Here you will see students as young as 4 and 5 years old doing algebra and "advanced" math, without ever knowing it's supposed to be hard.
You are invited to learn how to use this method...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bases For Practicing Math

Here is a lesson that uses bases for practicing math.

This is again cross teaching or a compound lesson. I am not interested so much in the student memorizing what one number in base ten is in another base, I am interested in the student being able to grasp some basic concepts like numbers are made out of other numbers, a deeper understanding of place value, a deeper understanding of division many times is a number contained in another number--that's basic division.

When we convert from base ten to another base like 2 or 3 IT'S FUN to do. Kids enjoy it if you present it correctly.

This blog post is just to give you some ideas. I'll add more video on this later...I made this video on a lark because a parent was having some trouble explaining division. Play with this a little bit and long division will be a snap. I have lots of other videos on long division and using algebra to teach not only division but the other basic operations as well.   Algebra is just generic math.

This video stops before we get to the repeating decimal. As I was doing this I was thinking too many concepts at a time. Keep it time we come back to this we can take it a step further and see what happens when we divide by sevens or nines...for not finding out how many time one number is contained in a another number with division should become much easier after converting to bases where you have to think about multiplication and subtraction with different numbers. For example converting 100 into base two...we don't need a 128,  but we do 1-64, 1-32, no 16's, no 8's one 4 and no 2's or 1' 1100100. When you are a little kid that's a lot of thinking. But it makes sense and they can see that what they are basically doing is adding 64 to 32 to 4 to get 100...and keeping track with symbols in certain places...that one in the middle of the zeros means one four. Converting it into base three or 4 is also FUN.

I didn't get hung up in the details of notation, but instead focused on focused on the basic concepts.  I assure you when they go do base ten or base x division it will be easier...and again doing division in base x makes "regular" long division easier too.  Repetition is the mother of skill and memory but that doesn't mean you repeat the same thing over and over again. We want them to learn the 45 addends and their multiplication tables....this exercise practices all of that. For the little kids stat out with base two and maybe later do some base three. Do a few easy ones and work your way up.

I often start with base two and then make a table...from x⁰ to x10 across the top (largest on the left to smallest on the right) and then going down the right hand side binary, 3 to 10, 12 and then 16. Just making the table is a great as much as you can without a calculator. Then it's fun to punch a calculator and get the answers, unless you are interested in the students practicing the computation. You might want to do it in stages over several lessons so it doesn't get tedious.

Here are the answers...

This gave me an idea for a password protected page called "solutions."

This post is mostly done, check back there may be more...Winter break is proving very challenging for getting things

Sunday, November 30, 2014

SUPER Stealth Christmas Sale.

Prices for passwords are about to go up.   Have gone up.

The sun is setting on the old prices.

These will be the new prices soon. As you can see prices are going UP. Use the buttons below to lock in your discount.

 New Prices:

Password Options:

$20 A sitewide trail will last about 30 to 90 days and gives you access to everything but the training page. Anywhere it asks for a password other than the training page this password is it.

$27 or $49 A Sitewide password can be bought for 6 months or a year, it expires after one year unless you get a lifetime password which gives unlimited lifetime access to everything via two passwords. Up from $24.

$49 A Training password is only good on the training page, but that one page has hours of training on it...and more will be added. It is good for one year.  Up from $15.

$79 You get both passwords if you buy them together for one low price...sitewide and training...will also offer an installment plan for this so you can make payments. Up from $39

There will be a few more password pages added soon too, geometry and some calc. Plus there are additional vids and pages added to the ones already there.

$249 is the new price for a lifetime get both passwords and they never expire...will also offer an installment plan for this so you can make payments. Up from $100.

Those prices are a still a GREAT DEAL. People are constantly blown away by how much they get for so little money when they are used to paying a lot more for a lot less when it comes to math curriculum for homeschooling. I've been told the training page ALONE  is worth the price of a lifetime password all by itself. I've been told the same about the value of  just a few pages like percentages and sample lessons combined with Raymond's page, Dboyz' page and Sarah's page. There are a whole lot more passwords pages than that, some with books/pdfs too. I've also been told mine is about the best FREE site out there when it comes to explaining math and explaining how to teach math...don't forget you get tons of FREE stuff.

Take advantage of these prices for a few more days.
Not to mention there are several manuals and books there also--all for ridiculously low prices (and some are FREE like this.) 

These LOW PRICES will end SOON
so take advantage of them NOW:


Sale is over.

Too funny. I am getting emails asking if the Lifetime Pass really gives a lifetime of Access to 
LOL! The answer is YES. And yes, it is quite an outrageous deal. 
People are thinking it's 100 bucks for a lifetime pass to either the Sitewide Password Pages OR 100 bucks for life time access to the teacher training.  For 100 bucks you get BOTH, as in two passwords.
Sale is over.

People always ask me what should I get? GO HERE.

Prices even when I have sales will never be this low again.  Even when I have a 50% OFF sale, half off will still be more than these "stealth sale prices" which are the current prices you have been enjoying.  I'm not kidding: these prices end SOON. You will start seeing the buttons on my site and blog change...and shortly this page will be the only place to get the low prices.

*I can't put the plastic on sale because I don't own the plastic. I expect prices will go up again eventually on books and blocks especially as shipping prices continue to increase. A lot of you are waiting for a sale on will let you know if they have a sale and when i tell you it's a real sale for a limited time perhaps this time you will believe me.

**Have a few password protected pages to build vid is already shot and edited and mostly uploaded just have to build the pages one for subtraction to go with the new manual, one on geometry and another on pre calc, and also one on derivatives. Also Series C, Supremely Simple Subtraction will be IS out SOON, it is almost done, just have a few simple edits to do...a full color, easy to understand subtraction manual. 

More on what you get for a password.

Yet more explanation of passwords and training and stuff.

