Hi there! My name is Sarah Carter. I used to be Sarah Hagan, but I met an amazing guy (who also happens to be a math teacher who blogs) through this blog and married him in March 2016. You can read more about our math love story here. And, yes, it is just a crazy coincidence that I called this blog Math = Love and met the love of my life as a result. A crazy awesome coincidence.

I'm a 4th year high school math teacher. And, if you asked my students, they would tell you that I am weird. (Seriously, somewhere in the world of facebook, there is a photo of me floating around that has the caption "This is my weird teacher.") Why do they think I'm weird? I love math. Even more than that, I love teaching math. Algebra is my specialty. I take students who hate math and show them how much fun it can be. (And, in case you were wondering, it's infinitely fun!) Since I don't teach geometry, there is a one-year gap where I don't get to teach my students between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. It makes my day when geometry students stop by my classroom to make sure that I'm still going to be teaching Algebra 2 the next year. It makes my day/week/month/year/life to see students excited to take Algebra 2 who entered my Algebra 1 class hating math. Words I love to hear: "I miss your class, and I NEVER thought I would ever say that about a math class." I am more than a math teacher. I am a difference maker. A life changer.

In 2015, I was featured as one of NPR's 50 Great Teachers. And, then as a result of this media coverage, the town I live in presented me with a key to the city and proclaimed it Sarah Hagan Day.

The most important fact about me that I probably should have written about first is that I am a sinner who is saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, and my King. I am nothing without Christ, and I hope and pray that I bring glory to God daily through my teaching and through this blog.

I'm a proud graduate of The University of Tulsa. Go Golden Hurricane! Because being affiliated with one natural disaster related mascot wasn't enough, I took a job in the tiny, oil field town of Drumright, Oklahoma. It's a town of roughly 3,000 people. Having been devastated twice by a tornado, the school adopted the tornado as its mascot. Or, maybe they adopted it before then? I've still got a lot to learn. Since moving here, the town did away with its only stoplight. But, this small town is growing on me. In fact, I think this tiny town and its amazing people may have stolen my heart. I'm so proud to be a Drumright Tornado!

Living and teaching in a small town also means working in a small school! We serve roughly 175 students in the 9th-12th grade. We have two teachers for each core subject (math, English, science, and history) and one teacher for each elective (computers, agriculture, family and consumer sciences). Add in one principal, one counselor, one special ed teacher, one secretary, one library aide, one custodian, and two cafeteria ladies, and you have the entire school! Though there are definite downsides to working in such a small school, I love that I am able to get to know ALL of the teachers and almost ALL of the students. And, the class sizes are amazing! Last year, my biggest class has 22 in it. Of course, we also have small classrooms to go along with those small class sizes. But, what should you expect when your school building was built in 1919?!?

I am obsessed with making math as fun as possible. I spend my paycheck on markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, and dry erase markers. Oh, and lots and lots of chocolate! I laminate things like crazy, and I can't imagine teaching math without using an interactive notebook. I can talk about interactive notebooks for hours and hours. I lesson plan with foldables and graphic organizers in mind. I try to make things as hands-on as possible. I'm definitely a work in progress. Classroom management is a struggle for me, but I'm getting better!

Want to know more super interesting facts about me? Check out the 30 Awesome Facts You Should Probably Know About Ms. Hagan that I shared with my students on the first day of school. [Though, I'll warn you. It's a bit out of date at the moment!]

Disclosure:

Sarah Carter is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

I have been teaching for 18 years, with my first 10 all at the same school in a small town in northern CA. I taught middle school then, and one year out of the blue I started using the "Math = Love" meme in my classes. The kids found it corny at first, but eventually I got classes trying to out-do other classes by claiming different versions of this equation. Students speaking:

ReplyDelete"For *this* class, Math is greater than or equal to Love!"

"Fourth period said that, well we're going to use Math is congruent to Love. That's more geometric."

That sort of thing. It was a lot of fun. I still have a t-shirt one class made for me with MATH = LOVE on it and everyone's signature from that class. (That's middle school for you. You rarely get that kind of emotional attachment to your class, at least in my experience, with high schoolers.)

