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eMath January Newsletter

It’s January in upstate New York, which means it is really, really cold with no end of winter in site. For our friends in Arizona and other warm climates, now is the time to really enjoy how great it is not to have radical season change. We are quickly heading towards the mid-year point here and we have eMathInstruction news to report and add-ons to add on.

Let’s get to those add-ons. First up are the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. We start with monster packet of factoring questions. I’ve always found it useful to have a day where I have kids practice on all of the major types of factoring and that’s exactly what this packet does. It is arrange by difficulty level, although with factoring that can vary. We then move on to Unit #8, on quadratics, with a Trinomial Perfect Square Warm-Up worksheet. We created this warm-up to give students who struggle with factoring a bit of practice with factoring perfect square trinomial before they start the process of completing the square. Finally, we have a Unit #8 Formative Assessment Form B exam. Again, these make-ups have been the most popular add-on so far so we will continue to crank them out for the course.

Moving on to the Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons, we have lots to offer this month. This month the add-ons are all centered on the length Unit #10 – Polynomial and Rational Functions. First up is a mid-unit quiz that assesses knowledge through Lesson #7. Next we have a lesson and homework set on the Sum and Difference of Perfect Cubes. This is likely different from what you might expect. I find memorizing the formulas for these two polynomial identities less than useful, so I emphasize factoring these by first finding a zero, then a factor, and then using Polynomial Long Division to finish the factoring. We of course offer up for this month a Unit #10 Formative Assessment Form B for all of those kids who miss the first one or just if you want to use a different one from the original. Lastly, we have a great graphing activity called the Polynomial Challenge. I put this out last year, but cleaned it up and made it better for this add-on. The activity uses Desmos and has kids find the equations for over 20 polynomial graphs. We did this at Arlington last year and it worked great. It’s hard to imagine any student working through this and then not understanding the connections between the zeroes of a polynomial and its graph.

Lastly we bring you the Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons. As we promised at the beginning of the year, our emphasis for this year on Algebra 2 with Trigonometry was to  create and publish formative assessments for the course. For this month we are adding a Unit #8 Formative Assessment (Trigonometric Equations and Identities) and a Unit #9 Formative Assessment (Trigonometric Applications). These are challenging tests and will truly assess how well students have mastered the trigonometry in this course.

We continue to move along on many other fronts at eMath. We are on the verge of being listed on the New York City ShopDOE/FAMIS system. This should help all of the great schools in New York City to more easily order our products. We are also moving ahead on the Common Core Geometry Answer Key with approximately 70% of it completed in its first form. It should be ready for quoting purposes in February and ordering by Memorial Day weekend for next year. It will likely be a less costly subscription that our others because we plan on adding the unit reviews and assessments next year as add-ons. We will start the Geometry videos in mid-February and will likely be putting them up on YouTube as soon as we get each of them done and edited. We have some surprises coming with these videos, so watch for them.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of your January and early February. Good luck to all the schools that will be administering January Regents exams here in New York. May your students think clearly (and get good night’s sleep the nigh before). As always, if you have any questions, please send them my way at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

eMath November Newsletter

Now that we’ve made it past Halloween and the election, it’s time for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. As always, we’ve been busy here at eMathInstruction with Common Core Geometry, Course Add-Ons, and Conferences left and right. I’ll discuss each in turn, but let’s get right to the add-ons.

This month in our Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons we have our latest installment of Form B exams. We now have one posted for Unit #4 (Linear Functions) and Unit #5 (Linear Systems). We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from teachers about how much they enjoy having additional exams that mirror the originals. Perhaps in 2017-2018 we will start with the Form C exams. Who knows? As well as these resources, we also have an additional problem set on real world applications of Linear Systems. You can never have too many Linear Systems Word problems to choose from, so it’s great to have an additional set for those students who are struggling or just extra practice for all of your students.

