Monday, 18 August 2014

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the following:

You are now a lucky owner of your very own signed copy of "Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher" by Taralee Turner.

Please check your emails, and respond with your mailing addresses as soon as possible.

Additional congrats to Bonnie, who will also be receiving a copy of my "Math Stories" resource!

Thanks for all your comments and book recommendations. I hope everyone found a few new books to add to their list for the upcoming school year. I know I did! To make it a little easier for everyone, I will be compiling a list of "math books" based on your recommendations in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Q & A with Taralee Turner

Continuing on from yesterday's post. I recently read, and thoroughly enjoyed Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher.
Norma Archimedes Normal is a quirky twelve year-old with talents for solving mathematical mysteries and for finding trouble...
When her favourite Math teacher disappears, Norma recruits her side-kick Elmo Edwards (Ed) to assist with her search. The dynamic duo becomes a team of three when Pascal Descartes, the son of the Similar Lake's police chief, concludes that Norma and Ed are in over their heads and decides to ride to the rescue.
When the trio's search to find Miss Euclid becomes a treasure hunt, they find themselves involved in a problem-solving adventure, turned dangerous...

Thinking it would be a great addition to any math classroom, I contacted the author, Taralee Turner. I was truly grateful when she generously donated 5 copies for me to giveaway on my blog! 

After reading the book, and learning that Taralee was from my hometown, I was a little curious to find out more about her, and of course how the book came about.

She graciously agreed to a Q & A, and I am excited to share her insightful answers with you. 
It turns out we have quite a bit in common, from our views on teaching math, to her attending the school I currently teach in!

Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher

Q & A with Taralee Turner

Q: What was the motivation behind this book? What was your intention?
A: I wanted to create:

  • a story that encouraged students to look at Mathematics in a new way: as a potential adventure.
  • an opportunity for students to see math applied to “every day” activities. 
  • a heroine that would contradict the stereotype that girls aren't hard-wired to be good at mathematics.
  • a bridge between mathematics and application in real world.
  • a tool for teachers that would create an opportunity for across-the-curriculum teaching; in this instance collaboration between Mathematics and Languages Arts Teachers. 
Q: Why did you write a book with a middle school audience in mind?
A:  For both pragmatic and sentimental reasons.  I wanted the characters to be close in age to the audience to maximize the reader’s personal connectivity.  The story I envisioned required that the key characters have a fair amount of independence, and, to achieve my objectives I needed to target a pre-secondary audience where across-the-curriculum teaching was a more viable opportunity for teachers.
On the sentimental side, I personally found middle school to be an important time of self-discovery. I believe there is a closing window of opportunity during middle School to build student confidence/self-esteem.  I consciously incorporated three confident, but otherwise very different friends as central characters to promote individuality. 
Middle School students are starting to consciously define their identities in a more complex way, but have not passed the point of enjoying a simple adventure story!

Q: Are any of the characters in the book based on people you know in real life?
A:  Only tenuously.  My daughter was two when I started to notice the determined set in her chin when she tackled a problem.  I remember wondering what kind of young woman she would grow into given the potpourri of characteristics amongst her extended family.  The seed that grew into Norma started with that determined chin, but once I began writing Norma’s identity flowered into her own.  In a similar way, there are hints of people I know in all the characters.

Q: You have woven mathematical problem solving throughout your story. Where did your interest in math stem from?
A:  Keeping in mind that I attended the School well before current curriculum was introduced, I had no true interest “classroom” Math beyond the satisfaction of getting the right answer.  I loved puzzles (cryptograms, logic problems, etc.), and keeping track of my money (to the penny), and problem solving but oddly, did not associate these interests with Math.  I did, however, have a natural aptitude.  Teachers observed this early, and then eagerly encouraged me.  It was the ongoing positive reinforcement from teachers that kept me engaged until I had an opportunity to start to apply math to life.  It was in late high school, when I started to see math within the context of its uses in the working world, that I truly began to take an interest; and also started to understand the importance of educators linking information/knowledge to application.