I tried to use the idea again the next year, but it mostly fizzled out. I find that such gimmicks (if that's the right word) usually only work once. I don't know if it's because I only come upon them and present them with the right amount or type of enthusiasm when they are new to me, or what, but it feels like catching lightning in a bottle when one of these ideas sticks.

I teach only high school now, by choice, but the title of your blog reminded me of one of the things I really did enjoy about teaching middle school. Thanks!

I love your blog! I teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra to 7th and 8th graders and your blog has sparked my imagination. Thank you!

ReplyDeleteAs a side note, I invite my students to send me emails when they need help. I've set my signature line to be:

Even if you think you don't love Math, Math loves you.

Don't believe me? Solve for "i".

9x - 7i > 3(3x - 7u)

The Algebra students can figure it out pretty quickly. My Pre-Alg girls are desperate to understand how find the answer.

Just realized I never replied to this... I love your e-mail signature, and I totally stole it and made it mine!

DeleteWhy can't I figure your Math love you equation?!!! It is making me mad. Can you please divulge the answer because I think I did everything right but I can't figure out?

Delete9x - 7i > 3(3x - 7u)

Delete9x - 7i > 9x - 21u

-7i > -21u

i <3 U The less than and 3 make a sideways heart.

It says, I love you. :-D

Totally stealing this! I don't know if it will be a signature for my work email, personal email, or both.

Just made it my signature for my e-mail love it! Thanks for sharing.

DeleteI am also a first year teacher this year, teaching Algebra I and Geometry at the High school level.

ReplyDeleteI just used your HOY-VUX foldable in class, and they loved it!

Thanks! Hope your first year of teaching is going swell!

DeleteSarah, thank you for your notebook ideas! You are a real math master! You are helping my students and I in big ways! Keep up the excellent work! Please keep sharing your insights and ideas for 8th grade math! You are a phenom!

ReplyDeleteValerie

Thanks for sharing. You are a true blessing.

ReplyDeleteWow! Bless you for sharing all these wonderful ideas! I tutor students and these materials will be fabulous. Keep up the great work you're doing!

ReplyDeleteFinally! Someone who loves math! I'm in the works of becoming a middle school math teacher and its so hard to find others as dedicated and passionate about the subject. You go girl!

ReplyDeleteFrivolousrambling.blogspot.com

Thanks for your kind words! It sounds like you are entering the right career field! If I could offer you some advice, I'd definitely recommend that you blog throughout all of your student teaching and observation experiences. Good luck with your studies, and make sure you keep that passion!

DeleteI just found your blog via pinterest, and immediately felt connected. I just graduated and signed a contract at the same school I did my student teaching at. I'm equally excited and nervous to be starting my first year of teaching. I'll have both regular and honors Algebra 2 classes, so I will definitely be using your blog as a resource! Bookmarking you now! :)

ReplyDeleteThank you for your blog. I can relate to so many of the struggles you faced your first year. Reading your blog took me back to my first year and I admire how you reacted to so many of the situations; you handled the stress and frustration better than I did.

ReplyDeleteThis fall I will be entering my third year teaching Alg 1 and Geometry. I have been trying to find ways to better engage the students, improve their note taking and study skills and get them to refer back to their notes more. The interactive notebook sounds like a great idea! I have never heard of it before and have been doing a lot of research since reading your blog. I will be stealing many of your great ideas :) You are doing an awesome job caring about your students. Keep it up and keep blogging! You are a great encouragement to your fellow teachers! God's blessings on your work and Thank you!

Megan B. Deactur, IL

Hi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteI really enjoy browsing through your blog. I recently contacted you through the "contact me" tab. I was wondering if you had a chance to read it. I'm conducting an action research project and would really appreciate your input. Thank you,

Lori Boyd

7th grade math

Siloam Springs Middle School

Siloam Springs, AR

Dear Sarah

ReplyDeleteThank you for taking the time to share your love of mathematics and teaching it. Your blog is doing the rounds here in South Australia and hopefully some our teachers will start sharing their ideas as well.

