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Working with kids first starts with communication. Children respond well to those who let them speak. They feel more comfortable about you when they know that you are the type of person who will allow them a chance to voice their opinions without speaking over them. When you listen rather than talk over and judge what they say they are more open to you to discussing topics, especially school. Naturally kids don't like going to adults for help for a number of reasons, so in order to get them to want to open up you need to establish good communication skills with them. The second important aspect is trust. You must build a relationship with them. They have a teacher already just as they have parents. It's the tutors responsibility to be a mentor and friend to their the kid(s) they are assigned to. Much like a "Big Brothers, Big Sisters" relationship, you want to show that you are there to be a guide and supportive. You are a friend but at the same time... read more

Y'know what makes me proud? To see a former student of mine listing his services here on Wyzant! Reading the enthusiastic things he has to say about science strains my vest buttons!    That's not competition; that's satisfaction with a job well done.

Who wouldn't like to communicate clearly and persuasively to others on the first try?  After all, we have ideas and opinions that are important to us!  While many people can make compelling arguments in person, explaining these same ideas in writing can seem more challenging.  Writing well is a process that involves research, planning, and revision.  Once you have an initial draft about a topic that you have carefully considered, here are some easy editing tips that are frequently overlooked but greatly help to keep your ideas clear and well organized. Writing clear sentences is half the battle so keep these basic rules in mind . . . 1.  Capitalize new sentences.  This may seem very obvious, but people often fail to do so in their haste or due to errors while typing on assorted devices.  Every time you start a new sentence, be sure to capitalize the first letter of the first word.  Example:  Busy writers sometimes forget... read more

Hello Everyone.  I am new here, and I wish to make a good first impression for my students and their parents. I can't wait to get started, and hope to give the best education I can, and promise it will be one everyone can enjoy while learning the lesson. As for where I will be set up, I have not decided. If anyone has any suggestions for location, please feel free to let me know.   Delano B.

I'm going to list what I believe are the key concepts that you need to master across different math subjects. These are the tools that I have to use most often in order to solve problems, so you should get very familiar with the theory behind them and very comfortable with applying them.   Algebra:   1. recognizing and factoring the three most common polynomial forms: quadratic equations common factor expressions difference of square expressions 2. synthetic division 3. Descartes's Rule of Signs 4. Rational Zero Theorem 5. Long division of polynomials 6. Factoring by grouping 7. Using the Quadratic Formula       Trig: understanding and using the unit circle trig identities definitions of the trig functions "Soh-Cah-Toa" factoring quadratic equations (using the quadratic formula, etc.)       Calculus: the... read more

This post will be an ongoing project for one of my students who loves history but isn't so much into math.   I know that studying math history has made the math much more interesting for me personally after I started to become aware of the stories and struggles of the people who strove to bring this field to us in its present form. Things weren't always so simple and clear, and it took lots of effort and trial for us to get here. We should be conscious of and thankful for all the tools we've been given by the great minds that came before us.   I hope that this intersection of the two subjects will help Dylan and others not only gain interest in math but also begin to genuinely enjoy it. More to come soon...

I have a few ideas about the way the education system should work and what its goals should be. For one, I believe the primary goal should be to impart knowledge and convey understanding. Not to "weed out" students, stratify the class into distinct performance and grade levels, or even to "challenge" the students. All those things can happen naturally and spontaneously without any extra effort from the administration.   What good is an educational system or institution if the knowledge doesn't stay with the students because they binge and purge facts like intellectual bulimics? With terms like "cram", "all-nighter", and "data dump" becoming more and more frequent before and after exams, it's clear that something is seriously wrong with our standards and objectives. Are we trying to produce thoroughly skilled and educated professionals or trivia game contestants? Blind memorization is not the same as understanding... read more

The general form for quadratic equations is:   Ax2+Bx+C   If A=1, you have x2+Bx+C=0, and the following procedure always works. If A ≠ 1, then Step 1 of both Scenarios below will always apply, but not Step 2.   The general form of the factors in this case will look like:   (x + D)*(x + E)   where D and E are factors of C whose sum is B.   In order to find D and E, its important to know whether they are positive or negative first. We find this out by using a simple procedure.   Scenario #1: Step 1: If C is negative: We know that D is positive and E is negative (or vice versa, it doesn't really matter which order you choose).   Step 2: If B is positive, we know that the factor of C with the larger absolute value will be the positive number. If B is negative, we know that the factor of C with the larger absolute value will be the negative... read more

But there's always MORE math! That's what I told one of my students a month ago, and I meant it. I've dealt with math in every role from student, to teacher, to tutor and I can honestly say that the more I learn, the more I'm sure that I've barely scratched the surface of what's out there. A scary thought considering I've been educated in the subject for nearly 25 years. So what is a high school student to do these days with so much scary math out there?   I have one piece of advice: focus. That does NOT mean fixating on every minor detail you come across in order to then extract meaning from each individual piece of information and then put it all together at the end. That's not focusing, that's suffering. Nobody learns the ABC's all at once. Neither should you attempt to do it with math.   In order to focus, it helps to (temporarily) ignore the minor details and devote your attention to "the big picture." You want to quickly identify and... read more

Five Ways to Make Tutoring Lessons Fun!   Give students a writing assignment that will take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and allow them to listen to their i-pods while composing. Music makes life fun! Movies are fun too, so one tutoring lesson idea is to ask students to write a review of their all-time favorite movies. This allows students to use prior knowledge while they improve writing skills, but it also gives them the chance to write about something that is fun and interesting to them! Ask local businesses to participate in offering coupons for students who show progress in their tutorial sessions. Bring candy prizes for correct answers. Encourage students to tweet or otherwise share on social media what types of topics they are studying in tutorial sessions.