A few testimonials:

"By the way, YOU ARE AWESOME! I actually clapped for you when you explained some concept soooo simply and clearly.It is fantastic!" ~K Ontario, Canada.We are excited for math today!!!  ~amazed parents from all over the globe.First, I wanted to thank you for being out there and for introducing me to the Mortensen Method. I'm a new homeschooler who's been searching for Math under every nook and cranny of the globe. Worksheets I can make. Flashcards I can draw. Concepts and THAT'S something to pay for.

Also, as a believer in the separation of church and state from an educational standpoint, I felt really at home at your House. Thank you for that, too.
EDITFinally, thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning somewhere, somehow, in some side comment that I can no longer find in your fantastic maze of a world the work of Liping Ma. I immediately bought her Knowing & Teaching Elementary Mathematics and have been forever changed as a result. It made me rethink the way EVERY subject is taught, learned and subsequently taught again. I never would have even heard of her if it weren't for you. EDITI am extremely eager to start having my "oh, I'm just not good at math, never was" mind blown. ~PF USA

"I've paid a lot more for a lot less."
~amazed parents from all over the globe.

"Ps. Your parents teacher training is great!" ~EM, UK

"The training is crazy. No one is offering anything like it that I know of...and your price is crazy too." ~JC, CA.

"The amount of stuff you get for the money is crazy."~JJ, New Hampshire.

"Just got the Parent/ Teacher Password.CR wasn't lying when he said 1 page was worth the price. Get it for yourself to learn how to think math." ~KY, USA.

" I really like how you do math. My kids do too! We were having problems and you made math good and happier for us. I sincerely say Thank You from the bottom of my heart." ~CS, Ohio. 

"So, I am absolutely flabbergasted by the stuff I am learning just hanging out in the House of Math like four to five hours (literally) per day! Before the little one gets up, I'm on. Nap time, I'm on. After bedtime, I'm on with toothpicks bracing my eyelids. Even before purchasing the passwords! It's like a crash course re-education, and I am infinitely grateful..."

More Compund Lessons With Base Ten Blocks

Part of what makes this method so effective is the idea of compound lessons. Why learn "one thing at a time"? One thing at a time is great when introducing concepts...but once concepts are understood it's more fun to practice more than one thing at a time, which is why I emphasize compound lessons.  And as you can see using base ten blocks to do it makes math fun.

algebra with base ten blocks, mortensen math, fun math activities
A six year old factors x² + 11x + 30 all by himself and celebrates with his magical math microphone.
People ask me what they should get. Get a combo kit. A set of Multi-Tens and a password or both passwords...and you are good to go. Seriously.  That's it.

In this hour we practiced mostly addition and multiplication but we did activities that were fun to practice them rather than doing worksheets over and over again. Using worksheets to memorize multiplication facts becomes counter productive at some point.
Just building addends over and over again would make math anything but fun. So even with this activity which by itself many kids find fun, we spice it up by racing your brother or mom or who ever happens to be around.  Then we build some pyramids. All kids can benefit from building pyramids, the benefits are manifold. You get fine motor skills, addends which naturally include addition and subtraction skills, and the all important repetition which puts the facts in the memory for instant recall later... 
Here the older boy is feeding his mother and brother combinations for their pyramids. and supervises the construction. They are building 11's, later we could build and find patterns with 11's.
Pretty soon he gets in on the base ten block building action. And his little brother hands over some combinations...sometimes we build all 45 addends at one sitting but today we just did all the ones from 8 to 10 and then 11's and 12's. How many math facts is that?
Children are always quite pleased when they complete one of these...or several of these. Sometimes we build towns or cities or temple complexes or moon bases (or whatever is in their imagination), made entirely out of pyramids built using base ten blocks, but today we played algebra which will give us addends and multiplication too. Started out with problems like x² + 7x +12 and worked our way up. We started there because he already has some experience factoring polynomials and I wanted to start easy...then we went on to x² + 8x + 12, and x² + 8x + 15,  x² + 8x +16...Went thru several with 9x then on to 10x,  those polynomials have lots of combinations.

x² + 9x + 8  you get addends for 9, 1 and 8, and 1 x 8 = 8.
x² + 9x + 14 you get addends for 9, 2 and 7, and 2 x 7 = 14.
x² + 9x + 18 you get addends for 9, 3 and 6, and 3 x 6 = 18.
x² + 9x + 20 you get addends for 9,  4 and 5, and 4 x 5 = 20. 
You don't have to do every single one in order...mix it up and have fun.  I did a couple with 10x like x² + 10x + 16 and then x² + 10x + 24...didn't do x² + 10x + 25...which is a good place to start if you want to go down the square numbers and square roots path which are made plain and EASY with base ten blocks.  I had a mom tell me they completed the square with 24 once. I said go back and take a look at that...24 will complete a rectangle but certainly doesn't complete a square. 25 would complete a square...and completing the square is quite a useful skill to have later on when you are graphing polynomials and want to easily convert to vertex form.

Playing with squares and radicals are also fun math activities where you can compound the lessons and learn algebra, addends, multiplication, square roots and more. You decide the emphasis depending on the student. For some older students who are supposedly past addition and multiplication because of their age you can use these techniques for remedial math without them even knowing it.

