Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Freebie Alert!

Secondary sellers have been working hard to convince secondary teachers that teachers pay teachers is the place to go for quality, easy to use resources.
Here is a link to the newest secondary eBook which includes 30 free resources specifically for the secondary MATH classroom:
My contribution is an introduction to exponents flip book. Make sure to check it out for some great math resources! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

IOPD (Identifying Ordered Pairs Day) - In Algebra

I’m not sure why, but over the years I have had numerous Algebra students (grades 8, 9 & 10) who came to class unable to identify points on a plane, or even identify the x and y-axis. This deficit in their math knowledge meant they had no idea how to identify ordered pairs and made slope nearly impossible for them to understand. The first time I had students who had a hard time remembering which axis was x and which was y, I printed out worksheets that had 20+ problems and had the students identify various ordered pairs. It took FOREVER for students to complete those worksheets, and at the end of the day I didn’t notice a difference in comprehension. 

The following year when slope came up I devised a better plan for helping those who had problems. The day before we began slope became “Identifying Ordered Pairs Day” (IOPD). Having the review day made a HUGE difference in how quickly my students’ grasped slope so I thought I’d take a few minutes to write up what we did on “identifying ordered pairs day” in case anyone out there needs ideas.
Side note: Anyone else have middle/high school students struggling with ordered pairs???

When I was coming up with ideas on what to do on IOPD I spent a lot of time trying to think of things that would really engage students. In the end I decided that I needed students to be up out of their seats, so on “IOPD” I move ALL of the desks in the classroom to the sides, leaving a ton of space in the middle. In the space, I create a large coordinate plane. As large as it can possibly be! My favorite thing to use is masking tape! When it’s nice outside, sidewalk chalk does the trick too! 
When students walk in we begin our identifying ordered pairs review day by lining up. First, all students’ line up on the x-axis. Then the y. Then the x, etc. Once they’ve done it a few times, they seem to remember which is which. Next, I have students take turns going to various x and y intercepts. I hold up a sign that will say something like (2,0) or (0,-4), and students take turns going to that specific coordinate. Once we get past that, I break students up into 4 groups (one group per quadrant) and hand out a set of 8-10 coordinates for each group. I then set a time for 5minutes and each group takes turns finding where each coordinate is. When time runs out group rotates until everyone has visited every set. I have been known to create 5-6 smaller coordinate planes instead of one large one, so that each group can have their own small one to work with instead of sharing the bigger one.  Also, My more advanced classes walk around with graphing paper and have to identify coordinates on the paper as well as on the floor.
All in all, reviewing this information helps tons! It has been totally worth taking a class period to review. When we begin slope the day after IOPD even my weakest math students do well! When introducing the counting method, I remind them of the activity where they walked to individual points and tell them to imagine walking from point A to point B along the grid lines. 

Do you have any tricks for teaching students to plot points, identify ordered pairs, or recognize the x and y axis on a coordinate plane? Let me know in the comment section below :)
Awesome Glitter Clip Art Comes From: Glitter Meets Glue 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Conquering Math Phobia

Recently I was forced into a situation where I had to face my fear of public speaking. Obviously as a teacher I’ve spent a lot of time in front of (student) crowds talking. Speaking in front of a group of teenagers, or a group of teachers I work with is fine with me. Speaking in front of a room full of adults that I hardly know is terrifying to me. At random, I was asked to speak in front of my church congregation with no notice whatsoever. I have no idea what I said - I mumbled a few things and fled the podium. As soon as the session ended (15-20min later) I basically ran out of the room and broke down the second someone stopped to tell me I did ok. Rather than staying for Sunday school, I grabbed my daughter and fled the building. Once home, I broke down again (luckily in my husband’s arms this time- rather than a poor unsuspecting person).

I was so embarrassed by what happened, but it was an eye-opener for me. Just the other day I was speaking with a former student of mine. This girl was a student when I was student teaching, and we've kept in contacting over the years. In high school she struggled in math, but she always tried - and I respected that about her. While she and I were catching up, she mentioned to me that I had helped her face her fear of math. That is a fear I had no idea existed in her. Turns out, she had a bad experience in her 6th-grade math class that led to her just dreading math. She shared with me how she struggled throughout middle school and into high school with her fears. Every time she walked into math her pulse would pick up, she'd break out into a cold sweat, and do her best to pretend she was at home with her family rather than facing a worksheet of math problems. While she excelled in every one of her other classes, she constantly worried about math. The fear I feel when I am in front of a group of adults and asked to speak is real - so is the fear that many of our students have of math (math phobia).

