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The Left Angle Mystery

Geometry is probably my favorite part of math to teach because it is so visual; plus the subject lends itself to doing many hands-on activities, even with my college students.  When our unit on points, lines and angles is finished, it is time for the unit test.  Almost every year I ask the following question:  What is a left angle?   Much to my chagrin, here are some of the responses I have received over the years.

1)   A left angle is the opposite of a right angle.

2)  On a clock, 3:00 o'clock is a right angle, but 9:00 o'clock is a left angle.

3)  A left angle is when the base ray is pointing left instead of right.

    4)      A left angle is 1/2 of a straight angle, like when it is cut into two pieces, only it is the part on the left, not the part on the right.
5)      A left angle is 1/4 of a circle, but just certain parts. Here is what I mean.


Now you know why math teachers, at times, want to pull their hair out!  Just to set the record straight, in case any of my students are reading this, there is no such thing as a left angle!  No matter which way the base ray is pointing, any angle that contains 90is called a right angle.


If you would like some different ways to teach angles, you might look at the resource entitled, Angles: Hands-on Activities.

A Go Figure Debut for A Texas Teacher Who Is New


Lauren's Store
Lauren is a Texas girl who has been a teacher for 12 years! She has taught a variety of 5th and 6th grade math and science classes, and this is her fourth year as an instructional math coach. She works at an intermediate (5th/6th grade) campus that serves a diverse group of students that includes many English language learners and at-risk students.

Lauren loves working with students in small group instruction for math. This was her favorite part of her day when she was in the classroom and one of the ways she still interacts with students in her job as an instructional coach. She also enjoys designing curriculum with her teachers and creating new lesson ideas to teach difficult topics. Her favorite topics to teach are fractions and proportionality. In science, she likes teaching about plate tectonics.

Lauren has three sons from 18 months of age to 11 years old. Together, they like to watch movies and play outside. Between her boys and her work, she stays really busy, but she still finds time to read science fiction books and create educational resources (Surprising, right?).

Her Teachers Pay Teachers store, Leaf and STEM Learning, focuses on resources for 4th - 7th grade. Teachers can use them for guided math instruction, including centers and stations materials, problem solving, utilizing manipulatives plus concept development. Her materials are aligned with Common Core and the Texas TEKS. Since she has used these materials in her own classroom or in classrooms throughout her school and school district, you can be confident in using them in your classroom, too!
Free Resource

Currently, her store contains just over 100 resources, with eight of those resources being free. One of those freebies is entitled Place Value & Powers of 10. Using an engaging low prep interactive notebook set, this resource introduces and practices using powers of ten for place value notation. All the included parts, an interactive mini book, practice activities and formative assessment, are designed to fit perfectly in your students' composition books or math journals.

I am really partial to her paid resource called Ratios & Proportions. These differentiated task cards have 132 total questions that go with 44 real world and model scenarios. Students write ratios in word form, colon form, fraction form and decimal form and solve proportional relationships and percent problems.

Only $3.00
Three levels of questions can be selected randomly by rolling dice or by the teacher with the differentiated dice cards to make the perfect practice for your students. The task cards can also be used as prompts for small group instruction or tutorials. Also included are a teacher guide to help you set up, student instructions, a student recording sheet, and a full answer key.

Her Blog
Lauren has a blog entitled Leaf and STEM Learning, just like her store. She not only shares interesting posts about teaching, but in addition she gives instructional tips and specific ideas for math teachers. Maybe you have heard the common adage that teachers must learn how to “beg, borrow, and steal” to find the best resources and practices for their classroom. Because this saying resonates true for most of us, you ought to take a moment to read her “Steal It” articles! I believe they will really “hit home” as they did with me!

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Everyone! 
Earth Day is observed each year on April 22nd. The purpose of the day is to encourage awareness of and appreciation for the earth's environment. It is usually celebrated with outdoor shows, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to the earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, and conducting various programs for recycling and conservation.


Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth, a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown, or blue. The universal recycling symbol as seen on your left is internationally recognized and used to designate recyclable materials. It is composed of three mutually chasing arrows that form a Mobius strip which, in math, is an unending single-sided looped surface. (And you wondered how I would get math in this article!?!) This symbol is found on products like plastics, paper, metals and other materials that can be recycled. It is also seen, in a variety of styles, on recycling containers, at recycling centers, or anywhere there is an emphasis on the smart use of materials and products.

Free 8 Page Resource

Inspired by Earth Day, Trash to Treasure is an eight page FREE handout. Discover how to take old, discarded materials and make them into new, useful, inexpensive products or tools for your classroom. To download the free version, just click under the cover page on your right.




Recycled Butterflies

Two of my grandchildren are in kindergarten and of course, everything is new and exciting to them.  They came home one day with egg carton caterpillars.  I know most of us have made one of these in our lifetime, but to these two, they were the best craft ever!

They told me that their teachers were raising butterflies in their classroom, and soon they would hatch.  Anticipation and excitement reigned until the day they came out of school telling everyone that one of the butterflies had hatched.  However, much to their chagrin, the teacher was going to let it go.  They just couldn't understand why or how their teacher could do that!


But, here is the good part!  They got to make a cocoon out of a toilet paper cylinder.  They covered it by gluing on white cotton balls.  Then the made a butterfly out of tissue paper and a small plastic bag tie.  They put the butterfly inside the cocoon and then pretended to have the butterfly hatch!  This was done over and over and over until the cocoon was no more.  Luckily, I was able to get pictures before both were literally destroyed!

Now, what does all of this have to do with math?  I contemplated all the ways to use recycled products to make items for the classroom.  Thus Trash to Treasure was created. It is 34 pages of art ideas, fun and engaging mini-lessons as well as cute and easy-to-construct crafts all made from recycled or common, everyday items.
Only $7.00

Find out more than 14 ways to use milk lids for math. Did you know that you can practice math facts using clear plastic containers? Learn how to take two plastic plates and turn them into angle makers. How about using two plastic beverage lids to make card holders for kindergartners or for those whose hands are disabled? Discover ten ways to use carpet squares as well as nine ways to use old calendars. How about playing hop scotch on old carpet squares? Were you aware that butter tubs can become an indoor recess game to practice addition or multiplication facts? These are just a few of the fun and exciting activities that use recycled items found in this 34 page resource entitled Trash to Treasure.

Because these numerous activities vary in difficulty and complexity, they are appropriate for any PreK - 3rd classroom, and the visual and/or kinesthetic learners will love them.