HS Podcast: Betsy Mays May 2023
[00:00:00] Hey sisters, Kate here. Before we get to this week's episode, I just wanted to give you a little heads up here and there throughout the episode, there are some audio glitches, the story behind it is that our guests, Betsy and I tried to record twice before this episode and zoom was giving us such a hard time. So we decided we're just going to go with it. And I did the best we could in editing. But what Betsy has to say is so important. If you have ever worried about math, if you have a middle schooler, tween or teen, and beyond or below. The things that Betsy is going to share in this episode as a curriculum specialist and a math educator. She's just amazing. She was one of our very first guests that we've ever had in Nevermore learning back in early 2021, when we opened. And I am delighted to bring her to the homeschool sisters community so that you can get to know her as well.
[00:00:56] Betsy Mays is a wife, mother math teacher, and game creator. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in educational leadership. After spending 27 years in public education,
[00:01:10] she is now on a mission to give parents and teachers tools they can use in the way of games. Uh, to make learning math, fun and stress free.
[00:01:18] Betsy's company is called games by absolute zero .
[00:01:22] Games by absolute zero was created out of a desire to turn kids onto math and to make math practice fun and engaging
[00:01:30] it's creator. Betsy maze is a middle school math teacher. And parents were always asking Betsy, how can I help my child be successful in math? It was never my strong subject.
[00:01:42] Playing games is one of the many things parents and teachers can do with kids to strengthen math skills.
[00:01:48] All right, sisters and gain schoolers and sisters who want to be game schoolers. Let's get to this episode. I can't wait to introduce you to Betsy maze.
[00:01:59] Cait: Hi Betsy.
[00:02:00] Betsy: Hi Kate. How are you today? I'm doing really well. How are you?
[00:02:03] Cait: Fabulous. Thank you. It's great to talk to you again. I had you into Never board learning in mid 2021, and we had a great conversation at that point about math and math games with children and teens, and so I'm excited to share you with the Sisters community because I know that there are a lot of game schoolers and there's also a lot of people who are very curious about how to make it work in their homeschool.
[00:02:25] Cait: So I'm really happy to have you on
[00:02:26] Betsy: today. I'm glad to be here. Thank you.
[00:02:29] Cait: . So for anyone who doesn't know you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
[00:02:32] Betsy: Okay. My name's Betsy Mays. I am a mom, wife, math teacher, math curriculum instruction specialist, and now a game creator.
[00:02:42] Cait: Could you tell us a little bit about games by Absolute Zero and the games that you have?
[00:02:46] Betsy: So about. They came into fruition about five years ago. But before that, I loved playing games in my classroom, so I was always looking for ways to make math fun and arresting and engaging. And one of the games I created involved positive and negative numbers, but I was using a regular deck of cards.
[00:03:01] Betsy: So the kids had to remember that red was negative, black was positive. Kings were 13. And it was a lot when you're trying to also remember the rules of the game and your integer operations. So my own children said, Hey mom, why don't you just create. Deck of cards that you're looking for, and I did, and that's where Absolute Zero was born.
[00:03:18] Betsy: So it's a deck with positive and negative cards in it, and the object of the game is to create a value of zero in your hand. And since then, I have three new games on the market and two more hopefully out by the end of the year.
[00:03:30] Cait: Oh, fantastic. We discovered you from games by absolute zero because I was teaching my kids positive and negative numbers and it was just something, they're all close in age, so I always tried to.
[00:03:42] Cait: Keep everybody involved in what we were learning about despite the various math that they were using. And it was really hard to, as you said, there are a lot of games out there that homeschoolers can use with a deck of cards. And it is hard to keep in your mind that a queen is what value and the colors, right?
[00:03:58] Cait: And so I found absolute zero and I was like, this is perfect. And we started playing. And the way that you have it, You maintain the callers, so it's very easy for them to remember. But it made it so much easier for them to get the concept of zero in the middle. And also the other thing I wanted to mention that we talked about in.
