Proofreading 2

To keep the books in a series looking like they go together, I use each finished book as the starting template for the next one. That way, all my paragraphs use the same fonts, all headings are the same size, and the titles line up on the cover.

It’s a handy publishing trick that saves time and keeps everything looking right.

Until it doesn’t.

Continue reading Proofreading 2

Proofreading

Still working on the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book. I got a paperback proof from Amazon, which is not my primary printer but could print it faster.

The graphics look better than the first time around. Success there.

So now I’m reading through and trying to catch any of the little errors (or sometimes not so little!) that managed to sneak past all the rounds of editing.

There are always errors. It’s like trying to get all the burrs out of the dog’s coat this time of year. No matter how hard you work at it, you’ll always miss a few…

Limited Time: If You Missed the Kickstarter

Do you still want a chance at the Kickstarter book deals? Or did a friend of yours miss out?

I’ve had a couple of requests from people who missed the campaign deadline but still wanted to order a book. So for a limited time, I’m taking direct orders at the Kickstarter price.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Kickstarter page and read through the pledge levels on the sidebar. Decide which level you want to buy.
  2. Send me a direct message through Kickstarter, or come back to the blog and use the contact form here.
  3. I’ll reply with details on how to order directly through Paypal.

This offer will expire in about a week — whenever Kickstarter finishes processing all the pledges and sends me their paperwork. So if you want to make an order, do it quickly.

The Problem with Books These Days

For an indie business, weekends are just another workday. But I suppose with the pandemic and so many people working at home, perhaps that’s true of everyone these days.

I finished the index work on Prealgebra & Geometry Games, and I think I might have the book layout under control. Time to order a proof copy.

I can get an instant digital proof. It looks just like the file I already have on my computer. But the physical book is a whole different thing from a computer file. There are always surprises.

So I want to see a real proof — an actual paperback copy — before I release a book to readers. Wouldn’t you?

And that may be a problem.

Continue reading The Problem with Books These Days

It’s Almost Gone

“Denise’s books are always the first math books I recommend to parents. I have used them both with co-ops and at home, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her latest book, Prealgebra & Geometry Games, because there is SUCH a need for games at this level! I could even scale down many of the games for my second grader. Middle school moms and those with math loving kids of any age, check this out!”

—Casey Ogg Maupin
Big Juicy Conversations about Math (Facebook group)

UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)

Continue reading It’s Almost Gone

Journaling Pages

This afternoon, I’ve been working on the printable pdf math activity booklets I’ll be sending out as stretch goals to the backers of my Math You Can Play Kickstarter campaign.

Some of the booklets include dot grid pages for student journaling.

I love dot grid pages for writing because I can start a line anywhere on the page, and the dots help me keep things in line. (They’re also great for doodling.)

As students wrestle their thoughts into shape and create explanations, they do the same sort of work that mathematicians do every day. It’s difficult for children (or anyone) to pin down a thought and put it into words. But it’s great practice for life.

Journaling is a great practice for adult learners, too — and don’t we all want to be lifelong learners?

So I thought I’d share the journaling pages with you all, in case you’d like to get your children writing about math. There are three styles, ranging from plain to ornate parchment. Enjoy!

Download the Journaling Pages

UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)

Language and Math

Still working on my Prealgebra & Geometry Games book. I’m amazed at how much of learning math is really about language.

With the current layout, the book will be 250+ pages long, depending on how the index turns out. A total of 41 games plus four math investigation activities. I’ve defined more than 100 vocabulary words — so averaging more than two new math words per game.

Of course, several of these are words (or at least concepts) students will have learned before. But a large part of prealgebra is consolidating previous ideas and mastering their names (sum, quotient, factor, multiple, etc.) before moving on to apply them in algebra class.

But it’s not all review! There’s a cool game about polar coordinates, a rabbit trail into combinatorics, and plenty of other challenges to keep students learning.

And plenty of clear definitions for adult readers who have long ago forgotten all the math terms they learned in school.

Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School is scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.

How to Draw Minecraft Blocks

Running out of time on my Math You Can Play Kickstarter, so I better get to work on that Kickstarter Special Edition math-art book I promised to all the backers as a bonus reward.

Today I’m working on the Isometric Drawing and Impossible Figures section, because my co-op math classes had so much fun learning how to draw those.

Here’s a starter image on how to draw Minecraft blocks. At first I called them “isometric blocks” — but changing the name to “Minecraft” made the students really excited to learn. I’m not sure whether I like the pencil sketch, or if I should remake the illustrations on the computer…

Key steps:

  1. Make a Y.
  2. Turn it into an M.
  3. Slant down for the bottom.
  4. Slant up for the top.
Student drawings from my co-op classes.

The most common problem for beginners is that they try to make the base straight. They know a block can sit on a table, so the bottom has to be flat, right? But once students get a feel for how it goes, they can really take off and have fun.

UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)

Behind the Scenes with the Index Edit

Gel pens are wonderful for editing because they show up so well against the manuscript text. Each pass gets a new color. The picture above is the 5th cycle through my Prealgebra & Geometry Games index, this time with purple ink.

When I printed the output from cycle #4, everything looked so neat in three columns with alphabet headers in place. I thought, “This is almost done!”

Moral: Don’t judge an index by how nice it looks.

Still, it’s also not as bad as the marked-up pages make it seem. Only a few of those will be major tweaks. (Like, how did we not notice that the Jack Lyon quote got left out of the reference section?!)

Plenty of work to go, but the end is in sight…

Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School is scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.

Still Working on the Index

With the less-than-help of my daughter’s cat, I’ve made it through several cycles of editing my Prealgebra & Geometry index. If you’re curious about the process, you may enjoy my behind-the-scenes peek at How to DIY a Nonfiction Index.

There’s yet a ways to go, but it’s starting to look like what I want. The index includes game listings by category: card games, pencil and paper games, cooperative games, solitaires, etc.

One of the entries is “Games, Complete List of.”

So I counted…

Officially, the book features 41 games that help prepare students for high school math by playing with number properties, mixed operations, integers, algebraic functions, coordinate geometry, and more.

But when I counted all the official game listings plus all the game variations that were different enough to have their own names — 62 games.

Wow!

Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School is scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.