Friday, July 5, 2013

Advanced Coordinate Graph Art for Grades 6-8: 44.44% finished!

 Happy 4th of July everyone!

Yesterday was by far the most relaxing day yet of the summer. As it should be. The weather was a perfect 10 with blue sky, light breezes, low dew point and temps in the 70's. It was also the first year that the kids made it through the entire Delano parade, loaded down with huge bags of candy (now safely hidden in the cupboard). 

Rather than engaging in house cleaning or yard work, I am back at the computer, chugging coffee and playing Candy Crush with a fluffy cat by my side. The boys are silent on their respective couches, recovering from yesterday's fun with their favorite iPad games. 

Now that I have burned through my lives on Level 147 (please send me some more!), I suppose I should get back to work on the task at hand... which is finishing my second publication by the end of the month! Between the teacher and student versions of my first book, I have sold over 250 hard copies... plus another 20 digital copies, and then there are the chapters on TpT (which you can still purchase, by the way). My "Let's Get Cooking with Ratios" and "Number Systems that Rock Your World" are only available on TpT so check it out! I may expand those chapters into full books at some point... you never know.

My point is... if you are a semi-decent writer, whatever your vocation (especially you stay-at-home moms and home-schoolers), you too can start publishing yourself! We all have something to say, whether it's sharing worksheets or blogging or tweeting or sharing expertise on raising many kids, and someone out there wants to read it. Start small, say writing a free blog or posting a small unit on Teachers Pay Teachers... if you get some bites (haha not from Zombies), then you can start expanding up to a full book. 

Here's how I did it:
  1. Start with a really great idea that your students, kids, friends, etc. already really enjoy, and most importantly, YOU enjoy making materials for. Mine, obviously, was graph art puzzles. 
  2. Digitize it, if you haven't already. I use Apache's Open Office software, which is free and converts into virtually any other format you could want, including .pdf.
  3. Play with your computer's Paint program or an iPad app such as Skitch to make your own graphics. Most teachers, or whoever your audience is, don't go looking for products based on their "looks". They are searching for good content, not state-of-the-art graphics. I also use Smart Notebook, if you can afford it, (or try the 30-day free trial) because you can layer, group and clone the images much easier than with Paint or Skitch. 
  4. Sign up for TpT or even eBay and follow the prompts to set up your store front. (did you know you could sell digital products on eBay? Yup!)
  5. Sign up for your own blog, or Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account and start marketing your product! The more you "follow" other people and groups, the more they will "follow" your products. It will spiral from there. The more you post and market, the more you'll sell!
  6. Ready to publish a whole book? Sign up for and they will walk you through the rest of the process! CreateSpace is a free, online self-publishing company that partners with All you have to do is decide what size and roughly how many pages your book will be, and then you download their pre-made templates to complete your project. When you're done, you save it as a .pdf, upload it for CreateSpace to proof, and Viola! you will be self-published on 
  7. BEFORE you make your book available to the public, make sure you order a copy to check the layout of the cover art, pages, and to proof for typo's. (speaking from personal experience, I think I mailed myself 3 versions before I was satisfied)
As usual, I am getting very off-topic. And my Candy Crush levels must be nearly back to full by now... so back to what I wanted to share, which was a preview of the new chapters. 

As much as I tried to make parts of my first book "difficult", my top students still found it too easy. Hence, the first chapter of my new book covers the same material as the first four chapters of my old book. With much harder puzzles. Like this one! It "cracks" me up! LOL, it's called "Which Came First". Get it?? :)

The second chapter, or section, or whatever you want to call it, is a much more in depth study of translations. Puzzles start easy and get harder, ending with a super challenge puzzle sure to keep even your highest high-flyer busy for at least ten minutes. Maybe fifteen if you make them color it ;)

The third section, which I am just starting, is a full section just on dilations including an introductory activity with dilating your EYES! My students ooooh and ahhhh over watching their neighbors' pupils expand and retract, which immediately engages them in a review of radius, diameter, circumference and area of their dilating eye balls. 

Most of the print material on dilations that is available is either Quadrant 1, or 4-Quadrants, but not both. I'm taking the same training-wheels approach to transformations in this second book, as I took to coordinate graphing in the first book. Start with Q1, then add Q4, then add Q2, and then try all 4 quadrants. 

Such as this one... "Sail Away". Dilations limited to Q1, with graphing practice included in all 4 quadrants.

Stay tuned for more book updates!

I will post Sections 1 and 2 on TpT as soon as my editors finish their proofing work. 

In the mean time, I am still looking for more teacher editors for later sections of the book. What do you get out of it? Just your own free digital copy of the book, with unlimited copyrights for your home and classroom, and your name published in the book as an editor. No big deal! 

Have a great Holiday Weekend!
-Zombie out