Susan Hyde, Principal, Australian Science and Mathematics School

Wow! It's still hard for me to believe that others find my ideas worth sharing. Definitely encourage your teachers to share their ideas. So many of my ideas have been stolen from countless other teachers who have shared their ideas!

DeleteYou are a hot looking math teacher!

ReplyDeleteHi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteI have just spent several hours devouring the ideas you have in your blog and making plans for the new year when I will be starting my 4th year of teaching Math. I didn't enjoy the subject at first (I wanted to be a Science teacher) but it's blogs and ideas like yours that make me excited about getting the kids excited about Math! I can't wait to start using foldables!

Thank you so much!

From an Aussie Math teacher. :)

Thank you so much for your kind words! It's great to hear that you're excited about getting kids excited about math! We need more teachers like you!

DeleteThis comment has been removed by the author.

ReplyDeleteCame across your blog when looking for a vertical number line. Thanks for sharing your ideas, will be using them with my students in Wiltshire, England. Have a look at the following English sites Mr. Reddy, Numberloving and Mr. Barton - some of the best British Maths sites.

ReplyDeleteThanks for the blog suggestions! I'll definitely be looking into these! And, thanks for stopping by my blog.

DeleteCan you tell me if you have a beginning point with your interactive note book? I would really love to implement these in my classroom, but trying to figure out where to start.

ReplyDeleteThanks for your time, I love your blog!

Hi Nicole!

DeleteI begin by having my students decorate the very first page of their notebooks. They have to include their name and something that tells me more about themselves. Some students write. Others draw. In the past, I've had students glue in a syllabus or rubric. This year, I just jumped into the curriculum. We start off each unit with a table of contents and a blank page that is made into a concept map at the end of the unit.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions!

Hey Sarah! I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I read all throughout my student teaching and even got a couple of ideas for my algebra 1 class. After graduating in May, I got a job teaching algebra 1 and algebra 2 in a high school! I was wondering if you had any tips for first year teachers... specifically for high school math? I'd love to hear any tips and activities you have for the first couple of days of school as well as any classroom management ideas you'd be willing to share.

ReplyDeleteI really enjoy reading your blog! you have some really awesome ideas!

Kristen

Life & Laughter

Hey Kristen!

DeleteFirst off, thanks for reading my blog! It means a lot to me. Your first year is going to be crazy hard and crazy rewarding. I'm going to point you towards several blog posts I've written that I think will give you some of the advice you are looking for.

50 Things I Learned During My First Year of Teaching

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2013/06/50-lessons-learned-during-my-first-year.html

First Day Activities

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2012/08/first-day-of-school-plans.html

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2012/08/im-teacher-recap-of-day-1-and-2.html

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2013/05/math-is.html

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2013/08/first-day-of-school-plans-2013.html

http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2013/08/second-year-day-one.html

Classroom management ideas - this is one of the areas I still struggle with. I implemented a cell phone ban this year that helped some. I blogged about that here: http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2014/01/keep-change-start-stop-aka-new-school.html. I'm going to try out some new classroom rules and norms this year. Blogged about those recently: http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2014/07/classroom-rules-posters-2014-2015.html and http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2014/07/class-group-work-norms-poster-set-free.html

Don't expect perfection the first year (or the second year or the third year or ever). Learn from your mistakes. Don't be afraid to toss out an activity you spent hours preparing if it isn't helping students learn. Never stop learning. I'm still learning things about algebra. For example - how did I not know where conic sections came from or that the line between a fraction is called a vinculum or that the little number that tells you what type of radical you are dealing with is the index? Take time for yourself. It's super easy to let school take over your life. I'm really bad about this one.

And, most importantly, REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECT. You've already got a blog. So, you're ahead there. And, reflect right away. I can't tell you about how many drafts I have in blogger that I meant to write, but now I have no clue why I thought it was important / share-worthy. Reflect for yourself. You do so much stuff that it's easy to forget how you taught something the previous year. Plus, others will read what you write and offer AMAZING advice. And, have a place to reflect on the stuff that you shouldn't share on the world wide web, too.