Instead I gave him x² + 10x + 24 which he got pretty easily but then I gave him x² + 11x + 24, which is a challenge at this age when they are still learning their times tables.  You can see he figured out he needed 8 and 3 to make it work.
Then I gave him a challenge.  x² + 11x + 30...the dilemma after he figured out it was going to be (x+5)(x+6) was finding enough fives or sixes....they were being used in the pyramid...and he found that he could count by 5's but not by sixes as easily...remember this boy is 6 years old, he hasn't mastered his 6 times tables yet but he will....and there won't be tears or frustration. It will be part of fun memories spent playing with his mom instead of being angry at his teacher because of yet another worksheet.
After a little fooling around he decided to make 30 with 6's...which meant he was going to have to bust up his pyramid.
Completing the corner was important to him, later you will find students especially older students who know their times tables skip putting the units in because they already know 5x6...and that 5x6 is the same as 6x5...when they are younger this is still a fun discovery.
Challenge completed! It's time for some celebration which is where we came in. Also some high fives with mom never hurt nothin'.
This lesson took place way back in the beginning of October. Just got around to finishing it here.  In this hour we basically practiced math facts in a very disorderly fashion...we didn't just do a bunch of addition or subtraction for an hour. We did both AND we did multiplication and some division AND we factored polynomials but the algebra was just along for the you can see it wasn't scary or hard and I used it to teach concepts and facts...most teen-agers I know FAIL algebra right at this point because they don't understand the distributive theory and never saw a polynomial until they were 12 or 13 years old...
Positive memories and positive associations with math are so important i don't have words. Wouldn't you rather have your child's or student's early childhood math experience be like this instead of rife with tears and frustration? They won't all be diamonds but more often than not you will find YOU the parent or teacher can make math fun and teach a whole lot of math all at once in compound lessons like this.

Want to get the materials you see in this blog post? GO HERE.

Want a FREE PDF of the polynomials that cover the 45 addends and the multiplication facts that go with them?  Click here: POLYNOMIAL PDF

Friday, November 28, 2014

Vernon Jerry Mortensen. Obituary. From The POV of Crewton Ramone.

26Oct1944 - 13Nov2014 Vernon Jerry Mortensen

Died of a massive heart attack. Survivors uncertain. He had 2 sisters, one of which I knew, and three brothers none of whom I ever met. He had 17 nieces and nephews and they had last I knew, 48 kids between them. He was kind of the black sheep of a rather large family, you could say. He had lots of aunts and uncles on both sides mostly deceased by the time I met him, I know his mother was one of 13. I don't know about his father...his mother was 93 when she died and his father 82. I remember distinctly him saying he never wanted to get that old. He owned a shit load of land, and stuff, proving once again: he who dies with the most toys still dies. His math legacy is still uncertain. People may one day remember the name Jerry Mortensen but if they do it won't be because of land and timber and cows.

Here is a standard Obit. I know exactly who wrote this:

Vernon Jerrry Mortensen

It's a good picture of him. That's the guy I knew. Regular obituary over, believe it or not, what follows is the short version.

I found out about it on Tuesday the 18th of November by phone with his ex-wife. He died in a room I had slept in on many occasions. He knew (for months) he should go to a doctor if he wanted to live but he absolutely refused. We lost so much that night. So many things in various stages of completion, none complete. I know for a fact he didn't care. I also know he wanted his body burned. "Get rid of it, cheapest way possible." I concur.

There was one who could make the Mathematics beautiful.

The first thing he said to me in person was, "Great! Nice to meet you...where's your father?"

In 1990 I went to visit Jerry in Idaho for 2 weeks and didn't come home for 10 months.

Then 15 years of life happened. Truth stranger than fiction. I don't believe half the stories...and I was there in person for many of them. I watched him feel bad for people who had tried to take advantage of him successfully or unsuccessfully...and then turn right around and take advantage of people (usually quite successfully), he was particularly fond of playing off people's greed. He'd tell them he'd make them wealthy if they'd just fill their garage with his math kits...or do this real estate deal, or timber deal, or cattle deal or what have you.

To call him "multifaceted" would be quite the understatement because if you do the math you can only cut a diamond to produce a finite number of faces. He had many faces he'd show the world and there were many sides to those faces, and any one of those wore several hats. I choose to get know "the math guy" the most, although I spent time with the real estate guy, businessman, cattle rancher, horseman, logger, farmer, and heretic too.

Even the math guy had several different hats, and each one of those had several...uh, personalities. Marketer, salesman, wheeler dealer...teacher, actor, producer, product creator, writer, author. He'd go from impossibly patient mentor/teacher to incredibly impatient mentor, from overly generous marketer to screwing all the distributors at once with a pen-stroke. He'd send me into situations where his 'business partners' were so mad at him they wanted to kill me just to piss him off...and then he would laugh when I told him some of the solutions I'd hammered out. Then half the time he wouldn't keep all the agreements. I watched him let Math U See go and build a company, and I watched him utterly destroy EZ Math, both in a court of law and in the market place. Of the two EZ Math was the far better funded and had a marketing arm already in place. MUS had to start from much more humble beginnings. There were/are others.  You/we are all off the hook. Mostly.

I remember sitting in a hotel in Nampa Idaho for three days before an older gentleman would even sit down with me. He apologized for keeping me waiting but said, "it took me a week to get the mad off and then another two days when I found out he wouldn't come face me in person."

Jerry: "It's not even $100,000.00, just go take care of it." As an aside he taught me to forge his signature and gave me a book of checks so I could easily write checks and (rarely) sign contracts where time was of the essence and we didn't have time to drive them from CDA to Sand Point or Bonner's Ferry or where ever the heck he was...some people liked it when they got a check from me better because they knew I didn't hand out a check unless there was money there to cover it...unlike some other people who worked for him and Jerry himself. Jerry enjoyed flying kites. Sometimes those kites crashed, hard, but it was a whole lot rarer than it should have been. Once in a while it landed him in court and it was there that he really enjoyed himself although he'd say he didn't. Looking back at land deals and some of the court cases I sat in on, he really was crazy like a fox--a no money down king, surrounded by spinning plates with only a very few of them broken on the floor to use yet another metaphor. Breaking a few plates was to be expected and didn't bother him much. They weren't really his plates, after all. Although if you talked to the other half of the party whether they owned the plate or not they were rarely so forgiving.

He only broke his word to me once outright. It was more times than that but I forgive the other ones because they were situations that spiraled out of his control. Only once did he actually break his word and I never forgave that because he did it on purpose, and it wasn't about the money it was about the simple concept that a man's word is his bond and no paper can hold the force of that bond. We did all of our business like the men of yore. No paper work. We shook hands. Spoke plainly. Said what we meant. Meant what we said. Understood each other: handshake. You will find no contracts or any document of any kind for that matter with both of our signatures on it. If you can't keep your word or think things might go in such a way in the future that you can't keep your word even through no fault of your own, don't give it. Very, very simple. Future very hard to predict, though. All our agreements have now formally ended, save one. I may break that one, on purpose, and call it even.

