More little summer ideas!

Some nice feedback from moms re little ideas for summer- so here are a few more… a quick fun discussion to have re what we know about triangles and quadrilaterals...

Can you name and draw 3 different types of triangles... and can you name and draw 6 different quadrilaterals? And when you look at the first few letters of 'tri'angle and 'quad'rilateral, what do you notice?

This can be done with really young children- or older children who have deeper understanding of geometry. Even more fun when done with colours and big paper- with a ruler or without- just get talking about shape! 

Math is fun! 😍 And certainly summer is not a time to feel overwhelmed with it, but little things can make a difference… (do keep the Times Tables at the forefront of the mind though- they are SO important and feed into so, so much future math success).

summer almost here

Well, summer is almost here, and it feels so good that we have some time ahead to relax, enjoy the summer and just kick back! PHEW!!

But moms, dads, students and parents know that come September it sometimes feels like we have forgotten everything we ever knew about math ha ha!!

So it is a good idea to do just a little, ‘teeny’ bit of math about twice a week over part of the summer- nothing heavy… just maybe identify a few tiny goals!

What type of thing?

Maybe ten minutes on a couple of days every week… how about a few minutes counting up in a Times Table, maybe doing just one question for division, maybe drawing 2D or 3D shapes… what about looking at mls on shampoo or milk containers, or maybe figuring out how g and Kg feature on weighing scales.

Never underestimate how just doing ONE little review question of skills already covered (e.g. one long division= 5 mins… counting up in 4s= 5 mins… naming six different quadrilaterals= 3 mins… one column subtraction= 5 mins) can keep skills REALLY HOT!!

Worth doing? I really think so. But go with the flow… after all, it is summer and we deserve to chill out and enjoy!


A deep breath after 'phase one'!

Friday 24th, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May saw two events to bring the presentations, workshops, ‘speaker-spots’ and talks on Intermediate math to a close for summer (unless something pops up last minute!). The learning curve since January this year has been so, so steep, but utterly wonderful.

Fri 24th/Sat 25th was the Langley Home School Conference, where I was both exhibitor and speaker. I LOVED the event and met some wonderful people and ‘connections’- all of whom I hope to re-connect with over summer or fall- some exciting things in the pipeline!

Sun 26th was my talk at the beautiful venue of Cove Commons on Bowen Island (where we had the ‘book launch’ only 17 weeks ago… REALLY?!!)- also wonderful, as was able to talk with parents about Intermediate math and beyond. As always, a huge focus was on Times Tables knowledge and how it has a huge impact on math success. This also marked for me that I am starting to feel at ease with presenting, and have come a long way from where I started out.

So since last weekend, we have been able to reflect on where we are and make some decisions about how to move forward.

I hope to see my book helping parents and students across the whole of Canada… and when an order comes in from Alberta, Ontario, Prince George, Kootenays, Yukon etc. I pinch myself to think of the (my!!) book sitting on the table of those homes.

Now it is time to consider how best to go about marketing in a bigger picture… but one DL school teacher said to me that ‘word-of-mouth’ is THE most powerful form of marketing for a new math resource like mine, and that feels reassuring as we go about thinking about this next phase/next chapter in the Bridge the Gap Math journey.

THANK YOU sincerely to all those people who have helped me to piece little jigsaw pieces together. I am grateful to each and every one of you.

And I will never ever forget how the utterly wonderful Michelle Peters, (the book’s designer) enabled us to reach this stage- her patience, professionalism, creativeness and kindness will be with me forever- she is with me whenever I pick it up to admire the cover and the pages. Thank you MP!

'high concentration alert!'

Great feedback this week from parents using the book... how helpful the ‘high-concentration-alert’ is!!

It is simply an exclamation mark in the corner of some of the pages in the book, where the concept and content will require ‘full power’ concentration... to ensure timing is just right and students are able to turn their brain power onto full. This is for concepts that are a little more demanding e.g. long multiplication or using a protractor. A ‘heads-up’ for better success.

Do remember, a big strength of the book for parents and students, is that EVERY concept is only ever one page long. Do-able and not overwhelming.

