Over the years I've had the chance to work with some amazing kids. Some experiences are so awesome that they stick with you for a lifetime. Though we have the standard testamonials, I'd like to share the stories behind them. Though I changed their names, their stories are real.


I did a presentation at the Calgary City Teachers' Convention and presented on The Math Stories. Afterwards one teacher asked if I would do a presentation at his school. He explained that his school was an academy for kids that couldn't function in the regular school system. All those that had learning disabilities or classroom problems that made it impossible for them to succeed in the classroom were in this school and were now in groups of no more than six students with specialized instruction.

He asked if another teacher could join us and I said of course her class was welcome. He corrected me saying that I would be just the teacher as it would be too much to have 12 of these kids in the same room. We chatted more and he mentioned the other teachers in his school were interested, 8 classes in all. I told him I was willing to work with all the kids so they could get the first hand experience. I said either the teachers could take care of the discipline issues, or they could let met take control and they could just watch. He looked at me like it was my first day teaching kindergarten, but agreed.

One teacher warned me about Sadie, one of the grade 5 girls. Sadie was a sweet kid, but had no skills in math. She only worked on life skills because the teaching staff felt there was no point. I asked if they would mind if I tried. I got the same look.

I've taught The Math Stories a thousand times and know how long it takes for the 'light to go on' for each child. I would ask the same questions knowing exactly how to lead the students through the process of finding the answers. After I handed the sheets out to each group I saw Sadie's hand go up. I said I'd be right there and I spent a few minutes getting another group settled. Her hand went up again as I quickly explained details to another group.

When I finally got to her I apologized, but told her I could now work with her until she got it. She said, "That's ok, I got it."

I knew those words meant "Nevermind, I don't want to ask anymore."

I said, "No problem. I understand. By the way, which question were you working on?" I knew the rest of the room would be roughly on question 4 of 12 and I still had a little time to try again. She explained that she got it and was done the entire sheet and was now working on the second page. She got it. This girl that most had given up on, in a class of in a school of students in the same boat and she was the last on the list. It was easy for her and for the first time, she was able to understand numbers.

She did more in an afternoon than most kids do in an entire year.


Dallas didn’t even make it to my grade five class before he started crying. A couple students and teachers let me know that I had a student down at the office on the first day of school. I walked down and found him blubbering, full on blubbering. I didn’t know what to do, because normally, I have only two crying episodes during the year and never on the first day. Not because I don’t think kids shouldn't cry, we just have a pretty easy-going class. Usually the episodes are after someone has come in from recess when a soccer game fell apart.

Eventually, I was able to make out that he was saying that he didn’t like math. Well, his exact phrase was "I can’t do math." He kept stuttering and trying to say it over and over again, but it was pretty undeniable. I guess he heard that I was the math guy and he was pretty stressed out. I said "Hey Buddy. My name is Mr. M. Why don’t we get your stuff down to the locker and get you settled into your desk?" After that he was OK.

The first week proved this to be true as he struggled to answer questions like 7 x 4 and when I asked him basic questions about fractions or geometry he just looked beaten down.

Now fast forward two months. Dallas was unstoppable in math. He could rip through mad minutes faster than anyone in the class. I gave him incredibly hard questions, ones that are done in a junior high class or in high school class. He absolutely loved the challenge.

When it came to behavior, there wasn’t anything more I could ask of him. He got his work done, he was polite, he helped other kids in the class, he asked if he could get the equipment ready for gym class. Everything he did was with a smile. He memorized lines for his play, did the artwork for his social projects and always had something to make us laugh. It ended up be a great year together and I never saw tears again.

I caught up with him at the high school during his last year. We chatted and I asked him just out of curiosity how he was doing in math. He said he had a 96, then he corrected himself. He said it dropped to 93 because he had to work on the farm.

This was from a kid that was absolutely lost in math and this is why I do what I do.


