Melanie Carbine

Melanie Carbine has lived and worked throughout the United States and the Marshall Islands specifically Seattle, WA, Salt Lake City, UT, Ann Arbor, MI, Ebeye and Majuro. She currently teaches middle school math and English at Briggs Chaney Middle School in Silver Spring, MD as well as works as an after school math and ESOL tutor in Washington, D.C.  Some of her early writing includes guest blogs on teaching for creativity: Modrian Squares and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. When she's not teaching, she's most likely wrapped up in some art project, hiking, or traveling. Contact her on Twitter or Facebook, visit her website, or subscribe to her travel vlogs

Articles by this Author


Why Wouldn’t You Want to be a Teacher?

Choosing a career path and finding a job in your chosen field can be difficult enough.  It would be nice if it was smooth sailing from there.  That’s certainly not the case for teachers, not when almost half of all those who enter the teaching profession don’t reach their five-year benchmark.  During a recent networking event, I spoke with a young, energetic woman who taught fourth grade.  She said she loved being with the children but she “hated all the planning.”  A program coordinator with a non-profit was considering a career change; he said that he was interested in teaching but his biggest concern was student behaviors.  To be fair, I had planned to be anything but a teacher—writer, lawyer, zookeeper—but only because there are so many misconceptions about teaching.


Reading the Numbers: Everyday Mathematical Literacy

Students need literacy as well as quantitative skills to be successful especially as society becomes more technology-dependent.  The emphasis on building children’s numeracy skills should match the efforts of writing and reading intervention efforts.  Just as students who are exposed to early literacy activities are more confident in reading so too are students more confident in math when they are exposed early on to numbers and mathematical relationships.   22% of adults in the U.S. don’t have the basic math skills for an entry level job.  They can’t successfully add fractions, work with measurements or mentally estimate a tip.  They are functionally illiterate when it comes to numbers.


Math and English: Dueling Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative created standards for Math and English Language Arts with History and Science as subsets of ELA Literacy.  This is obviously because math and language arts are so different—or perhaps that’s not the reason at all.  In fact, national standards were created for the two subjects specifically because math and language are regularly and internationally assessed for accountability purposes.  Further comparison of the common core standards reveals an important integration of previously divergent teaching practices.


Math Shouldn’t Be A Book-Free Zone

Several wonderful books involving math topics, like The Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Counting on Frank by Rod Clement, easily make it onto the classroom bookshelf in elementary school.  However, such titles suddenly disappear in middle school when reading quickly becomes compartmentalized to English class.  While science fiction manages to work its way into reading lists, books involving math tend to get overlooked.  However, math literature can be used in a variety of ways both in math and English.  Picture books and short stories can be used to introduce math concepts or model creative writing about mathematical topics.  Recommended novels and biographies also engage students in reading about characters, fictional and real, using math.  This integration encourages literacy, general and math l


Math and English: More in Common than Different

I regularly am faced with the ubiquitous look of puzzlement when I explain that I teach middle school math and English. This dismay comes from one of three misconceptions. The first is that middle school students can be challenging. The second presumes that it must be difficult to teach students who don’t want to be in class because some really don’t like math or reading. Mostly, this suggests that math and language arts do not go together. This idea permeates the workforce as well. While I have received several job opportunities because of my math and English certifications, I have also had to pass up opportunities for math-science teachers in STEM programs. Yet, I’ve met plenty of science teachers who balk at the idea of teaching math, so clearly math and science aren’t inherently connected.


Math and English: A Marketable Combination

Even teachers need to make themselves marketable.  That might mean an expertise in ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language), PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies), or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), or better yet a combination of endorsements.  A unique combination of skill sets and a variety of experiences can really set you apart from other candidates.