[00:04:20] Cait: Never board learning. That was like an aha moment for a lot of parents was, you had mentioned that in your classrooms you started using number lines instead of using the traditional horizontal number line that we all had taped to our desk in elementary school. You started using the vertical one and that w That to me just makes so much more sense and it was an aha moment for a lot of members in the never board learning community who have reported that their kids didn't understand it before, but as soon as you put them vertical, it was like, oh, that
[00:04:47] Betsy: makes sense.
[00:04:48] Betsy: So that came about by a P B S cartoon my son watched called Cyber Chase. I think you can still find it on YouTube and it's a cute little cartoon with math concepts. And in that one, the kids were going up and down an elevator with the florist marks, positive and negative for basement.
[00:05:03] Betsy: And they were trying to find somebody, with the elevator numbers being out. And my son at the age of five could tell me that negative three was less than negative two because he had this vision of a vertical number line and could see it in his mind. So I thought, my goodness, if my five year old is getting this concept, maybe I could take this vertical number line to my seventh graders, and it really made a big difference.
[00:05:25] Betsy: I'm slightly dyslexic. I think a. A lot of people might be just get that left and right, confused, and to know that the right is always larger. Just it's tough. So if you put it up and down, it's, for a lot of people it makes more sense that the higher you are, the bigger it is. Like
[00:05:39] Cait: literature.
[00:05:40] Cait: Were there other games that you used in your. With your middle school students that gave you ideas for games that you've created now?
[00:05:48] Betsy: I really think absolute zero was the main one.
[00:05:51] Betsy: From that I created a game called Hunch cuz we tried playing it with the absolute zero deck and it worked, but you didn't have a visual. Hunch is finding distance on a number line. So for example, you have hunch that the card's gonna be a three and you flip it over and it's really a negative two.
[00:06:06] Betsy: Your distance is five, so your score for that hand is. Five, that distance on a number line, especially across, is really a tough concept for kids. And my cards have the number line, vertical number line printed on each card so the kids could count how far off their guests was to help them with that.
[00:06:22] Betsy: That was another game that came from the classroom that I played.
[00:06:26] Cait: I love that because then you can include children and teens who already get the concept and then also the kids who are maybe not ha, haven't completely grasped it right. And need a little bit of that help. And then they can all play together and an even, exactly.
[00:06:40] Betsy: Even level, I try to put, I try to put support on my cards for kids that need it. So like for 10 fish, it's go fish, but you're making tens. I have 10 frames on there with a fish in it. So if your card is a three on the card with three fish, so some students just know, oh, I need seven more.
[00:06:55] Betsy: Other kids can count how many blank spaces there are on the card to know what they need to ask for.
[00:07:00] Cait: And that's such, at that age, getting base 10 is, it's like hard to explain a couple of my kids had trouble with that concept and it was just like, we would just play games and play with manipulatives.
[00:07:11] Cait: I wish I had that when I was teaching when my kids were little. You know what I mean? It would've made it just so much easier.
[00:07:16] Betsy: I would, and one of the reasons I created a game was even in my seventh grade math classroom, I found kids that didn't know intuitively, or instinctively, or right away that three and seven was 10.
[00:07:27] Betsy: So when you're borrowing and carrying with addition and subtraction, that's a really important skill. And if you don't have that and you're having to count on your fingers how many more you have or subtract on your fingers, it really slows the process
[00:07:38] Cait: down. And having that visual really helps. We get a lot of questions from parents , so let me start with the little ones.
[00:07:45] Cait: So when, okay. Little kids are learning math. I think if someone is homeschooling, especially if they came from a traditional public school background I worked in education. I know we have a lot of teachers turned homeschoolers. It. You have this idea in your head of what school is supposed to look like because you were used to a classroom of, 15 to 25 kids that were all learning the same thing at the same time.
[00:08:09] Cait: What would you say to parents as far as games go? Is it okay to not use the workbook as described every single day at a certain time? Or do you think they can have more fun, especially in the younger years?
[00:08:23] Betsy: I think in all the years they can have more fun. Workbooks, worksheets, they have a place, they're good sometimes, but let's face it, they're pretty boring and they're dry, and who looks forward to opening up their workbook and doing another page.
