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Retaining Knowledge in the summer

  The best way to retain knowledge during the summer besides doing their summer course work that is or tutoring is to go to the library and check out books on any subject that you wish to learn. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, it is the fastest and easiest way to learn new things and be sure to take notes; in case, it may be covered in school next year. Feel free to use charts, graphs, drawings, outlines, concept maps or even free writing to reenforce the concepts and turn them into a game like "Concentration" or "Are you smarter than a 5th grader"  to make it easier and fun to learn the concepts.                      Nancy N.

3 Easy Strategies for Final Exam Prep

1. Make a study plan – The default mode for studying for exams? Wait until one or two days before the test and study – hard! But with several of material to review, your brain needs more time to re-assimilate the information, and you probably won’t have enough time to review it all in 2 nights anyway. So start studying a minimum of one week before the first exam, and write out a detailed schedule - which subjects you will study and for how long (giving more time to the earliest exams) and when you will study. Be specific and concrete – write out your plan, and assign (realistic) times for each day you will study. Write where you will study and what you should have with you. 2. Hit every subject, every day - Certainly you should give more weight to the first exams, but spend some time each day with every subject you will have an exam for, even if it’s just 15 minutes for those subjects with later exams. 3. Overlap your reviews - When you sit down to review a... read more

I student's success

I am a proud teacher! A student of mine, around my age, is an artist who wanted to learn basic computer skills. She learned how to find the pictures of her art on her computer. She learned how to sign up to websites, safely. She learned how to attach files to her email, and how to upload them to a website. She went ahead and created an artist profile on Zatista. Two of her paintings where selected for a special show on One Kings Lane One of these was sold yesterday. She amazes me every week. She takes what I teach, explores, and gets creative with it. By the time I come in the next week she shows me how she did a few new things, and has great questions that come out of her own exploration. A curious student - what a gift to the teacher.

The Goal of Tutoring

As tutors, our work puts us in an odd position. While part of our income depends upon spending time serving students, serving students means that we help them improve until they no longer need our assistance. In this sense, we work to make ourselves unnecessary. Some people might speculate that we would be motivated therefore to work less efficiently, to drag things out & spend more time than necessary to achieve our students' goals.   I can't really speak for other tutors, but I'm idealistic enough to believe that all of us want our students to be as successful as possible, as efficiently as possible, and we want them (and, in the case of children, their parents) to feel satisfied that we are working hard to do what is best at every moment & that they are getting their money's worth. After all, our great reputations as tutors ensure that we will acquire other students in the future - some of whom will perhaps replace those students who have improved... read more

Developing Study Habits for Math Courses

The majority of the students that I have often have the same problem -- they aren't grasping the information fast enough or they aren't really able to follow the lessons a teacher gives.   Sometimes, teachers aren't adaptive to every learning style for each student in their classroom.  However, know that each student has the capability to learn math on their own.  It is just necessary to have key characteristics to make it successful.   Every math student should have: patience motivation adaptability organizational skills open communication between themselves and their teacher (inside and outside the classroom) breaks!! :)   Study Tips Always try to study outside of your home or dorm room. In our minds, those are places that we relax at and it can be difficult to turn your mind off from the distractions to study. Public libraries, universities, coffee shops, and bookstores are the way to go... read more

New study on note taking comes to surprising conclusion

Please examine the evidence for yourself at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/to-remember-a-lecture-better-take-notes-by-hand/361478/.  However, the upshot is that, while I'm a big advocate for technology in many things, for some reason, handwriting seems to be a better retention tool than typed notes for most students.  (Though I myself had great success in college initially writing my notes, then reshaping them into a polished version on a computer when the material was still fresh and I remembered what all my own shorthand meant).  Take a look.

Tutoring that Works

Engaging students in learning is one of the many goals that tutors face. We must adapt to meet changing learning needs, styles, interests and delivery formats. The sage on the stage paradigm, where the tutor provided all the knowledge to a passive student, is outdated. Today's students have more need for a guide on the side, who understands that the challenges they face, is willing to experiment with alternative tutoring methods, and acknowledge that engagement and feedback are crucial to a successful learning experience. One such tutoring methodology that has shown great promise both in the classroom and in structured tutoring sessions is problem-based learning (PBL). This concept has gained national recognition as a way for students to learn by confronting a problem related to the subject or the class material. This means that rather than the rigid and very traditional didactic approach, where a tutor simply “re-teaches” material covered in class through direction... read more

Tutors wait! Why study skills should make up part (maybe most) of every session

(This is actually a modified version of an article I posted a while back - Parents wait! Why a study skills tutor is what your child REALLY needs. But I think tutors should consider this idea of study skills even more than parents should.) After a dozen years as a classroom teacher and private tutor, I know the routine well. Like clockwork, October and March bring new report cards and parents start to get nervous. “An F in chemistry? I’m afraid I can’t help you there; let’s find you a good chemistry tutor.” This is the kind of dialog I imagine taking place in many households around this time. And chemistry is just an example – insert subject here and the reaction is the same. But that low letter grade on a report card can indicate many things – maybe the teacher is bonkers; maybe one major assignment was weighted too heavily; maybe the student can’t see the board and is afraid to say anything; maybe that particular class is a source of social anxiety; etc... read more