We continue to follow the assessment theme in our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month by publishing a Form B exam for both Unit #6 (Quadratic Functions) and Unit #7 (Transformations). Both exams mirror the original by assessing the same standards in a given problem while modifying it enough to be able to be used as a makeup exam or even a redo. As well as these assessments, we have also created another Desmos graphing activity. This activity on Transforming Functions should be done at the end of Unit #7 and will solidify student understanding of how modifying a function’s equation can change its graph. This would be a great activity to do on the day before a long break (hint, hint).

Finally, for Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons, we supplied two additional assessments. As we’ve noted in previous newsletters, one of the big gaps in our Algebra 2 with Trigonometry curriculum is a lack of Unit assessments. This month we add a full unit quiz for Unit #5 (Complex Numbers) and a Formative Assessment for Unit #6 (Polynomial and Rational Functions). That second assessment is a beast. We highly recommend taking a look at it and thinking about the amount of time it will take your students to complete.

In other exciting news, we are coming closer and closer to be finished with Common Core Geometry, at least in its Beta Version. We now have 9 out of 10 units posted, with our latest unit, Circle Geometry, posted just this morning along with the add-ons. Check out all of the units by going over to our Courses page:

cc-geo-through-9

As always, we love when teachers test our courses in these rough versions and let us know about issues, both large and small, that they see. There truly is nothing like having lots of eyes on a curriculum to help remove the bugs. We plan on finishing the Beta version by Winter break and then begin on the answer key and videos. We hope to be able to sell books and answer key subscriptions in late March of 2017.

Finally, we are now in the middle of conference season. I’ve presented now up in Albany, down in Rye Brook, and soon in New York City. This week alone I will be flying out to Phoenix, Arizona, then back on a red-eye in order to present down in Hunter College to AMTNYC. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, I’ll just about be ready to sleep for a week. I’m sure many of my teacher friends will be ready as well.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving break everyone. Five days off will feel great. May your stomachs be full and your naps long as the days grow short again. Remember, you can always contact me with questions and suggestions at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

eMath September Newsletter

As Labor Day Weekend starts to fade in our rear view mirror and mid-September approaches, it’s time for the monthly eMath Newsletter. I’ve been really busy since mid-August, mostly filling orders, answering lots of questions, and helping folks troubleshoot our new online Answer Key Subscription Service. My apologies for those who had trouble setting up their accounts. As always, email me if you have any issues.

I’ve also been working hard in the last few weeks on the latest round of add-ons that come with our Teacher Plus Subscriptions. I just posted them on the site, so those that have that access (and those that don’t) should go over and check them out. As usual, I wanted to tell you a little about them in the newsletter.

For Common Core Algebra I (our most popular course), we have three/four new selections. We came out with a mid-unit progress quiz for Unit #2. We put up a Form A and Form B for your convenience. We created a worksheet that gives students more practice with linear word problems. This one should definitely be done after you have done Lesson #7 in Unit #2. It’s a really good sheet that can be used as extra credit or just more practice for struggling learners. Finally, we created a small worksheet to prepare kids for inequality work later in Unit #2. This sheet is great for a two year CC Algebra I course where kids have a really hard time comparing two numbers using the greater than and less than operators.

For Common Core Algebra II, I started off with one of my favorites, a Desmos Classroom Activity on Forms of a Line. Students are supposed to come out of Common Core Geometry with some exposure to both the slope-intercept and point-slope form of a line. This Desmos Activity allows students to practice in an interactive way with equations of lines in both forms. It could be used as extra credit, extra practice, or even to replace Unit #3.Lesson #3. Don’t worry if you’ve never done a Classroom Activity on Desmos. I’ve also created a detailed Teacher Direction sheet. Email me if you still have questions.