Enjoy this crazy profession that you've gotten yourself into. Reach out for others when you need help. If you haven't joined twitter, do so ASAP. The #MTBoS is amazing!

Let the kids see who you are outside of school and try to find ways to see who your students are outside of your classroom. This is one of my goals of doing Good Things Monday with my students. I learn things about my kiddos that I would probably never otherwise learn. And, I always share a good thing about my weekend, too. If I don't, the kids will protest!

If you ever need anything, just let me know. I'll be happy to help!

Thank you so much for all of your advice and guidance... and for pointing me in the direction of all of your posts! I'm am so excited to get started with my first year! My biggest worries are classroom management and just the first day of school in general but you definitely have some great ideas here that I think will really help! Thank you for all of your kind and encouraging words!

DeleteYou are very welcome!

DeleteI stumbled across your blog yesterday and I must tell you, you are simply adorable! I love your bio; the way you generously share all your great ideas, and your passion for teaching and learning. The latest post with the words "Please" "Yet" "Thank you" is so great. I totally agree! Keep up the wonderful work, dear sister.

ReplyDeleteThank you so much for your kind words! I'm glad you are enjoying my blog!

DeleteI love all of your foldables in your interactive notebook and am excited to try some this year. One question--do your students have a separate notebook for their notes vs. their classwork & homework? I feel like a separate composition notebook would be best as an interactive notebook, but I don't want my students to have to lug around separate notebooks.

ReplyDeleteMy notebooks only have notes in them. In the past, I haven't made my students keep homework, but I'm implementing homework portfolios this year. Should be interesting!

DeleteGood luck on your 5k. My daughter got me off the couch several years ago and now I am up to some longer runs. It is a good habit to cultivate. It also is a good way to introduce many math concepts to my students.

ReplyDeleteThanks! My friend and I decided to run a 5k together, so that should help with some motivation! Would love to hear more about how you use running to introduce math concepts!

DeleteYou are amazing! Thank you so much for blogging! You are extremely organized and I love the enthusiasm and fantastic ideas! I will definitely be following. It's my second year teaching Algebra2/trig and first year teaching pre-calc! I love it but was looking for a way to make notebooks meaningful resources and you nailed it with your interactive notebooks! The pics help so much too! Stay awesome!

ReplyDeleteHey Jen! Thanks for your kind words. Glad you've found the pics and interactive notebook ideas to be useful. Let me know if there is ever anything I can help you with! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

DeleteSaw your materials for Algebra 2 Unit 1 interactive notebook and LOVE it! This is my first year teaching algebra 2 (taught algebra 1 and geometry the last two years) and I am finding it difficult to find interactive things to do with the students for Algebra 2. Would LOVE to attempt these-but wondering if you have any of the other units posted? Thanks! (My email is speters@waukeeschools.org if you want to contact me through that!)

ReplyDeleteSent you an e-mail :)

DeleteI still have a lot to look at on your page. Not even close to viewing it all. I just want to thank you for sharing. I am a middle school math teacher. I also love math and teaching it. My problem is I am not as creative as you. I have a very difficult time creating interactive journal pages, yet I love doing them. I also have a hard time coming up with good activities and practice. Because of your help, I can start to bring to the table what I could once only imagine doing.

ReplyDeleteThanks Amy!

DeleteI stumbled across your blog while trying to find materials for my Special Ed students. It's my first year co-teaching in a math class. Boy, does it get easier the third time around (being a student, student teaching, and now)! Your interactive notebook & foldables have been great for my students! Thanks!

ReplyDeleteThanks! Glad you have found things you can use!

DeleteHello there! The Math Circles Facebook page directed me to your blog. First of all, congratulations on being one of NPRs 50 Great Teachers!

ReplyDeleteMy parents were *both* high school math teachers in Indianapolis - now retired, although my mom still tutors. Speaking of my mom, she grew up in Bartlesville, which means I spent many summer vacations there. One of her students was Melanie Wood, the first girl to qualify for the US team in the International Math Olympiad.

