Mathematical Instruments: Elissa Miller

February 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today:

Mathematical Instruments

via Wikimedia Commons

Elissa Miller — Misscalcul8

Apart from misscalcul8, any places like other blogs, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. we can find you on?

You can find me on Twitter.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?  E.g., Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your (scientific) background?

I am coming from a tiny school in a tiny town in Illinois. This year my mantra is to be less talkative which means I’m looking for ways to increase interaction and conversation between students.  I am constantly looking for ways to teach things from a conceptual viewpoint. One aspect of that is giving students the opportunity to discover and recognize patterns on their own rather than merely presenting information. My background is a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education.

When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?

I discovered blogs about 6 months before my teaching career began. I was working as a substitute teacher and one day I was assigned to work in the library. There was literally
nothing to do and so I just started googling math teaching stuff and I stumbled on my first mathematical blog ( and have been hooked ever since.

What is the story behind the name of your blog?

The story actually comes from the second blog I ever read ( written by Kate Nowak. Her twitter name is @k8nowak and so I started thinking of other ways to use the number 8 inside of a mathematical word. My cousins used to call me Miss Liss when I was younger because they knew that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. It just kind of came together and my bloggy was born.

When did you start blogging?

I started blogging in February of 2009 as a substitute teacher. I wanted so badly to fit in but I really didn’t have anything to say yet- I wasn’t even in the classroom.  And so there follows about 6 months of blogging small talk and other nonsense.

Why did you start?

I have a very analytical mind by nature and I love to question why things happen or why they don’t.  I loved reading other teachers’ blogs and I just knew that eventually I would have a lot to contribute. I started out slowly blogging about what I knew- as I learned more, the quality of the blogging vastly increased.

What do you write about?

I started out writing mostly about feelings and situations, venting, bragging, and questioning. I loved to pose questions that I was facing and get feedback from a variety of teachers with a variety of backgrounds. My blog started to really head in that direction for the next few years. In the last nine months or so I feel like I’m no longer trying to survive my job but that I have a solid grasp on what I’m doing and that I can now contribute lesson ideas and resources. I hope that that is reflected in my blog- a place where teachers can come to find ideas and resources from a real live teacher.

What wouldn’t have happened to you without the internet?

I could not be a teacher without the internet. My entire first year of teaching was due solely to resources from the Internet. Teaching at a tiny school means there is no one to collaborate with and no planned curriculum. I was handed a textbook and that’s it. Through twitter and math blogging I found a wealth of resources- an entire support group-that accelerated my teaching ability more in four years than in twenty years without them. Emotionally they have provided me with encouragement and direction. Professionally they have provided me with resources, feedback, suggestions, and critiques. Personally they have offered their friendship. Without them I could not have made it- and would not have made it. With them, I excel at my job and enjoy doing it.

What does the internet need more of?

The internet needs more teachers of all content areas who are willing to share their knowledge and resources. People who are willing to be honest and open.

Mathematicians on the web have…

…a monopoly on the best professional development and professional learning network on the Internet.

Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):

To check my daily reading you would have to check my page at because there are entirely too many amazing blogs to even start naming them.

Creative Commons License — The Blog by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at


Tagged: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Mathematical Instruments: Elissa Miller at -- the Blog.


%d bloggers like this: