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Sending some Love for Valentines Day

Testing Season is almost upon us and I have some new freebies that will warm your heart this Valentines Day!

Bermuda Lawn Care – Middle School

The Bermuda Lawn Care Services – SBAC Performance Task gives students an opportunity to compute unit rates using a real-world geometry problem. Students will find the area of the lawn in square yards, convert those square yards to square feet, calculate the square yards mowed based on time, and money earned based on square yards mowed. They will analyze productivity based on working individually and collaboratively. Students will exhibit competence with math content standards 7.G.6, 7.RP.1, 7.RP.2, 7.EE.2, 7.EE.3, 7.NS.2, 7.NS.3, and mathematical practices standards MP1, MP2, MP4, MP5, MP6, and MP7.

Transformation Road – High School

The Transformation Road Activity & Task gives students an opportunity demonstrate mastery using rotations, reflections, and translations to move an object from one location to another on a coordinate plane. Students will model two separate movement paths using transformations and document these movements using function or coordinate notation. Students will then create an equation or function to describe the movement they created. These findings will be shared with a classmate for collaboration on the similarities, differences, and variables involved. The Transformation Road Activity & Task supports deeper student understanding in the use of transformations, while investigating the outcomes produced by different choices.

Da Vinci Project – Color by Number with Probability for Middle School

The purpose of this probability Da Vinci project is to allow students the opportunity to use creativity to invent a color by number activity that demonstrates mastery of probability. This project focuses on finding probability solutions for simple and compound probabilities using fractions, decimals, percentages, and likelihoods. Students will both create the problem and find the solution.  Students will then complete the activity created by a peer and grade the work of the peer using the rubric provided. 

Da Vinci Project – Color by Number with Sequences for High School

The purpose of this sequences Da Vinci project is to allow students the opportunity to use creativity to invent a color by number activity that demonstrates mastery of concepts related to arithmetic and geometric sequences. This project focuses on determining common differences and common ratios, finding the next number in a sequence, solving for the  term, and deciphering real-life problems that require the use of sequence operations. Students will then complete the activity created by a peer and grade the work of the peer using the rubric provided.   

Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you lesson plan your way through testing season. Happy Freebies!!


Make yourself a Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Cocktail while you enjoy winter break.

Wendy’s Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Cocktail


1 ounce Peppermint Schnapps

2 ounces Creme de Cocoa

3 ounces Baileys

4 ounces water

1 Candy cane (crushed for rim)


1.  Place candy cane in a plastic Ziplock bag and smash it into candy cane dust with a hammer. This is especially therapeutic after encountering a sullen 15-year-old female.

2.  Rim two martini glasses with the crushed candy cane pieces. I used simple syrup and was able to rim the glasses early in the day before company arrived, but water works as well.

3.  Add about 6 cubes of ice into a cocktail shaker.

4.  Add the 3 liqueurs and water into the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain mixture into the two prepared glasses and enjoy!

*You can also put these ingredients into a Hydroflask, shake, and enjoy. (Skip the crushed candy cane when using a Hydroflask.) This is an especially nice option if you will be sitting outside on New Years Eve to watch fireworks. Only choose this option if you are in a state that allows it.*

Starbucks is Hiring!

Starbucks is hiring!

Starbucks is hiring! I asked the barista at my local Starbucks how much the job pays. She could only speak for herself and stated that she started at $15 bucks an hour. Wow, that seems like so little, yet…. I started teaching in Nevada in 2014, with an annual salary of 38k per year. Is that more than $15 bucks an hour?

Do teachers get paid too little or too much?

Everyone has an opinion about teachers. Teachers think they do not get paid enough. The public thinks teachers have too much vacation time. Politicians use education to leverage votes from parents and teachers alike. This blog is about my opinions, or better, my musing as a teacher. The most time-consuming and important task that teachers undertake is lesson planning. Teachers plan for each day, each lesson, each week, and each block of instruction. Teachers are not paid by the hour, so they are given more tasks than is humanly possible to complete in a week, and then only paid the afore mentioned salary. Let’s do the math. (I’m a math teacher.)

Teachers cram a year’s worth of work into 39 weeks.

If you look at a school calendar, you will see approximately 39 weeks of school for teachers. Some weeks have fewer days, but as a teacher I can assure you that it takes just as much time to plan a four-day week as it does to plan a five-day week, so we will just talk about weeks. As a fifth-year teacher I worked about 2,605 hours per year: 10 hours a day times five days, plus five on Saturday and ten on Sunday. I worked 40 hours before the school year began and 30 hours over winter break. (I was too exhausted to work spring break. Do I hear an amen?) Add it up and you get 2,605 hours for the year. $38,000 divided by 2,605 hours equals $14.59 per hour. Of course, this stellar pay is before taxes, so reign in the happy dance. Remember, teachers cram all this work into 39 weeks, not 52.

Teachers would make great Starbucks employees.