Q: What is your most memorable grade? Teacher? Subject?
A: Grade 6 at Emerson Elementary in Winnipeg brings a flood of memories; it was a year that seemed to last forever, and I stacked-up more life lessons in one year than in any other year I can think of before or since. 
Though I wish I could share several stories, I will share the one that perhaps most inspired Norma Normal.  My grade 6 teacher, Mr. Bryski was teaching Health (he also taught Math); he calculated on the chalk board how many trips to Disney World his kids could have taken had he never smoked.  I was awed.  He had made math personal.  It was the first time I distinctly recall math being applied to real life in a way where it led to more effective personal decision making.  An accountant (and a non-smoker) was born that day; though I did not realize it until many years later!
I had favourite topics within subjects, but never a favourite subject; with Math I enjoyed problem solving and disliked memorizing multiplication tables, with Language Arts I liked creative writing and reading, but disliked spelling and grammar, etc. 

Q: What is your educational background?
A:  Though I have a Bachelor of Education (Mathematics and Language Arts), I realized early that a love for learning and a strong belief in the importance of education did not translate into being a great classroom teacher!  I went on to earn a professional accounting designation, and have been working with not for profit organizations involved in the education industry. 

Q: Do you plan to write any more books in the future? Do they include a focus on math again?
A:  Yes, though the timing is uncertain, there will be a sequel to Norma Normal.  However, the next book will focus on Pascal Descartes and his love for Sciences.  Since Norma will insist on being involved, I expect there will be plenty of Math!

I want to thank Taralee for her generosity and time, and I look forward to reading her next book some time in the future!

If you haven't entered the giveaway to win your very own copy of Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher, make sure you do!

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Friday, 15 August 2014

A Little Summer Reading...and a Giveaway!

I love to read, and as you know I love math, so why not combine the two!!

I thoroughly enjoy sitting/lying down to read a good book. However, since having kids, it's a luxury I can rarely afford!

So when I actually find the time to read, it needs to be an easy, quick read.

When my mom retired, she passed a few of her school items on to me. One of those items was the book, Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher by Taralee Turner. Of course, after reading the title I was hooked!

I can't wait to read this book to my class! It was such a fun read and I have always loved integrating reading into math class.

This cleverly written book is about a teenage girl, Norma, who loves a good math problem. When her favourite math teacher ends up missing, things get a little out of hand when she takes on the job of finding her herself. Along the way she must solve math related clues (clues you could have your own students solve), in order to locate her missing math teacher.

I really enjoyed the characters and their interactions with each other. Being a teacher and dealing with teenagers the majority of my day, I can attest that the representation of teenagers in this book is spot-on! The characters will be completely relatable to your students and I bet they will find this story hilarious!

After reading this book, I was interested to learn a little more about the author. Turns out, she just happens to live in Winnipeg (where I live), and works at the university I graduated from. I also googled the book and realized that the only place you can purchase it is a bookstore in Winnipeg.

Sooooooooooooo, I got to thinking, what if I contacted her to see if she would be interested in teaming up on a giveaway, with the prize being her book? Can you guess what she said?

She said YES, and offered to provide me with 5 books!

That means that 5 lucky winners will receive their very own copy of Norma Normal and the Missing Math Teacher for their classroom, and to make things even better, one of those lucky winners will also receive my "Math Stories" resource. This resource is full of activities designed to be used with math related stories.

In order to enter you must leave me a blog post stating your favorite "math story" that you read in your classroom.

I'll go first - I love One Grain of Rice by Demi.

The giveaway will be open until Sunday night and winners will be announced on Monday.

Good luck!

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will be posting a Q & A with the author!

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Back-to-School Blowout Sale - Round 2

In case you missed it the first time around (because you weren't in back-to-school mode yet), I am excited to announce that is bringing back their HUGE back-to-school blowout sale for 48 hours only, and I am featured in one of the curriculum bundles (6-8)! 
From August 13 - 15, 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!

Here are some bundles I thought you might be interested in:

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


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


Management, Decor & Organization Bundle - 76% OFF


Don't Miss It!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Math is Real Life - August 2014 Edition

 I am happy to once again join up with the fabulous linky hosted by Miss Math Dork, 4mulafun, The Teacher Studio, and Teaching to Inspire in 5th! 