I've been thinking about math phobia (also known as "math anxiety") on and off since our talk. Teenage students with a fear of math is scary to me. I feel like, as a whole, we tend to underestimate the importance of math in our lives. Sure we all know that to get into computer science, or engineering, an individual must have a strong understanding of mathematical concepts, but what about other areas? Fashion designers must be able to understand measurement in order to create clothes that fit human beings. Those in the medical form need to be able to plug a patient’s weight and other information into very specific formulas to determine medicine dosage. Even as a small business owner I use statistics nearly every day to track my business growth and determine what marketing ideas are a waste of time and which are lucrative. Math is important! It matters! We NEED our future leaders of America (AKA our current students) to believe in math. We NEED them to work hard to understand it and to understand the value of a strong understanding of math subjects.

How do we do this? We MAKE math count. We SHOW them that there isn’t anything to be afraid of when it comes to math. They don't have to be geniuses to excel in math - they just have to try. We provide them with tools that help them better understand what we are trying to teach them. We take the time to differentiate the material so that our basic students can understand it just as well as our advanced students. Task cards, interactive notebooks, games, and activities that INVOLVE our students (i.e., something besides lectures) is the way to go. I know I’ve said this many times in my <15 blog posts, but making math interactive for our students is key to their success. They are our future leaders and for the love of God, we NEED them to be able to do math!

Phew! Glad I was able to get those out! *Gets down from soapbox.* I took the time this week to develop a blogging schedule/outline and hope to post more regularly from now on. Check back Monday for a fun way to teach ordered pairs! Do your Algebra students struggle with figuring out which value represents the x-coordinate and which represents the y-coordinate? Mine always have, but this activity helps cement it in their brains!

Check out these old blog posts for ideas on how to conquer math phobia in the classroom:

Picture credits: 
Scared Photo from: Dreamstock Photos, Olga Vasilkova
Math photo from: Freedigitalphotos.net courtesy of: adamr

Friday, January 2, 2015

My New Years Resolution

I start every year with a few resolutions. They are usually the normal things like "lose weight," "eat healthy," "be happy," etc. I am 27 though and can not remember ever being able to look back on Dec. 31st of a year and say "I did it! I kept my resolutions!" Heck, I don't even remember what my 2014 resolutions were.......This year I plan to change that. I have one resolution and I am 100% dedicated to keeping it. When 2016 rolls around I KNOW I will be able to look back on the year and feel a sense of accomplishment at finally following through. So, without further ado, My resolution for 2015:
One way I plan to keep that resolution is by using my TpT profits to support a cause that is near and dear to my heart - Operation Underground Railroad. The people behind Operation Underground Railroad work to save children being held as sex slaves and to apprehend those running child sex ring organizations. For 2015 I pledge to donate a minimum of 10% of all profits made by 4 the Love of Math LLC to this organization. No one in the world should ever be forced into slavery - least of all a child. 

Personally, I feel like there are things in the world that are so disgustingly horrible they are almost unbelievable. We don't talk about these things often, and we hardly acknowledge that young children are being sold as sex slaves. Sadly, ignoring things like the child sex slave trade doesn't make it go away. One thing that really stuck out to me while watching various videos from this organization, and reading various pieces of literature about it was one of the men who began the organization saying that the child sex traffickers "never look like bad guys." The people committing these crimes look like you and I; they look like regular people. It's hard for those of us who are just regular people to believe that someone committing such horrendous crimes can look so normal, but they do! 

I am so amazed at what this organization is doing to bring attention to the horrific plague that is child sex trafficking,  What got me interested in this organization was a movie trailer I happened upon one day. It is a movie about the individuals who are running the Operation Underground Railroad organization. One of the best ways to attack evil is to acknowledge it exists, talk about it, and support those who are on the front lines fighting it. To learn more about this amazing organization visit their website here: https://www.ourrescue.org/

In closing, I wanted to share this YouTube video posted by the Operation Underground Railroad about a rescue they completed. It is very hard to watch, what is happening to children around the world (an estimated 2,000,000 of them!!) is sickening. But, I hope the movie is watched so that the plight of these children becomes real. Knowledge is Power!