I spent all my life in TV News.  I won awards for my work, but my true satisfaction came from helping people.  In retirement, now, my wish is to work with those who need help with their writing and ability to tell a story factually and emphatically.  While writing is an "Art" to some, it can be a very useful and necessary tool to all who thrive to get ahead in their world.

Hello, Peggy and Jake!     Sorry that we had to miss this week's session, but hopefully both of you are staying warm, and that you are feeling better, Jake!    The last time we met, we worked on developing a strong outline for a persuasive essay.  Over the last week, you were supposed to gather information supporting the fact that Minecraft was the best video game ever, as well as finishing your essay outline.  Using the outline guidelines, as well as the resources at the bottom of the page, you should make as complete of an outline as you can.  Add in outside sources (at least three, one per body paragraph); these sources can be quotes, statistics, or other facts.  Make sure that you write so that a non-gamer can understand what you are explaining.     Make sure that you are using clean sheets of paper, that there are no spelling errors that you can catch, and that it is as edited as possible.  Try... read more

Vocabulary is a big deal.  We get tested on it on standardized tests, teachers write in big, bold red markers that we need to expand our word choice, friends say we use "like" and "thing" too often...    But how does one improve their vocabulary?   There is the old-school way, which is intense and not very effective: read a dictionary and hope that some of the words slip into your mind and out of your mouth (or pen).     However, for the modern, efficient, and discerning English-speaker, I have gathered up a few tips and online resources to help kick-start a boost to your vocabulary.     Tips to Increase Vocabulary   1.  Read.  Read a variety of literature, from magazines and newspapers to blogs to comics.  Read the advertisements on the way to work.  Read the ingredients label on your snack or drink.  Read a book.  Read an ebook.  Seriously, just... read more

I have a love-hate relationship with grammar.  The only reason I have a degree in History instead of English is due to my distaste for grammar... and yet, in my free time, I giggle over grammar and spelling blogs on tumblr.     Exhibit A: This blog takes everything from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and deconstructs it into sense (and nonsense).    Reasoning With Vampires   While I appreciate the humor, it is a bit awkward to consider the things people use to fill their time.  I digress.   I suppose the disgruntlement with grammar could be due to the cut-and-dry aspect of it- either you are grammatically correct or incorrect.  Much like numbers in math, commas cannot be thrown about willy-nilly.  Unless you are e. e. cummings, punctuation and capitalization is integral to deciphering meaning.     In the end, writing is much like any other hobby or activity: after mastering... read more

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to stop in my humble tutoring blog!    My name is Michelle, and it's nice to meet you (in a figurative sense, at least!).  I am a substitute teacher with a background in special education and history, with an emphasis on grades 6-12.  Aside from tutoring, I also work at a chocolate shop on a part-time basis.  I definitely keep myself busy, but at least I'm never bored!   The purpose of this blog is to post supplementary links and assignments for the students I tutor, as well as to compile interesting websites for others to use.  I will always cite my sources, and would ask for the courtesy of others giving credit where it is due if my own work or lesson plans are borrowed.   That being said, let me finish with a quirky quote I heard once:   "Knowledge is power.  Power corrupts.  So study hard- be evil." -attributed to either Mark Twain...

First off, I think that if learning isn't fun or engaging, it will not be successful. With that being said, here are my five tips for helping create a more interactive, less stifled learning experience.   Tip One- Learning doesn't only occur inside of the classroom. Museums, parks, libraries and many other places can be great spots to talk a student who doesn't respond well to the typical classroom setting.   Tip Two- Incorporate passions pertaining to that particular student. When a subject becomes relatable, it becomes easier to understand.   Tip Three- Identify the students strengths, and merge them with their hobbies and interests. If a student likes baseball, figure out how baseball can help him or her understand probabilities, statistics and more.   Tip Four- Make a game out of the lesson plan. Many lessons can be turned into game-show type trivia games that are more engaging than a regular lecture or a handwritten assignment... read more

I had not realized it, but I flipped the classroom even before that term became popular in articles. Most likely this came about because I, as a student, found learning to be much more natural and exciting when I'd been on field trips, or seen/done experiments. Therefore, as the person leading the learning, I prefer to use leading questions and exercises that help the student(s) to find the correct answer through activities and thoughtful processes. The process of doing things themselves, experimenting and feeling comfortable in asking questions, leads to educational empowerment -- one of the greatest tools for any student.   Examples of Empowerment   I tutored a student trying to enter a Master In Arts program while the student worked on a paper about ancient masks, comparing a Meso American mask to an Asian mask. His difficulties arose in creating a sensible outline that would work well for the reader. I had the student visualize two exhibits he... read more

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