[00:08:37] Betsy: So in my classroom, that's why I always tried to incorporate games and even sometimes substitute a game for the other lessons. So that's what I would recommend. And the parents that are homeschooling as if your child's struggling or not, or bored or disengaged, look for something different, whether it's a game or a hands-on activity or a different initiative.
[00:08:56] Betsy: You don't have to complete the whole workbook. You can skip sections if you're doing that somewhere else. I did a lot of justifying with my principal once. She'd walk in and see us playing games and look at me like, what's going on in here? And I'd explain, what standards I was covering and what skills we were working on and things like that.
[00:09:12] Cait: Yeah, I think it's a, it can help parents too if you know the standards, because then you can especially depending on the, how strict your documentation is in your particular state or region. It just, you can just feel better knowing, this meets standard, blah, blah, blah, and then, if anyone questions you and you can make it work for you, I, it also works really well for so I would use, especially in the early years in middle school years, if we were butting heads over a concept like. Long division, which every single one of my kids got really frustrated with at some point.
[00:09:47] Betsy: I would say that's a whole nother topic I could go off on.
[00:09:50] Cait: Oh, I would love to. But I would set aside and play games for a while. Just tell everyone to cool down. It might be like a week, it might be 10 days would do other things. That we're working. Other skills that you need for long division. But also I had. A kid, two kids who are extraordinarily mathy.
[00:10:06] Cait: And so doing, even if they were above level in their, whatever program they were using, they didn't always need to do the whole, if there were like 20 questions, I would have them do every other or something like that. Or sometimes we, like he gets it, so we'll just play a game. And you can use it in that way too, cuz you don't have to, you don't have to be tied to what.
[00:10:28] Cait: Whoever created the program is telling you right. What to do.
[00:10:31] Betsy: That's a great idea.
[00:10:32] Cait: What were you gonna say about long division?
[00:10:34] Betsy: Because I know everybody out there. I know. I'll probably get a slack for this, I'll get some flack for this, but even in my, a, as I've been a mass specialist for my district, so I oversaw K-12 education in a very large district in Arizona, and I was selling teachers.
[00:10:48] Betsy: Don't kill the kids with long division. Yes, we have to cover it. Yes, you should try to teach it. Yes, there's different, we can go about, but when you get into that fifth grade long division, that's really where long division comes in. Fourth grade, you're pretty much doing a one digit into a multi-digit, and that's not all that tricky.
[00:11:04] Betsy: The kids can usually get that, but the multi-digit into a multi-digit, I don't know about you or I don't do long division by hand anymore. We have calculators. So I think the, I having the idea. Vision is right. Having that idea of vision is being able to explain it and being able to estimate it.
[00:11:22] Betsy: That is the big thing. So if you know that it should be about a hundred, 150, if you can tell how many of this was this approximately, and then check with your calculator how close you were, to me that's more valuable than knowing it to the exact hundredth of a decimal place.
[00:11:38] Cait: It's just so much.
[00:11:40] Cait: And I think especially when you're in school, because there's a large group of people, everyone has to. Mostly everyone needs to be on board in order to move to the next thing. So it can be a lot of drill and kill and really stressful.
[00:11:52] Betsy: And so let's, I'm not gonna move on to the students mastered what topic you're on.
[00:11:57] Betsy: How much are you not getting to them? How much are they not being exposed to? What if a student is like, for example, geometry, usually at the end of a unit or at the end of the year? At least in most the curriculums I've seen and. That's something that's fun, engaging, and a lot of kids can get geometry without knowing long division or even their multiplication facts right off the top of their head.
[00:12:15] Betsy: So we're denying our children experiences because we're getting stuck in one topic. They try it, drop it, go do something else, come back, maybe sprinkle it in. A lot of those things are developmental too. Some kids just aren't ready for that, and it's okay at age doesn't dictate where we should be in math or where we should be in a lot of things.