As for me, I'm a children's writer, and in recent years I've been developing a style that uses storytelling to teach math concepts. My latest book is just being released this month - "Night of the Frightening Fractions," the second in a series about a middle school girl who solves mostly pre-algebra problems for mathematically-challenged monsters. (It turns out that monsters are really bad at math. Who knew?) If you're interested, you can check out my website, http://www.rablack.com/.

I'm looking forward to reading your blog. Maybe we can give each other some ideas...

Hi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteI caught a portion of your interview on NPR this morning and was so intrigued I found it again on NPR.org. Which brought me here.

My wife and I home school with the RVA (http://www.ruralvirtual.org/site/index.php) which is kinda like home school extension for the public school system here. A lot of words to say thanks for showing me the light. My daughter is in the 3rd grade and I want to make math fun and exciting for her. I will be following your blog to get some insights on how to do just that.

Warmest regards,

Damian

Will you please send your math practices radams@tusc.k12.al.us

ReplyDeleteI can't remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but I just wanted to say that after looking through it, I am so amazed and happy about the work you're doing, and how you have passion not just for math, but also for the teaching of math. I teach college math, and I can tell you, we need lots more teachers like you! Keep up the great stuff.

ReplyDeleteThanks Jason! Your kind words mean a lot to me!

DeleteThank you for being so willing to share! I have recently come back to the classroom from being at home with my 3 boys. I really wanted to do something a bit different than what I used to. I live in a small town too and math is not a top priority. I am so excited for next year to start so I can implement some of these in my class. I actually showed some of my students the samples and they were like we would totally do that! Made my heart happy to see excitement in kids who's eyes have not always lit up about math! Thanks you!

ReplyDeleteYou're very welcome, Mary Beth! Let me know if there is ever anything I can help you with!

DeleteI love your blog!! I love how hardcore of a Christian you are and I am actually starting my first year as a high school math teacher. Any tips would be great!

ReplyDeleteThanks for the sweet note, Ginny! My best tip: steal as many ideas from the #MTBoS as possible. Join us on twitter! Start your own blog to reflect!

DeleteSarah,

ReplyDeleteI just came across your blog today and am amazed. Where do you find the time? Thank you so much for sharing all of your work with us!

Thanks! I live in a small town and don't have much of a social life, so I guess that explains part of it. ;) I also just love sharing resources. Blogging help me reflect on my lessons and make hem better.

DeleteHi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteI tried emailing you but the email would never send, so I thought I would post the email on here and hopefully get a hold of you that way.

Hi,

I was wondering if you could send the following documents to me? I was unable to download them from your site.

-graphing inequalities foldable

-inequalities- order matters

-solving and graphing inequalities in 1 variable

-printable vertical number line foldable

-prime and composite numbers

-birthday cake method for finding prime factorization

- parts of a coordinate plane (if you have directions on how to create, that would be great too!)

Thanks for your great ideas. I have really enjoyed looking at your blog. I teach 6th grade in Virginia, so anything else you have that I may have overlooked would greatly be appreciated too. Hope you have a wonderful school year! My email is sandy.barrett@live.com

Thanks,

Sandy

E-mail sent!

DeleteHi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteYou have created a very interesting blog about your Maths teaching. I can tell you are a passionate teacher and I can easily imagine students loving Maths in your classes. Keep up the great blog posts and best wishes with your teaching career!

Kind regards,

Jeff

Thanks Jeff!

DeleteHi Sarah,

ReplyDeleteI really enjoyed reading your blog and thank you for sharing all the great ideas. In case you haven't heard about it, DonorsChoose.org is a great organization where you can ask for classroom supplies so you don't have to spend your hard earned money. Many donors are looking for projects to donate. Try it.

Thanks for the recommendation! I've heard of the site, but I've never used it before.