I’ve also created a mid-unit quiz for Unit #4 of Common Core Algebra II. This is a mammoth unit, so I thought having a quiz that covered the topics from the first seven lessons would be helpful. It’s not a long quiz, but it assesses all of the fundamentals of exponential functions. Finally, I added a brand new lesson to Common Core Algebra II on the asymptotes of exponential and logarithmic functions. The term asymptote does not arise in the Common Core Algebra II PARCC standards, but New York State put it on their June Regents examination in CC Alg II, so I thought it might make sense to have a lesson on these important graphical features. No video, yet!

Finally, Algebra 2 with Trigonometry. I feel like this is sometimes the forgotten child of the three courses. It has been all but phased out in New York State, and, yet, plenty of schools still use our text. We love the course and recognize the important differences and similarities between it and Common Core Algebra II. For this month, I’ve added three new resources for the course. First, I have a full (but somewhat short) Unit #2 Quiz (on linear functions). I also included a Unit #3 Mid-Unit progress quiz. Unit #3 is a long unit on quadratic functions and their algebra, so I thought it appropriate to see what kids know after the first eight lessons. Finally, I included a brand-new lesson in Algebra 2 with Trig on Factoring by Grouping. This lesson was long overdue.

Now that I’ve gotten the add-ons out of the way, let’s talk about Common Core Geometry. I’ve really taken a pause on that since late August. I’ve simply been too busy with running the business and writing the add-ons, but now I should be able to get back to writing it. I’m in the middle of Unit 5 right now (the first four units have been posted) and hope to have it finished by the end of next week. I’ll post all of the first draft pdf files at that point. I’m going to continue to write units and maybe record some videos (just to try out some new tech that I have). My goal is to be done with all lessons and homework sets in first draft form by December winter break. The answer key and videos will take some time as well, but, with some hard work, I will hopefully be done with it all by late winter/early spring. Only then will we have Common Core Geometry subscriptions and workbooks to sell at eMathInstruction.

For those of you already working with the curriculum, I image some will be almost done with Unit #1 soon. Unit #2 in CC Geo is on transformations and many of the lessons involve the use of tracing paper. We create our own because we couldn’t find anything on the market we liked. I’m hoping that by Monday of next week (9/19/16) we will have it on our site for sale. It will come in 50 sheet spiral packs that students can rip sheets from (for $5 each) or in stacks of 500 (for $20 each). Here are a few pictures of the tracing paper:

img_3283

img_3284

Finally, a note on  our new software products from Efofex. There’s been a lot of interest in the programs given their ease of use. I was talking to a teacher on the phone about Geometry just a couple of days ago and he was bemoaning how difficult making diagrams for geo can be. Efofex MathPack, one of the packages we sell, makes creating these things so easy that I’m chomping at the bit to get back to writing it all. I just wish the software would have been around back in 2005 when I first started work with the Arlington Algebra Project. Imagine how long this would take using the standards graphics on MS Word?

Right Triangle

And my own least favorite graphs to draw, exponentials:

Shifted Exponential

If you are interested in seeing what the Efofex software can do, try downloading a free 30 day trial of it. No muss, no fuss, and no spam if you decide you don’t like it. It just stops working. If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to contact me.

O.k. So, that’s about it for September. I hope that everyone’s school year is starting off well and the temperatures are cooling everywhere (I’m sure Phoenix is still quite hot my Arizona friends). I’ll be working hard on Common Core Geometry and more add-ons in the next month. Tune in for all the updates in the October newsletter. As always, contact me via email if you have questions or suggestions: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

 

Common Core Algebra I – Regression and Residuals Reviews – by Brett Widman

Brett Widman, who contributes a lot of material here on the Forum, has given us another great resource. He created a Common Core Algebra I Review on Regression and Residuals. We don’t have much time left with the kids, but if they are confused about this fairly complex topic (especially for Algebra I students), check out Brett’s review.

As always, thanks Brett!

