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Not every student is going to pick up new material immediately. You often hear "I'm a math and science person, not English" and vice versa and often times that may be the case. There are signs that you should look out for and other signs that you might not be able to see directly at home that indicates that your student needs some extra help. One of the main things I have noticed since being in the classroom is that kids that are not confident in a specific subject will shut down during the particular class. This may be because they do not have a lot of confidence in this field and just turn off when they are in the class or when they are doing homework. Something to look out for specifically is if your child is spending more time on subjects that they are doing well in and not spending the time in the classes they are struggling in. They will often times make excuses up to get out of doing their homework in this particular class.   Another issue that... read more

My biggest fear when I am tutoring is that I won't know the answer. Preparation is everything to me. I do not like to look at a problem for the first time in front of a student.   To avoid embarrassment I request students send me their homework problems via email or reference problems from a book we share then I attack them using my resources; brian, book, and world wide web.   It doesn't take too long before I am confident on my approach and then I am ready to share my thoughts with my student.   Many tutors might feel this, those who not need preparation time are considered genius in my book!

I believe that learning by mistakes is the only way, and learning involves a certain amount of risk-taking because it involves the ego, and the ego does not want to fail. National Teacher of the Year 1989 Mary V. Bicouvaris says she would "hope that all American children will be given the opportunity to become literate in their own culture and at the same time develop an international perspective that will enable them to work, lead, and thrive in a global community," and her hope rings true in our current day and age. Students react positively when they learn by mistakes, and I have witnessed a struggling student become confident simple because of hearing positive word when they needed it most. It is always important to remember that students are not experts in the area they are learning about, and that event when I try something new I make mistakes too. For this reason making mistakes is OK because it comes with the territory of being a novice. The only mistake... read more

That and which: is there a difference? We’ve probably all used them interchangeably in casual speech and writing. But there is an important distinction between that and which in formal writing. First, it will help to take a look at restrictive clauses in general. Read the following sentences, and see if you can spot the subtle shift in meaning: • His wife who loves the color purple is on vacation. (Restrictive) • His wife, who loves the color purple, is on vacation. (Nonrestrictive) The first sentence implies that the man has more than one wife, and that the sentence is talking about his purple-loving wife (instead of his green- or red-loving wives). That’s why it’s called restrictive; it restricts the meaning of the subject to one specific thing. In the second sentence, it’s clear we’re talking about his one and only wife, who happens to love purple. It’s nonrestrictive because there... read more

When is it a good time to look for a tutor?  Some students wait until a big exam comes up, and do lots of cramming at the last minute.  While that strategy may work for some, others may need to take a different approach.    What if you need to take a mathematics or physics course and you know you will have difficulties?  Maybe the course is really advanced or it is not one of your best subjects.  The best approach would be to work with a tutor on a regular basis throughout the semester.  They can help you with any misunderstandings that may come up along the way, and help prevent you from falling behind in the course.  This also ensures that you get the individual attention that you may need.   

1. 12/8 +5/6 Consider the LCM of 6 and 8. This is the union, multiplied, of {2,3} and {2,2,2}. We get {2,3,2,2}. Multiplied together this is of course 24. That means, our two factors are: x/24 + y/24 From here we reason that we should include the 3 of 24/8 and the 4 of 24/6 need be included in the translation of 12/8 and 5/6. We get 12*3/8*3 and 5*4/6*4. We now have 36/24 and 20/24 totaling to 56/24. Observe that 56 = 8*7 and 24 = 3*8. We reduce to 7/3. Finally we deduce that 7/3 = 2 and 1/3. This is our final answer. 2. A merry go round goes around 5 times in 15 minutes. How many times does it go around in 2 hours? We set up an equation using proportions. 5times/15 min. = x times/120 min. or x times = 5times*120 min. / 15 min. x times = 5times 8 = 40 times x=40 The merry go round goes around 40 times in 2 hours. 3. A car travels 50 miles in 2 hours. How many... read more

Just about every parent asks me this question.  It is so difficult to answer because there is no set formula. So my honest answer: I don't know.  Every student is different.  There really are no easy fixes when it comes to learning differences.   (And I can't believe I said that-right?)   I like to think that teaching someone to read is like teaching someone to bake a cake. The first step is to assemble the ingredients and the tools you need to measure, mix and bake. With reading it's the same way.  We need all the right ingredients and tools to get the job done. We need to identify sounds, blend them together, take them apart and mix them into new words.  The issue for students with learning differences is usually, that they need different tools than the ones they are used to working with.   Some students make steady consistent progress, while some progress, plateau, then progress,... read more

Hi all,     So I've reached capacity again this year on students, but I'm trying something new.  I've created a Waiting List rather than hiding my profile.   I'm curious if I'll have a number of students waiting for the same subjects, which will allow me to come up with new ways to help everyone.  Perhaps if I have several students uptown (or wherever) I will be able to offer a group lesson that any/everybody working on the same subjects can attend and help out people on the waiting list. If you're looking to get inspired about Chemistry, I recommend you check out the very cool reactions in this video:   Or if you're a student (or a parent) trying to convince yourself (or your child) about the importance of working hard at Math & Science, I recommend checking out these infographics:   Hope... read more

