Additional Math Pages & Resources

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five Steps to Acing Your Interview without Having to Lie

We've all been warned at some point: "Never lie in a job interview!"

But Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of the online job board Workopolis, says, "that's simply not realistic." Some half-truths, exaggerations, or white lies on your résumé, application, or in an interview are okay, he says.

I beg to disagree. Most jobs are simply not worth having to lie. And if those half-truths, exaggerations, or white lies are discovered later, the job itself (not to mention future recommendations) could be at risk.

At Excel Math, we place a high value on integrity both on and off the job. We expect the people we hire to avoid half-truths, exaggerations, and white lies completely.

Here are five steps to acing your next interview while avoiding even a white lie.

Begin the interview with a confident handshake, look the interviewer in the eye, and smile. Sit up straight, act interested, and show that you appreciate the opportunity to meet in person. Your attitude will convey that you value the time the interviewer is graciously giving you. Avoid any semblance of a white lie or half truth such as:

1. The people at my last company were the best . . .
Although you don't want to bad-mouth your boss and coworkers, you also don't need to lie about them. If you had to overcome some obstacles and hurdles at your last job, be sure to share how you did that.

Without mentioning office politics or taking sides, point out how you handled a complaining coworker or customer or motivated an employee to take on more responsibility.

For example, when one of my new hires came to me complaining about another worker in a different department, I asked her to go to him directly and let him know how she would like him to behave differently. Then, if things didn't change, we could talk about other steps she could take to find a solution.

Simply complaining about someone won't make things improve. Much better to talk face to face when problems arise.

2. I don't really have any weaknesses . . .
You don't need to make up a weakness if you are asked to share one. Simply explain that one of your weaknesses is something you're working to turn into a strength.

Then show how your attention to detail, for example, can take more time up front but resulted in cost savings when you found a mistake on the print job before it went to press.

Read more . . .

Let us know how you prepare for an interview. Share your tips and suggestions in the comment box below.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Easy Options for Summer Math Improvement

Higher Order Word Problems for Math Students

Using Number Lines in the Math Class
Financial Awareness for Students
Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

Monday, June 22, 2015

Visit Excel Math in Houston

This year the CAMT Convention will be held June 24-26 in Houston, Texas and Bob and Brad will be there. The Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching is focusing on the theme, "Gearing Up for Change."

Stop by booth #424 and see the changes we've made in the Excel Math lessons with our new Texas Teacher Editions for Kindergarten through Grade 6.
The exhibit hall for CAMT opens at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday in the George Brown Convention Center. Exhibits open at 9:00 a.m. on Friday so you can get an earlier start. You can join Bob and Brad to take a look at our new Texas Teacher Editions for Kindergarten through Grade 6 and take home an Excel Math executive pen.

For a more in-depth look and practical suggestions for teaching to the TEKS, be sure to attend Bob's presentation:

Strategies to Meet the New TEKS Requirements: 7 Proven Methods
Wednesday June 24 at 10am - Room 381BC
Thursday June 25 at 2:30pm - Room 381BC

He's offering it twice so you can fit it into your hectic conference schedule. During this session, attendees will learn tips to engage and reach all students, and emphasize Critical Thinking instead of fill-in-the-blank answers for teaching to the the new TEKS.

Read more . . .

You may also enjoy these articles:

Easy Options for Summer Math Improvement

Higher Order Word Problems for Math Students

Using Number Lines in the Math Class

Financial Awareness for Students
Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lady Liberty Math

On June 17, 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor. It had been shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases as a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America. 

The copper and iron statue was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland. 

The lady holding aloft the flaming torch became known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name.

The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence; however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed.

The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Let your students calculate how long ago the statue arrived in the U.S. (2015 - 1885  = 130 years)

The Mint Act of 1792, which created the United States Mint, specified that certain design features appear on legal tender coins, including the quarter. One side of the coin had to include the year in which it was minted, an image that symbolized liberty and the inscription LIBERTY. The reverse (tails) of the quarter featured an eagle and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington's birthday, a profile of President George Washington's head replaced Lady Liberty.
Statue of Liberty Coin: United States Mint image

The Statue of Liberty coin was first struck on October 18, 1985 with production continuing through 1986.

The Statue of Liberty gold coin was authorized in commemoration of the centennial of the Statue of Liberty.

The design of the coin features the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

 The coin is inscribed: Ellis Island Gateway to America, Liberty, In God We Trust, and 1986. 