Algebra 1 WU Regression and Residuals

eMath Website Relaunch

We are really excited at eMathInstruction because we are relaunching our website and, to a certain extent, our business model. I explained lots of it in a previous post:

New Structure – New Products

I thought I’d give a little tour around the site now that it is operational. First, let’s start with what everyone likes, the free stuff. You can now access all of our courses (coming soon Common Core Geometry) from an easy Course link on our main page:

Main Page

If you click on any of the free courses or on the Courses header in the main banner it will take you to our convenient list of contents for each course. Here’s Common Core Algebra II:

CC Alg II Page

That doesn’t look too different from before, although you may notice a lot more content towards the bottom of this list. More on that later. For now, let’s take a look at one of the units. If I click on Unit 12 (Probability) we see:

CC Alg II Prob

All of our content is now here. The lesson, the video, the answer key, the Word files. It’s all sitting here accessible at any time from an Internet connected computer. Super easy.

Now, as always, the PDF lesson and the answer key are still available for free by clicking on either one of them. In fact, if you click on the video, it now simply opens it up in our site as opposed to taking you directly to YouTube. But, look what happens if you lick on anything below the video link:

Sorry Notice

So, we now have yearly subscriptions that allow you access to all of the files at all times. You can find out all sorts of details about the plans, their pricing, and what they include by clicking on our new pricing structure:

eMath Instruction Products and Pricing 2016-2017

By making all of the contents available online, we will be able to give timely updates to answer keys, assessments, reviews, and other materials. One of the many things we are excited about for next year is a feature we call the Add-On. Each month of the academic year for each of the courses, I’ll be releasing some extra resource. One month it could be an assessments. Another month it could be a Project Based Learning Activity. I’m very excited about these because it will allow me to continue to think about Algebra I and Algebra II while I’m busy at work with Geometry.

So, come by the new site, take a look and let us know what you think. Send us questions that you might have regarding the subscriptions or any of our products:

Info@emathinstruction.com

Orders@emathinstruction.com

 

Common Core Algebra II Review Videos – by Kris Williamson

Kris Williamson, from Newfield, has been supplying us with Common Core Algebra II Review videos based off of the unit reviews that I posted to the site a few months ago. We’ve been linking to them as he has supplied them, but now we have the links to all the videos in one post. Just in time for the June 1st exam.

Thanks Kris!!!

Unit 1: Algebraic Essentials Review
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXY4tAMXxRo

Unit 2: Functions as the Cornerstone of Algebra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQDLWq1qgoU

Unit 3: Linear Functions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=142RKxiAlCA

Unit 4: Exponential and Logarithm Functions (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVGwJDWjxi0

Unit 4: Exponential and Logarithm Functions (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdni7pewUB4

Unit 5: Sequences and Series (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY1psv-Qjr8

Unit 5: Sequences and Series (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTh40pGhQk4

Unit 6: Quadratic Functions and Their Algebra (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YefiQibzbG8

Unit 6: Quadratic Functions and Their Algebra (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1QEU1LK3rE

Unit 7: Transformations of Functions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5RLIIAX-KQ

Unit 8: Radical Functions and the Quadratic Formula
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCbcI0I8wBU

Unit 9: Complex Numbers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVjCSaYzhqQ

Unit 10: Polynomial Functions (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN_3nwl-3Vw

Unit 10: Polynomial Functions (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxxDZCZaFlg

Unit 11: The Circular Functions (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIdt5uflfcs

Unit 11: The Circular Functions (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmhzxn7NSZA

Unit 12: Probability
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlpI8iDTLQk

Unit 13: Statistics (Video 1/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjkSzs2GcHg

Unit 13: Statistics (Video 2/2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl4dRt5E_Y4

Common Core Algebra II Review Videos – by Kris Williamson

Kris Williamson, from the Newfield Central School District, has given us a great contribution heading into the homestretch in Common Core Algebra II. He essentially took the Unit Reviews that I created, sliced and diced them, and created videos of all the reviews. Kris is relatively new to the video world, but he’s done a really nice job. I’m going to let him explain it to you…

“Hello! I am using Kirk’s Algebra 2 Lessons in Newfield, and have created some unit review videos for my students. We are just beginning the probability unit and will end up having about 4-5 days of review after Statistics, so at Newfield we have been providing students with unit reviews this last month while they learn the last two units. A big thank you to Kirk for sharing his unit reviews!

