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Keeping Students Motivated In Summer

Keeping students motivated during the summer months starts in the proceeding school year. As students are exposed to a broadening of subjects, each student will naturally like one or two. The motivation comes when a teacher or parent recognizes the interest and then turns the student toward further investigation / discovery. The student will experience the joy of learning, which once experienced will motivate the student to learn more. Facilitating that desire will keep the student on track year round.

The Best Way to Prepare for

The best way to learn and study for tests is to use technology. Websites like StudyIsland give you a chance to run through subject matter sample questions, at 10 or 15 or 20 at a time. Studies show that repeated scores averaging say 80%, result in a most probable 70% on the actual quiz, test, exam taken. The good news is you can practice online until you have command of the topic. As your average goes up so does your probable quiz, test, exam score go up. The bad news is that it costs to use Websites like StudyIsland. As a tutor I have my own access which I will let you use while I am tutoring you.

New tutor to this site...

Hi, I'm a new tutor to this site. Within the past few days, I've been working on getting certified in as many subjects as possible. These are all of the subjects I'm certified to tutor in on the website. Most of the subjects are in math or science. Some are in English topics as well like in reading and writing, etc. I also am certified to tutor to prepare for a lot of standardized tests and a few common computer software programs people use. Please read my profile if you need a new tutor in the Hillsboro or Portland area! -Ann

Prepping for the New School Year

A few things that I did as a child and which I have found help the students with whom I work prepare for the new school year are: reading many genres daily, doing crossword and other pencil-and-paper puzzles daily, reviewing the notes from the past year, and keeping a journal of all activities and daily occurrences. Subscribing to new journals and magazines in July also is great because by the time September rolls around, the student is anticipating an arrival and is anxious to share the contents of the publication/publications with peers.

Park Your Brain

Summertime ... swimming, reading, barbeques, hanging with friends. Summer jobs and going out after work. Yet for some, schoolwork and studying are a big part of our summer agenda. No matter what time of year you are studying, it is crucial to know when to stop and take a break. Forcing your attention past your limit will not be productive. If you can't summarize what you just read, you have read too long. If you are making more mistakes on your math homework, it's time to do something else. What's your ideal study session? It might be an hour or two, or it might be only 20 minutes. Stick to the length of time that works best for you. When you come back refreshed, you will learn more easily. Get into the slower summertime pace. When the fall comes, remember to stop studying and do something else, even if only for a few minutes. Your brain will thank you.

Don't Just Memorize

Flash cards -- highlighting -- writing down definitions. Do you do all that and still have low test scores? Often, straight memorization is not enough to really learn the subject well. For example, in biology you may learn that proteins are formed from peptide chains. You may also learn that a polymer is a chemical compound that has repeated units. But if an exam question refers to a "polypeptide," you might not realize that it was talking about a protein. The key here is to make associations. What are polymers? What type of biological compounds can be classed as polymers? "Poly" means "many." So, a polypeptide would be "many peptides." What compound is composed of many peptides? A protein, of course. This type of reasoning is not developed by straight memorization. You need to reach for the meaning. Make lists, tables, or diagrams; look up words; make links and associations. Write definitions in your own words only. Don't guess... read more

A Useful Tool for Math

I'll start off with something simple here. A tool that I have found incredibly useful when trying to check my work is WolframAlpha (http://www.wolframalpha.com/). I can't tell you how many students I've had tell me that it's been a life-changer. Just type in an equation, and it will give you graphs, solutions, alternate forms, and much more. This is especially useful for higher level math and graphical analysis. Until Later, Ashley

