Playful Math at a Nice Discount: Cyber Monday in Advance

Are you looking for new math activities to play with your kids?

I just added several new ebooks to my publisher’s online store, including the exclusive pre-publication edition of my new book Word Problems from Literature: Help Students Master Problem Solving in Elementary to Middle School Math. You can preorder the book through your favorite online bookshop — or you can get it today at our store, in all digital formats.

And through the end of November, you can get 20% off anything in our store by using the coupon code SALE2022 at checkout.

While you’re there, be sure to check out our new collections!

You can buy resources for problem-solving in the Word Problems collection, including the 97-minute audio commentary with special behind-the-scenes tips and tidbits:

Or explore the wealth of resources for creative mathematical investigations in our Math Journaling collection:

And of course, be sure to check out the free books and discount bundles. You can even pick up my daughter’s epic fantasy adventure, The Riddled Stone.

But don’t delay! The special discount code SALE2022 expires at the end of November.

Limited Time Book Deals

Do you want to help your children master problem-solving skills?

Check out my temporary online store for anyone who missed the Kickstarter.

Through the end of September, you can place a preorder for the early-release edition of Word Problems from Literature, along with the Word Problems Student Workbook and exclusive Audio Commentary (or any of my other books or printable math activity guides).

I’ll lock down the preorder store when I’m ready to send the Kickstarter order to my printer.

Books will be delivered with the Kickstarter orders: Digital items in October, physical books by the end of December.

Shop Now ❯

Final Countdown for Word Problems from Literature

There’s just over 24 hours left to get Word Problems from Literature and the Word Problems Student Workbook on Kickstarter.

Don’t miss out!

Get It Now

The Kickstarter campaign is roaring along. We hit our funding goal and plenty more, paying for two extra chapters (one on decimals and the other on percents, rates, and proportional reasoning) plus a special section on making the transition to algebra.

That means Word Problems from Literature will truly be a thorough guide to mastering problem-solving in elementary and middle school math.

And we’ve got plenty of goodies besides the book:

  • The Case of the Mysterious Story Problem: A short treatise on how to solve math problems, written directly to the student by the master of deduction, Sherlock Holmes. Includes the printable poster, “Be a Math Detective” in full color and ink-saving black & white.
  • Audio Commentary (and annotated pdf): An exclusive mp3 recording to play on your phone or other device, with additional math tips and behind-the-scenes tidbits.
  • Make Your Child (or Yourself) a Character: Your child can be a character in a prealgebra story problem. Only 3 slots remaining: captive prince/princess (or the dragon), fantasy warrior king/queen, or a starship captain (or the ship’s engineer).
  • Math You Can Play: All my math games, journaling resources, and other playful math books are available as add-on purchases in ebook or paperback format.

So many great ways to play math with your kids!

Get Yours Before Time Runs Out

And as a bonus, anyone who pledges in these final days will get an extra printable activity guide: Diffy Inception. It’s a great way to get kids playing with fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals.

Why I Love This Book

To everyone supporting my Kickstarter project so far: thank you ever so much! We’ve blown past our funding target, and we’re now working on the Stretch Goals to see how many extras we can add to improve the book.

If you haven’t backed the project yet, check out what you’re missing:

Visit the Kickstarter

Why I love Word Problems from Literature

As a math coach, I love teaching adults and children how to learn math through play. And I’ve written several books full of games and activities to help families play math together.

I show parents and teachers how to look at math with fresh eyes. To explore the adventure of learning math as mental play, which is the essence of creative problem-solving. Mathematics is not just rules and rote memory. Math is a game, playing with ideas.

But at heart, I’ve always been a fiction fan — especially fantasy fiction. And this book, Word Problems from Literature, lets me bring that love of story to the surface.

This is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve had so much fun with this new edition: adding stories, writing make-your-own-problem prompts, sneaking extra teaching tips into the worked-out solutions, creating an almost-magical guide to helping kids learn math.

I’ve taken a few screenshots to let you peek inside the new edition. If you like what you see, come over to the Kickstarter and order your copy today.

Why Word Problems?

Wow! My Word Problems from Literature Kickstarter is just barreling along. I love seeing how many people are interested in a playful approach to teaching math.

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But you might wonder: Why do I care so much about word problems?

In many textbooks, word problems are an afterthought tacked on to the end of a math lesson.

For me, it’s just the opposite. Word problems are the key part of a lesson, because that’s where children come face-to-face with the meanings of math concepts.

The Key to Learning Math

If we want our children to learn real math, we need to offer them plenty of problems to solve. A child may work through several pages of number calculations by rote, following memorized steps, but a good problem demands more thought.

A story problem puts flesh on the abstract bones of arithmetic. Word problems encourage children to ponder what it means for one thing to be bigger than another, or smaller, or faster, or slower, or made up of several parts.

Word Problems from Literature will feed your child’s mathematical imagination with story problems inspired by classic books, from 2nd-grade stories based on Mr. Popper’s Penguins to prealgebra stumpers inspired by The Lord of the Rings.

And when you finish my puzzles, I’ll show you how to create your own word problems from literature, using your children’s favorite story worlds.

The Trouble with Word Problems

Most young children solve math problems by the flash-of-insight method: They hear the problem, and they know by instinct how to solve it.

This is fine for simple problems like “Four kittens played with a yarn ball. Two more kittens came to join the fun. Then how many kittens were playing with the yarn ball?”

When problems grow more difficult, however, that flash of insight becomes less reliable, so we find our children fidgeting with their paper or staring out the window. They complain, “I don’t know what to do. It’s too hard.”