Summer is half over!! Eeeeeeeek!
Even though I will not be returning to work this September, I am already getting a little nervous about my husband going back and me being at home with the boys. I've gotten use to him being home to help out with the boys. A 1:1 ratio is a lot easier than a 1:2 ratio when it comes to adults and kids! 

The summer has been flying by as we've been keeping pretty busy - swimming lessons, the zoo, multiple trips to the park, visiting friends and family, trips to the cottage, checking out local farmers markets, hanging out at the fair, and more.

For today's post, I am going to tell you about our trip to the fair.

Nothing says summer to me, like going to the fair. When I was younger, my parents would take me and my brothers to the fair on the last day of school every year. This year, I was eager to share the experience with my sons (mostly the oldest one, the youngest one took in all the sights from the comfort of his stroller).

Now spending the day at the fair costs money! Those of you who know me, know I like to always find the cheapest scenario.

Admission - FREE
Parking - $5 (We parked down the street and walked) - FREE
Ride Tickets - A few different options - all access wristband -$25 - this is the best option if you plan on going on a lot of rides. My husband and I have both realized that we can't handle the rides like we use to, plus my son is only going to go on a few, so this option wasn't worth it for us. We opted for buying a sheet of 40 tickets - $28
Mini Donuts (cause you gotta have donuts at the fair) - $ 4

Once we purchased our tickets it was time to go on the rides. Now being a math teacher, I saw this as a teachable moment for my 3 year old. 
We have 40 tickets.
Each ride requires a certain amount of tickets.
How many rides can we go on in order to use all of our tickets?

Helicopter - 3 tickets each - went with mom - 6 tickets
Dragon Roller coaster - went by himself - 3 tickets
Ferris wheel - 4 tickets each - went with mom - 8 tickets - went again with dad - 16 tickets
Bumper cars - 4 tickets each- went with dad - 8 tickets
Lady bug cars -  went by himself - 3 tickets

Now we were left with 4 tickets, not enough for us to go on any of the rides together, and too many for any of the single rides. Sooooooooo he found the big slide

Big slide - 1 ticket each - went with dad - 2 tickets - went again - 4 tickets

The day was a success! We used all of our tickets and my son had so much fun, even while doing a little math!

Now, the only thing left to do at the fair is play some games. I could go into great detail about the probability of winning these particular games, but alas we never played any... I refuse to waste my money on those! ;)

How did you use math this summer? 
This would be a great question to ask your students on the first day back because... math doesn't take holidays! :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday Made It - August 4, 2014

I'm linking up with Tara at 4th grade Frolics for Monday Made It.
Here is what I was up to last week....

One of my favourite things about summer is all the fresh fruit. We are lucky to have a large saskatoon bush on our property at the cottage and managed to pick a lot more than previous years. Here is my son, attempting to pick the ones higher up. We had to brave the mosquitoes to pick, so we looked very fashionable in our bug jackets!

We ended up picking 2 pail fulls (well, if I'm being honest, my husband did most of the picking), enough to make a pie and a cobbler when we got home! YUM!

It was my nieces' birthdays this last week. I have always loved scrapbooking and cardmaking, but rarely have the time to for it since having kids. Lately my oldest son has taken a liking to playing at my craft table. I know his love of crafts probably won't last, so I take advantage of it any chance I get. Here are the two cards that my son helped design and make for his cousins. One for Lola and one for Willow.

Lastly, something I have been meaning to do for awhile, I finally made my "Think you need math?" poster into an actual poster! Up until now I've only had the 8 1/2 x 14 version up in my room. Now it measures 24 x 30! The kids certainly won't miss it now! If you want your own copy, you can grab it here.

Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

It's time...

...for the annual Back - to - School Sale on TpT! Save up to 28%!!!

Are you ready to go back? 
Do you have everything you need for a successful, and hopefully, stress-free year?
If not, fill your carts with some amazing products created for teachers, by teachers!
It's time to clear out those wishlists!

Ready, set, GO!!!

LOVE this promo, created by Danielle Knight! Thanks for all your hardwork Danielle!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Currently August 2014

It's a drizzly Saturday morning here. The baby is sleeping, I have my coffee in hand, so what better time to link up with Farley's Currently party over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

What have you been up to this summer?