Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm back and sharing a neat online math resource!

Hello everyone! I took a break for a while at the beginning of this school year. It's a busy one for me with four different schools to juggle and volunteering right and left. But I'm back for today to share a neat math resource with you!

This awesome new resource is a fun, playful collection of the best math-centric online content curated by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. It’s More Math!, a fun way to explore the wonder and beauty of math with puzzles, games, books, videos, and other mathy treats. 

The current favorites are: Mathical for kids and families, Varsity Math for teens and adults, and Numberphile - for all ages!

FYI, MSRI is one of the world’s preeminent centers for collaborative research in mathematics. MSRI’s public programs – including its online destinations – are dedicated to showcasing the playfulness, beauty, power, and importance of mathematics in our everyday lives.

A link to More Math! is on the Watch & Play section of (which looks super interesting too!). Here is the twitter link:

I hope you have a great day and enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Yay! Another book award!!!

I'm so excited to share the news that The Pancake Menu has recently won another award! This time it's a bronze from Readers' Favorite in the Concept Book category!
It's an honor to get this award and I'd love to go to the award ceremony but it's all the way in Miami, FL and that's a pricey airline ticket for me. But I am so excited to have won bronze!

It's a pretty seal, but I don't think my front cover has room for more than one award seal.  

Which one do you think is better?  I'd love to know your opinion.  Thanks for stopping by today. Also, I feel I should somehow showcase that I've won the awards on but I haven't figured out how I should word it or put it on there.  Let me know if you have any ideas : ) Thanks!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In the top 100 math blogs!

Hello everyone!

I know it's been a while--busy and relaxing summer at the same time.

I'm happy to announce that my little blog here got picked as one of the top 100 math blogs! I was #90 : )

It was nice to see many of my blogger friends among the list as well! Congrats to all that made the list and I hope you enjoy the other blogs as much as you do mine too.

My toddler has been enjoying taking pictures with my phone a lot lately and he got this fun shot of one of his Magnaform creations.

I hope everyone has had a nice summer and is enjoying the beginning of the school year!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Finishing off the Book Study Blog Hop of Balancing the Equation

What a wonderful and full week we have had with great math talk! Here's how the book ends...

Epilogue: Conclusion and Action Steps for Educators and Parents.

Both Educators and Parents needs to be on board to support more rigorous common math standards for all students and implement effective instructional strategies, as outlined in chapter 4. It might be one or both of the follow that is standing in our way from progressing.

Disagreement on Mathematics Learning Goals
So, should we focus on facts, skills, and procedures, or concepts and understanding? How should students learn--teacher directed with memorization, or student centered with reasoning and discovery?

Disagreement still exists today on learning styles, however the CCSS for mathematics define a common expectation for student learning in mathematics. The standards are coherent, focused, and have proper sequencing of math topics that promote student learning--both from research and through international comparisons.

There is a clear need to teach math at a deeper level so students understand concepts and are able to transfer those skills to solve problems. High quality standards help students understand the how (procedural skill), the why (conceptual understanding), and when (application) of mathematics.

Cultural Nature of Mathematics Teaching
Teaching is a cultural activity--we learn from the previous generation and often teach how we were taught.

Every adult has some conceived notion of what constitutes effective mathematics instruction looks like.  And although there are research-based practices that we are trying to implement, because it doesn't look identical to what we think is the best method we resist change. The authors compare this to a physician--would you rather them use up-to-date research to treat you or practices used generations ago?

Action Steps

"It is essential that we no longer debate the merits of either the CCSS for mathematics or any other set of coherent, comprehensive, and rigorous standards. Instead, we now have the opportunity to use standards that require a balance of procedural fluency with complex reasoning as a catalyst to raise expectations for student learning and support effective instructional practices in the classroom."

They then go on to discuss six action steps you can take which include things such as advocating for higher math expectations, using research-informed instructional strategies, and working with students to persevere when a challenging task arises. Expect student to develop both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Also, be willing to confront individuals who criticize math education based on opinion or half-truths.

We are encouraged as educators and parents to work together to balance the mathematics education equation and make equilibrium in math learning a reality for all students and future generations as well.

Appendix: Additional Resources for Parents

This provides additional resources that you might find useful as you support children's mathematics learning. They provide a nice description in the book, but I will list a few of the links below...

The book is full of other links, but you really should buy the book for yourself because it is a great read, and as you have seen if you check through the links during this past week's blog hop, there are so many insights into how we can change mathematics teaching and learning for the better.

The remaining few last pages of the book has all the sited references and resources as well as a handy index if you are searching for a particular topic.


This has been an honor and a pleasure to read and do this blog hop with great math bloggers with the book Balancing the Equation. It is a call to action and a great resource for us to share with teacher friends and fellow parents as we strive to make everyone understand the importance of mathematics curriculum having an equilibrium. May we all work to advocate for our students learning the how, when, and why behind mathematics!