I’m just getting used to creating my own videos, so they aren’t the best quality, but I’ve tried to hit upon the big points in each unit. I invite you to use them as you wish. I have been able to create videos for units 1-4 so far, and Kirk has graciously let me share them with you all. I hope that you find them helpful and useful these last few days before our June 1 Regents!

In my videos, I recap the lessons in the unit, share the Common Core Standards briefly, then I provide topical reviews, and lastly I sum up the unit by indicating all the important things students should be able to do from the unit. Unfortunately, school blocks YouTube, so I have been using zaption.com to share them with my students. Feel free to use them as you wish!

Unit 1: Algebraic Essentials
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXY4tAMXxRo

Unit 2: Functions as the Cornerstones of Algebra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQDLWq1qgoU

Unit 3: Linear Functions and Their Algebra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=142RKxiAlCA

Unit 4: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions Video 1/2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVGwJDWjxi0

Unit 5: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions Video 2/2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdni7pewUB4

These are just the first five units. Kris will be sharing the others as he makes them. He also contributed the blank slides that go with the videos. Here are those as well (but only for the first four units – still need #5). Thanks Kris!!!!

Unit01-AlgebraicEssentials

Unit02-FunctionsAsCornerstonestoAlgebra

Unit03-LinearFunctions

Unit04-ExponentialLogarithmicFunctions

New Structure – New Products

Starting around Memorial Day, eMathInstruction is going to change how we distribute our answer keys and what services we provide. This is all part of my evolution into working full time on eMathInstruction as well as the evolution of our company.

We are going to move to a Web based subscription service for our answer keys plus some additional new material. The lessons and homework sets will remain on our site free to all who want to use them.

There are lots of details to the subscription services. You can read all about them by opening this document:

eMathInstruction Pricing 2016-2017

It’s a bit confusing, so let me boil it down. On the cost side, we are now going to move to a subscription per user. Essentially, for full access to the answers and Word files, school districts will pay a $150.00 annual fee per user (per log-in). This is what we call a Teacher Plus Answer Key Subscription. These subscriptions will allow you to access all of the materials for the course from any internet connected computer. This is what our Unit #13 from Common Core Algebra II will look like once it is up and running (click on the image to see it more clearly).

New Website

Now, what exactly is the Plus part of this? Mostly it’s what you have gotten in the past on the School Answer Key – but now it’s much more than that. We will also be offering what we call Add-Ons with the Plus subscriptions. Each month of the school year, starting in September, I will be creating at least one Add-On per course. These could be huge review sets of problems, activities, Project Based Learning modules, benchmark assessments, exit tickets and other resources. Teachers that have the Plus subscription will get these add-ons along with their answer keys.

With the Plus subscriptions you will have access to  answers and Word files as soon as add-ons are done. In fact, as soon as I think they are good enough to be useful, I’ll be able to post them to our servers and you will have access to them. This will make updates to all of the resources instantaneously accessible by anyone with the Plus subscription. All from our website. No more hassle with CD’s and files at home or at work. Just login and you have access to everything you need:

Login

We’re still working out the details on our website and we hope to make it as user friendly as possible. Free subscriptions are available with the purchase of our workbooks, depending on the number of books ordered. We will not automatically renew subscriptions after the year has ended. I don’t think that would even be possible with school districts.

We have great hopes that this new model will allow us to update our products in real time and give school districts many more tools to use in a timely manner. I’m excited about getting to create curriculum products for Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry (beginning soon). Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our new pricing structure or our new services.