A lot of people simply don't enjoy writing--and they do their best to take any shortcuts they can find to make the process shorter. One shortcut is avoiding outlines. Outlines can seem like just another cumbersome step. Why not just get the words on the paper and get the thing done?   But outlines serve at least two purposes: generating ideas and organizing the content. Many writers experience some form of writer's block. That empty page is intimidating, the clock is ticking, and the brain...freezes.    Outlining can help unblock things. It's easier to write down a few main ideas and some supporting facts than it is to come up with complete sentences and paragraphs, after all. Start with the introductory paragraph and write at least a fragment with the main idea. For beginning writers, it may help to highlight this to remember that the whole paper should support this focus.   Generate a few more ideas related to the topic. These might... read more

If your child has not succeeded in any school "reading pull out" programs or traditional reading tutoring, stop the torture!  Your child likely needs an Orton-Gillingham based reading program that is multi-sensory, systematic, and does not encourage guessing at words.  Please do not let your struggling reader stay involved in any program that encourages "guessing" at words.  This will only serve to confuse and frustrate your child more.  Rote memorization of spelling words is also not an effective strategy for a dyslexic student.  Contact me if you'd like tips or more direction on how to really help your child excel in reading/spelling and self-confidence.

Statisticians say that the average person writes about 55,000 words per year. That's enough to fill a novel. This statistic measures everything from thank you notes to work emails. However, I'm sure the average college student far exceeds this number. Therefore, it's no wonder that most students I work with are seeking help with their writing. Needless to say, with such a word filled future on these students' horizon, I take this responsibility seriously.  Most students think they need to start with grammar in order to improve their writing. They are baffled by the pesky rules that spell check doesn't catch but that their teachers always find. They think that the key to their writing is unlocking the comma, semicolon, and split infinitive. However, I'd argue that unless you have the time and patience, and the student has the dedication, to teach him or her Latin (where many of these rules have been super imposed from), it will be hard for them to master grammar... read more

Why one-on-one tutoring? I remember well how I used to struggle - with math especially. I was fortunate that I could turn that around. But, that's a story for another day. I used to be terrified of asking questions and of being asked a question in class. I used to sit in the back row and hide, so that the teacher (monster in my mind) would not ask me a question and I would have to make a public display of my ignorance. Looking back, my body language must have been screaming. There we have the first signs. Sitting at the back, body language, and trying to hide. When I was caught - and had to answer a question (I NEVER put my hand up to offer an answer), I would blush and timidly offer my best guess and swear I was probably wrong. Next signs - trembling voice and blushing. What's happening here is the heart is pounding and fear is mounting! The last and  most obvious sign that a person needs help is - bad grades! Hey! But, there is hope! I turned it around... read more

While computing derivatives using the chain rule is really not difficult, students at an early stage in their calculus class find it often less than friendly. If someone was asked to compute a Taylor's expansion of a composite function, that would not be a minor task, quite the opposite, but most problems faced by students in their Calculus course are not so terrible, after all. In the end, as often, the pain it causes is best cured with practice. Nevertheless, learning to set a problem in a proper way, can actually improve the student's chances to learn this necessary mathematical tool.   An interesting example is the following:   f(x) = ln(ln(ln(x)))   To find the derivative f'(x) one can follow the sequence of steps presented below:   (A) Recognize all functions involved. In this case we can write   f(x) = h(k(p(x)))    where p(x) = ln(x),  k(y) = ln(y) and y = ln(x), and h(z) = ln(z)... read more

Have you ever been in a situation where you did not understand what was happening around you? Well, that is what it is like for many people who have just moved to this country and have not yet learned the language. The experience of being in a completely new environment is a very scary ordeal. When I was in Mexico for the first time, I really had no idea what was going on. Luckily, I was surrounded by people who were willing to help and teach me everything I needed to know in order to flourish in my new setting. I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to be that person to someone else. Next time you have the opportunity, help someone who might be struggling with our language!

Most of us have heard the term practice makes perfect. This could not be more true when it comes to learning Spanish. Don't get me wrong, books are a great tool, but the idea behind the book is most likely to get you to PRACTICE.   It is possible to memorize every verb conjugation, noun, and adjective, but if you do not practice, you will not be able to use any of them in an actual conversation. Whatever level of Spanish you may be at, do not forget to practice!

One on one tutoring for a student is when the grades are slipping or just cannot understand the material presented by the teacher. With my students in the classroom, I may have to sit with one or a small group to go over the material that they were given by the teacher. Once the student understands what he/she did; the understanding clicks in. We review for quizzes and tests two or three times in the course of the week and send home a study sheet with the correct answers on the study sheet from the discussions. Most of my students pick up on the material fairly quickly and pass the test very well and others need to use an alternative method to get the understanding and/or pass the tests. One suggestion with vocabulary tests has been to write the words three times and have the student pick out the correct word. This is especially for those who have trouble spelling words but can recognize them on paper. In math class, I have one student who could barely print his name. He works... read more

If you've been wondering how you're going to move all your Aperture and/or iPhoto images into Lightroom without making a mess of your folders and work, here's the solution - Adobe has just launched the Aperture Import Plugin, a free download from the Adobe site. Click here to link to the Adobe Aperture Import Plugin   Just introduced yesterday (October 16, 2014), I have not yet tried it, but Victoria Brampton (the first response that follows the post) has a step-by-step instruction link to her website.    Let me know how it works for you!  

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