I remember one time we shook hands and he said, "...don't screw me."

And I said, "Don't screw me." And we laughed.

"So the deal is, we don't screw each other."

"No, the deal is WE teach math."

"No the deal is YOU teach math...I'll help a little bit. Maybe. If you need it. But you don't need it."

"Goddammit. That means you're not helping."

"That means you don't need my help."

"Then stay out of my way."

"Count on it." And yes, there's an inside joke there. I knew better than to count on Jerry, but he knew if push came to shove he could always count on me. That doesn't mean he wasn't a loyal friend, because he was, and there are companies that are wrecked because of that loyalty, but my mother didn't raise a fool, despite appearances.

One thing I was pretty good at doing and Jerry hated to admit it, was predicting what would happen with certain "deals" or "situations" because of the personalities involved. Like when he sold the company, myself included, to a seminar company owned by unscrupulous Mormons. It ended badly. Or when he sent me to Nebraska to open a "Mortensen Math Center"...or Colorado, or South Carolina, or Utah or Idaho, Or Florida, or Texas...that's the short list. He sent me off on the road for weeks and months at a time, for years. We made stupid amounts of money and most people still have no idea what Mortensen Math is.

"Hey, I just wanted to thank you for sending me to a place where they still have 'Nigger On A Stick' on the Menu in most of the local restaurants." Me, calling to check in from the Texas Panhandle. We laughed about that for years and years after.

There were women, but I'll leave that part out.

One of the last places I saw him was at an office building he had that we called Three Mile, because it was at a place called Three Mile, north of Bonner's Ferry, the area where Highway Two splits off Highway 95, you can drive all the way west to Seattle or east to Duluth and beyond on 2. The last thing he said to me in person after handing me an envelope of $100's which brought us even and our last agreement to a close was, "I consider you a friend." and we shook hands and I said, "I consider you a friend, also."

There were the 10,000 words, right there. He nodded, I nodded...there was nothing else to say. I had planned to be back the next spring. That would have been the spring of 2006. I'd go home to Maui for the winter...I was famous for saying I'd be back when the grass was green and the snow was melted. There was always gonna be that next time.

Then nine more years of life happened.

He rarely returned my phone calls. The last email he wrote me was February of 2013.

"Good to hear from you even if it was only a "Hi Jerry". I have been busy studying languages. I read novels in Spanish at a rate of about one per week. If I recall you had a girl friend, Gabby, I think that was her name. You mentioned your trips with her to Mexico. I suppose you learned some Spanish during that era. I tried unsuccessfully to connect to the link you sent me. Help! I'd like to know what you were sending me. Take care! You are a unique and exceptional person. I would love to see you some time and catch up on all that you have been up to during the years we have been out of touch. Your friend, Jerry Mortensen"

Since then I wrote him and called him a few times around this theme:

"...Would like to do some "expert" interviews with you and make some audio  programs for sale. People have asked me for them and would buy them. Basically we just do a few 1 hour sessions and talk about math...history of the company...some stories about the ones you used to tell about your various teaching experiences as you traveled you got the company together...trips to Australia and Alaska teaching aborigines...we could easily fill up several hours just talking about math. Turn it into an audio program package it and then sell an actual cd product and as a set of number is the same, call me..."

And then less than two years later, he died. For almost a year of it he knew he should go see a doctor about his heart.  He never got around to that or to calling me back.

I know "the estate" is going to be a complete and utter mess. A maze of mortgages, court documents, and contracts several feet thick and several feet high, unknown properties and bank accounts and storage, and in other countries. I was one of the rare ones to whom upon death he owed nothing physically...but he did owe me (and my sons) some math...or maybe I owe him some math. Time will be the teller of that tale.

When great men walk among fools, the fools know him not. This one came in clever disguise and relished in acting the part of and playing right along side the fool(s).


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Distributive with base ten blocks.


Distributive theory EASY. Especially if you've been doing it since you were four. But even if you haven't base ten blocks make it easy to understand. This is an explanation the THE explanation. Makes the idea easy to see, the symbols become visually obvious and we take the concept from the abstract to the concrete with base ten blocks.

When working with young children the algebra is just along for the ride, we are much more interested in addends and multiplication.

You could use the blocks to show 3(2 + 7), use three's and you'd have two rectangles one with 6 and the other with 21, one above the other...three across and then 2 up and then 7 more up...

The Algebra is just as easy to get. Using the blocks and building bigger, funner problems makes it simple child's play.

More explanation can be done by flipping the blocks over and showing (10 + 3)(10 + 2), now instead of x squared and x's and units we have a hundred tens and units.  Same blocks we could do percentages too. Imagination is powerful and these tools help unlock it and put it to use...also helps with visualization.

Just that little line drawing can make such a difference for understanding but they have to get their hands on the blocks first. Just watching this video isn't enough if they don't have blocks it can still be confusing for some.  SO make sure they get their hands on the blocks...and don't start here you start with x² + 3x + 2 and if they have never seen it before let them discover how to build it don't just show them. Then after building a few and explanation like this can be helpful. This is just one example do several more where the child has to build it draw it and make symbols while you talk about it and factoring and division will make a lot more sense.

The distributive property is easy with base ten blocks and so it the associative property. That page BTW is far and away the most popular webpage I've ever built getting thousands of hits per month, month after month year after year. Why? Because base ten blocks make math concepts easy to understand.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Two Cents On Common Core.

A little more than two cents on  Common Core

By Crewton Ramone

Let's be clear. I am not a fan.

How I feel listening to mathematicians defending common core.

