Winter FREEBIE for Unit Circle Trig Values

I tell my students that they should know them almost as fast as their multiplication facts.  The ones who succeed always do well with the remainder of trigonometry.

Enjoy this free winter snowstorm themed review of the unit circle trig values. 

When teaching the unit circle I always begin with special right triangles, but once that foundation is laid, I use this left hand trick. You can find the notes here
This is SO much quicker than drawing tiny special right triangles for every problem. 

Quick tip: I also emphasis that tangent (opposite/adjacent) is really just slope.  Every student should know the slope of a vertical, horizontal and 45 degree lines, so they really know tangent of the quadrantal angles and all of the angles with a reference angle measurement of 45 degrees. 

My Favorite Halloween Math Treats!

Do my students think I’m too nerdy???  We will see... I hope that they will enjoy these fun Halloween treats!
Brownie Formula Graves:
I used small baking trays from Marshalls (you can also find them at Michael's or Hobby Lobby) and an adorable grave decorating kit! I love making these fun treats and I hope it helps my students to retain their formulas!

Pumpkin Pi:
You can find reusable foam pumpkins at your craft store. I simply sketched the pie shape and cut it out with an X-acto knife. Don't forget to cut out a small hole on the bottom for an electric tea light!

Top 10 SAT & ACT Tips and Tricks!

Students often come to me needing to improve their SAT/ACT score to get into their top choice school. Many students can feel nervous about sitting through such a lengthy exam and forget their basics! These tiny tips and tricks will up EVERY student improve their math scores on both the SAT and ACT. To subscribe to more tiny tips click here!

1.   There is no substitute for good, basic algebra and geometry knowledge. If you don’t know the sound a letter makes, how can you read a sentence? If you don’t know basic math rules, how can you solve a simple equation?

2.Practice only from “official materials” from or 

3.Practice ALL of the official problems until you can do ALL of them easily and correctly.  Only after that, should you entertain using other materials. 

4.Back solving or plugging answers choices back to see which one is correct, almost always wastes too much time.  Learn how to solve the the problem “straight up”.

5.You must be able to complete each problem under a minute.  Most problems take about 30 seconds. 

6.Always glance at you answer choices before completing the problem.  For example, if your answers choices are in terms of pi, don’t bother multiplying by pi. 

7.Make sure you answer the problem completely.  Always quickly reread the question to make sure you gave the correct answer. 

8.Eliminate answer choices first, only if it can be done quickly and easily. For example, you cannot get a real solution if you take the square root of a negative number. 

9.Choose the best (and fastest) way to solve a problem.  This is the HARDEST thing to do.  It will come with practice. 

  1. 10.If a problem is drawn to scale, sometimes you can make a reasonable guess if you are totally lost.

Converting Logs and Exponents

As a private full time math tutor, most of my students come to me confused when they start learning how to convert logs into exponents and vice versa .

All I have to say is...

You just "Keep the Base" and "Flip Flop".  It's THAT simple.  

For more logarithm tricks you can try my comprehensive guide here.

Foil - Using the foiling method for multiplying two binomials.

I ALWAYS use foil when teaching students how to multiplying binomials.  I am not a fan of the box method.  If students still have a difficult time remembering the steps, I'll say just "distribute twice". Here is a cool gif that shows each step you can bookmark it or check out my poster here.

Dividing with exponents can be tricky...

But is doesn't have to be difficult! I am constantly having to re-teach students how to divide exponents. Whether the base is an integer or variable they can never seem to remember how to simplify the fraction. The phrase "top minus bottom, answer on top" has helped ALL of my students remember this tricky concept! When the bases are the same, simply subtract the bottom from the top and be sure to put your answer on top:) Hope this helps your students too! Here is a great cheatsheet for your students who need extra help!

How a Triangle Magically Transforms into a Trapezoid!

This fun graphic helps students visualize the similarities and differences between a triangle and a trapezoid! In the classroom I make a large triangle from construction paper and use a pair of shears.  For my older students I say, "A decapitated triangle is a trapezoid".  It always sticks.  Bookmark this GIF to show to your students whenever they get stuck:)

Simplifying Logs ... So Simple!

Many students have a difficult time simplifying logs. Most teachers have students convert the logs to exponents first.  This is time consuming and confusing for most students.  This is how I teach my students!  They are always dumbfounded to realize how simple it is! For more logarithm tricks you can try my comprehensive guide here.

5 steps to Organizing your Classroom!

I'll be the first to admit that I've daydreamed of getting lost in The Container Store! I find myself fantasize of small cubbies and spots for everything from binders to paperclips. Organizing an entire classroom can be a daunting task! Here are 5 simple steps to getting everything in its place!

1. Gut it! Start by making three piles- Keep, donate and trash! Keep any paperwork and supplies that you consistently need and frequently use. Donate old supplies to your local shelter or to another teacher! I know that new teachers are incredibly thankful for any help that they can get... Supplies can get expensive! And finally trash... this is the tricky one. Obviously, trash the trash. Also, trash thing that are of no value or are broken. 

2. Clean it! Now that you've got the bare bones, it's a great time to clean the nooks and crannies that typically don't get any attention. One of my favorite products are Lysol Wipes (3 containers of 80 wipes for $9 on Amazon-WOW!). They are easy to use and easy to store for later in the year.

3. Categorize it! The hardest part of organization is finding a place for everything and remembering where things belong. Categorize items based on frequency of use (daily use, monthly use, etc.), size, and color! Frequency of use is by far the most important. Remember to keep these items easily accessible and in practical containers- this is the only situation that I would splurge on containers.

4. Contain it! Choose container solutions that are appropriate for each set of items. It's amazing how expensive plastic can be! My favorite places to shop for inexpensive containers are The Dollar Tree and Big Lots. Both stores have a ton of cute and practical storage solutions! Another tips is using clear jars for storing pencils/markers/rulers. I always save the jars that pasta sauce, pickles and peanut better come in and wash them to be reused! If you're looking for larger storage solutions, I usually check out Ikea. Ikea has a ton of cute rolling carts that are great for moving supplies from one area to another.

5. Decorate it! Find a theme that suits you and your students! Remember to not pick anything too busy or distracting for the classroom. Focus on bright colors and interactive and encouraging bulletin boards. 

I hope this helps you to organize your classroom and maybe even your home!

How to throw a PEMDAS party!

As a home school educator, sometimes we need a little math fun... especially in the summer. 

Here is super fun way to practice PEMDAS rules suitable for all grade levels.  For my younger students, I have them use a regular pair of dice to determine the values.  I use my fraction and decimal dice for my older students.  This is a great way for siblings to play together.  If you don’t have any special dice, I found a package of small foam cubes at the dollar store that work great.  Just use a sharpie to write in the numbers.  Check out this entertaining FREE game with complete instructions: here.  

Here is another entertaining game that I created for the classroom. Students are asked to create expressions using petal numbers and PEMDAS rules to equal the center number.  It is a great higher level “thinking outside of the box” game differentiable for all levels.  You can use multiple dice (one should be a different color than the others for the “center”) or just use the game boards found here

Happy April Fools!

April Fools Day is just around the corner- Can you believe it's March already?! This is one of my students favorite activities! They love finding mistakes in other people's work:) Let your students have a go at this unique activity and let me know how they love it!

What is a rhombus again?

Many of my geometry students have a difficult time remembering the qualities of a rhombus. I find that the best way to help them learn is by showing them that a rhombus is just a "tilted square." Like a square, a rhombus has four equal sides! Hope this trick helps in your classrooms! If your students need more help with quadrilaterals check out this helpful product!

Don't forget to keep math fun:)