The moral of this- don’t do the H-C-A pages if the student is tired or hungry!

Good to hear!

wow, wow, wow

16 weeks from the book launch Jan 19th, and what a time. Today’s blog is a chance for me to take stock and reflect on where we are with Bridge the Gap Math™ .

Jan 3rd: local newspaper article: launch event Jan 19th on Bowen Island

Feb 6-11th: Canadian Online Home School Conference

Mar 5th: first presentation: Bowen Island Community School: ‘Let’s Talk Intermediate Math!’

April 26/27th: speaker and exhibitor at Kelowna BC CHEC Conference

May 1st: speaker at North Vancouver City Library

May 3rd: exhibitor at BC CPAC, Richmond- an incredible experience for me to connect with principals, teachers, DPACs, parents and education ministers

May 7th: presentation at Island Discovery Learning Community (IDLC) DL, Bowen Island

And coming up...

May 17th: INSET presentation on Intermediate math at a West Van Elementary School

May 24/25th: speaker and exhibitor at BC Home Learning Conference (BC HLC), Langley

May 26th: presentation at Bowen Island Public Library- parent workshop: using summer to firm up math

Sept & Oct/ fall and new year...  3  Sept /Oct bookings for talks at PACS and libraries... and more in the pipeline

Taking bulk orders from schools and groups is helping us to see that all the hard work has been worthwhile; now it is time to follow up the new directions, connections, and begin to look at the new roles opening up for me as educator and author... and time to develop further the idea of having ‘speaker’ as a main role in my career.

Wonderful to really FEEL in my heart that this product CAN make a difference. Feedback has been unbelievable. Every parent WANTS to be able to support their child at home to do well in math; and I KNOW it works. I FEEL I can help Canada to see more children reaching the end of Grade 7 with a firm foundation and confidence in math. Dare I share my target, that I hope to see this book in every household where there is a G 4, 5, 6 or 7 student? My book CAN make a difference. There. I did dare and I said it. Big dreams, big plans maybe... but still back to teaching it this coming Mon to Fri ha ha!

Times Tables... so, so, so central

As I prepare for my speaker role in 2 days’ time (BC CHEC, Kelowna), I cannot write a blog entry today about anything else other than Times Tables, although this was my theme here just a few weeks ago (see the long list of concepts which rely on TT knowledge a few entries back… Feb 22nd)

One of the most amazing moments for me as a math teacher was when I was working 2 weeks ago with a G8 student who had asked me to help with division, as he was finding it impossible to handle.

The worded problem causing the issue boiled down to needing to find 25% of 783.65

So I stepped back a little and did some basic figuring out what the student could and could not do… it transpired that he knew that 25% was a quarter… knew this meant dividing by 4… he knew how to do the mechanics of long division, and also short division, and was sophisticated enough to know which of these to use… and he knew how to figure out the final answer. BUT, WHAT THE REAL ISSUE turned out to be, was that because he did not know his 4x table to have the quick facts at the ready, OR how to count up in fours confidently, the whole thing fell apart- by the time he had figured out how many fours fitted in to each step of the division, he had become lost in the steps. Lost, frustrated and disheartened.

Having a grip on Times Tables really is central to accessing MOST concepts (see list in previous blog entry) covered after G5/6!!

Coping with any division question needs one to have a grip on Times Tables.

Find a way to nail the Times Tables. You will be so glad you did!!

I will be making a huge thing of this in my talk… not long now (gulp).

Best quote of my teaching/program review week:
"Oh wow- I thought it was division I was struggling with... but it wasn't... it was not knowing my (Times) Tables... this has SO helped!!"

Inspiring speaker

I was lucky enough to attend a 4 hour long workshop/talk last week given by Joshua Angiola form New Westminster School District… he was speaking at Bowen Island IDLC (Home Learning Centre). He was sharing math ‘lesson’ ideas to enable parents to pick up ideas for making learning math ‘live’, colourful and meaningful. It was so wonderful to listen to someone currently central to mainstream and home learning math teaching in BC and I loved learning more details about how math is taught in many centres, schools and homes. Thank you Josh for an interesting, informative and interactive session.