But let me also be clear the way they are trying to teach addition using addends is a very good way to teach math. It would be visually obvious if they used base ten blocks.

Pictures and articles like this and like this have been making the rounds.

Taken out of context.
My position, with regard to the math at leaste, might be a little more unique than some others because I use manipulatives, so if you are "pro common core" before you dismiss this without even reading it as many who see an opinion counter to theirs are wont to do, take a moment and understand my focus is understanding and learning math, and after 24 years, several hundred videos made, and "too many" web pages and blog posts that detail down to the "nitty-gritty" on HOW TO teach math to every kind of student from the Autistic to the Gifted, I have a pretty good idea of what it is I'm talking about. My results speak for themselves. My students get 100's and can jump through whatever ridiculous hoop the school system puts in front if them because they understand it, they don't just memorize to take a test just to forget it later,  although certainly some do if they never see it again for years and years, myself included. 

Base ten blocks make math easy, and once again if the students understand the concepts all they can do is change the numbers for the test.

Further I am often finding the teachers of mathematics themselves lack understanding because many of them fell into the trap of just memorizing rather than understanding, they don't know why you invert and multiply and confuse dividing by a half and dividing by two. (See the work of Liping Ma,
"Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics" and others for more, go to Amazon, look inside and just read the first few paragraphs of the introduction.) 

Anyway here are a two more articles:

Teach Common Sense not Common Core, April 20, 2014,  By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

“Common Core will be raising good little socialists, who are in tune with their feelings, not so much their critical thinking skills.” – Author unknown


Pro-Common Core Deception Falling Apart, April 18, 2014 by Alex Newman

"Facing a growing avalanche of grassroots opposition from teachers, parents, and voters across the political spectrum, pro-Common Core forces — Big Business, Big Media, the Obama administration, and more — are striking back at their critics, oftentimes with outright deception and utterly ridiculous claims."

"Let's start common core standardized testing third grade."

A Little More Than Two Cents On Common Core.
Common Core Will Be Poorly Implemented.

If they start early enough they will avoid many of the problems detailed in "Un-Common, Not Core" by Cynthia Walker. This article was going great until the part about "cognitive development" which almost made me stop reading, but I did read the whole thing. Basically this is another report from the trenches and the reports are not good. Eventually people in this country will figure out government solutions are NOT solutions. The common core is not by accident but by design, and this person touched on, but did not develop the thought that education is being used to keep the classes in their place in Europe, and that common core is going to be used similarly here in the USA. Those wealthy can afford tutors to get their kids through it, the rest of you are screwed. Ha ha. Sorry.

I know Americans love to pretend they are free and live in a classless land of liberty where there is justice for all, while presidents of both stripes renew the NDAA and dare you to say anything at airports, but you do indeed have rulers and they DO intend to rule. Another word for rulers can be masters, and Americans hate that term even more. But your masters understand how to rule and education is a hugely important part of the equation. Well-educated people who understand mathematics are hard to rule. Emphasis on mathematics. The oligarchs had fixed the problem of upward mobility by making sure the very teachers in primary schools in the USA don't understand math but still can get a teaching degree "without taking very much math." They are further fixing the problem with common core.

This not an accident, it is by design.

This is not a mistake, it is by design.

No, really.  I'm not being dramatic.

They know how to use compartmentalization so that even the most altruistic teacher or administrator that does in fact love children and have high ideals about their education can be used to implement a plan that is exactly opposite of the reason they got into education in the first place. Point this out to them and they have been trained to scoff and shout "conspiracy theory." The combination of bullshit and bureaucracy is an exceptionally effective tool for implementing a system that negates and mutes the abilities of good people to use their skills to effect change or do the basic job of educating. At every turn they are hampered because they are limited to "approved" curricula and even when the teachers see it doesn't work or might even be harmful they are stuck with few alternatives. "Rogue educators" are fired. Veterans who were formerly effective quit. Those that would have become rogue teachers or veterans choose not to become teachers in the public schools. Those who understand math rarely go into teaching because they can get paid so much more elsewhere and they don't need the headaches.

Further, say what you will, but TEACHING IS HARD, that doesn't mean it can't be FUN and enjoyable and immensely rewarding but it is HARD even under the most ideal conditions. It is a lot of ridiculously hard, thankless work and the reward for most of them isn't the money, which is why this situation is all the more heartbreaking. I have walked in on teachers who literally had their heads in their hands sobbing, for various reasons...not all of them bad. I won't digress, but the point is that they care. A lot. They tend to get passionate and emotional. This does not stop them from being used by the system, however. When they quit caring, they quit teaching because the money alone isn't worth it.

It angers me to see certain pundits rail against teachers, as if they have it easy with summers off and lots of breaks and they don't really do anything and by the way some of them who do, are well aware of the system for sorting they've put in place; well aware that mathematics is a barrier to entry, and they intend to keep it that way. Others are just clueless.

I assure you teachers are not the problem. But teachers are part of the problem. The same way the government used lawyers to sell their ills and the same way the government allowed big pharma to use doctors to cover for, and sell their ills, is the same way government will use teachers to help implement a social structure that keeps the wealthy wealthy, guts the middle class and keeps the poor in line. Again-- a huge and well educated middle class is NOT in their interest. As an aside what has happened to the professional respect for doctors and lawyers over the years? Has it increased or decreased? The oligarch's social engineers are doing the same to teachers and police. This is also by design not by accident.

The huge increase in secular homeschoolers is a reaction to and symptom of this. The huge amount of social media devoted to the police's abuse of power is also a symptom of this.

The amusing part for me is most people dismiss this idea even as it becomes more pronounced, and can't seem to understand why they would even want this. George Carlin explained it to you several times in no uncertain terms and you all laughed.

It also angers me that most teachers, especially of mathematics, don't seem to see the problem or won't admit it. The primary teachers who on balance can't do math, also seem to be unaware that they have unwittingly become part of the problem when they got involved to become part of the solution. Such is the ability of a good master to cleverly use all assets to their purpose.