Pythagorean Triples

Here's an interesting math fact: the sum of any sequence of odd numbers from 1 to n is always a perfect square. 1 = 1 1+3 = 4 1+3+5 = 9 1+3+5+7 = 16 1+3+5+7+9 = 25 1+3+5+7+9+11 = 36 etc. The sum is actually the square of (n+1)/2. --------- What this also means is that every odd number can be expressed as a difference of consecutive squares: 1-0 = 1 4-1 = 3 9-4 = 5 16-9 = 7 25-16 = 9 36-25 = 11 etc. In this case, each odd number n can be expressed as the square of (n+1)/2 minus the square of (n-1)/2. --------- You can now use this knowledge to derive an infinite number of Pythagorean triples. For each odd number n greater than 1, these three values comprise a Pythagorean triple: n, (n^2-1)/2, (n^2+1)/2 3, 4, 5 5, 12, 13 7, 24, 25 9, 40, 41 11, 60, 61 13, 84, 85 etc. Because of the relationship of the numbers,... read more

What to Do in High School to Save Money Later in College or University

You might already assume that I will be talking about how to get a scholarship or a grant for a college or the university, but this is not the purpose of this blog post. What could save you a lot of money down the road when your kid is ready to go to the college or a university? First of all, most of the higher education schools require an assessment test for math and English. The results of these tests determine what level of math or English your child will get placed into. For example, a high school graduate wants to become an engineer. After getting admitted to the university, the student takes a math placement test and gets enrolled into a trigonometry class. How is it going to affect the student and parents, who will pay for the tuition? Most of the schools require engineering students to take Calculus I, II, III and Differential Equations in the first two years. If the student is enrolled in the trigonometry the first semester then it will take him or her three years... read more

Maintain skill and knowledge during the summer, start to master upcoming subjects

Some students forget their skills and knowledge of subjects during the summer because they do not practice and receive tutoring. Other students maintain or increase their skill and knowledge during the summer by practicing and receiving tutoring on their subjects(s). To help maintain skill and knowledge level, many parents and students are having me provide tutoring during the summer for one or both of the following reasons: 1. tutoring for reviewing current subjects for practice and maintenance or enhancement of knowledge and skill levels 2. tutoring on upcoming subjects for learning so that when the student starts back after the summer, not only are they still at an enhanced skill and knowledge level for current subjects, but they can master the upcoming subjects from the beginning because they have received a preview and practice during the summer. Starting on May 30, the parents are having me tutor their student(s) in various subjects on one the following... read more

Bridging the Summer Gap

It is no surprise that students lose some of their edge for education over the summer. After all the saying goes, "if you don't use it, you lose it." Summer is a great time to prepare students for the next school year. Tutoring can provide a means to not only stop the loss but also allow students to gain valuable skills for the next year. Imagine the edge your student could have in next years' math or science class if he or she had summer sessions with a certified teacher familiar with the state board curriculum and requirements? Summer is also a great time to prepare for standardized tests. SAT, PSAT, ACT or ASVAB. All of these tests provide information about a student's future potential. Students who are better prepared will score better and be given greater opportunities. That is why the test-prep industry is such a huge market. If you don't believe me, just stroll down that aisle of your local bookstore. However, as helpful as these self-help books can be,... read more

Three ways to show how math is used in "real life"

If I had a dollar for every time a student in a math class has asked me "how do I use this in real life?" I'd have a paycheck. But, like it says in the song, "if I had a million dollars, I'd be rich." I'm asked this most often by Algebra 2 and Geometry students, so here are three things I can show them. (1) The Rule of 72. Which states, in probably over-simplified form: "If you take the number 72, and divide it by your interest rate, the result is the number of years it takes for the principal to double." That's a pretty good simulation of compound interest there, especially for rates around 15% or less. This way students can see how fast a credit-card balance can balloon up, without their having to fool around with the formulas. Once they get the idea, the formulas don't seem so bad. (2) The break-even point. This is a simulation of a system of two linear equations: - One is for the money a company brings in via sales. You assume... read more

Most Important: Customizing the tutoring and approach to the student's learning style, needs, learning objectives, questions.

