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Just to share some great resources!   www.byki.com - flashcards (with pictures and audio) available through a downloadable program (or online through "List Central" - user-created content) www.livemocha.com - a language-learning community, language courses www.internetpolyglot.com - flashcards with audio and pictures, user-created content www.lingq.com - a language-learning community, podcasts, tutors, built-in dictionary www.omniglot.com - language information, useful phrases (often with audio), links to other resources www.digitaldialects.com - basics of several languages, flashcards, learning games www.italki.com - a language-learning community www.duolingo.com - language courses and translation practice www.linguisticsgirl.com - a great blog! www.busuu.com - a language-learning community, language courses with audio/pictures/examples of vocabulary usage    

So, your teacher has assigned a book or chapter readings. How do you manage reading along with all the other assignments you've been given and still get all the reading done on time? I have a simple formula to help ensure you will complete all reading comfortably and avoid cramming the night before!   Count the number of pages you must read and write that number down. Count the number of days until the reading assignment is due and write it down. Divide the number of days into the number of pages and this is how many pages you should read each day/night in order to be ready for the due date. This is a fantastic way to pace and discipline yourself and totally avoid cramming, which is the enemy in learning. If you follow this formula, you will always complete reading assignments on time and without increasing unhealthy stress. Happy reading!    

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!    I always loved going back to school.  Since I am going back to school this fall as a graduate student I thought I would share a few tips.  If you would like more tips you will have to schedule a session.    My two words to sum everything up is start early!   -Do not wait until the night before a big project to start it.    -Act like a Pro athlete! I can guarantee they put hours into practicing their sport.  They did not show up on game day and hope they would win the game.    -Do school work first before taking a break - turning on the tv or hanging out with friends right after school may seem like a great idea.  That time is precious because a student may remember something from the day to help them on the homework.    -Practice like it is a test.  If your teacher does not let you use a calculator do not use it on... read more

As the smell of new boxes of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils fills the isle at the market, parents might be thinking “Help! My child is behind in school and I don’t know what to do. How can you start out behind?” This realization brings a feeling of failure before the new school year has even begun. Although the education system in America has many problems, one of which is constantly allowing students to be promoted to the next grade regardless of their failing to meet the standards required to be promoted, there are many things that parents can do at home to help their child succeed and grow as much as possible. 1) Read, read, read everything in sight! Children of all ages need to hear fluent adults reading to them on a regular basis. This helps them to develop expressiveness in reading, fluency and accuracy, increase vocabulary, and better understand figurative language. It also greatly influences a child when they see that their parents or guardians... read more

With the new school year starting, I thought I'd write a blog post to talk about what I think are the most important things students should be doing to start the year off on the right foot. If anything, September is the time when students are either excited to come back or are dreading it, but being prepared will help any student have a successful year.    The most important thing a student should do before the year starts is to set a goal. I have all the students I work with look at their schedules and think about what classes they think will be the most challenging for them. They then create a goal for how they might want to do, say get a B in Geometry or a A- in English. They should try to make it a SMART goal too: it should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Every week or two, they should come back to their goal and think about whether they've made any progress on it. And if they don't achieve their goal, at least they were working... read more

Many of my students dread conjugating verbs. They dread it even more when the verbs are irregular and have the same meaning!!  The verbs ser and estar both mean "to be", so what is the difference between the two?? Ser is used to describe things that are permanent or often unchangeable.  For example, Yo soy de Estados Unidos.(I am from the United States).  The form of ser used in the sentence is soy.  You can not change where you are from. Ser is also used to describe characteristics, professions, religions and nationalities.       Estar is used to describe things that are temporary. For example, Yo estoy en Florida para las vacaciones(I am in Florida for vacation). I am vacationing in Florida, but I am not from there.  There is a little rhyme that is printed in the textbook, Realidades, which helps you remember when to use the verb, estar.  The rhyme goes, For how... read more