The reverse of the Statue of Liberty coin (shown below) features a design of Liberty's torch and inscriptions.

The coin is inscribed: United States of America, Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Learning to Breathe Free, E Pluribus Unum, and One Dollar.
Liberty Coin Reverse: United States Mint image
In Excel Math, students get lots of practice counting coins and calculating money amounts. 
New to Excel Math?
Visit our website at for samples.

For 40 years, Excel Math has been building student confidence and success with math. Have an Excel Math story to share? Send us your story using the Comments box below. We love hearing from parents, teachers and students around the country!

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Easy Options for Summer Math Improvement

Use Excel Math Summer lessons for students who . . .
  • Need to make up work and/or review math concepts from the previous year
  • May need extra practice to be ready for a fall math class—a few hours per week with Excel Math over the summer might be the answer
  • Want to bridge the math achievement gap over the summer and prepare for entering the next grade level in the fall
Common Core Summer Teacher Edition
Choose your Excel Math Teacher Edition with answer keys:
Common Core Edition 
Texas (TEKS aligned—STAAR ready)
Standard (Non Common Core)
Then order the Summer Individual Student Set for that grade level.

Excel Math Summer School is affordable — just $8.00 per student plus $15.00 for the Teacher Edition with answer keys, stretches (brain teasers), hands-on activities, teaching tips and printable resources for 30 lessons plus tests.

Order the grade level your student will be entering in the fall (Grade 1 Summer prepares students to enter Grade 1).

Excel Math full year edition costs only $1.00/month per student

If you plan to continue using Excel Math in the fall, order the Full Year Individual Student Set for your student (instead of summer school) and the Full Year Teacher Edition for the Answer Key. Have your child begin the lessons over the summer (completing up to 30 lessons) and then continue through the rest of the lessons and tests during the school year.

Excel Math is just $12.00 per student for an entire year of lessons and tests—only $1.00 per month for each student.

Build successful, confident students who actually enjoy doing math!

Try Excel Math and watch your students succeed. Here's what one mom told us:
"My children have been using Excel Math Standard Edition at home for the last two years to supplement the math curriculum they have at school (which isn't very effective). This year they took the Common Core Math pretest for the first time. We had been warned that our children would probably not score very well on these tests. However, my fourth grader scored 83% and my third grader (who is not a math genius) scored 98%! When people asked me if he was a math whiz, I had to tell them, "Not at all. It was the Excel Math Lesson Sheets!"
We also offer online practice for basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). And this link is free to our Excel Math students.

Find your grade level with our FREE Excel Math Placement Test

Not sure which grade level to purchase? Use our free Excel Math Placement Test in English and in Spanish to find the correct grade level for your student.

Visit our online store or give us a call to order. Questions? Call us toll free at 866-866-7026 Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. West Coast time. During these times a friendly person will answer the phone, never a machine!

For 40 years, Excel Math has been building student confidence and success with math. Have an Excel Math story to share? Send us your story using the Comments box below. We love hearing from parents, teachers and students around the country!

You may also like these articles:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Visit Excel Math at TEPSA in Austin

If you'll be traveling to Austin from June 10-12, be sure to stop by the TEPSA Convention and say hi to Bob and Brad in the Excel Math booth.

Just head over to the Atrium—they'll be in booth #11,and would love a chance to meet you in person and give you an Excel Math pen.

While you're there, have some chocolate and take a look at the latest Excel Math materials for teaching to the new TEKS.

Texas Teacher Editions are now available for Kindergarten through Grade 6.

TEKS aligned and STAAR ready, these new Teacher Editions include new TEKS objectives plus:
  • discussion suggestions
  • new teaching ideas
  • new manipulatives and reproducible patterns
  • various problem-solving techniques
  • added rigor and
  • more emphasis on those concepts new to students in each grade level.
Excel Math Texas Teacher Editions—TEKS aligned & STAAR ready

With our new Texas Teacher Editions, Excel Math is now current with the 2014-15 Texas Math TEKS. We do not have a personal financial literacy component, but we have built into the lessons lots of practice with coins, money, making change, etc.)

Our Grades 2 - 6 Texas Teacher Editions include a reproducible Budget Worksheet to help students develop a system for keeping and using financial records and to learn to balance a budget when expenses exceed income.

Within each grade level, we correlate the Excel Math Lessons, Stretches, Activities and Exercises to each Texas standard. You can see correlations by lesson number beginning about page 9 or 10.