I found it very refreshing to sit back and listen, as I have been so engrossed recently in developing my own program; it made me feel alive to be part of this! We are all trying to make math something to make friends with and be  excited about… and to make the experiences of students working through their math journey be  positive ones! There are so many people working to find WAYS to make math meaningful… and developing methods and programs to suit different learning styles/needs- because let’s face it- we are all very different in the ways we learn anything- and it is so exciting that there are so many educators committed to researching different ways to teach math, so it can reach everyone.

Math is part of ALL our lives, every day.

I am so excited now about the Kelowna BC CHEC Conference (only a week away), as it will mean further connections with people who are trying to find ways to make math success accessible, do-able and achievable.  One more run through of my presentation to do (or maybe 2)… and then it’ll be here! I hope I can come across as well as Josh.

Happy Easter- count your Easter eggs, multiply them, divide them, look at their shape, fraction them up, sort them…. and then eat them. Or on second thoughts, just eat them.

Big events… big deals… big deep breaths!

So this week has been all about preparing for my speaking events, and I’m feeling excited and hopeful that this next chapter is taking me on a path towards being able to reach further afield audiences. My hope is that this book becomes a valued staple product across Canada.

My very first presentation in March, ‘Let’s talk Intermediate Math’ was a big deal for me, kindly made possible by the principal and PAC of Bowen Island Community School. Since then, I have honed the content, tweaked and tailored it more towards cramming as much content in as possible demonstrating methods, techniques and ideas to share the things I do with my students when they are here 1:1. After all, the content of the lessons is what the whole program/book is about- it is a script- taken right from my core! My cats have been very patient throughout all my trial runs… and are rather rude in that they do sleep through most of it.

The up and coming events are:

  • Kelowna BC CHEC (exhibitor and speaker) 26th/27th April

  • North Vancouver City Library (Lonsdale): speaker… and books available to buy… 7pm May 1st

  • BCCPAC: conference at Richmond… May 3rd (just an exhibitor here)

  • IDLC:  private Home Learning School on Bowen: speaker at private PAC gathering May 7th

  • Langley Home School Conference 24th/25th May (speaker and exhibitor)

  • Speaker at Bowen Library 26th May

  • And I am hoping to do many more later in the year as have several in the pipeline.

The content of the talks is 5 mins bio to let people know I am a qualified teacher of 28 years (where did that time go?), and then 30 mins talking about the issues surrounding how we can help students cope better with Intermediate math and the mental and physical journey towards and then through high school; but then the rest of the time (30-40 mins depending on how much time I have) demonstrating some of my most successful and simple as possible techniques- these mini-lessons have proved to be most helpful to parents.

Wish me luck.

BtGM... reaching and helping... who for??

As I make my way (slowly) through the tricky (for me) marketing process of the book’s journey to ‘get it out there’ across Canada (I am finding the social media part so hard to understand- deep sigh), I have found myself in conversations with a wide variety of people in different ‘education’ situations.

I needed to evaluate, so thought it would be good for this week’s BLOG. So here is a summary of people with whom I have had conversations around how the book can be used to help…. and some audiences, customers and ‘areas of learning’ looking at or using the book/program so far:

  • mainstream students/parents in upper elementary school to firm up, backtrack or fast-track core math concepts

  • mainstream students/parents in high school to backtrack

  • mainstream use in schools (private & public schools/academies- possible ‘Intervention program’ for G6/7)

  • home learning: DLs/schools/programs/PACS (POs now accepted from DLs)

  • learning centres/tutoring centres

  • teenage students working through the book alone

  • teaching assistants (EAs) own reference

  • adult use- for own learning or to help support their children

  • special education: (DL, Public, Private) language based learning/ADHD/dyslexia/autism

  • students with math anxiety

  • International students (a target is to connect with more International Baccalaureate programs)

spring break closes- preparing students for next step

Now is a good time for parents to start thinking about getting math back on track ready for the next math ‘chapter’… and it is a good time to take stock of where we are. To use the next 12 weeks up to summer to firm up some essentials, particularly Times Tables as they feed in to so much, is a great idea . I am so happy the book is helping so many….. and in such a wide variety of learning needs/reasons/styles/scenarios.