This works for: Procrastinators The constantly distracted (who isn't these days?)  Approaching those tasks we don't want to do... You can help your child or your student, and it will work for you just as well! You'll need to try it for yourself to experience the effects, since it works opposite to common sense. This magical tool is the egg timer from your kitchen (or the timer app on your smart phone.) How to use a timer to create focus: Step 1 – Set the timer to 5 minutes. Tell yourself that you are going to work on your task, and your task only until the timer rings. 5 minutes is surely not too long to not answer a phone call or a message, to not go and get a glass of water, to not stare at the tree swaying in the wind outside your window. You may think that 5 minutes is not enough to get anything done, but bear with me. Step 2 – When the timer rings, drop what you are doing, even if you feel the need to continue... read more

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... read more

Going back to school can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very scary. Stepping through those doors after a long summer break can sometimes feel like tearing through a large rubber balloon. Well, pat yourself on the back. You made it through the first week.  Some of you learned all your subjects, teacher's names, and your classroom numbers.  Some are sitting at home wondering about the blur they have in their head that was the first week of school.  If you are in the first group pat yourself on the head, you are probably an organized individual. If you are in the second group maybe you need to drag out that backpack and look through it for that white piece of paper that is your schedule to look at.  Sit down and make a list of all your teachers and their room numbers.  If you are still confused as to where to go each period, then have your parents help you find the school map that is probably at the bottom of that same backpack.  Use the school... read more

The best advice I received from my college professors:   Before taking any exam always complete EVERY single question at the end of the chapter, even if they were not assigned for homework.   This piece of advice was given to a student 30 years ago who ended up becoming a professor at the same university he attended. During his lectures he made it a point to give the same advice to his students and explain its origin.   I had the pleasure of taking classes with both professors and hearing the same advice several times throughout each semester. Now it's my turn to pass along the same advice. If you want to fully understand the conceptual and computational aspects of a finance course, do every single problem at the end of the chapter. The end result - mastery of the subject and usually a 100 on the exam :)   This really does apply to any and all courses as well, since it is a very good study habit.   The history of how... read more

Many of the students I tutor want help with general study skills as well as specific subject matter. Now that many students are heading into a new semester, perhaps it's time to review some basic tips for how to improve your grades this semester. 1) Manage your time. A good way to do this is by downloading a time management app, or keeping track of how you spend your time manually. Allotting time for each task you need to complete will help you achieve your academic goals. 2) Make a to-do list. At the beginning of the day, make a list of the things you want to achieve. You'll feel accomplished by marking off completed tasks, and at the end of the day any uncompleted tasks move over to the next day's list. 3) Form study groups or get a study buddy. Bouncing your ideas off others helps you think through problems and come up with solutions. Plus, being in a group will motivate you to keep on task. 4) Don't be afraid to ask for help. Teachers and professors usually have... read more

Educational administration, whether at a small college or a major university, requires a lot of tactical efforts, not just educational efforts. Think about all those courses and who must determine their time slots and assign classroom space. Think of the first day of a semester when students are rushing to find out where their class meets. Imagine if you had a job where your office location changed several times a year! But even with all that planning, so many colleges seem to select a different classroom for a final exam than the classroom in which the course was conducted. The problem--according to a good deal of psychological research--is that you do best when your exam is in the same room as the one you study in.  Think about this. Lots of students find a study space that they find just right, and it becomes "their" space. Students sit down in a classroom filled with empty chairs, and that chair you first selected ends up being the one you always go... read more

How to Get Organized 1 Get all of your school supplies and put your name on them. 2 Copy your homework form the board as soon as you get into class so, you won't forget to do it, or rush to finish copying it at the end of class. 3 Make sure you participate in class by asking questions, no question is dumb. It is better to ask for clarification if you don't understand something. 4 Take good notes by writing using abbreviations for long words. 5 Stay organized by putting everything in its place. 6 Use a calendar to keep track of important dates. 7 Create a study routine by first getting a snack, then sitting down in a quiet place to do your homework. 8 If you have a project or paper due, make sure to start working on it a little each day so, that you are not rushing to finish it at the last minute. 9 Make sure that you get the phone number of a friend in each one of your classes so that, if you forget to copy your homework or you are... read more