In case you've lost track of what the problem is in all these words:
The problem is that our children ain't learnin' no math.

The whole reason I've built and am building the Crewton Ramone "brand" is so that parents can do it themselves without having to pay 50 bucks or more an hour to help their kids with math. If you want it all for free you are completely out of luck, but I try to keep it more than reasonable.  Parent/Teacher training for ridiculously cheap for example. People are telling me it's worth many times the price.

Here is another article I have a slight problem with because this (pushing social agendas) has ALWAYS been done in public "education,"  it is not unique to common core.

More with my comments:

CR: Don't worry they will figure out how to rig the numbers so it looks like they got C's and D's.

Utah students took their state's new Common Core tests this spring, and they struggled so badly that a majority of the schools could end up graded D or F.

CR: This article is from USA Today so you need to suspend your disbelief in order to get thru it. Standardized testing is making kids HATE MATH you hear it over and over again but who cares?: it's going well, most likely they have never heard of Liping Ma.

Several states have balked at requiring them and even comedian Louis C.K. last May took to Twitter to complain, "My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!"

But teachers in states where the math and reading standards have been in place longest say that, in spite of the criticisms, Common Core is going well — and that most teachers feel prepared to teach new kinds of lessons.

CR: And don't be confused. Common core is not curriculum, they just write curriculum for common core and put it on the text books they sell so teachers will know it's a common core text children can pass a common core standardized test. So why should it matter what method you use if you teach them math and they understand it? Because if they don't do it a certain way it will be marked wrong even if the answer is right.

Common Core standards are not curriculum. The Common Core standards detail what K-12 students should know and be able to do in English/language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade level. The standards are similar to those used by top-performing nations.

"The standards are similar to those used by top-performing nations."
CR: Are top performing nations testing their kids to death? Is there money for a certain few corporations in testing?

CR: The answer for the most part is "NO" or you could say as ready as they were to implement "The New Math." Anybody old enough to remember how well that went?

Are teachers really ready for the Common Core?
The controversial standards are about to be tested for the first time, yet questions remain if educators have been adequately trained.

If it was easy to train all the teachers we'd have no problem. I've trained trainers (to teach teachers and to train other trainers), and teachers, and teachers requires MANY hours. Training trainers more than that. I know for a fact the teachers in public school didn't get 40 or 50 hours of training and attain mastery. This isn't over. We have a long way to go. Be one of the parents that takes matters into their own hands and gives their kids a solid foundation in math...I have the tools you need and can teach you how to use them if you so desire.

Crewton Ramone is a pissed off math tutor who has been slogging away at math education for more than 20 years now. In that 20 years he has watched the situation steadily deteriorate...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Base Ten Blocks and Math Anxiety.

I have seen students whose confidence is so shaken by calculus or algebra that adding small numbers is no longer certain....the reptilian brain kicks in even basic operations become difficult...too much stress or anxiety and you can literally do about two things: fight or flee. This is why in martial arts you fight calmly and better yet with no conscious mind....otherwise the reptile kicks in and you can't remember what to do even if you have practiced for certain situations 1000 times.

I remember a student who was excellent in the his belts easily etc. Went to his first competition and got his ass kicked by another guy who was considered less skilled...because he panicked and by his own admission "forgot everything." I have also heard of stories where guys get in street fights and lose with guys who are untrained because of the same reason.

What does this have to do with math and base ten blocks? PLENTY.

It's the EXACT same thing when a student with test anxiety is tested on subject matter with which they would otherwise be completely conversant and familiar...but get an "F" because during the test they can't think.

I remember a student who I worked with coming back with an "F" on material we both knew he knew:

"What was I thinking!" he exclaimed looking at one answer that should have been obvious and to which he wrote a completely wrong answer.
"You weren't thinking."
"Gee, thanks..."
"I'm not criticizing couldn't think..."

And I then went on to explain what happened, and for that hour we did no math but talked about how to handle test anxiety and math anxiety and did some breathing exercises...explaining the flight or flight syndrome so they understand that what's happening is not only normal but HARD WIRED IN for SURVIVAL removes the "I'm stupid" thoughts, allows them to recognize it when it starts to occur and nip in the bud and deal with it instead of letting it run away with their their thought and emotions.

This student went on to pass his class with quite a few 100's something for which I'm famous, (check these vids out) and his parents gave me a hefty tip at the end of the year...he might have gotten an "A" if he hadn't started of with so many scores under that's another thing too many parents wait till the kid is failing before they "breakdown" and get help. 

This also why the emphasis is on having FUN and playing: so the reptilian brain never gets a chance to kick in and your child's attitude and associations with math are pleasant and positive. As they get older math anxiety is avoided altogether because they understand math and the relationships and how it all goes together...and the symbols are easily decoded and understood.

Base ten blocks make math easy. There are silly people who think base 10 blocks will lead to "block dependency" where the kids can't do math without the blocks. Ludicrous. My blog and website are proof positive that this couldn't be further from the truth. Do any of the kids on that testimonial page get to bring blocks with them to public school when they take the test? Of course not.

Are DBoyz doing algebra and multiplication in their heads without blocks?  Of course they are. Your kids can too...and I can teach you how to do it yourself: check out this parent/teacher training page.

"Soon" (a very relative term at the house of math) there will be an audio course and more on the training is a transcript of the beginning:

Well Hello! and welcome to Crewton Ramone’s 6 Disc -- probably 7 Disc, Audio Program--there is a bonus disc there with a guided Meditation--but what I want to do here over the course of this audio program is get you to understand that anybody can teach math the way I teach math, that YOU CAN use base 10 manipulatives to make math fun and easy, whoever your students are and whatever your mathematical background is; whether you had a good experience or a bad experience, whether you're male or female, you're a homeschoolers, you’re a teacher, a parent that has a kid in public school and you just want to able to help with math or give them “enrichment” this audio program is for you.