[00:12:33] Betsy: And developmentally we're all a little different and we different paces and that's okay. There's being, wrong or good or bad about any of it. So you've just gotta let your kids grow into it on their own. I love that
[00:12:46] Cait: because they'll be more receptive if they we tried to record yesterday, and I was telling you, we, we had Zoom issues, but I was telling you that my youngest has always, he's about, he's almost 12 and he's always hated writing.
[00:12:59] Cait: So even though he has the ideas and the stories and could talk at length, these. Whatever. He does not like putting pen or pencil to paper and never has, and would mathematically figure out the fewest number of letters that he could use to answer whatever it was. And that's just not his skill, but yet it's something that he is gonna need to use for his whole life.
[00:13:19] Cait: So now as he's entering seventh grade next year, he's been saying all this year like, I really need to learn this because I need. To write then and here he's realizing that it's just one of those things like laundry, it's just something in life that you to do that's gonna be there whether you like it or not.
[00:13:35] Cait: That compared to him like three or four years ago where everything was a battle, is just sometimes if you wait, they realize themselves and they have this internal motivation that even if they don't like it, this is something that I'm gonna need to know. Correct. And I like what you said about how we don't really do long division that much anymore because it made me think when I was doing my daughter was doing different, you know the conversions with quartz and gallons and pints. And I spatially have always had trouble. There's some, you were mentioning dyslexia. A little bit of dyslexia. I think we all have strengths and weaknesses and spatial skills have never been mine and will never, I'm almost 45.
[00:14:14] Cait: They'll never at this point gonna be my thing. And I said to her, she was so frustrated over it and I was like, I was the same way. And the good news for you is you can just say, hey Google, or the other one that I'm not gonna name, cuz she'll start talking. How much if they can, it's so much more accessible to you now that it almost doesn't matter if it's something that you're, you can't figure out internally.
[00:14:35] Betsy: Exactly. So we wanna give our kids problem solving abilities, can figure things out. Nowhere to get the information and have some basic knowledge. I'm not saying we don't need to teach any math or any division. Or our kids don't need to know their facts. That's not what I'm saying.
[00:14:49] Betsy: But developmentally, we need to know they're ready and we gotta pick out of all the math concepts. Are we gonna kill ourselves over long division with only two questions on that standardized test at the end of the year? Those are the kind of some of the things I'm thinking of. And I know as a seventh grade math teacher, I never required kids to do long division.
[00:15:08] Betsy: I expect to do, or they weren't gonna get it. Now here's a calculator. We're moving on to algebra and other
[00:15:13] Cait: topics. Yeah, we're in a different phase. I can remember one of my math teachers saying, you're not gonna have a calculator on you, so you're gonna need to know this. And now we all have calculators in our pockets.
[00:15:23] Cait: Yes, we do. So it's a different, we're in a different world now. One of the things I really enjoyed talking with you about when you came to never board learning at that time, we had, we were in the midst of the Olympics and you had mentioned how you incorporated the Olympics into your classroom.
[00:15:39] Cait: And a really fun hands-on way. But there was so much math sprinkled in that, that the kids were learning. And I was saying, I can remember doing the stock market game when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and I can remember it so vividly. Like I remember what I was selling, who my, opened the store with me.
[00:15:55] Cait: I just think that there are some ways that we can make, and this isn't just math, but you can make concepts stick so much better when you incorporate a playfulness and hands-on element to it, which is can be really challenging to do in a traditional school. And you mentioned your principal coming in and then where you're actually learning, I, in a homeschool situation when you have, fewer children that you're teaching, you can really add more of that in.
[00:16:21] Cait: Could you speak a little bit about that, about how you used hands-on?
[00:16:24] Betsy: Th this was a number of years ago, and not only did we study the country, the elector were being hosted in, which at the time was China, we followed some of the systems. We're looking at let's say the sprint times of different athletes and who won and how far off second place was, and they're going out to hundreds and thousands of decimal points.
[00:16:43] Betsy: So my students were comparing decimals, but in, in a real life situation where they'd see where it mattered. How are we gonna determine who won this race, which number is smaller? So we did a lot of that, but then we had our own games. So I created just fun games paper waste, bath toss, and I had a little ping pong ball that we.