Orders@emathinstruction.com

Info@emathinstruction.com

Shop 2

 

Simulation and Inferential Statistics – by Kirk

So, I’ve made quite a few posts lately because we are near the time when teachers will be working through the very confusing topic of inferential statistics in Common Core Algebra II. With so little guidance from NYSED on the matter, we are left to sift through sample problems, standards, and (ugh!) the Modules. Ultimately, inferential statistics is a topic that is much, much too large to simply squish into Algebra II.

If anything, the state should almost consider renaming the course Algebra 2 with Statistics if they are honest about the content.

What’s ultimately very difficult is that the CC Standards and the GAISE report for inferential statistics emphasize (in fact insist) on using statistical simulation instead of formulas to develop things such as confidence intervals and margins of error. The theory, at least, is that the formulas are much more understandable (in future courses) if students develop a more intuitive grasp of inferential statistics by using probabilistic thinking generated through simulation.

I’m not sure I even understood what I just typed.

Still, I do get the idea of simulation. If we find that a random sample of 50 people have an average television view time per week of 18 hours per week with a standard deviation of 3.5 hours per week, it is unlikely that the population as a whole has an average view time outside of the interval 17 to 19 hours. Here are the results of running our online simulator where I assume a population mean of 18 with a standard deviation of 3.5 and a sample size of 50. Click on the image to see it more clearly:

Distribution of Sample Means

Notice, there are no sample means under this simulation that fall outside of the range 17.0 to 19.2. This, in fact, would be a rough approximation for our confidence interval and half the width between these, i.e. (19.2-17.0)/2=1.1, would be a rough width for our margin of error. By the way, the actual margin of error is a theoretical 0.99 (2*stddev/sqrt(n)). Here’s a link to that simulator and our other two as well:

Sample Normal Distribution Web Based App (NORMSAMP)

Sample Proportion Simulator Web Based App (PSIMUL)

Difference of Sample Means Web Based App (MEANCOMP)

Now, there are more formulaic ways to grind out confidence intervals and margins of error. And, let’s face the fact, the state isn’t going to make them do statistical simulation on the Regents exam (June 1st); what it will do is make them interpret the results of those simulations.  I’ve created three new lessons that weren’t in Version 1 of our Common Core Algebra II text. I’ve posted them before, but I’m going to do it again, with the answer keys. Should you spend time on these more formulaic approaches to confidence interval and margin of error? That, I will leave to your professional judgement. I do tie the statistical simulation into these lessons, so that will get reinforced. Here are the lessons and their keys.

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #8.The Distribution of Sample Means

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #9.The Distribution of Sample Proportions

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #10.Margin of Error

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #8.The Distribution of Samples Means.Answer Key

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #9.The Distribution of Sample Proportions.Answer Key

CCAlgII.Unit #13.Lesson #10.Margin of Error.Answer Key

Sorry, but no videos on these yet. I am looking to do them before the end of April (so well before June 1st). Maybe consider flipping these or just giving kids the option to watch them and learn the content.

Hard Decision

This week I made a really hard decision. It wasn’t whether I should extend my projectile modeling lesson from one day to two. It wasn’t whether I should combine motion and related rates of change on a single quiz. Those are easy decisions to make in the day to day life of a teacher.

No. The choice I have been facing for some time now is whether I could continue to be a math teacher and department coordinator at Arlington High School while at the same time building eMathInstruction by writing more curricula and recording more videos.

For those that didn’t know, I have been a full time math teacher at Arlington High School for the last 17 years. I started in the fall of 1999 teaching the old Course II Integrated math curriculum, along with AP Calculus and an engineering course. Over time I taught everything from our two year Algebra 1 course to third semester college calculus. I have loved (almost) every minute of my time in the classroom at AHS (go Admirals!). As all teachers know, there are always ups and downs, good days and bad, good years and bad. But, through it all, the best part of my day to day existence was teaching my students.

For the last five years, I have also been the head of the Arlington Math Department. Now, I don’t know how big your school is, but Arlington is quite large, around 3,500 students. In our department alone, we offer 23 math courses and have 25 math teachers. And, they are an amazing bunch.

