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I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the resources I find most useful for beginning Japanese learners! I highly recommend you supplement them with a class or tutoring sessions, but please take a look. 1. Real Kana:   This is an excellent site for memorizing hiragana and katakana (the first step for any Japanese learner). It simply shows you a character, and you must type the romanization. (For example, ? = a) There is also a kanji version (for more advanced learners). This is great for memorizing readings, but it doesn't show you any english definitions, which is a big drawback in my opinion.   Warning: make sure you learn how to pronounce each sound correctly! (This is where a tutor comes in handy~ *wink*).     2. Genki Kanji Practice:   Genki is one of the common textbooks used for Beginning Japanese (another... read more

It has come to my attention that a lot of people do not enjoy math. As a math tutor, I probably hear this complaint more than most, but most people probably know a person (or are that person!) who just does not like math. I would like to say that if you think you don't like math, you might just be wrong. Mathematics is an extremely diverse discipline that stretches across all aspects of life. What a lot of people don't realize is that they are engaging in mathematical activities without even thinking about it. When you're driving and start to hit the breaks early so you can coast to a gentle stop, you're using calculus. When you're running and feel the air cool as it's passing your face, that’s thermodynamics. When you're asked to make a password with numbers and letters, that’s cryptography. When you can't find what you're looking for on Google and try rephrasing your search, that’s set theory. You're using math every day all the time. So maybe "solving for... read more

How can you keep learning fun?! Here are 5 tips:   1) Raps and rhymes. Yes, having students write raps helps them memorize vocabulary, learn steps in a process, and connects math and literacy. I use it to practice public speaking, too, as the students get to perform their raps for friends, family, and me!   2) Bingo!  I use bingo games for EVERYTHING!  Students can use Bingo to match vocabulary words, solve math facts, and locate steps in a process. You can even have students create their own Bingo boards for use with other students.   3)Scavenger hunts get kids moving.  Hide solutions to science or history related trivia around the room and have kids search for it after you read the question. Place cards with the answers to math problems or the definitions of vocabulary words on the walls or in bookcases for children to find. Movement keeps kids engaged, allows fidgety kids to participate, and brings... read more

1. Repeating themselves.    In high school (and sometime beyond) there are unhelpful rules from teachers relating to number of paragraphs, minimum lines per paragraph, and number of quotes per paragraph. Page length, word count, and more fit under this heading as well. Too many times I've seen students try to say the same thing in a different way in order to puff up their writing to hit a word count. It's easier to just think some more about the subject matter!   2. Trying to sound academic (or something).    Many a time I'll talk to a student and ask their opinion about some topic or relevant subject. They'll explain themselves clearly and concisely, and sometimes even with some with and humor. Then, when it's time to write, they start saying things like: "This subject is truly fascinating, as I believe that it is truly relevant for children in our society to become educated about many of these diverse and sundry topics"... read more

1. Learning should be fun for both the student and the tutor! 2. Although there is room for memorization, more emphasis should be put on analysis. 3. A large part of knowing or learning about any subject is knowing where to find answers to questions that come up in study. 4. More emphasis than ever before should be put on testing the credibility of sources in this internet age. 5. Once one starts learning a certain subject, one should start to recognize it coming up more often in what one reads, listens to and watches, since the more one encounters something, especially with more than one sense, the more one will internalize that knowledge.

Sharpening our tennis skills is important for progress, practicing against a board is one of the best things that we can do for our game. The board works great for overhead practice as well. Make sure that your toss is in the right place and do not worry about how fast the ball is going. Focus on getting the racket back in the scratch your back position, and keep your left arm up your head does not drop to soon. A good knee bend and keep your eye on the ball. A good shoulder and hip rotation into the ball. These components will help improve the overhead. 

Pascal's Triangle was on Scorpion the night before last. After a jail break Walter finds himself tracking down, or at least trying to connect with the jail breakers. His team is with him. Walter is played by Elyes Gabel. But, most importantly is what happens next. In an effort to meet the runaway jail breakers, Walter works with his side kick, the human computer, to create an engaging task that will lure the smart one of the jail breakers into connecting over the internet. The task is to decipher some puzzle related to the Pascal's Triangle. "Too easy and we are flooded by math geeks, too hard and we don't get him", Happy basically says. This is Pascal's Triangle: 1 121 1331 14641 and so on. You may or may not know that these numbers as above are the coefficients of (x+1)n, which is a polynomial of degree n. If I were to rewrite the Pascals Triangle to display this relationship I would get: 1 1x+1 1x2+2x+1 1x3+3x2+3x+1 1x4+4x3+6x2+4x+1 Ignore... read more

-“u” in oodles   “u” VS “ü”  n l + “u”/“ü”  j q x y + “ü”-----“u”  ju-zhu  qu-chu  xu-shu   -“o”  wo=uo not “ou” or “woah” like in “gou”  “uo” VS “ou”  b p m f + “o”/ “ou”  s sh … + “uo”   -“e”= punch in the stomach  se-si  she-shi   -“a” s are not the same  a  an  ang  ian=yan  uan=wan   -the Third Tone= hold the air  “Half-third”  