Too often, the frustrated child concludes, “I’m just not good at math.”

But the truth is that nobody is good at math, if you define “good at math” to mean they can see the answer instantly. Here’s a more useful definition: You’re good at math if you have problem-solving tools and know how to use them.

And that is something everyone can learn.

Word Problems from Literature and the Word Problems Student Workbook will show you how. Order your copies today!

Visit the Kickstarter

Kickstarter Loves My New Book!

To everyone who has supported my Kickstarter project: thank you ever so much! We funded in only five hours, and the Kickstarter people honored us with a “Projects We Love” tag.

If you haven’t backed the project yet, check out what you’re missing:

Visit the Kickstarter

Now it’s on to the Stretch Goals, where each new level we unlock will pay for a higher-quality book in the end. Your support will bring into reality a “Be a Math Detective” motivational poster for all backers, additional illustrations for the main text and student workbook, and even new chapters on solving problems with decimals, ratios, percents, and more.

It’s a collaborative project — how high can we go?

Share the Word Problems from Literature project with your friends, and let’s spread the joy of learning math the creative way!

Launch Day! Act Now To Get the Earlybird Bonus

And so it begins: Word Problems from Literature is LIVE on Kickstarter…

Check It Out

PLUS, for everyone who supports the project today, you get a free bonus book with one of my best-loved playful math activities for all ages: “How Crazy Can You Make It?”

The more backers who join the project early — especially on this first day — the more likely it is that the Kickstarter algorithms will kick in and share the campaign with even more people.

Let’s show the whole world how much fun it can be to play around with math!

Go to the Kickstarter

I’ve Never Done This Before…

My newest playful math book, Word Problems from Literature (2nd Edition) launches next week. I can hardly wait!

Get Notified When We Go Live
(free Kickstarter account required)

This Kickstarter project will be a bit different from the ones I’ve run in the past. Here’s a quick peek at three new things to come.

This is going to be so much fun.

Bonus Book for Early Backers

To have a successful campaign, we need plenty of people to back the project early. The more supporters we get — especially on the first day — the more likely the Kickstarter service folks will help spread the news for us.

So this time around, I’m offering a special bonus math activity guide for everyone who joins the campaign at any pledge level during the first 48 hours.

This is one of my favorite open-ended number play activities, which works with students from elementary to high school. (And aren’t those dogs on the cover just the cutest?)

There will be additional sign-up bonuses each week of the campaign, and early backers get them all. Whether you pledge on day 1 or day 21, your pledge won’t be charged until the end of the campaign, so join early to lock in your bonus perks.

Make Your Child a Character

“Tuckerization” is when a writer names one of the characters in their story after a real person. For the first time ever, I’m offering a tuckerization reward level.

Your child can be a character in one of the prealgebra story problems. I’ve got 4 slots available:

  • rogue space smuggler
  • captive prince/princess (or the dragon, if you prefer)
  • fantasy warrior king/queen
  • a starship captain or the ship’s engineer

The first backer to contact me gets the first choice of character.

Book Club Workshop

Join together with four friends to study playful math. When you buy five (or more) copies of Word Problems from Literature, you can schedule a private, 60- to 90-minute Zoom meeting between me and your group.

We can chat about teaching or about any of my playful math resources. Or you can ask me whatever you like about math or homeschooling. It’ll be a blast!

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Can You Help Me?

I’m finishing up my plans for the project and pledge levels for my Word Problems from Literature (2nd Edition) Kickstarter in two weeks. Where did the time go?!

But I need help. Could you please take a few minutes to look over the project page and give me some feedback?

It’s so hard to edit myself because I miss too many mistakes. So having new eyes on the page would be a great help in catching typos and making sure the descriptions make sense and are as clear as possible.

Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see:

There’s a place to enter comments on the right. Or you can email me directly with anything you want to share.

There’s also a Notification link at the top left corner of the page, for anyone who hasn’t yet signed up for Kickstarter to tell you when the project launches.

Thank you so much for the feedback!

Yes, I’d Love To Help. Let’s Go!

Why Kickstarter?

Over the next several weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot about Kickstarter and my Word Problems from Literature project. I’m proud of the book, and I want to spread the news as far and wide as possible.

But I know there are many people out there who don’t know much about crowdfunding platforms, and you may wonder what it’s all about.

So this week, I want to share a few of the things I totally love about Kickstarter and why I use the platform.

(1) It’s the “New World” of publishing.

In the old days, traditional publishing companies paid writers in advance to write the books the publisher wanted to see. In this new world, readers get to choose and support the writers who are creating books you want to read.

(2) Backers get books in advance.

I will publish the books anyway, even if no one supports my project. But through Kickstarter, I can send early-release copies to backers several months before the books are available through normal bookstores.

(3) You get a bundle of cool special perks.

When you buy at a standard bookstore, or even at my publisher’s online store, you get a copy of the book. Period. When you support my work on Kickstarter, I can send you all sorts of bonuses like printable activity guides and a behind-the-scenes audio commentary. What fun!

(4) You can help make a better book.

If the project passes its relatively low funding goal and shoots into Stretch Goal territory, each additional pledge improves the final book. Depending on how high our funding goes, you’ll be helping to pay for extra illustrations or additional chapters. It’s a collaborative project.

Does all that sound good to you?

Then I hope you’ll join me as we take this book over the finish line, covering its production costs in advance of publication and spreading the idea of playful math to a whole world of new readers.

I’ll see you behind the backer wall!

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