One parent fed back this week that they found it useful to have the short videos (I am so proud of them- raw as they are!), and also to read the suggested first session guidance in the book introduction, as they said getting started was a big thing.

I am excited to say that in addition to the Langley and Kelowna Education Conferences (where I am     delighted to be a speaker and vendor at both), I am now also going to be at the BC CPAC conference in  May!! So exciting for me in this next stage of Bridge the Gap Math.

Deep breath for parents, students and new math book authors!

spring break reflections

Spring break and exactly 9 weeks since launch.

Working with my math students 1:1 still whilst the book has been ‘shared out there’ has felt rather odd- like as I am (still) saying the same things to teach concepts, others are doing it at the same time, reading my book!

I know this program WORKS!! I see children leaving, punching the air; their chests are expanded and their heads are high… with pride and RELIEF.

Feedback from mainstream, homelearning and special education has been coming to me via various mediums- Facebook and other social media, personal messages, repeat orders, telephone conversations and oral feedback locally. I am definitely feeling that it is more versatile than I first imagined it to be: the simplicity (short, snappy, comforting, to-the-point, no-big-deal-feel) is hitting the spot for children wanting to get ahead, those wanting to back track with dignity and those needing a different approach to what is already out there; several adults have taken it for their own use! And that is what it is… a collection of ONLY the main fundamentals arranged in a way to FEEL do-able in and amongst the other zillion aspects to a day.

I now need to find the best and most appropriate way to share big time with mainstream, homeschool and Special Education, via conferences, speaking publically about my passion for Intermediate math essentials being in place, workshops, social media, emailing and networking. I continue to worry about being weak in social media understanding, but am working on it. Andy and I are hoping to have some simple videos on the website ASAP as many parents have said they would like it.

Next steps for me now are BC CHEC speaker, speaking to Lonsdale Home Learner Group, speaking at North Van City Library, Langley Home School Conference, and making a plan of how to go about this next chapter.

Wonderful feedback and testimonials keep coming- so thank you to all.

Reaching special education and learning differences... including autism, ADHD and anxiety

This week has taken my mind, my energies and the book in a wonderfully new direction, where I have realized how the program is helping children with special needs, individual education plans and learning differences… but who are able to access and work on math covered in the Intermediate stage of mainstream math- children with a desire to work on math but in small portions, math pages with a simple layout and a not-overwhelming feel… helpful and comforting stepping stones for learners with autism, ADHD, math anxiety... or for children who just need a program which feels do-able, one small step at a time.

This is from a parent and teacher of children with Individual education plans:

“What a great resource this is- full of short and sweet, easy to implement mini-lessons that cover everything from grades 4-7. A much needed resource for all learners to make sure the bases are covered for a strong start in high school.” March 2019 

My brain is buzzing with how versatile the program is proving to be… so much so, that I am feeling I need to get straight in my mind which direction to go in first, and realizing I need to think through a strategy of how to go about this next phase…………… and in addition to the audiences I already had in mind, I have had it suggested, and do feel that it could maybe be an INTERVENTION PROGRAM for mainstream G6/7 ??? and a special education staple??? Having these put to me has made me realize that I have a lot of thinking to do…

I have indeed found myself talking a lot to individuals about HOW best to use it for DIFFERENT scenarios. From mainstream fast track and backtrack, from older teens wanting to find something to help them firm up without feeling a failure, from children with learning differences who find it comforting and manageable… to adults wanting to firm up math to help THEM feel better equipped to be able to help their children. I feel that making people aware that I am here to TALK about individual situations might be something I need to put on the website, so I need to think this through this coming week. Happy spring break all.

Accepting POs (Purchase Orders) from Home Schooling Groups

A little step further along the right lines- with the help of a patient husband and very helpful people in Home Learning Groups, I found out how to be able to accept POs as payment for the book. Only registered with Heritage Christian Online School right now, but have been able to add to the BUY NOW page, that if people let me know their group, I will process an application so POs can be used. Hopefully a step in the right direction to connecting with Home Learning Groups.