The math teachers that is.

What a true pleasure it has been to work with all of them! I could recount story after story, memories built on almost two decades of working together. If you have spent this much time anywhere, you know how important all of the people you work with are. They are more than colleagues. They are more than friends. They are family.

Now, along with being a teacher, I’ve also been trying my best to start an educational curriculum company – eMathInstruction. It started off simply enough seven years ago when I founded the company and wrote my first “book” – Algebra 2 with Trigonometry. But, that book coincided with the birth of my daughter, Evie, who joined her older brother Max and my amazing wife Shana to make our family of four complete. Anyone with kids knows that when they are young, they are pretty much all you can handle.

It wasn’t until I started on Common Core Algebra I and Common Core Algebra II that eMathInstruction really started to absorb my time. Some might find this hard to believe, but I only work on eMathInstruction materials five days a week (Sunday through Thursday – inclusive). I typically start working around 8:30 at night after Max and Evie go to sleep and finish up anywhere from 10:30 to 11:30 (depending on how much coffee I’ve had). Working five days a week, two to three hours at a time, plus every day, all day during the summer made it possible to create one course per year for the last two years.

But, that meant only around 5 hours of sleep per night (I wake up at 4:30 morning) and not much vacation.

I get tired just thinking about it.

Last year, while I was busy working on Common Core Algebra II, my day job got really rough. I can’t go into the details but it was just one of those years where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Murphy would have been proud. Again, those that have been in teaching long enough and those who have any administrative experience surely have had times like these, maybe even years like this. There were so many Sundays when I simply could not imagine heading back to work. I got through it, barely, with the help of some really great teachers in my department and a great administrator at my school (you know who you are ;-).

Still, it left me with the realization that I had to make a choice. I couldn’t keep getting four to five hours of sleep each night and I couldn’t keep “skipping” summer break. Seriously, no summer break! That’s crazy! All I did during the last two summers was edit text and record videos. I loved it, but it wasn’t vacation.

And so, I have decided to make the hardest, scariest choice I’ve ever made. At the conclusion of this year, I will be leaving teaching for the time being and devoting myself full time to eMathInstruction. I want to see how far I can take this crazy company and dive fully into the world of math curriculum and education technology.

So, what’s on tap when June 25th rolls around and I start working during the day instead of at night?

To begin, it’s finally time to write a Common Core Geometry curriculum. I’m so excited to start this during the summer and work on it throughout the fall. I’m very hopeful that it can be complete, with videos, by the time winter break sets in. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE geometry and cannot wait to study it again in depth and write a curriculum that tells its rich story of logical progression while at the same time incorporating the new emphasis on transformational geometry. Euclid’s vision for geometry was not one of rote theorem memorization, but one of experimentation, conjecture, and rational exposition. It’s in that spirit that I will create a geometry course along with videos to help teachers and students study this beautiful topic within mathematics.

And then what? There are so many ideas and projects I would like to explore. Of course, I would love to hear from folks letting me know where best to devote time. Here are some ideas (not necessarily listed in the order I will pursue them):

Creating a fourth year course (I’m very resistant to calling it pre-calculus).

Creating an AP Calculus course (with videos – maybe even give the great Khan a run for his money).

Creating a series of middle school math courses.

Creating a flipped version for all three of the major courses. You might think the videos alone already do that, but a true flipped curriculum is different from what we currently offer.

Creating extended projects for each course (Project Based Learning).

Creating electronic only versions of the curricula that seamlessly integrate Desmos and Geogebra technology into the daily lessons.

I could go on and on and on. But, I think this is likely enough for now. My hope is that teachers and schools that like what we’ve done at eMathInstruction will continue to support our work. We are committed to providing teachers around New York state and the country affordable, user friendly, quality curriculum products that truly enhance the educational experience for both student and teacher.