[00:17:00] Betsy: Blue with a straw to see who could make the furthest and just some fun games. Like we tracked the data, we graphed it. We then had winners with, the middles and everything that we just made. It wa wasn't anything expensive, but I know talking to students now, a lot of them remember that time in class where we were playing games and graphing had fun and that experience them.
[00:17:19] Betsy: But I hope to to hope to think that the math did too. I bet it
[00:17:22] Cait: did. And you said that your son had a similar. Stock market experience. Oh, the,
[00:17:28] Betsy: So in middle school it's 25 now it's 12, 13 years ago when my son was in middle school, they did the stock market game. And I remember at dinner one night, he was telling, he said, mama, dad, you guys sure should best in this new stock.
[00:17:39] Betsy: It's called Tesla. He's gonna do all this cool technology stuff with cars and going to space. I'm like yeah, sure. Electric cars. Yeah. And we didn't invest in Tesla and. Every day. Still my son reminds me. See, I told you he should have invested.
[00:17:51] Cait: Can you imagine? Oh yeah. I love that story. What advice would you give to parents who want to incorporate more playfulness into their day, especially with regard to math, but maybe are a little bit nervous that they might be missing things?
[00:18:07] Betsy: Schools shouldn't be scary and stressful. That's one thing I would have seventh graders and, at our, in our district, K six was self-contained. And then seventh, eighth was a middle school where they, we departmentalized. So kids moved for every subject. And one I would tell the kids, you are It's so nice that now you have a teacher that specializes in the subject, so they really like it.
[00:18:26] Betsy: You need to have me for a math teacher, cuz I love teaching AP and it's fun. And we can, and I'd show 'em different ways. So letting them take a breath and see it from a different perspective, whether it was with games or art. Come really help them have a new appreciation for it. So we don't want our kids to think that.
[00:18:45] Betsy: Learning is a drudgery, right? If they think that learning is drudgery that have to sit at the kitchen table, open their workbook and do two pages a day, or watch three videos in the afternoon, who's gonna look forward to learning? We want our kids who want to learn be self-motivated, and if we make it, or what the right word might be.
[00:19:05] Betsy: Why would they wanna do it? So by enuring or reading or fun fus or just anything around your neighborhood or much more interesting. Then you're creating life longers. I love that.
[00:19:19] Cait: I think about it a lot. I was by, I love reading and so I was always really interested in reading development and how to early literacy and.
[00:19:29] Cait: The, all of the literature, so I was thinking about this when I started homeschooling. All of the literature says you want your kids to fall in love with stories, and then if you do that naturally, because reading is a skill where they're gonna, you need to work to figure out to decode this whole system.
[00:19:45] Cait: They will have that motivation because they've fallen in love with stories. And so I always thought about that. And when we fell into homeschooling, cuz it was, now I worked in schools and I never, if you had told me this like 13 years ago, I would've laughed so hard. But it's the same sort of thing, like you want your kids to be interested in something so that they, or you wanna find the interest to make them interested in whatever you're trying to learn so that they are motivated.
[00:20:12] Cait: And then when they're motivated and interested, it sticks more. It just makes more sense.
[00:20:15] Betsy: Exactly.
[00:20:16] Cait: So what would you say to parents who I know we have a lot of parents who get really intimidated with math, especially when you get to middle school. So we get a lot of questions about middle school.
[00:20:25] Cait: I.
[00:20:26] Betsy: Right. It's okay to let your kids know you're not sure. Let's learn this together. You, I would not say I'm not good math. I don't like math. Don't say, Hey, it's been a long time since I've done this. So let's learn this together. I tutor sometimes and when I'm gonna be tutoring a student, that's the higher level math that I haven't looked at in a while.
[00:20:46] Betsy: I watch a few academy videos first and refinery. So that's one thing to think about is there's resource now available to us to our skills before we try to. But just know that you're gonna learn along with them on this and It's okay not to have all the answers right away or to occasionally forget things.