Next job…  we need to learn how to reach out to a larger network of Home Schooling Groups and Schools!

Every week there is another little piece of the jigsaw in place… I bumped into a friend in my local store today who asked how long it took me to write the book- I told her it took 6 weeks to write and then three years to reach publication ha ha! One step at a time Laurie… I always did want everything to happen YESTERDAY!!

I have such faith in Bridge the Gap Math™- but my tech and social media skills are still in the Dark Ages… sigh. Ah well- onwards and upwards.

First presentation!!

Thank you to all the people who came to my very first talk/presentation on Intermediate Math (Mar 5th), and for kind feedback!!- I relaxed into it after a few minutes and actually enjoyed it very much! I am now preparing for my next 5 talks between now and May… and venturing into Vancouver further afield… and hoping to do lots more if I can  get the word out there. The part I felt was most valuable was the sharing of some of the tricks and techniques I use with students to keep the learning fun and alive!! Intermediate math is an opportunity to build confidence and watch self esteem soar!!!!! 

Sharing a new testimonial/email which made me feel very happy... and a teeny bit tearful if I'm honest

Her book, Bridge the Gap Math was introduced to us and we were able to complete perfectly formed, bite-sized pieces of math that were easy to do and tick off. 'Tick off' being the key here - it wasn't this laborious, never-ending slog of complicated math that would result in glazed eyes and "I'm tired" within 2 minutes. My son will now motivate himself  to complete whatever 'homework' is set. It is painless, he gets it, I can see his mind thinking to learn and understand the math and then complete the tests given over the page. Done, understood, ticked off. Satisfaction achieved.

My son, who only a few months ago had all but given up on school, is now helping other classmates during math. His self-esteem has bounced back. He is applying himself better in other subjects too, not just math. No longer feeling behind and overwhelmed he's confident and positive about his educational future, even talking about pre-calculus!   Zoe, BC Feb 2019

…the pleasure in reading this has made me feel so warm that the program can have this effect on a child… thank you Zoe for taking time to write and send this gem.

Friday 22 February 2019

Is it possible to think about Times Tables when the snow-keeps-a-coming?!

Interesting addition to my ‘Intermediate math’ presentation agenda- (first ‘talk’ is in 11 days, and then pretty much one per week into May, so for BICS talk on 5th March- wish me luck my first goes well!)… THE MOST ASKED QUESTION of me as teacher EVER, is: How do I get my child to learn their Times Tables? Well, I plan to talk about some of the methods I use, but feel so thrilled that have worked on a ‘program’ that is proving to work… and FAST.  A recent ‘new’ student claimed to know (well, count up in) every Times Table after only 3 weeks of us working on them- and that has been just 20 mins per week. But why are the blooming things SO vital? Well, here are some math concepts which rely on having a grip on Times Tables:

·        Column multiplication

·        Worded problems

·        Averages

·        Division (big time)

·        Doubling

·        Addition, subtraction, multiplication & division of fractions

·        Decimals

·        Percentages

·        Ratio

·        Common denominators

·        Simplifying fractions

·        Converting fractions to decimals and percentages

·        Circles degrees and angles

·        Perimeter

·        Area

·        Volume

·        Square/cube numbers

·        Square root

·        Exponents

·        BEDMAS

·        Integers

·        Algebra

·        Prime numbers

·        Equations

·        Time/distance/speed

·        Mass

…. and that is just for starters. Quite amazing. So they are worth knowing FOR SURE.


Week 4 since book launch and excited for presentation sooooon! on Bowen Island on March 5th at local elementary school. And 5 more presentations in the diary.
Starting to see progress on places the book is reaching, orders and delivery system seems to be working (phew) and generally all feeling exciting and upbeat! Loved being part of the Canadian Online Homeschoolers Conference 6-11 Feb, and now time to ensure I am ready for the local talks.

