explanation, and/or a narrative. 

SPEAKING AND LISTENING: If you desire, the FISH MAKE YOU SMARTER component may be used in small group or whole class discussions. Once the art and writing are complete, you may want to ask students to present their art and read their writing to the whole class. Another option is to place students into smaller discussion groups to share their work with one another.


The research and writing components of the FISH MAKE YOU SMARTER program require students to discover science and social studies-based details about their fish such as habitat, physical traits, behaviors, diet, reproduction, threats, and conservation efforts. As a result, the reading and writing elements may help satisfy portions of a science or social studies curriculum.

LANGUAGE: Through the reading, writing, speaking and listening that you may require for students to participate in the FISH MAKE YOU SMARTER program, student’s language skills may continue to grow. 


You may desire to integrate more detailed elements of science, math, history/social studies as an offshoot of the STATE FISH ART contest. A more in-depth science element might include the students using their fish research to develop a detailed report and presentation, or report on a field trip to a fish hatchery or estuary. A history element could include researching how the fish may have been used by different cultures for nourishment, ways that Native Americans have used the fish, or how waterways have shifted from one period to another and how the fish’s habitat has changed as a result. A math element might include having the student chart the growth rate of their fish, calculate how many eggs hatch and how many hatchlings survive to adulthood, or show fish population changes over a period of time. 

I hope this helps you make further use of  State-Fish Art

in your classroom!   Let me know !

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