DeleteHi Sarah! I just found your site the other day through pinterest and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! I am currently a graduate student, getting my masters in education. I have a bachelors in mathematics and will be certified to teach 7th-12th grade by May of 2016. Your site is such an inspiration for me as a future teacher and I look forward to adopting some (a lot) of your ideas and making them my own, as I will be doing half of my student teaching in 8th grade algebra! Your blog is amazing and I can tell what an amazing teacher you are. I HOPE I CAN BE LIKE YOU SOME DAY! Thanking you in advance for everything that you have put on this blog. You are such an inspiration.

ReplyDeleteThanks for the sweet note, Danielle! Good luck with your student teaching! Let me know if there is ever anything I can help you with.

DeleteSarah, I am not sure where I first found your site but I am constantly coming across it....IT IS AWESOME! I have taught high school for seven years but this is the first year endorsed in math. Thank you for being "weird" (we must stick together) and having amazing ideas but most of all for sharing them. Your students are blessed.

ReplyDeleteThanks for the kind words!

DeleteSarah, this year due to unexpected staffing changes at my school, I find myself taking over a section of Algebra 1. I am getting so many great ideas from you blog! It is a wealth of information! I also LOVE teaching math and one of my favorite things this year is that for the first time, I am getting to have students in Algebra 1 that I taught in 6th grade math. So I totally understand how cool it must be to get to teach students again on a regular basis.

ReplyDeleteI am also a doctoral student at Walden University working on my dissertation. My topic is focused on the virtual Communities of Practice that math teachers use to improve their practice - specifically MTBoS. A few of my survey participants have indicated they read your blog. I am wondering if you could find a few minutes to take my survey. (It is pretty short). I would really appreciate your input. In the survey "blog platform" is used a generic term to mean any platform, like blogspot. Thanks for your consideration! bit.ly/15blogstudy is the link.

Wait, is math countably infinitely fun or uncountably infinitely fun?

ReplyDeleteCan it be both? ;) I honestly don't know.

DeleteSarah,

ReplyDeleteI've been using ideas from your blog to supplement my curriculum and appreciate all the work you put into your teaching. My kids are learning how to connect the learning goals to the notes they're taking using the goals with tabbed pages. We're on a slower pace so I'm wondering if you have a calendar/timetable you use to stay on track/plan ahead and to compare with my district's... I've searched but am unable to find one.

Keep up the good work!!

-Aaron

Awesome! I make my own pacing calendar on a yearly basis, but it's always a work in progress. I've posted my Algebra 1 skills/ordering here: http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2015/07/algebra-1-sbg-skills-list-2015-2016.html and my Algebra 2 skills/ordering here: http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2015/06/algebra-2-skills-list-2015-2016.html . There is no timing because I make that up as I go. Each of these changes each year because I'm always in search of a better way to teach.

DeleteHello Sarah, I am a fellow TU grad (Chem E '95) and I just read the article about you in the College of engineering & Natural Sciences Magazine. Keep up the good work, Oklahoma needs good math teachers like yourself. Congrats on your marriage.

ReplyDeleteHello! I am ending my first year as a resource algebra 1 and resource geometry teacher, I am the special ed teacher so all of my students are on ieps in my room. my educational background is special ed but my love is math and algebra. As it turns out for my next position I will have to take the state math test to continue teaching special ed math for 2017 school year so pray as I am a Christian too that I succeed in studying understanding and passing that test! I too love ALGEBRA, I could teach it all day. So let me get to my point I want my students to love algebra one as much as I do but I don't have the skill set to pull that off . Meaning how to make it enjoyable and fun. Next year I will definitely be using interactive notebooks and more foldable's . I have come to realize that the algebra sequence is pretty much the same for any district. So I would like to use your blog as a resource but I want to begin I guess with the beginning of the school year if that makes sense so are your blogs in sequential order according to the sequence of algebra one ? If not can you guide me on the best place to begin reading your blog I guess by the dates and lastly aside from foldable's and interactive notebooks can you provide me with your top three resources or whatever that you would recommend they can be books or websites or whatever . May our father in heaven continue to bless you your new marriage your love for him and your service to him may he give you even better ideas and through your ideas may he give you the power to get well so that you can glorify him in heaven Deut 8:18 .

ReplyDelete