Your average teacher will make an excellent Starbucks employee. She’s a friendly, organized, outgoing, multi-tasking, subject matter expert who learns 150 names in one week. Let’s be realistic, teachers don’t work during the summer, ahem, so to compare it to working at Starbucks, you would have to cram the afore mentioned 2,605 hours into 39 weeks. 39 weeks times 40 hours is 1,560 hours before overtime. Starbucks employees are paid time-and-a-half for OT. Take the 2,605 hours teachers actually work, subtract the 1,560 hours worked before overtime and the overtime pay of $22.50 would be applied to the overage of 1045 hours per school year. 1045 times $22.50 equals $23,512.50. Add this overtime pay to the $30,000 that a $15 an hour, full-time employee is already earning in regular pay, and you have a first-year wage of $53,512.50 per year before taxes. Either way you slice it, by hour or by year, the entry-level Starbucks employee is ahead.

Time is money.

In the 2019-20 school year, with five years of seniority, I am scheduled to make $43K during the fiscal year, essentially making $16.50 an hour. It takes 30 years to reach the top end of the pay scale as a teacher, and you cannot get there without going further into debt to earn your master’s degree. I don’t need student loans to work at Starbucks, though it is beneficial in management. Is it probable that in my 6th year at Starbucks I would only be making $16.50 per hour?

Work smarter, not harder.

Okay, okay, teachers are overworked and underpaid. Why teach? I’m not sure that I can answer that question because I think we are all a little crazy. I also have no solution for the pay discrepancy, but there are plenty of bargaining groups working on that. Time. Time is how we can help each other. I find that teachers are usually very territorial with their rooms and materials. DON’T! Open up your doors and share. Collaborate and lighten the load of another teacher. Be open to new methods and explore new viewpoints. Work smarter, not harder. I am glad that Starbucks supplies great entry level jobs to our high school graduates. I choose to be one of those who prepares the adolescents of my community for college and the marketplace.

Give the gift of time through collaboration.

Make the decision today to share something with one other teacher that will save that person time. ALSO take advantage of the kindness of a colleague and use their work to save yourself some time.  I will go first. On the homepage of this website you will see a tab that says FREEBIES. Take a minute to grab at least one of these freebies to save you time. Share the freebies with a colleague to give them the gift of time. Then grab a glass of wine and enjoy some free time!

Enjoy some free time.

Students Helping Students Become Mathematicians

Ms. Lyons’ summer class is learning to be good digital citizens. In the course of their internet investigation they came across this website, Project Based Learning with Math. They liked the information about EdPuzzle and wanted to reciprocate by sharing with us a website they found engaging: This website provides links to various educational games.

Thank you Ms. Lyons’ class. Good luck with your journey through mathematics. Have fun!

Need Math Teachers – Detroit student teaches math classes for one month

When a middle school math teacher walked off the job, the Detroit School District was unable to replace her or find a substitute – of any kind. Instead, according to a lawsuit, the school put the highest achieving math student in charge of teaching class – FOR A MONTH!

13 year old teaches math for a month
13 year old teaches math for a month

Detroit public schools are in such deplorable condition that parents are suing the school district for “fair and equitable” education for their children. Minority children in Detroit are left with no option but to attend substandard Detroit Public Schools that cannot even meet safe health code standards. Teachers must purchase supplies like paper and pencils out of their own pocket or solicit donations from local private schools.

To read more about the crisis facing our inner city schools in Detroit, visit The Herald News.





Math Dude to the rescue!

Math Dude videos offer online math support for your next Project Based Learning with Math lesson.

Math Dude - Mike DeGrabba
Math Dude – Mike DeGraba

I love Math Dude videos. Mike DeGraba is Math Dude. Like Superman, Math Dude is just a regular guy with regular problems, and super problem solving powers. He connects well with students and speaks plainly while still using rich math vocabulary.

Click on the picture to watch Math Dude in action,
Click on the picture to watch Math Dude in action,

Math Dude made a series of videos covering all the Algebra 1 topics common to most classrooms. Many of these standards have been moved down to 8th grade math or Pre-algebra with the introduction of Common Core. These Math Dude videos begin with solving one-step equations and end with solving exponential and quadratic functions.  The technology is a bit dated, but I use EdPuzzle in conjunction with Math Dude videos to create an interactive lesson for my students.  I also link students to Math Dude videos when my students are absent due to illness, class activity, or family vacation.

Math Dude - Mike DeGraba
Math Dude – Mike DeGraba

Math Dude videos are hosted by Montgomery County Public Schools. These five to 14 minute videos are available on youtube as well. You can show Math Dude videos over a live internet signal or download them. I prefer to download the videos so that I do not lose class time if the internet signal is weak. I also use Math Dude based EdPuzzle videos when I have to be subbed out for the day.

Math Dude is on Facebook and Twitter.
Math Dude is on Facebook and Twitter.

Math Dude gives students a welcome break from Khan Academy, and encourages students to use resources other than raising their hand or asking a friend. Take an opportunity to watch a few of the Math Dude videos and judge for yourself. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment above.



Welcome to Project Based Learning with Math

Welcome to Project Based Learning with Math. My mission as a teacher is to develop students who are prepared to tackle difficult projects with logic, review & revise through collaboration with peers, and persevere in finding creative solutions.


Giant Dipper - Santa Cruz, CA
Giant Dipper – Santa Cruz, CA

I started this website as a place for educators to share ideas and resources. Elementary, secondary, homeschool, whatever your area of focus, you are welcome here and I am anxious to hear from you.