Now, specifically the target market that I’m looking for are the people with young children-- if this describes you then you are definitely in the right place. If you are a parent that has young children, definitely children under the age of 12, under the age of 8 better than that under the age 6 even better than that. Well let's say you have a student in--I don’t know if they are in grade school or middle school or high school...wherever they are this audio program is for you and if you have decided that you want to try and help your student or help your child understand mathematics then you are in the right place.

Now in order to do this I want you to be able to use these tools to their best effect, you just need to have some basic understanding, understand some principles and concepts, and you too can teach mathematics, you too can do what I do -- so many would say, "oh you are a genius" or "you are this or that", "oh--you are teacher: you’ve been doing it for 20 years" - "oh you’ve been..." {etc, etc}

Okay, when I was doing this and was two or three years in, people were like, "Wow! I can’t believe you’ve only been doing this for two or three years!", Okay? The idea is Jerry Mortensen had the same problem, everybody was like "Oh! Jerry is special he created the programs...of course", "Maria Montessori she is special because she created the -- Mario Montessori -- whoever it is, right?" -- they all have a crowd following that says, “you can do it but I can’t”...”you are special", "you are different” and what we are trying to do, and Jerry especially, but myself included, is trying to make you understand that you can do it also.

This blog and website is about removing excuses. There was a time when you spent 500 bucks and you got a kit and there were 4 hours of video. TOTAL. That's it. Watch these vids and now you are on your own. Not anymore.

If you wanted more training you could fly to Idaho once or twice a year...IF they were having a training: there hasn't been a training there for years now.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More PT Training.

26Sept14 10am HST

You were invited. Next one is NEXT Friday, the 26th, 10am HST more teacher training. All you need is the google vid chat plug in installed...a set of blocks, and 20 bucks.

Here is how it works..very simple. Contact me Paypal me 20.00. When you contact me I will send you the paypal info. You need gmail vid chat NOT SKYPE. You might also look into ooVoo, I've done some fun meetings there unrelated to the house of math. But for now gmail vid chat is fast and easy...just install the plug in and you are good to go, then add me to your circles or email me and I'll add you. THEN a little before ten you will get a call or invite.

DON'T try to do it if you don't have high speed internet...shut down everything should have a browser running with one window...shut down all your other programs. Especially word processors and for those with Macs "preview"...have a set of blocks and something to take notes on...a white board is nice but not needed. The blocks are NOT optional. You will hear it over and over again in the vids get your hands on the blocks, math is not a spectator sport, contrary to the way you and I learned it.

2 more hours up on the teacher training page and another hour up on Raymond's page...learn to use your base ten blocks.

I have been told over and over again that just one or two of my password protected pages are are worth the price of an annual password...and the with more than 5 hours of training now on the Parent Teacher Training Page still available for 15 bucks that page is more than worth it. Look forward to a password protected pre-calc page soon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Base Ten Blocks Make AP Calc EZ Too

I was working with an AP calc student. They are just getting started. As usual the student did not see the relationships between what we had done before and the formulas he was getting. When I showed him these side by side with a brief explanation the tell tale "OHHHHHH!" was exclaimed (the light bulb going on / the rush of endorphins when you understand something) and he said, "well, that's easy then."  Base ten blocks give a solid foundation so that when we get to this point many obstacles to understanding have already been mastered and are not issues.  Understanding square numbers and square root for example and trig which is basically the study of how triangles work is made plain using base ten one ever explained to me in highs chool that math was a language and how all those formulas were basically saying the same thing and how and when to apply them. It was basically just memorize this, this and this...and I never got the relationships between them until years later.


This student comes once in a blue moon. If he came on a regular basis I wouldn't have to hit him over the head with it as it were and he would see that we are just finding the slope of a line, as well as see Pythagoras not only in distance formula but in the basic trig identity too.  In the last formula we talked about h being more than just h it's the distance  between the a and a+h expressed using economy of symbol.  (The thick black line below the red lines in the last pic below.)

He might also see our old friend from the doughnut factory and playing with ordered pairs rise over run for rate and slope and the "m" in y = mx + b or as he will now see it f(x) = mx + b where m = dy/dx....but all these triangles do go together....and it's pretty easy to see that even the complicated looking formula with a's and h's and stuff isn't so hard after all. The basics are covered on vids and on password protected pages like this. Look for Water tank, doughnut factory constant rate problems.

Then tangent lines and secant lines are no problem either and with a little more explanation of economy of symbol and that y = f(x) and how we just labeled the points with letters, the anxiety subsides rather rapidly and learning can take place. It's hard to learn anything while in flight or fight response.  We have proven this time and time again. It's pretty obvious that the secant and the tangent lines are going to need different formulas. Average slope between those two points is going to be less accurate the further the points are from each other and more accurate the closer those to points are together.  His online textbook actually had some cool gifs and animations that really helped explain things.  That link goes to a page that has an animation on the bottom give it a few seconds to load.

secant line
Now this and the formulas that came with aren't thought of as hard anymore and we can play and fool around with the concepts. If I want to know the distance between those points of course I use distance formula, if I want to know the slope of that line then I need to know dy/dx but now instead of just x and y, I have x and f(x) or in this case the points are labeled [a, f(a)] and [a+h, f(a+h)] but it's really just x and y...and secant and tangent and limits and intervals are all just language to describe what's going on here. But what if I don't want an average? What if I don't want the "as a crow flies" answer but the actual length of that curved line? Well I need more math and this guy named Newton came along and gave us more math, we call it calculus.

We can also find the tangent line to point P or any point along the curve.  Tangent Line = Instantaneous Rate of Change = Derivative.  That line would be "outside" the curve not under it....speaking generally.

Some more explanations and drawing make the general concepts understood. Here we can see the curve being analyzed a little further. See the triangle shaping up in the corner there?

We are going to use symbols to describe that triangle and the part we are interested in is the hypotenuse, but in order to find the hypotenuse which is the average slope of the curve between those two points we need to know the sides which are the changes or distances between  x and y.  

