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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Books that will CHANGE your teaching Blog Hop!

Not going to lie... I'm pretty stoked about this post.  Why? you ask.... well, I FINALLY found a group of mathematical bloggers that have joined up and they want to be active in social media!  This is our first "together endeavor" !!  
So...  here's how this works.  There are 12 posts that are all linked to each other.  You don't have to download anything from each of us, or even find a hidden letter or phrase... NOPE, you just can hop along as you choose and ENTER to WIN a FREE COPY of whatever book we are writing about!  That's the potential to win 12 different books!  WOOO!
The book that I am currently in LOVE with is called Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle and High School Students by Pamela Weber Harris.  (click the link to go to Amazon OR enter to win with the Rafflecopter below!)
As a Math Specialist who works in a 5-8 middle school, the biggest complaint I hear from the teachers I work with is that the students have no number sense!  As a district, we've been working on improving this from the bottom up (lots of work in the elementary schools!) but there has to be something that WE at the middle school can do to help those who don't' have that background knowledge.

As I was reading Harris' introduction, quite a few of her words resonated with me:

"As secondary teachers, we are often frustrated by the lack of number sense in our students.  Students seem to either reach for a calculator or just shrug and say, 'I don't know' when asked simple arithmetic questions.  They seem ill-prepared to learn higher math because they have not memorized basic facts.  Many students make careless errors with nonsensical results, ye do not recognize how far off their answers are.  We are in the age of algebra for all, yet we have students who were obviously never in the arithmetic for all movement." (Harris, xii)

WOW!  Does that not say EXACTLY what we have all been thinking?!  She also says "This book is an attempt to bridge [the number fluency] gap, to bring these insights to the secondary world." (Harris, xiii)

After the introduction, Harris goes into depth with specific examples from 6th grade to Calculus (no really... all the way up to Calculus!) showing examples of how to teach concepts. She focuses her chapters on:

1) Numeracy
2) Addition and Subtraction: Models and Strategies
3) Addition
4) Subtraction
5) Multiplication: Models and Strategies
6) Multiplication
7) Division
8) Decimals, Fractions and Percents: Models and Strategies
9) Decimals and Fractions: Addition and Subtraction
10) Decimals and Fractions: Multiplication and Division

Each chapter not only focuses on a concept, but how that concept builds from upper elementary to middle school to high school.  Harris gives specific examples, models and representations for each concept as well as strategies for how to teach the concepts to your kiddos at a deeper level.

My favorite part is that I can also purchase a Facilitator's guide (Check it out HERE) as well as a book that contains Lessons and Activities (Check it out HERE) to supplement all of the information that was found in the main book.  I am hoping to use this book with each of my teacher's this year as a Book Study in a Professional Development setting.

I do hope that you will check out this book via the links I've provided OR better yet, enter to win your own copy below!!  If you don't win, and are a secondary teacher, this book is WELL WORTH the investment!  Every page is chalked full of great information!

After you enter the giveaway, make sure to stop by my friend Jameson's blog Lessons with Coffee to check out her review of the book "Multiplication Is for White People"

click on the logo to jump straight to Jameson's post!
Wait! Don't leave yet! Make sure to ENTER TO WIN!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It : 2 AWESOME Etsy stores!

Full disclosure.... I don't have a classroom this year - I have (or will have - it isn't ready yet) an office.  Because of this, I have found myself being less crafty this summer.  In some ways this makes me sad, in other ways.... I've found some awesome Etsy stores that have made me some AMAZING pieces for my 14-15 school year (kiddos come today by the way! EEP!)

I knew I wanted to have a math theme in my office (remember the artwork from this MMI? - yes it's still FREE!) and I knew I wanted a unique piece that only I had.... so I started scouring Etsy and found  Letters of Love Design.  I really enjoyed what I saw on her front page (see below) and I sent her an email.
In my message, I asked her if she could spell out the word MATHEMATICS in very geometric shapes.  In no time at all, she sent me multiple options.  I asked to change one letter out for one that I liked a bit more and then I sent payment.  Nikki was wonderful to work with and made sure to keep in contact with me as she went through her process.  A few weeks later, I came home from CAMT with an odd shaped box at the door and I knew EXACTLY what was in it!

Nikki took great care to package and wrap my sign!  
Dozer was very curious as to what was happening and enjoyed chewing on the box later in the evening.
Ahhh!  My first view!  LOOOOVE it!
Here's a close up of the MATH portion.  LOVE how angular those letters are!
And here is an idea of how long my sign is.  Final measurement was  37 inches wide x 5 1/2 inches tall.  It will be PERFECT for my office wall once I get in ! 
You can also find Letters of Love Designs on Facebook HERE
My second Etsy store that I want to share with you is a VERY NEW store!  My adorable friend Tabatha Carro (you may know her as FlapJack Education).  She recently opened an Etsy store called Little Buwo where she sells the MOST adorable little cards!  As soon as she posted a sample on Facebook, I jumped on the chance to order!  
Once the package had arrived, I quickly opened it to find adorable packing on the inside too!
I had two sets of cards made up (and personalized) First the "a note from" cards.  I had half of them say Mrs. Riggs and half say Jamie so I could use them with teachers AND students.
My second order were "thank you" cards that I also double personalized.  These owls are so stinkin' cute!! I cannot wait to give them to someone!  If you look close you can see that each card has a 3-dimensional aspect to it as well (bows above and flowers below).  TOO cute, Tabatha!  
You can follow Little Buwo on Facebook HERE

As always, a HUGE THANK YOU to Tara for her WONDERFUL link up!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Math IS Real Life - August 2014 Edition - it's been a whole year!

It's the first Wednesday of July which means it's time for our monthly linky - Math IS Real Life!!  If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!  
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs - feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!