Today: Can I share a pearl of advice re Times Tables... use the 'pop-up-finger-method' so count up in the chosen Times Table steps whilst popping up a finger for each step (but just nod for 11x and 12x)... and then vary it by touching the ...nose with the finger for each step. Best way I know for Times Table progress.... ALSO: do the 9x Table 'tucking in the finger trick'- it is pure magic! E.g. for 4 x 9, put hands on table and tuck in finger 4... then there are 3 fingers to left and 6 to right... 36! You may know these already but it never fails to amaze me just how many ‘tricks’ there are to learn Times Tables. The most asked question of me as a teacher has been, ‘How can I get my child to know their Times Tables??!!’

Wish me luck in this next phase.  I am needing to think about the bigger picture now, so have some serious thinking to do! I need to find appropriate ways to share this program and book, and so many people have helped me so far. Thank you to you all. Roll on bridging the winter gap to spring.

Want to get going with Times Tables? Start with ‘pop-up-finger-method’ for 2x, 5x, 10x, 11x (beware 11 x 11 and 12 x 11 as they catch us out, so put them onto cards) and then explore 9x trick! Already in place?- move to 3x.

Math priorities?

Time to share a conversation I had with some people when we were talking about the program… they asked me a great question: ‘If you had only 3 hours with a Grade 6 or 7 student who wanted to catch up on some math fundamentals, which concepts would you choose to focus in on?’

Hmmm- well I guess I would check that all the 4 basic mechanics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are in place to a level where the basics are in place- e.g. the column versions or basic box division, and that the student could count up in 2s and 5s… and then work on one or two other times tables. I would also check basic understanding of 2D and 3D shapes and also perimeter and area. Then I would… if time, move on to adding and subtracting of fractions! Three hours only huh??

Also, I have been working on putting together a very basic short video on how to use the book- it is a bit raw, but people have said it would be helpful. It shows close ups of the book pages, and talks you through how it works. Hope to have this on the website very soon!

Cart now up and running… so books have been going across Canada… but still encouraging local people to connect via email so I can hand deliver for free. Also I have reached the stage of having my presentation/talks outline done, so now just need to work on the delivery! But what will I wear?….

13 days after launch... lots been happening!! Soooo exciting to see the book 'out there' and helping.

So, just about 2 weeks in and what a time I’ve had… between the actual teaching of the math, of course.

Lots of local deliveries of the book (nice when here on Bowen as free hand delivery and often 1:1 chat with parents about how to make it happen!), but also posted out to Calgary, Guelph and enquiries from Australia and New Zealand!! ‘Walk-throughs’ over the phone have also been happening, so have been busy there.

HOPING to have proper ‘grown up’ cart in place this weekend!! ready for the Feb conference 6-11th. Also, we have made progress in finding out the most cost effective postage methods for customers for whom hand delivery is impossible (well, not impossible, but I can’t nip to Australia or even Calgary and be back in time for dinner…)

Feedback from parents and students has been overwhelming (see a few comments below)

Now have several presentations and talks in the diary for Feb, March, April and May and am SLOWLY (very slowly) making progress using Facebook, Twitter and Blogging… all new to me. I was never a techy…

I do need help with how to connect with ‘groups’… home schooling FB groups, education groups, tutors etc… but slowly, slowly.

So a few days to go: Next week: 6-11th Feb, Bridge the Gap Math™ is part of BC Canadian Online Homeschool Conference 2019. Open to all. I will be live chatting via phone and Skype. See their website if interested in taking part: (


Also now you can see sample pages from the book on this website as a few people said this would be helpful. Look under ‘USING THE BOOK’

Meanwhile... some utterly lovely feedback comments to share. Happy mom:

...She has created this resource which I really believe will be a game changer for you guys...(sent to sister in Alberta)

It REALLY, REALLY is helping already (me, for starters. It is amazing how little I recall and how challenging it is having my own math struggles but needing to help my kids! That is what I didn't count on so much - how much it helped ME!)

Seriously! We've worked while waiting on the ferry, waiting for a siblings guitar lesson to end, and at home. All three. One page at a time. My 15 year old said ,'Wow, I can't believe that I didn't know that I was always mixing up the definition for Product....etc. So this is going to be a critical aspect in terms of math reparations!

#bridgethegapmath #gamechanger