[00:21:03] Betsy: That's okay. But doesn't mean we stop or don't learn. We just keep moving along
[00:21:07] Cait: and then you're modeling for them how to find information too. I think a lot of parents out there just had a big sigh of a relief when they heard that a middle school math teacher will look things up. Like we do rely on, the tutorials before doing it.
[00:21:20] Betsy: I would ask why is that? Like why something to the Power of Zero always one. And at first I, no. I'm like, good question. I'll. So I'd run home, this was before the unit, so you know, I'd run back home, call up some of my tea friends or look it up the way, best way I could. And then I'd come back to them in a day or two with an answer, but it was okay to let them know, I'm not a hundred percent sure.
[00:21:43] Betsy: I'll check into that for you. I was real good at memorizing the rules and the steps. So math did come easy for me. But as soon as I started, that wasn't the case for everybody. So I had to get creative. And in,
[00:21:56] Cait: I appreciate you saying that. I had I was always a good student. I did well in math, but I found it to be the most difficult subject to teach in my homeschool because I went to Catholic elementary school and you just did, this is just what you did. And I think I, my memory was really good and I just as a rule follower, and so I didn't have the language or the vocabulary to say it. This is why. So I will say I taught at elementary element. The first thing I outsourced, cuz I had two like super mathy kids and I was like, this program is gonna be better.
[00:22:26] Cait: Like a few years ago my son was ahead of ride where I did all of my high school years. But I think it's okay to say that I remember being a guest on this year who was talking about, I think it was labs. She was teaching high schooler homeschooling high school and. A lot of people are intimidated by labs, much like they're intimidated by high school, by math and middle school and high school.
[00:22:47] Cait: And they're thinking, how is that, what's that gonna look like? And so she said, sometimes her kids at a certain point were more independent, but they would come to her and say we don't understand this part. And then at that point, it was a group, I believe, in her home of not just her kids, but some other kids.
[00:23:01] Cait: And so she'd look at it and just like you said, she'd say, you know what? It's been a long time since I did this. Why don't you go do something else today and I'll come tomorrow and I'll have answers for you. And I think that's okay because we don't know everything. Nobody knows. Oh, definitely.
[00:23:16] Betsy: Yep.
[00:23:17] Betsy: Nope.
[00:23:18] Cait: So are you able to tell us about games coming down the pike? And it's okay if you can't.
[00:23:23] Betsy: It's still our development. So I'm working on one that's for younger kids. We'll have an animal team and I'm creating sets and runs and what's all, I'll let you know what standards those connect to and things, something a little more fun, but still has some kind enough background.
[00:23:37] Betsy: And then the other one will be another set of cards with Operations where you're doing more, math operations with them, but just another, so they're both still in the development stages. But I'm hoping they're, and another project I'm working on is a book with a my grand she's has a doctorate in education and alternative algorithms were base operations It's like that division, if that standard is working for your child, yet, we'll give you some other ways that they might be able to do that math problem without their traditional algorithm.
[00:24:09] Betsy: So we'll be sharing what we're called alternative algorithms or alternative ways to do adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
[00:24:16] Cait: Oh, I love that. So that you can have, if this isn't working for my kid with this concept, I can try this. I
[00:24:23] Betsy: love that. And a lot of it is building up. Our goal might be the traditional algorithm, but here are some more developmentally steps to take to build a traditional algorithm.
[00:24:35] Betsy: So I don't think there's anything out there like that right now. I've looked, it's embedded in some curriculums, but not. This be concise like addition, here's the different algorithms, federal operations. So hope that all the projects I'm hoping to have out by the end of the year.
[00:24:50] Cait: I love that.
[00:24:51] Cait: Those you're very busy. My, so my boys, yes. Who are both Super mathy did beast Academy and Arta problem Solving. I don't know if you're familiar with it. But they start off with a graphic novel study now it's online. But I just remember thinking cuz they, they do what you're saying, they teach.