Biology Study Techniques

I just began tutoring a new student in 10th grade Biology.  Biology is my favorite subject and as we were going over terminology and concepts and processes in each section I thought it might be helpful to outline elements that can help in the general study of biology.  I thought this would be a great time to reference some good study techniques from a biological perspective:  I organized my notes into list of 4 valuable concepts.   1.  Take notes:  Obviously right? of course but listen... More than any other subject taking notes in biology is crucial.  Almost all the information that is introduced each lesson is packed with new terms, new concepts and new images of the material.  Taking notes in the form of term definitions, paragraphs describing a process, or drawings is a way to stay on top of complex new material.  I recommend taking notes on a white piece of computer paper without lines, this helps the student to learn... read more

Classroom, Home, and Tests – Different Experiences, Different Skills

Yesterday, I helped a new student understand some of the difficulties she is experiencing, and I wanted to share this here. The Classroom: Studying in class is like taking a guided tour. If you trust your guide (the teacher,) you can follow into unknown territory, with an open mind. As you are exposed to new things you can ask questions, experience new activities, and be guided out of trouble if you get lost. In the classroom, your responsibility is to follow the teacher’s guidance, and notice when you lose track. (You will lose track. We all do. The only question is when!) Some examples from my students, of how they know they’re lost:  I’m singing a song in my head I’m thinking about my sandwich It seems as if the teacher in talking in a foreign language I’m beating myself up – “I’m a looser”, “I’ll never get it”   So this is the First Classroom Skill: Am I following the lesson, or am I in my head? The Second Classroom Skill:... read more

PRAXIS Preparation

I am currently tutoring three students for PRAXIS I test.  Although it can be challenging to help students prepare for an exam while they are enrolled full time and have many other teaching certification to-do's to tackle, PRAXIS I prep should not be discounted.  When I first meet with my students, I encourage them to purchase the ETS Praxis book to use during our lessons.  It can be procured for a reasonable price online, and I tell them it is the best resource to give you insight into real test questions since it is published by the makers of the PRAXIS!     The most important part of PRAXIS I prep is the study calendar.  First, I use Microsoft Office to develop a daily study calendar for the students from the present time until the day they take their exam.  Each day, I pencil in a combination of a few practice questions, vocabulary building, news article review, practice test simulation, etc.  I coach them in downloading... read more

Parents wait! Why a study skills tutor is what your child REALLY needs

After a dozen years as a classroom teacher and private tutor, I know the routine well. Like clockwork, October and March bring new report cards and parents start to get nervous. “An F in chemistry? I’m afraid I can’t help you there; let’s find you a good chemistry tutor.” This is the kind of dialog I imagine taking place in many households around this time. And chemistry is just an example – “insert subject here” and the reaction is the same. But that low letter grade on a report card can indicate many things – maybe the teacher is bonkers; maybe one major assignment was weighted too heavily; maybe the student can’t see the board and is afraid to say anything; maybe that particular class is a source of social anxiety; etc. And let’s be honest – in most high school classrooms, students are essentially graded on their ability to keep track of, complete, and submit paperwork (i.e. homework), instead of their mastery of the material. (Not a good state of affairs, but... read more

3 Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

Unless you are traveling in a spaceship and moving close to the speed of light, time passes at the same rate for everyone. The Earth takes approximately 24 hours to complete one full rotation on its axis, which has resulted in a day being 24 hours long. So why do some people seem to be able to accomplish so much more when we all have the same amount of time in our day? Simply, they have mastered good time management skills. I have summarized 3 Time Management tips that I have condensed from a number of different resources. Hopefully, these will help you finish more tasks and get you closer to accomplishing your goals. 1) Create a Prioritized To-Do List At the beginning of every day, take 15 minutes to consciously decide how you want to spend your time. This is also called making a plan for your day. Write down everything you need to do that day. This list should include steps needed to complete a S.M.A.R.T. goal, tasks or project items for work or school,... read more

How To Study Less, Have More Free Time, And Still Get Higher Grades

As human beings with limited time, energy, and resources, we naturally desire to get the most done with the least amount of work possible. From reading books and experimenting throughout the years, I have accumulated a collection of techniques that maximizes efficiency and has allowed me to achieve a 3.93 GPA while studying less than three hours a day. Below are some of these techniques. Although I have separated it in general and chemistry study tips sections, these study tips can be applied to every class you will ever take in high school & college. Furthermore, some of these tips, especially the blocking technique, will skyrocket your ability to get more done in less time not only in school, but in life in general. I hope these tips will benefit you as much as they have and continue to help me. General Study Tips 1. Study in purely focused block periods Our body functions in cycles. For example, our circadian rhythm dictates when we sleep... read more