Recently, after I tutored two of my favorite students to prepare them for upcoming tests in Pre-Algebra and Geometry respectively, I received positive reinforcement for the importance and value of customizing the tutoring approach, information, knowledge transfer, and tutoring style. After the first tutoring session, I was approached by three people as I was waiting for my next student: 1. An elementary school teacher – she complemented me on my knowledge and tutoring style, and asked me for my information to refer students to me for tutoring. 2. A parent seeking a tutor for their daughter – he complimented me on my tutoring style, my patience, and my problem solving ability, He said, “I saw how you tutored him and I want you to tutor my daughter the same way” He booked a tutoring session for the next day. 3. An adult student preparing for a standardized test – she worked at the café, came over and said that she saw me tutoring the student and saw how he was excited... read more

If You Need Math Tutoring, Act Now To Get Back On Track

I invite all students who are faltering in Mathematics, from Algebra through Calculus, to get help as soon as possible. The right kind of skilled help, which gives you INSIGHT and thus understanding, can build your confidence and raise your level of achievement. That's what you want to do--because those who do not address these issues usually experience disappointment and failure, and the effects of failure have a significant impact on your life, such as lowering self-esteem and interfering with your plans for college and career. That's why I tutor--to help you. All of my customers experience marked improvement. I wish the same for you. Kenneth S.

Success vs. Stress, including Fear of Failure and Memory Problems

A few keys to success in school (for people with or without A.D.D.): We need to concentrate on taking notes in classes, and possibly use a digital recorder to record some classes. (That makes a tremendous difference for many of my A.D.D. students, because they can "go back and listen" to things they missed when distractions occurred.) Examples of distractions include when other students are moving or making noises, worries or concerns**, being hungry, needing to go to the restroom, looking for a pen or pencil, or needing to sharpen a pencil, etc. There are many sources of distractions. Even **fear of failure** can be a distraction! What about memory problems? Actually all of us have trouble with remembering from time to time--it's part of being human, right? Heck, even computers have memory problems occasionally, so it seems that some degree of "forgetfulness" is basically a universal condition. Some good news for A.D.D. students: If we are... read more

Science problems as Math problems

I've been working recently with a student who "presented" as a student struggling with physics. But in many ways, the physics is less of an issue than applying mathematics to the physics concepts. Their text is Glencoe's Physics Principles and Problems, which some reviewers describe as much as a math text as a science text. After helping with several chapters of homework, I would say that the problems at the end of each section or chapter tend to focus on those where mathematics can be applied to the physics, and that as a result if the tests are based upon those questions, the test will be as much a test of the student's understanding of the mathematics as their knowledge of the science. In many ways, it was the time consuming nature of the mathematics that was creating problems for the student. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in that the development of math allows for new models of science, or that scientific theories require mathematical descriptions of... read more

Recovery Plan for Failing Student

The reality is that the student may be “in over their head” and no amount of effort will get a satisfactory result. Or maybe the student does not have the time to overly focus on one course over the others even for a short time to recover from a failing grade. This is a difficult and even emotional decision but should at least be momentarily considered. Is this class a necessity? Is there the ability to drop it? If you feel recovery is possible or if there is no other open option then on to the Recovery Plan. Though I am calling this a recovery plan – this is also a “B+ to an A+” or C to a B+" plan! Strategic Thoughts 1) Understand how the final grade is arrived at in detail as this impacts strategy especially if one part is overly emphasized. Usually the “battle” is between homework and exams. Exams are usually the predominant part of the grade - so rally around the next exam, midterm or final. You need 7-14 days for this Mock Test plan below. If homework plays a predominant role,... read more

Helping students to become self-sufficient, confident, and successful in school

I was reading what another WyzAnt tutor said, and I realized that he and I have the same attitude towards tutoring: We cherish each and every student, and enjoy working with them, but we don’t necessarily want to build a long-term relationship with them. I compare this situation to birds learning to fly. They need help at first, but it is important for them to learn to be self-sufficient, and learn to handle the challenges on their own. My goal is to help you to get on track, fill in some "gaps," and then let you "fly" on your own, when you are ready. In the future, if more help is needed with a new challenge, I am always glad to help. As John from California said, "Many students were never taught the basic concepts behind their courses. Because of that, the entire course can be a struggle for them." That problem does not just happen out West. I have found that to be true here too. If you were never taught the basic concepts, we will... read more

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