In school, teachers will tell you the exact order in which they want you to write an essay. Often times they will want you to start with an outline, develop a thesis, gather evidence, and then write your essay. However, the more essays that you write,
the more that you will realize that this sequence does not work for everyone. In college, I realized that I often did not develop a good thesis until after I already finished my essay. This is just fine; you can change your thesis after you finish your essay
as long as you leave yourself adequate time for revision. You have to do what works best for you.
My approach to each Physics Chapter:
As I read the chapter I look for definitions - many times the text is in italics
I work with 3 by 5 index cards and note the chapter and the definition of a new concept
I also look for identified equations and write them on equation cards by chapter
describing what the equation represents and the units
I make unit cards which include the Physics term and the units and their equivalent in each unit system
As I work through the chapter I read each sample question and try to do it without looking for the answer
Then I check the answers and the methods used - sometimes my methods are different but the answers are the same
This shows there are sometimes more than one approach to a problem
When I finish a chapter I try the odd problems since they have answers in the back
When I can not solve it I check the answer and try to work backwards.
Unit analysis helps.
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...
Faced with a blank page does your brain feel just as bare? Writing has two different processes that at times seem to be in conflict. There is the creative side and there is the analytical side. While both are necessary it is important to be mindful
of allowing a certain separateness. Yes, structure is important, but your voice and creativity give your writing life. Freewriting is a great tool for releasing the creative side.
Before you begin that essay or paper give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to start a flow of ideas. I like the idea of using a pen and paper, but this works with a keyboard too. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just start writing. There is only one rule: keep
writing until the time is up. Any subject, any thought, no grammar check, no spelling correction, fragments allowed. You do not need to stay on topic or have any order. Just write. If you do have a topic that you need to explore...
I know how they told you to write it. Now let me tell you how it's really done. Popular misconception is that because you read a paper from start to finish, that the best way to write it is from start to finish. This is, of course, nonsense. The best way
to write a thesis paper is as follows.
Write your conclusion first.
That's right... the easiest way to write a 5-paragraph thesis paper is to start with your conclusions first. This is how we think, anyway. When we read about a subject, we are thinking while we read, so that by the time we've finished reading, we already know
what we think about it. Those are our conclusions about what we just read/watched/experienced. We're already there, so why not start there? When you start the conclusion you should say something specific about your topic. By then end of your conclusion,
you should show how the specific nature of your topic says something large, say, about the nature of life itself.
Writing seems to have originated in the Bronze Age, dating from 3300 B.C. to about 1200 B.C. During the Bronze Age, multiple forms of writing emerged. These included cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and multiple scripts originating in Greece. Writing began as
a way to keep accounts of trade and slowly blossomed into literature. The people of the Bronze Age evolved the use of their writing from trade records, to medicinal records, to recipes, to prayer and song, to written law, and finally to stories.
In today’s society, writing is seen in poems, songs, laws, books, video games, instructions, traffic signs, menus, nutrition information, and even on TV. Writing is so universal now that we don’t even think twice about all the things we read on a daily basis.
All of these words that we are constantly reading are actually written by someone who put thought behind it.
In ancient Egypt, only Scribes, one of the highest ranking classes of people, were allowed to learn how to write...
So I really wanted to talk about something I find very important, especially for those learning to master the English language. I realized that the minimal emphasis on spelling in public schools led to a major fault in the younger generation's writing
skills. I found that unless a child reads often, it's hard for them to determine what "there" one might be talking about. Often times, students may know the context of where to place the word in a spoken sentence, however not choose the correct spelling of
the term in written sentences. Being able to spell properly and maintain good grammar is something essential to children for the rest of their lives -- be it writing essays for school or applying for grants/scholarships, sending letters, filling out job applications,
or even having to teach others. As parents, teachers, or educators I believe that spelling tests should still be in full effect to separate words with multiple...
I'm so excited to start tutoring again! I'm looking forward to helping students to enhance thier learning in English, grammar and writing. Wyzant seems like a great way to connect students to tutors to obtain the assistance that they need!
Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow, is a story about the American dream. Set in New York during the “period of Ragtime” between the turn of the 20th century and the beginning of World War I,
Ragtime tells the story of three different families struggling to find their place in this new America.
Doctorow makes use of an unusual writing style in Ragtime. He eschews the use of quotation marks and line breaks during dialogue, making the visual appearance of the novel one of long, blocky paragraphs. In addition, Doctorow writes the novel in third
person from the perspective of not one but all of the main characters, allowing us to see the innermost thoughts and feelings of everyone in the story in turn. The characters have various degrees of name specificity, ranging from simply “Mother” and “Father”
to “Sarah” (nobody knows her last name) to “Coalhouse Walker Jr.” All of these stylistic decisions come together to make a surprisingly fluid novel where actions speak much louder than...
Alas! You have to take the GRE in order to get into the program of your choice. Keep in mind that if you do not prepare well, you may have to take the test again, which will cost you probably around $200 or more. If you do not prepare well and it sets
your studies back a year, that could cost you a year of earning potential in your lifetime. That's not a fun math problem. Maybe you need that extra year to prepare, but if you are ready, why go at the GRE in a less than 100% manner?
Let's say you already have your fall date set and you have two months or less to prepare for the exam. Here is what I recommend.
Research the GRE stats of the university you are considering. Contact your POI (person of interest) and find out how well you need to perform on the GRE. If you need to score in the 90th percentile in the quantitative
portion, that's something you need to know. Your POI may say that you need to score in the 60th, but if everyone who was admitted in...
Radio shows are a great way to practice listening to spoken English. Many radio shows post their episodes online and also include the text of the show. This way you can both listen to the show and also read the show. Reading the text allows you to check
your understanding of what you heard. In addition to practicing listening skills, this is also a great way to learn new vocabulary. Below are links to some of my favorite radio shows available online.
Voice of America
News stories. Easy to intermediate vocabulary.
For Voice of America, look for news stories with videos. Below the video, you'll find the text of all the spoken parts. For example, see the video of this
story about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in the United States.
NPR TED Talks
Talks by experts in technology, education, and design fields. Advanced vocabulary...
Since I've been tutoring English literature students, I've noticed a pattern: every time we read a book that I remember reading in my high school classes, I enjoy it far more as an adult than I ever did as a teenager. Time and time again I pick up a book
I remember hating in class, resigned to slog through it and discuss metaphor and symbolism with my student, only to find that I thoroughly enjoy it. Each time I come out of the unit with a fresh new appreciation for the work in question. As this happens more
and more I've come to the conclusion that there are whole worlds of theme and subtext in many novels that are only apparent to a reader who has reached adulthood, because they require the reader to have experiences beyond those of an average high-school student.
In today's Literature Spotlight I'd like to illustrate this point using a recently-transformed work for me, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. One of the main themes in
A Doll's House is the idea of Nora's reluctance...
This website is a great resource for English!
Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language. Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?" Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.
Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.
DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new.
DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning.
DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home.
DO find a language/study buddy in your language class.
DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals.
DON'T be negative.
DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes.
DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is...
As students prepare for standardized tests for college admission, "Vocabulary" suddenly becomes an important subject. Both the Writing and Critical Reading sections of the SAT reward a strong vocabulary. I try to emphasize to students that having a college
(adult) level vocabulary will continue to reward them far beyond a one-day test.
Studying SAT related vocabulary books is certainly worthwhile in the weeks before a test day, but I would like to reach out also to students who are still a few years away from college entrance concerns. The best way to build a rich and useful vocabulary
is to read books, magazines, and newspapers that are well-written (e-books and online sources definitely count!) When you read great writing you will not only improve your vocabulary but also your writing and your critical thinking.
Your reading can and should be varied. Admittedly, I do love literature that has been relevant to...
I am new to Wyzant but have been a part time tutor in a variety of subjects for 6 years. One of the most common subjects I help students in is English/Writing, and it is by far the most difficult. The challenge is not knowing how to write a great essay
given the prompt, but how to get the student to write the essay using his/her own voice, style and structure. I have gotten used to walking the razor's edge over the years, but the temptation to write parts of the essay for new writing tutors can be tremendous.
Particularly when spending minutes on word choice and sentence order, the prospect of doing some ghost-writing is undoubtedly alluring.
So how does one persevere through those silent, deep-thinking sessions? What I find motivating is the knowledge that my role as a tutor is not to tell the student what to do, but to give him/her an alternative set of tools that he/she does not get in a
classroom that will help them express...
Many people, myself included, feel that for all its advantages, the internet has precipitated a steady decline in the quality of writing. Anyone can write anything anywhere, and while that gives a voice to many who otherwise might not have a public forum
to share what they have to say, it also makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to uphold any sort of standards.
That said, the internet also offers plenty of resources for improving your writing. Here are a few of my favorites:
Here you'll also find a thesaurus and several other reference tools. It may not be the Oxford English Dictionary, but it gives you plenty of good definitions and sometimes includes usage notes with practical implications for your writing, like differences
in how similar words are typically used.
Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.com
Speaking of differences, this is a really cool...
Practicing for the speaking part of the IELTS English proficiency exam is daunting, to say the least. There are so many elements of a good speech that you have to remember to score the necessary band to get into your English-speaking university of choice.
If you are not sure where to start, take a look at these tips:
1.) Don’t worry so much about your speed. More important are your abilities to speak without grammatical mistakes and to have few pauses or hesitancies in your speaking. Pronunciation is also negatively affected by speaking too quickly. So
slow down, and concentrate on making yourself understood.
2.) Choose your higher-level vocabulary carefully. Many students end up sounding like they are living 150 years ago because their vocabularies are so formal. Choose a few (about three or four) words that are higher-level in your interview to
use. Don’t overdo it.
3.) Use transitions. The flow of ideas from one part of the speaking prompt to another...
1. Make sure your students know the differences between a summary and a paraphrase. Students can fill in the blanks without really comprehending or being able to paraphrase. If your book is mainly focused on writing and listening exercises, it’s up to
you to bring it to life and relatable. Tie in all aspects of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Don’t isolate each component too much. Peer work is great, unless one students takes the burden of all the work.
2. Walk into class knowing your agenda. Write it on the board, so students have a roadmap of what the day holds for them.
3. Get everyone to participate; even the shy ones. If the desks don’t fit the needs of the collaborative environment, rearrange them.
4. The lower level classes need to be corrected for pronunciation if it is really off. Don’t let it get fossilized.
5. If students are inattentive, pretend to fall asleep, or go outside and say you are going to get the director.
I am happy to announce that all my students have passed the NY State Regents examinations, except one student. The subjects varied from Algebra 1, Algebra 11/Trigonometry, English, US and Global History and Living Environment. I am so proud of them.
Most of these students are students who struggled quite a bit. It was a long journey but one I would do again.
I am very proud of them as most of them will be graduating this year. The NY State Common Core examinations are next.