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The question that I am supposed to be answering is "What are your 5 outside the box tips that make your tutoring lessons fun?" My first thought on this is this: No one comes for tutoring in a box; they usually come in a CAR!   OK, maybe you got the joke and maybe you didn't. The point is that I have a quirky, yet serious, point of view. I give value for the amount of money you pay me to tutor, yet I don't want you to go home feeling you've been dragged through a rabbit hole! I have always loved learning, and since I became a teacher several decades ago, I have enjoyed watching the "light bulbs" turn on behind my students' eyes.   Here are 5 suggestions for our first tutoring session:   1) Decide which kind of soda you like. I keep an extra fridge stocked with them. 2) Bring a picture of your pet. You'll meet my cat, Shire, so it's only fair I get to see your pet. 3) Prepare to talk to me. I don't want to do ALL the... read more

5/5 stars April 29, 2015 Having taken lessons before I am sure Andrea's lessons are the right way to go about learning and speaking Italian. I feel my conversation skills improve in one lesson. And most of all, its fun! Josephine J.   5/5 stars February 14, 2015 Andrea is a terrific Italian teacher. Charming, patient, smart, rigorous and fun. Could not recommend him more highly! Camilla C.   5/5 stars January 1, 2015 I've been working with Andrea for a little while now and he's the perfect teacher! He caters to exactly what you want and really listens to your needs. He is a pleasure to work with and we are always laughing every lesson. He picked up right away how I learn and continues to surprise me every lesson! Couldn't be happier in my choice! Vincent H.   5/5 stars September 10, 2014 Learning Italian with Andrea was easy and fun. He is trustworthy and reliable! Within... read more

One of the greatest exercises I learned in a college photography class was to shoot close to home. The professor was constantly drilling into our heads to simplify, simplify, simplify. This was a photographer who insisted on carrying around one camera and one lens (no zooms).   After spring break, we all returned to class and in typical fashion started pinning our latest assignments up on the board for critique. This was a documentary photography class, with an emphasis on street photography and we all shot black and white film back then. Unlike most of the previous shooting assignments over the long the winter months over the many bleak and frozen Chicago neighborhoods we lived, this week was a little different.   Suddenly, the brightly lit walls of the room were filled with exotic and contrasty photographs from the beaches of the Caribbean, a resort in Mexico, the deserts of Arizona, Venice Beach, CA, and most unusual of all – the crowded bustling streets... read more

I think that the idea of making instant scheduling available to students is a wonderful feature for those tutors who have extremely flexible schedules. My work at a university and my family commitments just don't allow me to offer that option for students.   Despite these limitations, I have been able to schedule sessions with students and/or parents, that work for their schedules and mine, pretty easily. I think that if my 'day job' schedule was more flexible, I might be able to take advantage of such an option.

Recently I voted "other" on the tutor poll asking if I would like an "instant booking option" for students to see my available time and instantly book an appointment right on my calendar. I would love such an option however I do have one concern. Currently the availability calendar is pretty broad. I would need the ability to set specific times that I am available for instant booking and other times that I am available by appointment. I do both online and face to face tutoring at present and the travel times could possibly cause problems with the instant booking. 

Hello!   I'm sure you're curious if what I'd said about my education in my profile is true. Well, you can see it for yourself. Here is a link to pictures I just took. Please note that my dental and music college degrees are under a different name, Rezeda Usmanova. It's my birth name. I'd changed to Allina Lovett in America in 2005.   I hope that will satisfy your curiosity in full :)   Allina.    

I recently read an article titled After-School Activities Make Educational Inequality Even Worse by Hilary Friedman. The article suggested that organized competitive sports, which is typically associated with middle and upper-middle-class kids, helps strengthen life skills through organized competitive activities outside of the school system. This essentially perpetuates class divisions. The article cited learning from loss, time management, and adaptability as skills that youth learn in competitive after-school activities and contribute to their place in socioeconomic hierarchy as adults. I believe Friedman made valid points. Unfortunately, many of them did not apply to my teammates in organized sports during my youth. While in middle school and high school, I played on summer league basketball teams that were majority Black and middle class. Many of my teammates and their parents viewed sports as the ultimate end game. I believe when one adopts this mentality, the game is... read more

In spring of 2016, the College Board will release a new format for the SAT.  The changes include: The essay will be optional There will be two math sections: one allowing calculator use and one that does not. It will be scored on a 400-1600 point scale.  The essay will be scored separately. Students will be required to have a stronger command of fewer topics.     For more detailed information, please see the College Board:

I answered a nice question on WyzAnt about approximating roots to a quadratic equation that had real but irrational roots.     Calculus enables us to find rational approximations to these irrational roots.  I will re-present the solution to the problem, and continue to find a general expression to do this for an arbitrary polynomial.   "Problem: approximate roots of -9x^2+8x+5.   There is a nice approach using calculus to estimate/approximate a function without a square root and calculator. We can use the concept of moments to get an approximation to a function. For this example, we have a quadratic function in (x) with coefficients, a=-9, b=8, and c=5, as indicated in a previous solution. Thus f(x)=ax^2+bx+c. First we need to find a general idea of where a root (an x where f(x)=0) is located. To do this we can check the value of the function for some easy numbers, x=0 and x=1 are always... read more