A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

This past month has been a bit crazy!  You can probably tell by my lack of blog posts! (sorry about that!) Anyway in the span of 10 days I did a lot of traveling.... well, a lot for me!  My first trip was to fly to Texas for the CAMT conference!  If you follow my Facebook page or Instagram you probably saw some of the fun I was having.  If not, here is a quick collage of pics that may bring a smile to your face :)

You may or may not recognize some faces in these pictures.... Bottom right me dressed up as my MissMathDork avatar :) and Jennifer from 4mulaFun.  Top right Donna from Math Coach's Corner. Bottom right Elizabeth from Hodges Herald.  It was soooooo fun to meet and hang out with each of these ladies!  I met Danielle from Live.Love.Math too, but I think she has that photo!

Once I got back from Dalles/Fort Worth on Thursday, I left again Friday night for "College Girl" weekend.  This is when my 3 college roomies and I all flock to one central location for a weekend each summer.  I was exhausted from CAMT, but was soooo excited to see my girls.

By now, you are probably asking yourself.... when is she getting to the math part?!  While I could get into the cost of traveling, or the altitude of my plane, or the time / mileage spent, I'm going to opt to talk about TOLL BOOTHS and lack of cash!

When I headed to Texas, I made sure to take some cash with me... not a ton, $80 to be exact.  I spent it on a midnight donut, an awesome math tee-shirt (that should be arriving any day now!), and on airport tolls ($4.80 going towards Dulless Airport in the non-rush hours).  I ended up having $5 left to my name when I came home.  I didn't really think much about it until I was driving to "College Girl" weekend.

As I hit the last leg of my road trip to see my girls, I hit a toll road.  "No problem" I thought to myself, and I reached for my credit card.  As I approached and looked at the lanes I had a sudden pit in my stomach.

My options were exact change, EZPass, or Full - service cash.  (Note... no, I didn't take these pictures while I was driving, I grabbed a few from Google.... I was too spastic to think about using my toll debacle as an MIRL post at the time!)

Okay.... so.... EXPass - nope, don't have it.  Cash... yikes?! I just don't carry it.... oh wait!  I have the $5 left over from CAMT.  At this point the pit in my stomach goes away and I pull into the Full Service lane.  I hand the lady $5, she sneers at me a bit because the toll is $0.70 (yes... not 75 cents which is an EASY amount of exact change to have....) and hands me my $4.30 in changes.  I drive along my way and don't think anything more of it.  Actually, I was a bit relieved because driving to Dulless airport the toll was MUCH more expensive at $4.80.  My $5.00 would have covered that...but still, I'm feeling relieved.

Well... I was feeling relieved.  About 5 miles down the road, I hit ANOTHER toll booth.  Again 3 options.... 

As I had $4.30, I wasn't able to jump into the "exact" lane so I went to the full service lane again, and this time paid $0.75.  Now I have $0.30 + $3.25.  I'm pretty sure I'm home free with tolls as my GPS says I'm 4 miles away from my friend's house.... but no, there is ANOTHER toll as I take her exit ramp.  My $0.55 in change still won't allow me to go through the "exact" lane, so again, I go full service and pay my $0.70.  Now I have  $0.55 + $2.30.  E-gads....  I spent $2.15 in tolls on the way there.  Okay, not nearly as bad as going to the airport.... but I know to hold onto my cash for the trip back.  

On the way back home, another friend called and asked that I meet her downtown in Richmond.  No problem!  I'm already here, I might as well make the most out of the 4 hour commute!  So I go through the tolls backwards.  I'm able to pay for one of the tolls with "exact" change and end up with $0.70 left.  To get to my location in down town Richmond, I needed to take 3 more tolls.... 

So this month I learned a lesson - Either I need to get an EZPass for "just in case" times.... or I need to make sure to have cash in the car!  Not every place takes credit card for tolls.  I get it... using a credit card for $0.70 is silly but I just can't imagine what would have happened had I not had cash.  (In all actuality, they apparently give you a "ticket" to go home and pay via mail.  Still, there is an extra processing fee for this and it's a pain.... so bring cash on road trips! AND better yet, small bills so you don't get snarled at in the full service lane!)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Meet the Secondary Class of '14-'15!!

Have you heard?! TpT is having it's BACK TO SCHOOL SALE this coming Monday and Tuesday! Some of my favorite Secondary Sellers are joining in the FUN!  I want to introduce to you the Secondary Yearbook "class of 14-15"!

Check out those Senior pictures (with a few kindergarten ones thrown in!)!!  Woooo we are a GOOD-LOOKING BUNCH!  

Make sure to take the time to check out some of these amazing Secondary Sellers!!  Hopefully you'll find a new face to follow!  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BTS Educents sale - there truly is something for EVERYONE! Check it out!


 I am so excited to announce that is having a HUGE back-to-school blowout sale and I am going to be featured in one of the curriculum bundles! From July 30 - August 2 (Wednesday - Saturday), they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year! Take a peak into what is on sale! Tell your friends, because there is something for everyone who teaches children in PreK-8th grade!

Preschool Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 72% OFF


Kindergarten Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 75% OFF


K-2 The Write Stuff ELA Bundle - 68% OFF


First Grade Literacy Bundle - 74% OFF


School Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 2-3) - 74% OFF


Poetry Curriculum & Activities Bundle (Grades 2-6) - 75% OFF


Tricky Math Curriculum Bundle (Grades 3-5) - 69% OFF


Complete Full-Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 6-8) - 77% OFF


I'm in the 6-8 bundle with my Area and Perimeter of Irregular Figures bundle!  .. here's a fun write-up by 4mulaFun who used them with her 7th grade Sped class!

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