Dana moved to our school from the closest city, Edmonton. Her mom said she needed to get out because they wanted to label her. She knew her daughter was smart, but no one in the school could see it. Teachers and administration were convinced that she had a learning disability. They did all kinds of tests to see what disorder or condition she had so they could put her in a special class.

To be fair, that is what it looked like. She didn’t know any answers to times table questions, except some of the twos and fives. She struggled to make it through word problems, and when I asked her simple questions about concepts like triangles or equal fractions, she looked at me like I was speaking German.

Though most of the kids worked very hard, there was a core group of about eight students who worked well together. They checked each other’s work, they collaborated on problems and held each other accountable when they worked outside of the class on a special project.

Other students in the class made it very difficult to get through the day. Many times we had to go work on the stage beside the gym. There were no desks, only benches, the floor was hard and the cement walls were painted bright, hospital white. We went there for safety, while one of my students had a violent fit of swearing, hitting and throwing chairs.

This didn’t phase Dana at all. She worked hard, asked questions and trust me when I asked her to do things differently.

By the end of November, she was completely caught up in all concepts and math, including her basic facts. By February she was doing the challenge questions with the others in her group. It was an amazing year, though she was able to do everything math, I was worried that she would get with another teacher that we can see her brilliance.

She graduated the same year as my son and I was able to talk to her mother for a few minutes. She talked about what Dana was going to do after graduation, and though she didn’t have a definite plan, it sounded like she had a lot of options.

I asked how she found her classes. Those social studies wasn’t her favourite class, she had no problem making it through math. She was even the person in her friend group that helped everybody else with math homework.

I was fortunate to have her in my class.


One of the first times I ever taught the math stories with my niece. We spent about two hours, going through each math fact, telling a story that connected all the numbers. It was when I first got into learning about memory palaces, and having a photographic memory. I wanted to try it out to see if you could teach math young children.

By pure coincidence I happen to be substitute teaching at her school a few days later. I got stopped in the hallway by her grade one teacher. If you’ve never met a grade, one teacher, they can be quite… ummm… obsessive.

She said Emily told her she learned her times tables. Then she just stared at me with a look that said "Well?"

I said, "Yep" After about 30 seconds of awkward silence, I said, go ahead and ask her. She asked her what 2×3 was and Emily looked at her feet, looked up at me, and then looked up in the air. We didn’t do the easy ones I said. Ask her a hard one. She says fine, what’s 6×7. This was the first one we did and Whitney knew it right away without even blink, and she said 42.

The teacher didn’t seem to know what to say so I asked her a few more what’s 8×9, 7×4, 6×8.

She answered them all. The only ones I didn’t teach her were the twos and 3×3.

Now she was only six years old, so she didn’t know what this meant yet. I do know that it would be very soon when she didn’t understand it, and she already had the tools. I can see from 25 years experience, teaching math, all levels, most, and I mean, most kids get to grade 5 and still don’t know the times tables.


Austin has ADD and is NOT medicated. Your program is still the easiest and most engaging

way he has learned anything!

Summer Lewis, Austin and Blake's mom. Toronto, Canada

SO SURPRISED. I had high hopes, but these were surpassed on the first day. I couldn't

believe the excitement & confidence in my 2 kids for... Math!! Very happy to recommend to

all other school parents.

- Jennifer Hungerford, Victoria and Jack's mom, Vancouver, Canada

" My 10 year old daughter is a very visual learner and she picked this method up extremely

easily. She enjoyed herself as well, and really enjoyed being successful! As she has dyslexia

and dyscalculia this was a real confidence booster for her. Just yesterday she had trouble

telling the time on an analog clock and I told her to multiply 7 by 5 minutes

(she was trying to count it up) and with only a split second later she told me it was 35...

When she realized how quickly she can get the correct answer the smile on her

face was absolutely priceless!

- Melanie Arabsky Ledger, Mila's mom. Vancouver. Canada

I am very much excited for my daughter because she said. "Now Mom, I LOVE MATH"

- June Aohera Flores, Jenny's mom. Vancouver, Canada