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Starting the Year of Strong as an ESL Student

This coming school year, commit to finding resources on campus or in your school to help you succeed. As and English as a second language student, it is vital that you find people who can support your learning.   If you are in college, your internationals student center, local religious organizations, or student volunteer groups may offer English conversation practice or writing help. College writing centers specifically for international students are a great place to get help writing and revising your essays and reports.   Younger students can find students, teacher aides, or teachers who speak their native language to help in some cases. The ESL teacher at your school is your go-to person for all things related to English. If you are struggling with vocabulary in your biology class, for example, let your ESL and your biology teacher know so that they can help you organize and find a learning strategy to help you earn an A. Your school counselor is... read more

Summer Interest

I've been trying to keep my summer students more interested by tailoring lesson plans to their interests.  For example, graphing and finding mean, median, mode, etc. and making predictions using the player stats of a student's favorite world cup team.  It's difficult for students to want to participate in tutoring over the summer.  This seems to help.

Cover Letters: From Boulder to Stones

An English teacher of mine once taught us that there are only two ways to build any sentence you want to write: you can either say what something is, or you can say what it does. That’s it. The English language has at least a quarter of a million words to work with, and you can still reduce any statement to one of these options.   There is comfort in that simplicity when you are working on a cover letter. As you grope through the field of language, hoping to find that magic combination of words to persuade a prospective employer to look more closely at you, consider the following questions as a useful starting place:   What (or Who) are you? What do you do?   Of course, it’s not uncommon to react to broad questions like these with ill-defined anxiety. There’s the temptation to to create a broad, generic response (“I can do anything you need me to do!”), which is neither compelling nor effective. It’s a little like trying to lift... read more

Review and Read as much as you can

I know it may be a tedious thing you have to do but it's essential to get back on track. Once you get out of the laziness of summer, then it won't be hard for you to catch up in the fall once the school year begins. Review last year's curriculum so that you can remember what you were taught and it's like getting back on the bike again because you never really forgot to ride, you were just out of practice. If you can find review work books at a book store like, "Barnes and Noble" then I recommend a few that will be at your current level and a few that are advanced because it will give you a bird's eye view as to what to expect from your teachers during the upcoming year. Teachers don't like to have to waste time by going backwards with a student who isn't interested in going forward. She will assume that your previous teacher didn't do her/his job properly if you can't keep up with the rest of the class or that you are in need of tutoring. So try to avoid those circumstances... read more

Working with ADHD students

Hello!   This summer (after several years at a University tutoring center), I decided to take on two high school students with ADHD. I had previously worked with a small handful of ADHD students and thought I knew what to expect. I did not think it would be so challenging! But with a few sessions of adaptation, a lot of home research, and a barrel full of patience, I am ready to share both my experience and advice with fellow tutors looking to work with this group of learners.   Of my two learners, one was severely hyperactive and highly distractible while the other had little self motivation or ability to concentrate. These two boys were quite opposite and would have undoubtedly never been good companions. I will begin by discussing my hyperactive student as he forced me to make the most adjustments to my tutoring techniques.   First, I would suggest that any highly distractible learner using technology to PUT IT AWAY. If the student needs... read more

Internet resources

In order to achieve the some results  and spend less money I encourage my  student to use any internet resource that available right now. If you cannot find yourself ask me what is the web site you can start to learn Russian as a second Language regarding the proper age and level of preparation of the student. 

Students returning to School

 If you are reading this then you are not a 'child'. So I won't tell you to be prepared with the proper materials, properly up to speed with the previous year's course work in preparation for the coming one or to bring a positive attitude with you. You know all this. What I will tell you, as I have had to tell many of my students - especially the more industrious ones - is do not be lured away from the 'fundamentals' of a sound and coherent educational regimen. Don't let your 'apps' do all the work for you. With all the additional extracurricular pursuits that most of you fill your days with, often in preparation of life after school, I have noticed a profound trend amongst many of you to rely, often 'heavily', on, both, your computer applications and your..mmm..contemporary online style of research and it's companion/culprit style of composition. The result...while your general knowledge of things has, perhaps, greatly benefited from 'this' regimen, your... read more

WWTK: Start the Year Strong!

WWTK: What advice would you give students going back to school so they start the year strong? This is a great question, and one that I've answered before on this blog. In general, I'd say the most important thing for starting the new year strong is starting the new year ORGANIZED. Go back and look through your notebooks from the previous year, but not for content – look at them like a detective. What does your note-taking style say about you? Do you have spiral notebooks stuffed full of handouts with rumpled edges? Are your note pages just solid blocks of hurried scribbles that are all but impossible to read? Did you have to add extra notebooks halfway through the year?  And most importantly, how easy is it to find a specific piece of information in one of your notebooks? Take the opportunity while summer's still going strong to head to an office supplies store and wander around. Really look at all the organization solutions, and try to imagine yourself... read more

Go Back Strong!

The best advice I can give students who are going back to school would be to get plenty of rest and eat a great breakfast!     The week before school starts back, start getting yourself on a schedule.  Go to bed a little earlier (and at the same time each night) and get up a little earlier (and at the same time each morning).  This will help your body acclimate to a new "natural" schedule.   The first day of school, be sure to have a good breakfast (eggs or oatmeal are good choices).     These things will help you to not only have a great first day of school, but also a successful school year!   Good luck!