[00:25:07] Cait: In a number of different ways, and they understood math. So much better from Not a memorization, but a conceptual level early on. And I just remember thinking like, wish this was available to me. Cuz then I would have the language to oh, that's why we do that. That just made so sense, so much sense the way the monsters were and
[00:25:24] Betsy: like, like division, the division of fractions, we don't divide, we multiply by the reciprocal or the flip, but why?
[00:25:31] Betsy: Why does that work? What does that look like if you're drawing the diagram of it? Most people just know the rule and follow that rule and to comply or how that is. So yep, those were the one, those are the kind of things that, yep,
[00:25:42] Cait: that's what I had to look up. That was one of the ones where I was like, oh, it's been a real long time since I've had to do that in my life.
[00:25:48] Cait: So let me just go back. That, that's, I think that's gonna be a huge resource for parents. What would surprise parents about their kids learning math? What is something that you could say that could be like a surprise about teaching math or learning math?
[00:26:02] Betsy: I think the first one would be that kids can be creative problem solvers.
[00:26:07] Betsy: So instead of showing them we've been stuck on division, here's a division problem, here's how you do it. Get the problem, especially in con. I say no naked problem. Should say 36 divided by four. We should say 36 cookies. You wanna share them with four friends? How many cookies does each friend get?
[00:26:26] Betsy: If we give them problems in a contextual situation and let them solve it on their own, you'd be surprised how creative they can be and how much they can do. I had a. Article can kindergartens divide with fractions and they could in that co conceptual understand or that context. So it's really interesting.
[00:26:49] Betsy: Your kids can do so give 'em a chance. And the second thing is that a lot of times kids are ready for topics or we would traditionally think so. Bumpy integers. I shared the story understanding integers, and recently I part-time at a Title one. With a lot of English language learning students and I had my been playing games with my fourth graders, what they do with Absolute Zero, which is designed for middle school.
[00:27:16] Betsy: All fourth graders in this English Language Learning class got absolute zero and begged to play and understood the concept, and it was just so much fun to see that. So don't underestimate what your kids do.
[00:27:28] Cait: I love that. I love the story of the cookies because you think about little kids, little kindergartners, everyone's wanna know how to figure out that you get your equal share of the cookies. It's like very motivating.
[00:27:39] Betsy: They can figure out to cut some in half, right? Oh, we, there's, someone got four, what do we do? We cut it in thirds, we each get one, or a little bit. Those kind of things are totally doable. And
[00:27:50] Cait: I love that they, that your fourth graders in the Title one school could fell in love with that game.
[00:27:56] Cait: I real, I'm realizing now as we're talking about that, we forgot to mention that you have another version of absolute zero. For a younger kid, right? So
[00:28:03] Betsy: right. So absolute zero has cards from negative 12 to positive 12 with no zeroes in the deck. Create zero in your hand with, combining cards that have developed absolute zero at the request of a teacher, friend, or junior, absolute junior, which.
[00:28:16] Betsy: Almost from negative 10 to positive. Tim has 10 frames on the cards. Internship zone has a zero in a deck, which makes gaming a little easier. So I've got two levels of absolute zero.
[00:28:26] Cait: That's so fun. Okay, so now if it's all right with you, I'm gonna switch to our rapid fire, which is something we started doing this year and the questions Okay, that sounds like fine.
[00:28:36] Cait: They came from the community. So what was your favorite childhood game or toy?
[00:28:41] Betsy: You know what? I was thinking about that and it was bicycle. I lived in a country town, Indiana, and riding your bike all over. Especially in the summer, what we love to do. So he trails out in the woods and we'd make them ride to our friend's house.
[00:28:54] Betsy: So it was my,
[00:28:55] Cait: I love that, that we, I was talking about this with my youngest actually yesterday because there's been like a resurgence of people making jokes about how there used to be that thing on TV at night that said it's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are? I think it was like during the eighties.
[00:29:10] Cait: And it was like a reminder, what are they doing? But cuz I was telling him like we would just take off. We didn't have cell phones. They thought, our parents thought we were someplace, but inevitably you'd end up in another place and you'd drink from the hose and yeah, bi bicycles were off. What was your favorite book as a kid?
