Shana McKay (Shana Donohue), Scaffolded Math Pi Science

Hi there! My name is Shana McKay and I started teaching math (and biology) in 2004. I'm certified to teach math grades 1-12, biology grades 8-12 and students with moderate disabilities. I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and have lived in a bunch of cities and towns all over Massachusetts. Here is a short intro video posted on my YouTube channel.

These days, I spend my days blogging, connecting with educators, making digital math escape rooms, math classroom décormath word walls, math pennants and hanging out virtually in our Facebook group Visual Math

Shana McKay's classroom math word wall

What I believe
I believe that all kids can find success in math and enjoy learning. I also believe in a varied approach to teaching math. Memorization is close to impossible for some kids, while others strive on structure. In my own classroom, I give a variety of assignments and assessments so that every student can find something they like doing. I know that sometimes kids need to taste success before knowing they want more of it, so I build in places where my students can find this success.

What I teach
After teaching mainstream math and biology for 8 years, I got a job teaching special education algebra 2 in a high school outside of Boston. Soon after came a certification to teach students with moderate disabilities and a realization that teaching math to kids who are afraid of it is what I live for and what I love to do. I imagine my toughest student when making resources and ask myself if that kid would be engaged. My favorite principal once said to me, "A good curriculum is the best classroom management," and I have taken his words to heart.

Education and Work History
My undergraduate degree is in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After 4 years using my degree in the environmental consulting field helping to remediate leaky gas stations, I had enough and became a substitute teacher in Boston. By the next year I was certified to teach math and biology and teaching both subjects full-time at South Boston High School. 

Five long years later and after many, many late-night T rides from Cambridge back to Southie, I had my graduate degree in Mathematics for Teaching from Harvard Extension School. My thesis centered around a manipulative I invented to help kids add and subtract integers, especially those tricky negative ones. A couple years later in 2013, right before my daughter was born, my certification was finalized to teach students with moderate disabilities. 

Shana McKay (Shana Donohue) graduate thesis

Math Anxiety and Success on Math=Love
Fraction Pennants for Math on kidCourses
7 Reasons Why Being a High School Teacher is the Best on Bored Teachers
6 High School Teacher Must Haves on Mrs. E Teaches Math
The Tao of an Eyepatch, Shana Donohue, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

8 Out-of-the Box-Ideas for Teaching Algebra and Geometry on We Are Teachers
Elite Edupreneurs podcast, episode 34

I post fairly regularly on Facebook and would love to connect. Facebook is where I share educational articles and all the cool math things that come across my feed.

Scaffolded Math and Science on Facebook

Instagram is a smaller community and where I'll share information about sales, giveaways and about my other interests. It's a little more "behind the scenes" than Facebook. I'd love to connect there too!

Scaffolded Math and Science on Instagram

You can always reach me at

My Teachers pay Teachers Store
In February 2012, like a lot of teachers, I posted a resource in my tpt store. It was an integer operations manipulative that had been part of my graduate thesis. In October 2013, a few months before our daughter was born, I decided to start adding more resources to my tpt store. And as they say, the rest is history. 

I love serving you by making math resources that make it easier, more colorful and fun to deliver math to students. I love hearing from you that your students are using and enjoying the things I have made. This feedback is everything to me. 

Thank you for reading my bio! I hope to catch up with you someday soon!

My favorite posts:

Scaffolded Math and Science blog home
blog home

©2021 Scaffolded Math and Science


  1. Impressive. Love your body of work.

    1. I have a question about the getting to know your students pennants. What does the 3, 5, 8, and 13 stand for? These number represent something. I need to know to explain to the children how to follow the glyph.

    2. Those are numbers from the Fibonacci Sequence. 3+5=8, 5+8=13. The First three numbers in the sequence are 1, 1, 2. The ratio between any two numbers in this sequence is close to the Golden Ratio, which is the ratio of the sides of the rectangle that has the Golden Spiral inscribed into it. Architecture throughout history has been shown to match the Golden Rectangle in dimensions. When asked which of a group of rectangles is the "most perfect rectangle", people more often point to the one with these dimensions. If you Google "golden ratio architecture examples", examples of buildings and other things will come up that show a link to the ratio. It's pretty cool how many places it shows up.

  2. Your a genius, very passionate, I love all your creations. I want to give you a big round of applause. I am so impressed and motivated to create teaching materials like that. Thanks for sharing your talent.

    1. You made my day, Charito. I needed to hear this today! I appreciate your words so much. Please always reach out if you need anything. I hope you are having a wonderful year. -Shana

  3. Hi Shana,
    I love your work and your perspective. In a recent Instagram post you referenced using Google docs for your running lesson planner. I have two questions 1) do you like the docs or would slides work as well/better? Also, I've searched your bio for the link (I bet it's right in front of me) to the template. Do you have a template that you can share? Please and thank you.

    1. Hi Joyce, I think I may have shared that post on Instagram from someone else. I'm a little old school in my lesson planning-- I use Excel. But my friend Laura from EngagEDucate may have a template. Also, if you comment on the Instagram post I can see which it was and point you in the right direction....

  4. I am just beginning to find your resources. I am returning to the classroom after 25 years of staying home with my own children whom I home schooled. I am teaching resource Alg and I too love my students and teaching math again. It's been a great challenge, but finding resources like yours that differentiate and are creative and engaging has been a delight and help to me and my students. Treasure the time you have with your daughter, they grow up quickly.

    1. Your comment makes me so happy in so many ways, Kim. And I think you are amazing and inspiring for going back after 25 years. I do plan to go back but am also enjoying this time with my daughter. It was a tough decision to make, but hearing a little bit of your story helps me know it was the right one. I hope you are having a wonderful first year back. Please always reach out.

  5. Hi! Wondering if an easy opportunity to share with kids who celebrate many holidays would be to turn the Christmas ornaments into mittens? We do a "mitten tree" in my room with warm wishes for others in December! LOVE this stuff (former Southie resident, now teaching in the North End!)

    1. I wonder if we were there at the same time! Please let me know which you'd like me to convert. I have a bunch of Christmas pennants. A mitten tree sounds like such a nice way to celebrate warm wishes.