Make yourself a good tutor

An article on math education in the NY Times (July 23, 2014) wrote this about our teacher quality and resulting education: " In addition to misunderstanding math, American students also, on average, write weakly, read poorly, think unscientifically and grasp history only superficially." I would like to focus on my area of English: writing and reading. The article discussed teacher training and techniques to improve teaching results. I would like to add that for us tutors also, techniques to present our subjects are critical to help students. Some tutors are former or current professional teachers; others may be retired people from business, housewives earning extra money, college students, or even working professionals in various fields. It's fine to teach business skills to graduate students if you are an executive, swimming to children if you are a swimming coach, or history to high schoolers if your major is history. Yet, simply tutoring in your major field... read more

Criminal Justice Career Interviews

I am often asked by students; what kinds of things are asked in an interview with a criminal justice agency?  I know it can't be like the interview I had at McDonalds, so what is it like?    The first thing I tell them is something I tell a lot of criminal justice students; it depends! Let me know what kind of job your interested in and we can discuss.  Stay tuned for updates about what things are addressed and sought after by criminal justice employers!   Chris  

Starting off the NEW YEAR right

Biggest tip for success is...............   Develop an system to be organized and stay on top of assignments.   1. Find a way to keep track of due dates. 2. Keep each subject in it's own little space. 3. Ask immediately upon needing help!  Don't hope it will come to you. 4. Have fun.  Enjoy learning!

Helping nursing students to prepare for the NCLEX

First, I encourage students to take at least five note cards and write : I will pass the NCLEX. I encourage them to place the note card on their bathroom mirror, their car etc. Next, I tell my students the NCLEX is a reading test.The NCLEX is testing  are you safe at an entry level of practice ? I also encourage the students to practice seventy-five questions daily.   

If you are looking for work or career advice...

The market is crummy—if you are reading this and have a job, I am sure that you are grateful. If you are on the market, you are probably nodding, and sadly.   This past February, the company I work for launched a volunteer effort to mentor one segment of the population that is hurting badly—veterans returning from theater. I offered to lead the module for re-crafting resumes. Of course, a resume by itself is insufficient—the best it can do is get you an interview. But that’s a start!   Having now met a score of people with skills, leadership drive, and serious technical chops—only a few of whom have found work in the civilian sector—I’ve dug into what’s available to them online as guidance. Some of the advice is woeful, but some is fantastic, and that’s what you’ll find here.   Like many corporations, my company works with recruiters, and I tossed a couple of these fantastic resources at one of them last week to validate the counsel. The... read more

Moving from Apple's Aperture to Adobe's Lightroom

Some well known pros are claiming that the move from Aperture to Lightroom is "Fast, Fun and Easy." The tutorial takes TWO HOURS. And that's a tutorial. The uninitiated may find that it takes far more than that and if you make a mistake, well, that's not covered. Look it up if you feel adventurous, but I wouldn't recommend it except the most experienced of users.   There is also an automated application that I have not yet tried, called Aperture Exporter ($14.99, CHEAP if it works) - - according to their website, "Aperture Exporter was designed specifically for Aperture users who have decided to move to Lightroom. With only a few options and a click of a button, Aperture Exporter re-generates your Aperture Library as a set of folders and subfolders containing your images." I have not yet had the chance to try it. I will report back on it once I've had an opportunity to use it. Or, if you try it, please... read more

When Lightroom Says, "Preview Unavailable For This File," What's Wrong?

You've purchased the latest and greatest of new digital cameras and have just come back from spending the day enjoying all those new features and taking great photos using Camera Raw. But when you insert the memory card and go to Import Dialog in Lightroom, all your thumbnails say, "Preview Unavailable For This File."   What's wrong?    Don't worry, it's not you. It's the Adobe Camera Raw Plug-In (ACR). Adobe updates the ACR plug-in on a regular basis, but never quite fast enough to keep up with every camera manufacturer's changes to their version of camera raw. So what happens is, Lightroom cannot yet read or see these new camera raw files.    What to do?   It's tricky, but not rocket science. Until Lightroom gets an updated version out that includes your new camera, you can download the Adobe DNG converter from the Adobe website that (hopefully!) includes your camera. The link is here - http://helpx... read more

What to do when starting a math topic?

Before starting a new math topic, you should always write down the steps that you need to solve the problem. Then start the topic and when you are doing the problem put those steps in front of you and you will never get that question wrong. After a while you will remember those step in your head and you don't need that paper any more. 

Pick up a book

The best advice I can give any student heading into the college admissions process is to read much and read often.   Chances are, you haven't read much of the printed word this summer. Now that it's August, it's the perfect time to pick up a book or a copy of the Times, or even check out a savvy pundit's blog.   Reading helps you brush up on skills you'll need for essay writing and the SAT: Critical reading & reading comprehension Grammar & usage Vocabulary   Besides improving these skills, reading helps you become a more well-rounded, informed, and conversant applicant.   Whether you're just beginning the application process or you just need an extra set of eyes on your essays, you'd do well to contact a professional tutor today.  

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

Don't wait till it's too late!

Having trouble?  Don't wait until you are in panic mode to ask for help.  Tutoring is more successful and less stressful if you get started early.  If you are falling behind in the first few weeks of school, that is the time to get the help you need so you can get back on track and get to the finish line.  When you are ready to scream "I can't", turn to "I Can".

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