The Natural Genius of Ants -- New Middle Grades Novel about Family, Friends, Loss, Ants & More with Ant Craft & Activity Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Summertime always brings ants. Whether you are picnicking, gardening or have them in your house, ants seem to be everywhere in the summer. Today I am going to share a new middle grade novel about family, friends, loss, and learning about forgiveness with a little biology lesson on ants sprinkled in. The book is The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley. I am also sharing a round-up of ant crafts and activities to go with the book.

Exploring Pi with a Fractal & Pi Activity Round-Up


I really wanted to do something with pi for artwork in my classroom plus would love a good pi activity. I struggled with this one. I have seen the pi skyline like this one over at What Do We Do All Day? It is fun but not quite what I am looking for. There are different pi artworks if you google "pi art" but most is based on the digits of pi. To be honest I do not believe in having kids memorize the digits of pi, so much of the artwork is not my thing. As I was searching for ideas, I came across this YouTube video that intrigued me. I decided to make the "fractal" that has an area of pi! It is a spin from the Sierpinski Carpet, Menger Sponge, and the Wallis Sieve. Now fractals are supposed to be infinite, but I cannot draw them this way. I am working on taking this fractal to the third level. If you were able to go on infinitely the area of this picture would be pi. 

Roe vs. Wade Overturned--why it matters to all Americans


Normally I try to stay away from politics here and in my life. I am a liberal married to a conservative and I have to say since 2016 our marriage has been tough. I only have a few things I truly care about when it comes to politics. I truly believe and will fight for equal rights for all. Having been a woman in a male dominated subject I have experienced discrimination firsthand. Being a woman in America is tough. I truly believe we all have a #metoo story. But when a white man who talks derogatory about women and people of other races was elected President, the country was torn, and the truth is I am not sure it can recover. The man did not want only to be President, he wanted to be ruler of the world and he is still pushing his agenda. If you don't know what I'm talking about I highly suggest you watch the January 6th Hearings and go back and watch all of them. The election of 2020 was tough and made worse by many things, but the truth is on October 27, 2020, as a liberal woman I told my conservative husband, congratulations your side has won. Of course, my husband does not agree with me. He truly believed for quite a while that the election was stolen. He no longer believes that. But on that day, I knew what our future held. I knew yesterday would happen. I was told by many that there was no way they would touch Roe vs. Wade. They were very wrong, and I truly believe they will regret ever voting for the man who wants to rule the world. 

The unthinkable happened. Yesterday the stacked Supreme Court overturned a law. Not any law but a law the Supreme Court put in place in 1972. A law women fought for and a law women will fight for once again. Now no matter where you stand on abortion it does not matter. No one has won by this overturned law. Personally, I realize that by outlawing any medical procedure that can save a life (yes, abortions can save a mother's life), the Supreme Court has now made it so private decisions between a person and their doctor may no longer remain private. Yes, the privacy of every American can now be brought to the government to decide. You can no longer expect the right to privacy with your health matters. Because if someone does not agree with your decision, they can now use the precedence of this overturning of a LAW to make your decision one that should be decided by the government. 

Now I have read many things about pro-life people being about the babies. However, let us be honest here--the abortion issue is NOT about the babies for the government. If it was about the babies then pre- and post-natal care would be free, delivering a baby would be free, meeting with a lactation specialist would be free, there would be at least a year of paid parental leave for both parents, there would be free preschool. The list can go on. There also would not be the misses by overworked social workers for the foster care program because each foster child would have their own social worker, or each social worker would only be in charge of a very small number of kids. No, by overturning Roe vs. Wade the Supreme Court has put it back to the states to determine whether a woman can have an abortion. Now let's just remember gun control is also controlled by the state governments. The states have not been doing a great job keeping kids alive when it comes to guns. We have decades of mass shootings happening at schools to show us this. The states that are making abortion illegal are taking back control over women. Honestly if you are female and live in one of these states, I hope you vote out the awful, sexist politicians and if you can't move!! The white man is afraid. They are afraid of the people of color asking for more rights. They are afraid of the women asking for rights. They are afraid they are going to lose their power as white men. And the truth is they are and should. White men should not be treated any differently than any other person. Most white men do NOT realize they are, but they are. 

When Texas passed its new abortion law, doctors had to turn women away from care. These women were losing their babies, but the doctors could not (and still cannot) help the women get through the difficulties until the women's bodies are already miscarrying the babies. Now let's be honest women can travel to another state for the abortion. However, the woman needs money to travel and has to be healthy enough to travel!! Everyone has heard the horrible stories about late term abortions. But let's be honest, most late term abortions are not because the woman has decided she doesn't want the baby. Most are due to a health issue for either the mother or the baby. Now the states that are making abortions illegal are making it illegal to help these mothers live and survive a bad pregnancy. Many of these women already have their nurseries set up and are picking out names for the baby. They do NOT want their babies to die. They are morning their children and their bodies are suffering in ways that doctors can help ease, but they are not allowed to in some states.  This is what making abortions illegal. 

Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions. They will still happen whether the woman travels or has an illegal one. Have you heard the stories of the illegal abortions? Perhaps you have read about Margaret Sanger? If not you should. Years ago I shared the book, She Takes a Standby Michael Elsohn Ross. It shares the story of Margaret Sanger and her fight to educate women about contraception and abortion. The illegal abortions kill more because not only the baby dies but often the mother does or she loses her ability to have future children. This is what overturning Roe vs. Wade will do. 

Overturning Roe vs. Wade is not about the babies. It is about white men trying to hold onto power. They realize in our melting pot of a country the white men are losing control. They are not willing to give it up, but they seem to forget that women are the backbone of the country. We are the mothers, teachers and more. Women need to stand up and take back our power. This is far from over. The war has begun again.

Oh, and for those celebrating the overturn please note that this Supreme Court has set precedent for laws to be overturned whenever the court sways in one way. Today our court is conservative, but this conservative court just came in and overturned a 50-year-old law. This means no law is safe. It is now precedent for the change of court to get rid of laws they don't like. Since three of the six justices that overturned this law were put there by a president who wants to rule the world, I truly hope everyone in the country realizes what a scary place America is now. 

Please make sure you vote! Vote in every election and primary. Make sure you know where the person you are voting for truly stands. Do NOT let these white men maintain the power. If we cannot vote them out we will have to get more drastic and I'm not ready to stop taking care of my family but if we cannot vote them out women will have to take a stand and show these backwards men who really has power.

Pythagorean Theorem Fun -- DIY Mathematical Art


As I continue to think about my new job in September and plan for what I want to hang in my classroom, I am exploring the Pythagorean Theorem. The Pythagorean Theorem is probably one of the most well-known or well-remembered theorem in math. It is often taught in both algebra and geometry. In algebra it lends to working with exponents and roots and in geometry with triangles. I have seen memes saying how people did not use the Pythagorean theorem today, but I have also been told by many people that they have used it in their lives from building a new deck and woodwork to programming and more. Although math has real life applications and was mostly discovered to explain the world, much of math is taught to help develop the brain of our children. In high school the brain is just beginning to truly develop its logic skills and math is huge in helping with this. The Pythagorean theorem also is mentioned (incorrectly) in the Wizard of Oz. Yes, it is this famous!

Although it is named for the Greek mathematician, Pythagoras, it was known throughout the world before his time. It is referenced in Ancient Egypt and Babylon (around 1900 BC). Apparently, it did not become as well known until Pythagoras stated it. There are many proofs of this theorem and some of them like the one below is a visual proof.

Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves -- middle grades novel that shares a story about the homefront during World War II


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What have you learned about World War II? I know we all have heard about Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. We all know about the concentration camps and the evil that happened in them. You may have heard about the Japanese internment camps here in America. Over the years I have shared many books for different ages about World War II as well as posts about heroes of the time. However, I personally had not heard about the U-boats that threatened the East coast during the war. Today I am sharing a middle grades novel that shares a story based on some of the events on the East coast during World War II. The book is Louisa Jane and the Nazis in the Waves by L.M. Elliott. It goes beyond just sharing about the war. This book also includes mental health issues, family, and grief.

Family Legacy Maps -- a Piece of Your Ancestry on the Wall


Disclosure: I was sent my own Family Legacy Map in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How much of your ancestry do you know? Do you use one of the on-line services like Ancestry or Family Search? I always find it so interesting. Well, now there is a new company, Family Legacy Maps, that takes your information and photos and creates a family map for you! My friend, Aaron Carapella of Tribal Nations Maps (see my reviews), and Jon Vanderveer cofounded this new company. Can I tell you how neat it is?

The Golden Quest -- Review & Giveaway and Compound Interest Activity Ideas


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book to write this review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and David Delisle and will receive a small stipend for this review. All opinions are my own.

What have you taught your child(ren) about money? It can be a hard topic for some. The other day I was having a conversation about how it is so different for this generation. When we were young, we used money. We got money. We earned money. We saved money. We spent money. These days almost everything is purchased with plastic. We order online and use a credit card. Most people pay with credit card just about everywhere. I know I often don't have that much cash on me. Our credit world is teaching kids a different lesson than we learned, and they may not truly understand that we have to pay for the purchases when the credit card bill comes. Today I am going to share a fun graphic novel style book for kids that helps teach about money. It is The Golden Quest by David Delisle and illustrated by Travis Hanson. 

Origami for Geometry Class with Marbled Patterns Origami Paper


Disclosure: I was sent a pack of this origami paper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

As I mentioned I am returning to the high school math classroom in the fall! One of my goals is to bring more hands-on activities as well as projects to the class. One of the classes I am pretty sure I will be teaching is geometry. I am so excited to be back in the geometry classroom. I am hoping to use origami in the classroom and definitely want to have an origami project in the geometry class. This year's teacher did this, so I am working off her idea and adding my own spin. Today I am going to share two origami tutorials all using a beautiful pack of Origami Paper 500 Sheets Marbled Patterns 6-inch paper. This particular pack of paper is being released in July 2022, but there is a similar pack of 200 sheets already available.