As the old joke goes: "a man is walking down 57th street in NYC. He meets a woman and asks her 'How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The woman answers 'Practice, practice, practice!'."   For SAT success a dedication to study is necessary unless you are Einstein. And even his English "was not so good." The College Board website has many practice questions as well as an Official SAT Question of the Day. The math questions are limited to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, counting, and probability. After working with a few hundred problems, you will notice similar problems and learn techniques to solve them whether you use substitution, algebraic methods or elimination logic.   The reading is sometimes subtle, so I suggest you look at each school reading assignment and ask similar SAT questions like "what is the author's point of view?" Concentrate on the reading and read it so you can hear it in your head. This is especially... read more

Hi everyone! I've had years of experience with teaching and tutoring math and science, and I've been a student of science and math myself. Some of my students have asked me about strategies for learning math and science concepts that are fun and effective. Here are two quick tips to help you ace that next test or homework assignment. Good luck! Make connections between what you're learning and what you'd actually like to learn.  This tip is for people who are learning concepts that don't interest them very much (yet) and are interested in lots of other cool things. Are you learning about graphing inequalities but you're not really a fan of pre-algebra in general? Have a parent or a friend make up word problems about real-life situations that would be interesting to you! Don't like geometry but you're a big fan of dinosaurs and volcanoes? Maybe making up your own problems where you need to figure out how the velocity of a rock that was blasted out... read more

Math and science go hand in hand.  I like to integrate the two as often as I can. I like to teach science with a lot of experiments.  Sometimes we just have to create whatever lab equipment we can find around the house.  For example, putting books under one end of a table might be all the inclined plane needed for those acceleration experiments with marbles or friction experiments with a block.  We might also get some relative masses with a lever and fulcrum.  I will love to show you my "Nomoruler" for dividing measures of length.  When it comes to chemistry, there's a entire stockroom of chemicals in the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, garage. Math is more fun with manipulatives.  Once you make your cut-outs and use them to build formulas, you will appreciate your ownership of that knowledge that there all along - deep within.  You will be motivated to find out what else you already know. We all like games.  I will... read more

   Before I begin this blog, I want to explain the reason for the periodic updates to my guidelines. Although my guidelines have remained largely the same, I have adjusted them slightly during my years of tutoring to best suit the demographics in which I have worked. This blog reflects such an adjustment. Now, the blog:    Although I am not new to tutoring, a year ago, I was new to online tutoring through Wyzant. At that time, I made a set of guidelines for my students that I have since realized can be confusing. Therefore, I am making a blog that contains, in simpler formatting, the rules for tutoring with me. I will sometimes repeat information or use less-than-professional language throughout this blog in order to increase the chances of an accurate translation for students who use Google Translate to understand my blogs. Information on my philosophy and approach will be available in separate blogs, God willing.                                   ... read more

Today, in a poll for tutors, we were asked if we would like for students to have an instant booking option. The majority of tutors said, "Yes". The students would be able to see our availability, calendars, and set appointments. The option could be a great tool for both students and tutors. It would save time trying to connect with the tutor, and possibly streamline the day.   However, there was a large percentage of tutors who said, "No." So, I had to pause and think about why it might not be such a great tool. What could possibly go wrong?     The first issue that comes to mind is driving time. The difference between a private tutor and a tutoring center is the fact that we are not in a set location. If a student sees that I have a one hour opening that would be great for them and schedules it, but lives more than a five minute drive from the previously booked student before or after that hour, it could cause issues. Unless the... read more

   Wyzant asked if tutors would be interested in offering an "instant booking" option that allows students to see tutors' availability and book a lesson right away. I would support this service, with conditions, although I am not sure it would be a good fit for my students.    Firstly, I think this booking option should only be available for returning students. I believe that the initial communication between a tutor and student prior to booking the first lesson is critical. It allows the tutor and student to get to know one another, to find out if they are a good match, and to prepare for the first lesson.    Secondly, I think the service should block out times when other students have booked lessons. So, if one student books a lesson during my available time, then another student should be prevented from double booking.    I understand the convenience of automatic booking for students, but it is a tricky issue as a tutor... read more

So what exactly are the skills of a graphic designer? This article will break down design into its basic components. Understanding “why” an image works is the most fundamental skill of any designer. As simple these concepts may seem i recommend a thorough understanding of them before you attempt anything else. Image By Konstantinos Miaris (Green Design Festival) via Wikimedia Commons There are any number of tutorials focused on teaching you how to use a design program and a disparity of them focused on basic design principles. Perhaps this is because its much easier to learn a technical process on the web a than a skill. Skills are more complex, less immediately gratifying and usually require feedback to attain mastery. Skill and only skill is however is what allows you to make good work.   Definition For the purpose of this article well define design as “the structure of an image” it could be any image: photograph, painting or design they all follow... read more

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