Secant line = Average Rate of Change = Slope. Simple.

 Add more information and it looks more complicated but actually there is MORE understanding taking place, not less...but you don't want to come in at the end...or in the middle which I find is where most text books start, instead of starting at the beginning.  I can also usually find the "holes" in the students mathematics that are making it hard.  Sometimes those holes go all the way back to not understanding division or fractions. Lots of times a review of triangles and Pythagoras is in order.

 Now I've added labels for the axis and put more info in blue the tan line and the secant line and the basic formula for it, the axis of symmetry is the dotted line and we can see that the tan line and secant line are not the same thing so we will need different formulas to describe them.

tan secant

At last it becomes absolutely clear that we are just playing with triangles and those fancy formulas are just talking about the sides of the triangle...and all of this is in very general terms we are just playing with concepts. Next we will add numbers instead of just having the distance between a and a +h we'll have numbers that tell us what (where) a is and how far it is to a + h.  We'll get an quadratic expression  that describes the curve and from that we do lots of math. We can also find the area under that curve between a and a+h and we can be quite exact about it.    But that's a lesson for another day...and the blocks will come in really handy here too. Because how are we going to do that? By making and summing up rectangles...

Meantime we talked about limits and derivatives and how tan and secant lines differ and how to think about things in general and specific terms depending on the symbols.  We  talked about the power rule a lot and the chain rule a little bit and I showed him how the power rule works and what it means.
power rule
Going from f '(x²) = 2x and f '(x³) = 3x² isn't hard but the WHY of it can be. Then a little more discussion of dy/dx and d/dx and time was up...

Base Ten Blocks For A Real Head Start

Base ten blocks really do make math easy and fun. If you spend even just a few minutes looking around my website and this blog, you will find videos of little kids learning big math...and having fun while doing it. Base ten blocks make it visually obvious and fun for students of all ages. The younger the better.

Here is a group of kids playing math. Do they look engaged to you? Which one is the problem child?  Which one is considered the genius child? In this pic you can't tell. These students are all around 10 years old.

Base ten blocks, base 10 blocks, manipulatives

Get them started off right by using base ten blocks. Here are a couple of students that by now I'm sure you recognize. People are of course amazed at their ability to do math in their heads, thus disproving the thinking that base ten blocks somehow lead to block dependency where they won't be able to do math without having the blocks in hand and other ridiculous ideas.  In fact, I got the job teaching the kids you see above because these two were doing multiplication in their heads in a health food store (calculating simple stuff like if it costs $2.73 per pound and I buy 6 pounds of it how much does it cost?) and one thing led to another.

"This is back when I didn't know what anything was..." one of them remarked upon seeing this vid after not seeing it for a long time. Note how when they are young like this, how it looks is important in answering the question, "are they same?" This persists into adulthood and certainly into the teen years...2 + 1 = 3 does NOT look same because of the color of the blocks and on one side there is only one block and on the other two blocks...but in total number it is the same, and this is quickly understood. "The equals sign never lies" is an important math concept. Concept based math teaching with manipulatives speeds and eases the whole process. Very soon (a couple of years) and they are doing math like this.  Everybody is so impressed. They think it's EASY because it is.

Meantime many students have lost track of what the symbol equals even means and somehow come up with the "the answer is" instead of same as...this one understanding has, I have been told directly by older students, made a huge difference in algebra, pre-calc, and trig, and of course calculus. Anyone will tell you x + 5 = 8 doesn't look same, but that statement says it is...IF x = 3. I was also reminded of how much things get lost and confused working with a AP calculus student...because math gets so segmented and compartmentalized they fail to see relationships.

Here is the "whole thing" for those of you interested. This lesson is also on the sample lessons page (I think) along with many hours more video of sample lessons with base ten blocks. These are actual unrehearsed lessons not scripted demonstrations: practice not theory. If you want theory I have about 3 hours of it up now on the parent teacher training page...with more to come. There's some short free stuff there now for you to check out if you want to get a better idea of the theory behind the method. And there are posts like this to help you understand more about the method and posts like this to help you get started using base ten blocks.

So of course now doing algebra like this is no big deal and neither one of them is even 10 yet. I keep telling them as they get older it's less impressive which is why this is funny on a lot of levels. It's kind of an inside joke. You can see him looking at the picture and being very careful to get it right...he looks at the picture YOU see the symbols.

If you have older kids or students, base ten blocks make math visually obvious for them too, the blocks level the playing field because they speak to all learning styles. Whether male or female, visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learners, ALL benefit from the use of base ten blocks. And  younger really is better. So I made this to help get them started off right. Combine with this blog and website and your kids won't have to worry about common core mathematics, because they'll know math not just have some stuff memorized and jumping through the silly hoops on tests showing work or "number sense" won't be hard at all...all they may see the absurdity of it all.

base ten block book, base 10 blocks, preschool, kindergarten
I have a goofy little base ten block book I wrote that people have found useful for the younger crowd. If you have a copy please go leave a comment on this page. There was a spurt of comments when I first built the page but now they have trickled off. Add yours. Good, bad or indifferent.

"I have to tell you that when I first started to watch your videos I cried....after learning it myself in school (haha) then teaching my three daughters algebra using Saxon, Math U See and things from the Teaching Company, I never really had any idea of what I was doing. Watching the videos of you made everything make sense!!! I'm sure that this is a labor of love for you but I just wanted to say thank you! It is much appreciated." ~HS, Ohio, USA.

Having traveled the USA doing seminars I can tell you this was not an uncommon response when people finally understood a math concept and faced their math demons...usually revolving around algebra but sometimes with much simpler things like why invert and multiply--something most teachers have no idea how to explain and end up saying "just memorize it..."  Avoid the problems in the first place it's never too late to break the cycle, start off with my book if you have young children.

Here is what it looks like when you give a young kid a head start with base ten manipulatives. YOU can do this too.