Tag : mary-smale

Avoidance is the Best form of self-defense!

Avoidance is the highest form of self-defense.  Recognizing then heeding the warnings, is next.  If you walked away unscathed from a potentially explosive situation, then your avoidance defense was successful.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up!  I was getting a warning.  But at first, I did what most people do at a time like that —I tried to ignore it.  But something made me still worry over the strangeness of the man’s attentions, especially when he began making eye contact with another man who was standing outside looking through the big windows of the market.  Finally, I devised a scenario just in case I was their target.  I prayed, put my purse and groceries in my left hand, and the keys and the attached mace canister in my right.  When the market doors sprang open I prayed again, took a calming breath then quickly walked to my car, opened the trunk, threw everything in, slammed the lid, and then whirled around to face the man who was, by then, barreling down on me.  With my finger on the mace trigger, I forced a “got cha” smile on my face.  In retrospect, I concluded it was the smile that caused what happened next to happen.  The man froze, his eyes widened in panic.  He began snapping his head back and forth wildly scanning the parking lot, then he spun around and charged back across the parking lot nearly colliding with his accomplice who did the same — scanned the lot in panic, then charged off but in the opposite direction.  I climbed in my car, still shaking, and drove home.  The avoidance scenario had worked thanks to the prayers and warnings.

I never figured out how they found out about the money I was carrying though — it had been in my purse a grand total of 15 minutes from the time I left the bank with it, till I exited the market.  I did notice, however , an abrupt turnover of the bank’s personnel shortly thereafter.

Math Drawing Time Is Students’ Reward


I learned at a PD on classroom management a few years back that the thing that most students prize is their time. So a good tool to use in management of the class is to sell them time.  But then there has to be a reward toward which they are striving when they amass the correct amount of time.  At first I showed movies I knew they liked, but I felt this was a waste of time even though they had earned the time by not wasting it in class.  Finally, after racking my brain I came up with a project that didn’t waste time, was educational, was fun, and was something the students could take pride in — a Math Drawing.  It was a success!  It did everything I hoped it would do.  It pulled the students in.  Since I gave them project points for the correct finished product, it brought some of them back from their failing grade.   It gave them hope.  For some of them, it was the first good grade they’d ever gotten in a math class.  Now I had to get busy and create more Math Drawings.

You might find the same is true of your students — offering them Math Drawing time in class is an incentive to not dawdle and waste time!

Math Drawings Fun Way To Teach Geometry Concepts


Math Drawings presents a fun and rewarding way to teach or reinforce geometry concepts because the student in the classroom or the student who is self-taught, is always open to fun and rewards.  Who’s not?

The Bow Stops Here — Focus


Be careful to not use the perfect practice concept as an excuse to do nothing out of fear of doing it wrong.  Even if only one thing was learned at the lesson practice that one thing perfectly by staying in focus and in the moment.  You may have to use the forced focus technique described in the book to maintain that focus.

Bucket List Item: Traveling from West Coast to East Coast by Train


One of my Bucket List items has been to take the train across the country, from West to East, in a deluxe car. So, here I am, doing it! Each section of the US is so different: The desert beauty of New Mexico, for instance, is captivating – on the one side are variegated mountains, showing the geological uplift of eons ago and on the other side are stark, vast low-lying deserts stretching to the horizon. Sitting in the dome car, I see so many beautiful vistas that could be used to teach perspective and other math and drawing concepts – I just might make another edition of Math Drawings, some day, using a few of these vistas!

Achieve Energized, Anxiety-Controlled Perfection in Any of Life’s Performances


The Charl Ann Gastineau’s Stop Bow Method, developed for violin students, can be applied to any discipline or endeavor in Life that requires the honing of a skill and/or the reduction of anxiety in performing the endeavor. Mary Smale’s book, The Bow Stops Here, will show you the Gastineau Method and how to apply it to any musical instrument, Aikido or any martial art – anything that requires concentration and skill building.

Rather than “Practice makes perfect.” The wise saying is “What you practice is what you get.” If you practice mistakes, they will rise to the surface in performance settings. The Gastineau Bow Stop method teaches to practice perfection, one note at a time.


Welcome to MarySmale.com

“Math Drawings” creator, Mary Smale, has been a math and art instructor in the Los Angeles area for more than 35 years. She was featured on the popular television show Homework Hotline (on KLCS, a PBS station in Los Angeles) where she donned funny costumes and presented math as it may have been experienced by weird or wonderful characters from history, literature, the news and movies. Such notables as Julius Caesar’s mother-in-law, Jackie Chan’s grandmother, Jack’s mother from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” a fading rock star, a stressed- out telemarketer, a goofy geologist, an inept caterer, a frustrated teacher, and Whistlers Mother from the famous portrait by James Whistler, were among her most popular characters. But audience response soared whenever she taught with her Math Drawings –so much so that eventually her fellow teachers urged her to compile all the drawings and instructions into this book. She is a mother, grandmother, and is the widow of the renowned jazz pianist and music arranger, Bob Smale, who was and is a pianist on the Lawrence Welk TV show, which is one of the longest continuous-running TV shows in the world – 61 years and counting. Her book, Math Drawings: Good Stuff for Teachers, Parents, and Students, is in its Fifth Edition. She lives in the San Fernando Valley and continues to teach, draw, and write.

Watch the videos here!

Math drawing Mary Smale

Math Drawings

The Bow Stops Here