Rude Awakening: About My Freshman Year in College

As I held the crisp white letter with the university’s insignia in my hand, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I read the letter once more to ensure that I understood the cold words. If you do not improve academically within the next semester, you will be expelled from this institution. I stood at the mailboxes in my residence hall… suddenly awaken (rudely I would argue) from my cozy assumption that, “I am smart and that’s all that matters”.   Back in 2001 I didn’t realize that peacefully drifting as I did in high school would not serve me well in college. No matter how smart I really am I would not have made it college by simply paying attention and doing my homework. Study skills are imperative for maximizing success potential. This is no major secret but sadly studies of freshmen revel that my experience was not isolated. Many students may suffer a blow to their self-confidence when they encounter the more rigorous academic work of higher education . Even... read more

No Excuses!

This post is all about #mentoring. There is no excuse for any student to ever say, "I can't!" As a mentor, I lead my kids by example. I am back in college for the degree I always wanted to get but didn't. Someday, I will be an engineer! That just gets me excited to be alive and be a teacher. But, I'm 41. I old right? 25 years out of school? I can't do it.   Well, I hear enough of that from students. So, I prove to them: anything can be done if you put your mind to it! Now, in my 3rd semester of a 6 semester plan, I have a 4.0 GPA, I'm enrolled in 24 credit hours at 2 different colleges and I tutor 40-hours a week!   If I can go overtime, carry a job, help 20+ students a week with their homework and tests, and keep a 4.0. Anyone can, especially someone half my age, right? Yes, you can!   So, next time you thing it can't be done, just go out that door, put your nose in the books and do it. If Ted can do it you can too!

Are you trying to learn too much?

As a tutor, one of the most common problems I see in students are poor note taking skills. During a lecture in class, many students try to capture everything a teacher or professor is saying. In fact, the average professor lectures at about 180 words per minute and even the fastest typist would be able to keep up with this pace. At that, you are more focused on typing, than actually listening to a lecture and retain information.   Try these three tips when taking notes during your next class: Remove the fluff - Filler words like "the, a, an, this, etc" have no need in notes. Your notes need not be grammatically correct or contain full sentences. Instead aim for complete ideas. In the past, I have reduced notes from 2-3 pages down to 2-3 sentences sometimes less. Pay attention to time - A great note taking technique is to keep time in the margins. This will often lead to the areas that will be covered in exams. For instance, did your finance... read more

3 best ways to keep your brain sharp over winter break

1.  Turn off the electronic devices - I would post links here that point to studies that support this, but is there really any need?  Every time you're tempted to just veg in front of the TV, read a book instead.  It's so easy to just read a book in a similar genre of what you were going to watch on tv.   2.  Eat healthy - More links could be posted on here, but I think this is also a given.  Green veggies and healthy fats from cold-pressed coconut/olive oils are excellent.  Also, consider getting tested for food sensitivities.  Applied Kinesiology is a great testing method.  Remember, not every food sensitivity has digestive symptoms.  Sometimes, the symptoms can be very difficult to identify, but have real, long-lasting effects on your body. 3.  Exercise - Even if you have to stay indoors to exercise, it's still worth it.  Remember to exercise a variety of muscles on all parts of your body.  Isolating... read more

PPSS: PostPartum Statistics Stress; A Guide for Prepping for a Statistics Class

See if there is one thing that I cannot stand, is seeing a student rush into a Stats class and stating that this class is remarkably easy because my friend said so. Too many times has a student come up to me and asked is statistics easy, and I reply "it most certainly is... for myself, because I studied my content for two years before retaking the course.". If you know that you are going to start a statistics class anywhere at any time your going to need the following items.   1. TI-83 or 84 preferably Now why one of these calculators? Students, if you are going to take a stats class be aware that there is a lot of data or numerical values that can be used to find the measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion. These calculators excel for data entry and double checking your answers on the very first test.    *If your teacher says you cannot use this calculator, then get its cheaper cousin. TI-30XII Hint there... read more

The Key(s) to Truly Knowing Something

I am a firm believer that one does not truly know something until she can put it into a new format. You can take notes from a book or from lectures all day, every day, but until you can put the information into a new shape, you haven't actually learned anything. Make a concept map, put facts and vocabulary into tables or categories, write flash cards, and/or rearrange the information in a new outline. Go really crazy and write a song or a poem, draw a picture, even make something in 3D. What you do or make depends on your learning style, but it has to be something new. I also believe that you only know something if you can summarize it. If you know enough about a subject to condense it into something really compact, like a “cheat sheet,” then you’re doing pretty well. You can capture its meaning in much less space than a textbook chapter. I actually do make “cheat sheets” for most of my tests. I condense all of the information I need for the test onto just a few pages,... read more

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