Karen’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Karen’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I hold a teacher's certificate for WA state, and I taught K-6 there for 35 years. 20+ years were spent teaching grade 6, where I taught classes of 25 or more students math, science, reading, social studies, English/writing, and a creative class I developed called Problem Solving. The remaining years of my career were spent in grades 3, 4 and 5. Again, I planned and taught all subjects, assessing students and planning for their individual needs. For 2 years following my career, and even now in San Francisco, I have substitute taught students in K, 1, and 2: all subjects including library science and music. I am extremely well qualified to work with the varying needs of this broad age group.
Besides having university coursework in the teaching of mathematics, I successfully taught middle school mathematics for 20 years and grade 2-5 mathematics for 10 years. I am experienced in all content strands : number sense, algebraic sense, geometric sense, probability and measurement. I know how to incorporate a variety of strategies for students struggling to understand, and I know the value of sketches and manipulatives no matter what age the learner is. Most of all, I remember when I hit a wall in my own mathematics learning: how working with teachers who cared and helped me without making fun of me made all the difference. I went on to LOVE math. I also have extensive training in financial education and enjoy helping students understand the world of money and personal finance.
I have been working for several years in public school classrooms teaching phonics. I did this with both primary age students as well as older students with diagnosed learning issues. I am aware of the latest information and materials for learning the alphabet and sounds, for learning phonemes, the use of non-sense words in the successful learning of sounds, and the importance of learning to say the word "bat" involves being able to initially say " buh aaa ttt". I also know that recent research shows that learning key sight words is crucial as is phrasing and expression.
I took public speaking coursework in college as well as through a nationally recognized speaking organization. I have had numerous occasions in which I was called upon to speak in front of different gatherings of adults (not to mention speaking in front of students daily for 33+ years!). One of the best courses I ever took was one specifically on holding workshops for adults. It really brought into focus what the listener is noticing, how to deal with audience distractions, coming across as a human being, and being less self-conscious as a speaker. I feel I can convey these skills to others, particularly the emphasis should always be on practicing in a non-threatening environment and receiving helpful feedback.
I read for enjoyment and to increase my knowledge. I grew up in a reading family and have always enjoyed the printed word, regardless of format. I had the pleasure of teaching reading to beginning readers, intermediate readers and middle schoolers who were learning to analyze nuances of different genres.
I am capable and experienced in moving a non-reader into the beginning reader stage. I know how to successfully help intermediate readers develop their understanding of cause and effect, drawing conclusions, making inferences, main idea/details, author's purpose as well as other areas that expand our understanding and comprehension.
I have experience in helping a reader discern and select meaningful text from non-fiction material.
Having worked in public school classrooms for 30+ years, I have assisted a variety of learners from ages 8-13 develop study skills. I know the importance of honoring the learning style of the student and finding the best time of day, location and graphic organizers to maximize study time.
I am aware of the importance of developing habits such as study breaks, learning general concepts before specifics, keeping yourself organized in a way that works for YOU and finding a successful location to study. I have extensive background in preparing students for tests using techniques such as marking key information, eliminating poor answer choices, choosing items that will build confidence and knowledge to complete first and how to take notes in class that will benefit your study time.
Extensive life long reading has helped me expand my vocabulary. I am able to assist others with their vocabulary by helping them understand word origins and parts. choosing the correct word for the situation is crucial, and knowing your audience helps determine this. I find words to be interesting and a wonderful way to convey emotions or intellect about a topic.
As a long time teacher, I am very familiar and skilled in helping students with every step of the writing process. While it may seem to be a struggle just to come up with an idea for a writing piece, most writers of all ages benefit further from the best ways to improve stories: simple systems for revising, embellishing and editing. It is always possible to come up with a quality final draft when required.
Elementary and middle school students are expected to not only write narratives/stories but also complete expository pieces : writing to EXPLAIN or convince someone of something. Each style requires specific skills, and some of the best are from a program that breaks the process into small, easy to remember steps. I am fully trained in this method (and wish someone had taught it to ME even in college!) It is easy to incorporate for all of life's writing at any age.