Tina Cardone

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Tina Cardone

Tina Cardone is a high school mathematics teacher in Salem, Massachusetts, and is the author of Nix the Tricks, a self-published book that promotes "avoiding shortcuts that cut out math concept development."

Nix the Tricks

Cardone's book "Nix the Tricks" (http://nixthetricks.com/) was written to help teachers identify and avoid "shortcuts" like cross multiplication, FOIL, and other topics that are commonly taught in ways that fail to deepen students' understanding of the underlying mathematics. Some topics in the book are rooted in vocabulary use like "cancel," while others target formulas that students sometimes memorize but never understand. Cardone first published the book in late 2013 and continues to encourage collaborative contributions which are then added to new revisions.

The book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license and can be downloaded freely from http://nixthetricks.com/. A paperback version of the book is available from Amazon.

History and Development

In 2013, Cardone sparked a conversation on Twitter about tricks that teachers hate seeing their students use. She proposed creating a shared document for teachers to add the tricks that they found unproductive for learning. The document attracted many collaborators, and soon grew to 17 pages. Since then Cardone has expanded and reorganized this document into a full length book form.

Cardone continues to update the book with suggestions made on a series of Google Docs linked to from the Nix the Tricks website.


Nix the Tricks serves as an example of the potential of collaborative efforts on the internet to yield significant results. It also helps identify and provide a shared language of "tricks" for high school math teachers. The following posts are among those inspired by the book:

At the 2015 NCTM Annual Meeting Cardone teamed with Ashli Black to present "Nix the Tricks" to a standing-room-only audience.


Cardone, T. (2015). Nix the tricks: A guide to avoiding shortcuts that cut out math concept development. http://nixthetricks.com/