Take a look at the new Texas grade level correlations and sample lessons for Kindergarten through Grade 6. Click on the colorful sample bars on the web page to choose your grade level(s). Scroll down the web page to see the correlations and click on the round buttons:

Excel Math is affordable — only $1.00/month per student

Excel Math is just $12.00 per student for an entire year of lessons and tests—only $1.00 per month for each student.

Try Excel Math with your adopted curriculum and watch your students succeed.

Jasper ISD used us for the first time last year and their 4th grade went from 48% passing to 68% passing the STAAR. That's a 42% increase!

Reserve your cost-effective 
Professional Development seminar today

Our vice-president Bob would be glad to provide you and your colleagues with a couple of hours of inservice training with Excel Math (at minimal cost to cover travel expenses), once you start using the program. One of his seminars specifically addresses best practices for Transitioning to the new TEKS using Excel Math.

Additionally the in-service includes how to effectively blend Excel Math with an adopted core curriculum for maximum instruction. Feel free to call Bob, visit him in the booth or send him an email:

You can find more information about Bob's presentations on our website:

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Monday, June 1, 2015

5 Ways to Bridge the Achievement Gap Over Summer

Summer is a time of fun, sun, relaxing and family activities. Often it also becomes a time for putting away the books and forgetting about the school year routine.

According to a 2011 report from the RAND Corporation, by the end of the three-month summer break, most kids have forgotten about a month's worth of knowledge from the previous school year.

However, studies have shown that students who keep their brain cells active over the summer months are less likely to experience learning loss during that time.

According to some researchers, these students appear to be better prepared to begin the new school year on the right track.

School districts around the country are working with outside organizations to improve summer school for students and to curb summer learning loss in reading and math. (National Journal: The Reinvention of Summer School)

Apparently there are some things we can do to avoid the summer slump and bridge the achievement gap while students are out of school.

Here are five fun ways to keep your students' brains active over the summer:
  1. Plug in time for reading every day or two.
    This can be silent reading as well as reading aloud. Let your student read to you and then take a turn reading aloud yourself.

    Spend up to 30 minutes each day reading silently together as a family. You may want to celebrate a month of reading by taking a trip to your favorite book store or to the library to check out even more reading materials!
  2. Do some menu planning and shopping together. Let your student calculate how much the  total will be as you add items to the cart. Compare costs of similar items that are packaged in different quantities or sizes and find out which one is cheaper per unit.Plan recipes that need to be doubled to feed your family (or double the recipe so you have leftovers to freeze for another meal). Make a grocery list of the items you will need to purchase and help your student estimate their cost. Subtract any coupons or store discounts to find an approximate total before you shop. Students who are learning percents can also calculate the tax. After you get the receipt, have your child calculate the difference in the estimate and the actual cost.
  3. Solve puzzles together as a family. Try your hand at crosswords, mazes, word searches, logic puzzles, etc. Don't forget to include pencil puzzles and board games as well as games on your computer or phones. Make sure these are group efforts and not just solitary ways to avoid other family members.

    Have your student choose 3-4 words that describe the summer and then make up a word search incorporating these words. Copy the word search and let the creator make an answer key. Then let the other family members and friends try their hand at solving the puzzle. See who can find and circle the most words.
  4. Play games such as chess, Scrabble® or Yahtzee® as well as games using words and numbers (e.g., number Bingo). Get exercise with outdoor games, swimming, biking, hiking, fishing, and surfing or using a subskate or boogie board. Younger children can play "Sink or Float," guessing whether various items will sink or float and then placing them in a tub of water to find out who guessed correctly.
  5. Plant a garden — even a window garden or indoor herb garden. After digging a hole or finding a clay pot, add potting soil or garden soil and then seeds or a small plant. Vegetables or herbs are especially fun because they can be used in your menu planning. Let your child keep a calendar to show when the garden was first planted, which days it was watered, and when growth was first noticed. Take pictures of the various stages of growth and measure plant as it grows. Young children can help water the plant using an eye dropper so it doesn't get over watered.
Now that we've given you a few ideas, continuing brainstorming with your family. You may want to set up a lemonade stand, visit museums, go to the zoo—the summer enrichment possibilities are endless. 

Order Excel Math Summer School so your student can review the previous year's math concepts and get ready for fall.

See samples from Excel Math Summer School…

New to Excel Math?
Take a look at these ready-to-use lessons for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade plus lots of math resources and teacher helps at

You might also like these articles:

Higher Order Math Word Problems

Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions