Licita’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Licita’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
My credentials for teaching drawing are a BA in Art, classes in junior colleges to keep my skills up, 40 or so years as a professional artist and teaching drawing to students in elementary schools throughout Alameda County.
Line Drawing: drawing from a bag (object pulled from the bag to be drawn or bag is crumpled and student draws the outline, then draws interior lines to show the shape of the bag); cylinder study as a precursor to showing depth; outline drawing with eyes on object, not on paper (to train the eye to see, to develop eye-hand coordination; rhythm drawings to develop looseness; geometric line drawing; illustrating science words. Value and Modeling: positive/negative or black/white; chiaroscuro light to dark and dark to light; still-life in charcoal; wet charcoal; cross-hatching a still life to create value; pencil still-life rubbed and erased; ink washes; ink line drawing. Perspective: overlapping shapes; one-point and two-point perspective; dark to light; foreshortening; flattened perspective. Space/Shape/Plane and Portrait/Pastel.
I have taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in multiple subjects. I have also taught art to fourth through eighth grade. I'm certified to teach art through ninth grade. Although retired, my teaching credential is still valid.
As a tutor, I have come to specialize in helping K-4th grade children from being retained because of deficiencies in their reading and writing capabilities. In addition, I'm adept at teaching arithmetic (the basic math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) plus math (operations with fractions, prime factorization, plotting equations on a co-ordinate grid and simple algebra, to name a few). Please refer to my subject descriptions for reading, writing and elementary math.
Math at the elementary school level begins in preschool with learning the numbers and basic counting. This continues into kindergarten and as the years progress, the math becomes more complex. For the early primary grades (first-third), the students learn their basic math facts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and some division. They also finish third grade with a basic knowledge of fractions. In fourth grade, students MUST learn their multiplication facts in order to progress to long division, to working with fractions and to solve algebra problems. Personally, I'm more comfortable with teaching math up through fourth grade; the last three years I taught in the public school system were fourth grade.
In fifth grade, they learn how to work with more complex long division and fraction problems. They also learn more complex algebra, prime numbers, how to factor a number, operations with positive and negative numbers, how to write an equation, how to solve an equation, how to plot equations on a coordinate grid and so on. Some of this is introduced in fourth grade.
Practice with word problems is also essential and can twist brains in knots which I can help untie.
Every household in which students live should have math flash cards to drill the student, no matter the grade level. The cards are very cheap at dollar stores or can be hand-made using note cards. Whether a student is going on to become a mathematician or needs to produce a budget for a grant proposal or to balance his/her checkbook or just needs to buy a certain amount of items with a certain amount of money at a store, one need to know elementary math.
I feel confident that I can help students K-4 with their math.
I am very adept at teaching English. In order to become a certificated teacher in California, I had to take classes in how to teach English as a second language and how to teach other courses to English-language-learners using the techniques I learned in these classes. In addition, I know the rules of grammar, punctuation and syntax in the English language. Synonyms, antonyms, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, parts of speech are all part of learning to speak standard English. This is the English of power, of business, of people who conform to a dialect of English that will bring good grades and eventually land them a job or career. There are many dialects of English: so-called Ebonics or the speech of people of color; Spanglish; English spoken in different parts of the country. I'm not talking about accents but actual dialects with their own rules of grammar, syntax, etc. No one should be made to feel bad by a criticism of their dialect.
Not only have I taken all the classes prerequisite to teaching students who are English Language Learners, including Linguistics, I have passed WyzAnt's own test in this area. I am aware of the rules of grammar, of syntax, of punctuation and I enlist cognates (words that sound and mean the same in both the learner's primary language and the language he or she is trying to learn) whenever I can. The ESL student should have a dictionary in English, a dictionary that includes English and the student's primary language, and a thesaurus to increase vocabulary. Students fairly quickly pick up conversational language to communicate with their friends. It's the academic English, the English that is about specific coursework, that is hard for the English Language Learner. I can help with both aspects of English.
I feel very confident about the GED test, having just passed a test given by WyzAnt. The only subject that I have some problem with is math, although I am able to sit and think the problems through. I haven't taken trigonometry, but my skills are such that I could help anyone study for the GED, especially in correct English usage, questions on science, historical and geographical questions. There are many practice tests available online that I can access to help a student study for the GED.
Bad grammar in resumes, cover letters, and legal documents automatically discounts or disqualifies the writer. I've noticed that the media is corrupting grammar as I write this by ignoring adverbs. Instead of telling people to drive safely (the correct way grammatically speaking), I hear people being told to drive safe. Other examples would be "dress nice" instead of nicely or "eat quick" instead of quickly. But English is a living language, so it's constantly changing.
Some of the rules I would keep in mind include that it's important to know that all tenses should match in a sentence or paragraph, and to know which tense is appropriate for what situation. While double negatives are used in Spanish and maybe other languages, and in other dialects of English, Standard English doesn't tolerate double negatives. Also, the words "ain't" and the expressions "been had" or "I be" for example, are fine in the dialects of Ebonics and street language, but not in Standard English.
I'm also aware of and sensitive to the issues of dialects of English. I'm teaching the grammar of Standard English, the language of business and power. I am also aware of Ebonics or Black English, Spanglish, street English and their differences in grammatical construction from Standard English.
In addition, I want to emphasize that there is no such thing as incorrect or proper English when speaking of dialects. Standard English is a dialect. In conclusion, yes, I can teach the proper grammatical structures for use in writing and speaking.
I'm familiar with the Open Court method of teaching phonics. Each letter represents a sound or more than one sound depending on the word it's found in. There are rules for when to use a long a or a short a, for example. English is a complicated language because there are so many rules and contradictions to the rules. Beyond learning the sounds each letter in the alphabet represents, a student must learn the exceptions to the rule. Phonics is the key to reading.
Proofreading involves not only catching mistakes in spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation, but also it involves the organization of a piece of written work. I look for clarity. Is there an introduction that states the main idea of the whole paper? Does the body of the work support the main idea? Do the supporting paragraphs each have a main idea or topic sentence? The conclusion should cycle back to the introduction, including the main idea and the conclusion that comes from your supporting sentences. The entire piece of writing should be written in the most concise and clear manner possible. I can help with that, too.
Is your child on the verge of being retained because of deficiencies in his/her abilities to read and to write? I am the tutor for you! Did you know that it's a fact that children should be able to read fluently at grade level by third grade? After that, reading isn't taught any more. As reading passages and anthologies become more complex, those students who haven't mastered the basics of reading by the third grade are at a great disadvantage, accounting for the many who become high school drop-outs.
I was trained to teach reading through a variety of programs, the most recent being the Open Court series of reading materials and phonics cards used by Oakland Unified School District. Although I don't have my own set of these materials (school property), I know the principles: to teach reading through teaching phonics (the different sounds the letters in the alphabet make when they are produced), then putting these sounds together to make a word.
Since starting to tutor through WyzAnt, I've developed my own system of teaching reading. With a set of worksheets and flashcards, I've taught 1st and 2nd grade students not only phonics, but also phonemic awareness (where in a word the sounds occur). My students and I cover CVC words (consonant/vowel/consonant where the vowel is always short), blends (where two letters make one sound), the final e rule (the silent e at the end of a word makes the middle vowel long), digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh), and other consonant clusters (cl, cr, tr, bl, st, sw are some of many examples). I also help my students build vocabulary and sight words.
I took a linguistics course as part of my credential program; it has enhanced an innate quality I have to hear the sounds made orally and how they are made (tongue touches somewhere in the mouth for most consonants and doesn't touch for vowel sounds). In other words, I can hear if a child is mispronouncing a word because of the mechanics of speech rather than a speech impediment. I am an avid reader myself, and would love to inspire students to read for pleasure and not just because it is assigned.
I make each lesson as fun as possible, giving a little toy to each student for working hard during the hour we spend together. Constant praise and encouragement are other incentives for mu students to work hard.
Although many years have passed since I took the SATs, I just completed WyzAnt's SAT exams in reading. The selections need to be read carefully, of course, and reread. But before I do that, I read the question and the possible answers This is a test-taking strategy that works well with reading tests especially. After reading and rereading the selection, I again make sure I know what is being asked, I eliminate those answers which I know couldn't possibly be right. Then I choose the answer that I believe most likely to be correct. When in doubt, always guess because an unanswered question is wrong anyway.
As for the test itself, it requires reading comprehension, a knowledge of syntax, grammar, punctuation, word meanings (which often can be deciphered from context) and a specific attention to details. What is being asked, exactly? I recommend to go back over answers if there is time, focusing on those questions that are most difficult.
My credentials for teaching study skills are a teaching credential, and my high grade point average in university: I was a Regents' Scholar; was on the Dean's List; and I graduated Phi Beta Kappa. My GPA was 3.65 and would have been higher if I didn't have two children and a husband.
I always recommend to parents or guardians that they provide a quiet and comfortable study space for their young student. Study should be done at more or less the same time every day, and must last until the work assigned for that night is completed. If a household is too chaotic for a quite study space, maybe an alternative would be to have the student have a study-buddy who DOES have a quite study space. Work should be checked for completion and for errors. Positive criticism and lots of praise and encouragement make for self-motivated learners.
Flash cards are very helpful in studying spelling, math facts, grammar (parts of speech) and anything that can be put on an index card to be remembered by the student. This requires the cooperation of another person.
Organization is tantamount to good study skills. For older students, including adults, one should have a binder with sections that are clearly marked for each subject and a calendar for when projects (papers, etc.) are due. I advise to NEVER wait until the last minute to start an assignment. A person will not do their best job if it's done in a rush.
Written assignments for the older student (middle school and beyond) should begin with an outline of what the paper is to be about and how it will be organized. Research might proceed the outline in order to know what to include, or the research can be done before and during. I believe that 3X5 index cards are a great way to take notes. The cards can be organized by sub subject. For example, if the assignment is to write about horses and the different uses and qualities each kind of horse has, I would use separate index cards for each horse. If the notes are brief and aren't copied, it's easier to write a paper that is not plagiarized.
Work should always be checked carefully before it's handed in. Proofread, check math, fix up the science project; make sure that the work to be handed in is the best an individual is capable of.
I have taken and passed the TOEFL test given by WyzAnt to test my proficiency in teaching TOEFL to students. Because I am a voracious reader, because I have excellent writing skills, and because I know most of the rules and the idioms of the English language, I am sure of my ability to help a TOEFL student pass the test. To become a public school teacher, a career from which I am recently retired, I had to take several classes, including Linguistics, to teach all the curriculum to second language learners. I haven't taken and passed a university course in TOEFL, but I know I can definitely be of assistance to anyone studying for the test.
What has helped me to build my vocabulary is voracious reading and a love of writing. I am a conscientious proof-reader so that I don't use the same word twice (for example, if _____ is excellent, I would use fantastic or superb or some other synonym instead. I am very finicky about syntax because a sentence can be easily misinterpreted if the words aren't in a certain order. That's a writing trait, but to me it's also part of vocabulary because if effects the way a sentence is understood. Teaching vocabulary is best done through reading, being read to, home-made flash cards (for example: What's another word or synonym for thankful?), educational bingo games, and learning how to figure out the meaning of words from their context. Another skill needed in building vocabulary is how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus.
I was very fortunate in my last years of teaching elementary school to have a writing coach who visited every classroom in our school twice a week for 50 minutes at a time to teach our young students how to become fantastic writers. I picked up as much as I could from her, especially how she approached teaching the third, fourth and fifth graders that I taught. Because of my exposure to her teaching methods and because I am able to communicate well in writing myself, I am fully competent to teach writing at the elementary school level as well as the high school and college level.
In order to write well, a student needs to know how to read and to have a vocabulary sufficient for his/her grade level. Writing begins in kindergarten and gets more complex from then on.
Many of my public school students weren't clear on when to end a sentence or how and why to form paragraphs. They also forgot to indent at the beginning of a paragraph or when someone speaks (dialogue), and when to capitalize. Maintaining consistent verb tenses and using the grammar of Standard English are other problems I've run across. The younger students I now tutor (first grade)don't know what it means to add detail to their writing.
Punctuation becomes another aspect of writing that I emphasize. I mentioned above that many of my former public school students forgot periods or when to end a sentence. I teach about all types of punctuation, including when a colon or semi-colon is to be used and how and where to use quotation marks in a dialogue or a quote from a book. Speaking of quotations, I can also assist the young or older writer how to construct a bibliography.
Aside from teaching those basics of writing, I can teach how to structure or organize a writing assignment. First, start a writing assignment with a "hook" (a catchy sentence that pulls the reader in and also sets up the topic of the assignment), how to make that into an introductory paragraph, how to form a body of writing to reinforce or support the topic, and how to write a conclusion that echoes the topic paragraph and gracefully concludes without THE END. There are many genres of writing that a student should master before entering middle school. Among them are persuasive writing, expository writing, personal narratives, business and personal letters, fictional writing, poetry and so on. In my hands, any child, from kindergarten through high school and beyond, can learn to communicate well in writing.
Another indispensable aspect of writing is the use of similes, metaphors, idioms and hyperbole. Students score considerably higher on writing assignments when these writing enhancements are added.
As for teaching writing to the older student, I received A's in all my university writing assignments. After that, I was in a teacher credentialing program where I also received A's with one exception. While getting certificated in CLAD (a series of classes on how to teach bilingual children that aren't totally proficient in English), I got an A+ on a paper I wrote for my Linguistics class.
To repeat myself here: I am fully competent to teach writing at the elementary school level as well as the high school and college level. I can make the whole project of writing fun. I'm nonjudgmental, encouraging and fun. As with my other tutorials, I offer the hardworking "tutee" a little toy as a reward for good effort.