Philosophy of Education for M.J. T. To me the purpose of education is threefold: (1) provide students with a basis of knowledge, (2) teach students how to reason so that they can continue their education throughout their lives, and (3) instill in them a life-long excitement about and love of learning. Students must acquire a basis of knowledge, a framework on which to sort out and understand how various aspects of information in any subject area fit together to make the whole picture of where we have been and where we are going as a civilization. Science affects philosophy which affects the arts … ad infinitum. Nothing exists in a vacuum-sealed box. All knowledge is recursive and intertwined - reaches out and affects many areas outside the discipline in which it begins. I liken this basis of knowledge to a needlepoint tapestry mesh framework. The threads of different strands of information are worked in at various points. In some way every thread touches every... read more

Read. Pick up something and keep the wheels turning. Keeping fresh on news, or just pleasure reading is a skill that needs to be exercised and worked on regularly. Write. Depending on where you are in your academic career, one thing is fairly certain; you will be required to write the deeper you delve into subjects and years of schooling. Writing is learning on a new level. Research. Research something. Take it beyond Google, and do not rely on Wiki. Anyone can publish on Wiki, and some big mistakes happen there. Research and writing work in tandem, get used to it and have fun with it, after all you will learn something this way (and far into the future). Honing your search skill (Booleans, etc.) will pay you back exponentially one day. Learn something or do something new. Find a new hobby or research (see above #3) something new or do something new after looking into it as long as it's safe of course. Set Attainable... read more

Back-to-School Smart Tips It’s FINALLY almost time for school again, and I know a lot of you are excited (I know I am!), but there some excellent pointers to keep in mind as school starts back up again. Before school starts: 1. Get a really good planner you like. Most students aren’t accustomed to using planners or don’t keep up with it. Planners, whether you know it or not, are just as important, if not more important than binders and pencils. I know that all through middle school, high school, and college, I would have been completely lost without my planner. Planners are EXCELLENT for writing down quiz dates, test dates, homework, and after-school activities. Some schools will sell planners and those can be excellent, but I also recommend looking around at Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart/Target for other general planners that organize by time and day. Weekly planners typically do not work well for people with full schedules, so try to stay away from... read more

Developing a grounded understanding of numbers, and number operations provides the firmest foundation for learning math. Touching, seeing, and manipulating physical objects are perhaps the surest way to accomplish that in the beginning. Developing the practice of drawing pictures to reflect an arithmetic or story problem is the next step and soon becomes a central tool for thinking through a math problem whether represented in math and science, or encountered in life. Finally, talking about, through, and around math, arithmetic, problems, and solutions is equally important to proficiency in math and any other area of education, socialization, and life. It is important to recognize the preferred learning style of each student in order to achieve the best opportunity to that student’s learning and performance. Yet, excellent teaching includes multiple approaches and learning styles on the way to each student’s full facility, proficiency, and confidence. This necessary... read more

Hi all, Thanks to those of you who take the time to read this. I would love to start a dialogue with you so feel free to write to me with comments. This past school year has been a big one for me. I completed my graduate practicum in the fall, in a self-contained ESL and Sheltered ESL classroom in a high school. It was a challenge and required a lot of work but it was worth every minute. The things I learned are invaluable in terms of relating to students better on a personal and professional level, learning how to reach them and motivate them, figuring out other ways to teach the same lesson to someone who did not understand the first time, teaching students how to advocate for themselves and so much more! I had to prepare a huge binder of evidence for the Department of Education, just to prove myself again (and again and again). I did it! Then I had to begin studying for the Comprehensive Exam for my Master's Degree. I was going to originally try to take it in December... read more

Well, school is out and the beach is calling! If you are a high school senior or the parent of one, you know that studying is probably not high on anyone’s list of preferred activities this time of year. But, if you are taking summer classes, need to do some catch-up on basics, complete summer reading and writing assignments for AP courses, or want to get serious about SAT test prep, now is a good time. The last year of high school is filled with great activities and a lot of excitement, but there are also expectations to master the three Rs before they hand out diplomas to the Class of 2014! This summer, consider tutoring if you need the extra boost that comes with 1:1 individualized instruction and coaching. If you’re not considering tutoring at this time, think about planning ahead for the next school year. And don’t forget, the SAT testing dates are fast approaching: the deadline to register for the October 5 test is September 6! Wishing you all a happy summer! --Laur... read more

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