[00:29:28] Cait: I
[00:29:28] Betsy: actually still have it falling apart, but it's called Tree Published in 1966.
[00:29:34] Cait: I love it. I love that you still have it. Yep. I love seeing people's video books. Oh, we,
[00:29:39] Betsy: when mentioned that you were, my first love is reading. I grew up reading. Children grew up loving books, collect books. I moved recently living in one home for 25 years.
[00:29:50] Betsy: Do you know how books I had to let go of when we were moving? Yeah. Books and literature are of our family.
[00:29:58] Cait: I love that. Yeah, I think about the. I have trouble, I put some in the attic for, should there be grandchildren or at some point down the line. But there's certain ones that I think some of those too.
[00:30:09] Cait: Yeah. I just can't let go of them. I just have so many memories with them, even though they're not gonna pick them up right now. What is the best book that you've read yourself in the last five or so years? And I know that's hard, so if you need to pick more than one, that's okay.
[00:30:22] Betsy: I had it written down.
[00:30:23] Betsy: And what, oh, these is my words. Nancy Turner. It's a historical fiction book. Have you read
[00:30:30] Cait: it? No, I don't think I have Nancy Turner.
[00:30:33] Betsy: It's, yeah, these is my words. And it's about a family in Pioneers traveling and they end up in Southern Arizona and I'm in Arizona, so it's fun. I'm referencing some of the kitchens and it's the first, the trilogy.
[00:30:47] Betsy: The second two books are good, not as good. But that first one called, these is my words, which they written. Just captivating. I love historical fiction.
[00:30:55] Cait: Oh, I'm gonna have to look into that. And what is bringing you joy right now? Traveling
[00:31:00] Betsy: with my husband, so tired. I'm semi-retired from my school job, and then I have a game business.
[00:31:06] Betsy: It's just my hobby for fun. And we enjoy traveling. We bought a trailer recently, so we travel all the, over the United States and traveling. That's what I really enjoy
[00:31:16] Cait: now. That's great. And you have, and you do it a lot during the summer too, right? Don't you take off for a while?
[00:31:22] Betsy: Yeah. We're leaving soon for a two month trip. I
[00:31:26] Cait: love that. That's great. Before we sign off, could you tell people where they can find you online?
[00:31:33] Betsy: Yep. Thank you. So my website is by absolute zero.com, and if your listeners want to pop in there, a couple things I have for the bottom of my website. It says resources, click on that.
[00:31:47] Betsy: I got a few print and play games I've created and other math type things that are free for you to download. And I even have on there now a list of mine created, but just one that my family enjoys playing just for reference. I have blog on. And in that blog I share experiences teaching kids and I them in listening, the helping.
[00:32:10] Betsy: Some of my friends felt write some of the s I'm hearing it towards teachers, parents, and homeschoolers. So I really try to make sure that the topics are, that they can resonate with everybody. And in each post I try to offer other resources, either links to other stuff I've created. So there's a really a lot of stuff in my blog and about one of I updated, so I'm not, bombarding you with stuff.
[00:32:33] Betsy: But occasionally I'll put a new post out or
[00:32:36] Cait: offer a new resource. That's great, and I will be sure to include links to everything that you've mentioned and all the resources on your site too, so that people Okay, great. Thank you.
[00:32:45] Betsy: And. Go and website has the stuff there, but I sell them everything through Amazon right now.
[00:32:51] Betsy: On my website or links narcotics or you can just Google them on Amazon and they're ver available through Amazon Prime if you want to a member of that. Perfect.
[00:32:59] Cait: Betsy, it is been an absolute pleasure talking with you. I so much enjoyed having you back with. My other community and thank you especially for being patient yesterday with our tech issues and coming in again today.
[00:33:12] Betsy: Thank you, Kate. I enjoyed this. I hope to come back again soon. Get out.
[00:33:16] Cait: Definitely. And I hope you have an awesome summer traveling.
[00:33:19] Betsy: I will. I will. Thank you. Yep.
[00:33:22] Cait: Bye.