Today, I overheard a little boy tell his mother, " I be going to play with my friends," and I almost jumped out of my skin. Over and over again, I have heard small children speak grammatically incorrect and their parents do nothing to correct them. The adage, "The children are our future", is more important than many know. The next generation that is being raised and groomed will be the future leaders of the world, the ones who will decide the important moves that the world will make, and by speaking grammatically incorrect, they are being hindered from reaching their full potential. What is worse, I have heard other children on several occasions completely eradicate the verb (as well as other important parts of speech) from their sentences, or completely destroy the entire structure: "She ready...He finna go...I be at my daddy house...Him tired." All of these instances are from not only the lack of not being properly taught, but picking up on... read more

This course represents a transition from basic mathematical formulas and equations into a bigger concept of learning about the origins or proving theories of math and created formulas. Taking this course requires the use of logic and concepts which you must understand deeply in order to write out correct proofs to back up your theories of math.

Here are few few pieces of advice to motivate you while writing- fiction or nonfiction!   First and foremost, know your subject.  If you are writing a story, know your characters.  If you are writing an essay, research the topic.  The more information you have, the clearer your topic becomes to explain or argue.     Second, be passionate!  Whether you are writing about what on earth Heathcliffe's deal with Cathy was, the lifecycle of a frog, or why orange Starburst are better than yellow, you need to be invested in what you write. Sometimes you are given boring topics- regardless, try to put a bit of yourself in your writing.  If you are bored writing it, your audience will be bored reading it.  When all else fails, try to fall back on your personal beliefs and values for inspiration; for example, "According to three out of four students at Spring Hill Middle School, Minecraft is the best video game of this generation... read more

Hello, Peggy and Jake!   I just wanted to put in writing some of the topics that were discussed earlier today.     First and foremost, Jake should hopefully be able to locate his writing folder.     Secondly, the sources we found online for his persuasive essay are listed on the back of the note paper I gave to Jake.  One was a census pdf from 2012 listing the average American income, and the other was from listing the average cost of various types of collges (2-year, 4-year, public, private, and so on).  This information should be used to compare the cost of tuition to the average wages earned in a family, and then further discuss how the current tuition rate isn't affordable without scholarships and/or student loans. If he hasn't mentioned it in his essay already, he should consider adding a section on how tuition isn't the only expense that a family faces at college (i.e. food, dorms, entertainment,... read more

The other day, I was perusing the internet and came across a website that prompted me to constuct this blog. Now while the visual content was done well, the written content was utterly horrible. I wanted to contact the individuals who created it and inform them of how poorly the grammar was. I had never seen so many typos in one sentence, nor a complete and blatant disregard for punctuation. I'm not trying to demean the individuals, but I can not help but to go on a rant. It was an absolute horror to read the consistent misspellings, and I hope that there are other writers who feel the same.

I want to share with everyone a free online Coursera course on learning how to learn, the full title of the course is Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects, by Dr. Barbara Oakley, Dr. Terrence Sejnowski .  I am taking this course myself and I found a lot of useful tips and information, both for myself and to share with my students, for example, it talks about how to deal with procrastination, the focus and diffuse mode of study and how to balance the two to make your study most efficient.  You can access the course page by searching for the course in      For those who are not familiar with Coursera, it "provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses for anyone to take, for free".  I strongly recommend everyone to take a look. 

Patience: Key element to any great tutor, even if I need to go over the material more than once. Listening: Listening to the student and his/her needs is crucial. This will help develop true understanding and set a healthy learning environment. Make learning an exciting experience, not just a task that needs to be accomplished. Set Goals: To keep the student focused. As a Tutor, do not expect to know everything: It is OK, if you do not know how to answer, admitting that you do not have an answer is also a learning experience for your student. You can always investigate and bring an answer back the next class.

Many students who are having difficulty with particular subjects hear "get a tutor!"  So, you go out and start looking. However, if you have never hired a tutor or worked with one, making the experience work for you can be a challenge.  What is a student to do?   1)  Find the tutor that is right for you.  You cannot tell everything from a profile.  Someone might have years of experience in  the classroom, but that person might not be as effective one-on-one.  Some people have very little experience, but know how to impart the information they do have.  Meet with the tutor for a get-to-know you session.  Ask questions about the person's experience.  And, let that person ask you questions.  Bring past work to the first session, as well as syllabi and other information from the class.  This will help the tutor see if s/he is comfortable working with the material.    2) ... read more

I am pretty OCD about how I do things as a tutor. This includes being prepared. This also has got me thinking about what it means to be prepared as a tutor. I believe it involves two things. Those are being prepared physically by having the tools you need, and also knowing what you will cover in each lesson.   I started the concept of a tutoring bag about a year ago. I LOVE IT. It has all sorts of goodies in it from dry erase boards to pencils to graphing paper. I even have things that are outside of the box available just incase I need them. For example, I have simple dollar store games in my bag which often help my students who suffer from attention deficit problems. I never know what I am going to need but it allows me to be unconventional with my tutoring which has been a big asset. Also realistically, as much as we want our students to come prepared, SOMEONE is going to forget something!   I also lesson plan before my lessons. I commended tutors... read more

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