If you need to go back and reference any part of our hop, here is the schedule with links...

  • 7/5/16) Kids Math Teacher -- Table of Contents, About the Authors, and Introduction
  • 7/6/16 Evil Math Wizard -- Chapter 1: Why Mathematics Education Needs to Improve
  • 7/7/16 The Math Spot -- Chapter 2: A Brief History of Mathematics Education
  • 7/8/16 The Research Based Classroom -- Chapter 3: The Common Core Mathematics Debate
  • 7/9/16 Math Coach's Corner -- First half Chapter 4: The Equilibrium Position and Effective Mathematics Instruction
  • 7/10/16 The Recovering Traditionalist -- Second half Chapter 4: The Equilibrium Position and Effective Mathematics Instruction
  • 7/11/16 Guided Math Adventures -- Chapter 5: How to Help Your Child Learn Mathematics
  • 7/12/16 Kids Math Teacher -- Epilogue, Appendix, and Recap

  • Tell us what you have thought about this book study! Thank you!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2016

    Balancing the Equation Book Study Blog Hop

    Hello Everyone!

    I'm happy to introduce you to the start of a 8-day book study blog hop on the new book--Balancing the Equation: A Guide to School Mathematics for Educators & Parents by Matthew R. Larson & Timothy D. Kanold.

    Here is how the following week will unfold...
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If you look at the schedule above you can see the Table of Contents pretty well. This little 124 page book is chalk full of info and guidance for educators, parents, and anyone interested in children's math education! Within the Table of Contents are a very detailed breakdown of every couple of pages so you can easily flip to the section you are looking for.

    The authors of Balancing the Equation are not new to the mathematics education realm whatsoever.  
    • Matthew R. Larson, PhD is an award winning educator and currently is the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). He was the K-12 Mathematics curriculum specialist for Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska for more than twenty years. He is a frequent keynote speaker at U.S. and state mathematics meetings.
    • Timothy D. Kanold, PhD is also an award winning educator, author, and consultant. He currently serves as the director of Mathematics at Work, a K-12 school improvement program. He is also a past president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and had coauthored several award-winning mathematics textbooks since the late 1980s.
    Here is Dr. Larson speaking at the NCTM 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco. You can tell how passionate he is about math education.

    The Introduction to the book starts off with the word equilibrium and its definition-- A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced.  It then goes on to state how much they love math and the students that are learning it. We all want what is best for the students and we all want to see them succeed. It is difficult for the authors to see how much K-12 mathematics education has been under attack.

    They then go on to explain that this book is meant to be for any and all educators responsible for K-12 mathematics education as well as parents, grandparents, and anyone involved in students success in mathematics. Both these groups can effectively use this book whether it helps to understand the outcomes and instructional strategies for math learning or the reading of this book may deepen the understanding of mathematics education and what is taking place in schools.

    The main purpose of the book started out to clarify misunderstandings regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) but it became more than that for the authors. They want to "ensure that the hope and promise for improving K-12 mathematics teaching and learning, which characterized the first few years after 2010, is not lost on students." They state that the math curricula in the 1980s and 1990s with respect to instructional approach, content, and assessment practices failed to represent the needed state of equilibrium and as a result, "consistently failed to serve students well enough."

    Equilibrium in mathematics education that has balanced the equation is an instructional approach that blends procedural fluency, conceptual understanding, and problem solving--thus students learn how to do math, why math works, and when to apply it. The authors want to provide accurate information to help with the following.

    • Explain why we need to raise expectations for effective teaching and learning of math immediately.
    • Show how math education debates have only made a constant disequilibrium and dysfunction toward successful teaching of K-12 mathematics.
    • Explain why parents must support effective math teaching and learning for their children in this Common Core reform era.
    • Define math literacy.
    • Outline how educators and parents can help their child successfully learn mathematics and offer actions to take.
    Throughout the book they will be giving peer-reviewed research to stay away from mere opinions and misunderstandings. Thus, they will be giving facts to support their statements.

    The book seems to be divided well for anyone who wants to learn more about mathematics education. Part I consists of chapters 1-3 which is primarily geared towards educators and then Part II has chapters 4 and 5 for parents and the expectations they should advocate for K-12 math teaching and learning in school.

    The epilogue was written to both educators and parents and offers the authors' reflection why mathematics education must change and why it is so challenging to implement. Although, they reassure that efforts educators and parents make can result in better learning opportunities for students.

    I feel the messages and purpose of this book are sincere and Dr. Larson and Dr. Kanold are coming to us with facts and information that should not be overlooked. Many people in the general public have been misinformed about mathematics education and it is time to work together and help children understand the the how, why, and when of mathematics.

    Tomorrow please continue on our book study blog hop with Evil Math Wizard and Chapter 1.

    We want to hear your voice about math education. In my life great math teachers have made a world of difference and the positive attitudes of adults as I grew up helped my love for math.

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