 ******If you are interested in supporting this cause and becoming an abolitionist (yes that's what a supporter is - abolitionist: a person who advocates or supports the abolition of slavery!) you can make a donation here: https://www.ourrescue.org/join-the-cause/. If you sign up to contribute $5 a month you receive a free t-shirt (sign up to donate $25/month & you receive a shirt and a necklace!). Donations are tax deductible.

I would love for you to join me in my resolution and do more good this year too!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours.....

I hope you enjoy your break!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Gift to You!

Twice a year TpT sellers come together to create eBooks full of links to free activities you can use in your classroom! The winter version eBooks are live now - and totally worth checking out!

Each page has a holiday teaching tip & a link to a free product. Many of the products are holiday themed and would be PERFECT for the days of school left before winter break!

There are eBooks available for all subjects and grades. Check out the 6-12 Math & Science eBook here:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Favorite Things Blog Hop & Giveaway!

I am very excited to participate in "Our Favorite Things Blog Hop & Giveaway"! Each of the bloggers participating has reduced the price of select items in their TpT stores, written a  blog post about a few of their favorite things, and donated a prize to the giveaway. To view other blog posts and to enter the giveaway, make sure to click on the link at the bottom of the page!

Here are a few of my favorite things: 
 I LOVE making candy and baking cookies, then delivering them to friends and family. Last year we moved during Thanksgiving week, and missed out on this tradition because: A)my daughter had pneumonia all throughout December and B) we didn't know anyone in our new city. So far this month everyone has been healthy and I can not wait to cook & deliver treats to the friends we've made over the past year. My favorite treat to make is turtle candies! They are easy to make and taste delicious!
I use regular chocolate chips for the chocolate part, but my dad always uses melting chocolate that he purchases at Costco for this. Apparently it is a lot cheaper, and works well! For nuts I like using pecans, but have a ton of walnuts I need to use up. Either type works great!

We will also be making sugar cookies. My favorite cookie recipe can be found here: Best Sugar Cookies. They are really easy (which is great for someone like me who is horrible at anything that involves using the oven) & they taste delicious!

My favorite store is Publix! If you live in an area without a Publix, I'm sorry!! :) Publix is a grocery store we have in the south. The store "motto" is "where shopping is a pleasure." Shopping truly is a pleasure at Publix. Their selection is phenomenal and customer service is truly amazing. They go above and beyond and are so friendly! In fact, when my husband and I got married rather than hiring a caterer I choose to order trays and things from Publix (because I LOVE their food that much!) My favorite area of Publix is their bakery. They sell the most delicious croissants and breads along with many other treats (like canolis yum yum!) 
For the past year I've been driving 50min every other week to visit the Publix nearest to me. Recently though, we had a store open just 20min away - which of course makes me so happy! I plan on ordering trays for holiday parties from Publix soon - which will make celebrating the holidays way less stressful! I also love that throughout the holiday season they have an option to add a donation to your grocery purchase that goes towards feeding hungry families in the area. In the past few weeks since our store opened I've visited 6 or 7 times and paid for at least 10meals for families in our area!

One of my favorite gifts to give is a bookstore gift card. When I was a child Santa brought my 4 siblings and I gift cards to Barnes and Nobles in our stockings EVERY year. A week or so after Christmas my parents would bring us all to the nearest store and we would spend hours picking out books to purchase with out $10 cards. Those trips were so fun, and the memories I have from those trips are priceless! The nearest bookstore to us now is about 45min away and it's Books a Million. My daughter will be receiving a gift card from there from Santa (my husband and I will receive one too!) and I wanted to share a gift card with one of you so you can have a fun book shopping trip too!
Make sure you enter the giveaway by clicking the link below, to win this and other prizes! The prizes are truly amazing!

In addition to the giveaway, bloggers involved have priced certain TpT store items at 50% off, I've chosen to discount some of my winter holiday themed items! The sale is only for a limited time, so make sure to act quickly! Here is a link to items I have discounted: #Favorite Things 2014

I would love to hear some of your favorite things! Do you have any fun traditions in your family, any store obsessions, and/or a favorite gift to give? Let me know in the comments! I can not wait to hear what you have to say and read the posts other bloggers have shared about their favorite things!

**Note: bloggers LOVE comments and we LOVE gaining followers. It would be lovely if contributors to the giveaway received at least a few thank-yous! :) 

Our favorite things Oprah style: the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:

7 winners for 7 prize packs!

Come and enter the giveaway and check out our favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway