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Hello,   I have another blog on my website, which is but I will attempt to use this one in conjunction with that one from here on out.  You should also see the educational drumming videos that I've already posted to my youtube page.  Please subscribe to that as well!  You'll hear more from me soon.  Thanks.   Billy    

Let’s talk about tutoring today, shall we? Last night I was poking around on WyzAnt, and I came across another tutor’s profile. He and I tutor the same subjects (more or less), but his marketing completely rubbed me the wrong way. And yet, from the perspective of a student, I could see why his message of “I’m the best tutor in the business” would appeal to someone in need of help. Is he the best tutor in the business? That’s not for me to say, and quite honestly, it’s not really for him to say either. But I was jealous because I want to be the best in the business. (Is there room for two of us?) I bet many of us tutors feel the same way: we want to be the best at what we do. It’s not just for the money, though that does matter, especially for those of us who have decided to go full-time as tutors. We want to be the best because we believe what we do matters, that it makes a difference. We want to be the bridge that connects a struggling student with her future. The... read more

   I have the habit of telling my children my dreams on occasion--if they are memorable and I can remember them!    As we all know, most unusual dreams are hard to make sense of. For me, that is the intriguing part; not so much to  interpret them in a particular way, but to try to follow what is usually a stream-of-consciousness "format" and trace where the heck that could possibly have come from! it is fun to piece together, and go "aha! I think I know why (insert name of person you haven't seen or thought of in years) was in my dream!!    When I was a child and had either a nightmare or a really strange dream, I would think "hmm, was I cold in the night? Did I kick off my blankets, sleep upside down in my bed, eat something weird before bed?" (When I was five years old, my mother sometimes made my sister and me butter and sugar sandwiches on white bread for some reason. It was a treat to sit in our flannel... read more

As a Japanese tutor, a lot of questions I hear are about kanji.  How do I study them?  How do I read them?  Why do I read it one way or another at different times?  What are they exactly?  Do I really need them?   Kanji are Chinese-derived characters used in written Japanese to form nouns and the base of most verbs and adjectives.  Many have purely mechanical function, acting as prefixes or suffixes, or to narrow definition indicating something such as places or occupations.  Many pull double duty not only in function (noun, verb, etc) but in meaning.  In Japanese, the character for "metal" can also mean "money," "gold" (both substance or color) and "Friday."  Pronunciation also varied between the Chinese-approximate on'yomi (sound reading) and the native Japanese kun'yomi.  The Chinese readings, borrowed throughout centuries (thus leading to various readings as Chinese dynasties,... read more

"Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words." In order for a student to be able to read words off the page they must understand how words are made up of individual sounds called phonemes. Phonemic awareness is not something that comes easy for all children but if a student has a strong foundation in their phonemic awareness it will propel them forward in reading and writing. Playing with words and their sounds, for example, substituting sounds, deleting sounds, and adding on sounds will help students build that foundation.    Examples: Subbing sounds: "Change the n in nap to c. What word do we get?" "cap"   Deleting sounds: "take away the s in slip. What word do we get?" "lip"   Adding on sounds: "Add a s to the beginning of mile. What word do we get? "smile"   Make sure you model... read more

We recently passed the 30th anniversary of "the 2 Sigma Problem," which is the problem of achieving the effectiveness of personalized, one-on-one instruction at a large scale. As a tutor, how do you help multiple students at the same time while retaining the benefits of personalized tutoring? To me, one of the major benefits of personalized tutoring is that the tutor has the space, time, and flexibility to respond to the student's needs. If I am tutoring a student in math, we can spend as many sessions as we need on a given topic to make sure the student understands it thoroughly. I can also try a lot of different methods to explain a topic, since not everyone learns the same way. If a spatial or visual learner is having trouble with division, I might bring in a bag of M&Ms and show them physically the process of dividing up a pile into smaller piles. If a student is having trouble understanding probability, I might bring in a set of polyhedral dice... read more

Making Connections to Text will improve Reading Comprehension across any grade level and is a valuable took when it comes to reading and understanding fiction and non-fiction text/passages.    Children make personal connections with the text by using their schema (background knowledge). There are three main types of connections we make while reading text. 1. Text-to-Self :refers to connections made between the text and the reader's personal experience. 2.Text-to-Text: refers to connections made between a text being read to a text that was previously read. 3.Text-to-World: refers to connections made between a text being read and something that occurs in the world. It is important to activate children's schema (background knowledge) before, during, and after reading in order to foster creating these connections. I would recommend having students write down in a journal the different connections they make while... read more

Imagine the audience in their underwear!   This is an old tip from who-knows-where. Has it ever helped reduce your public speaking anxiety? I'm going to take a wild guess and say your answer is "no". If you're happy with this underwear envisioning tip, then carry on. If you feel you need something more to help with your public speaking anxiety, read on!   Public speaking can be downright terrifying for many people. But here's the good part: it doesn't have to be. By using at least one of the tips below, you can make your presentation less nerve wracking and more enjoyable than you ever thought possible. So without further ado, here are a few tips to help with your next presentation:    Look at the tops of their heads Now you might be thinking "aren't you supposed to give people direct eye contact or they might think you're lying?" Well, yes that's true. However, in a presentation setting, you are at the front... read more

A lot of people - especially high schoolers and college students - are anxious about math and other subjects. Do you know why? It is because they take them and their ability to achieve high marks in them as a measure -maybe the only measure - of their worth. They are terrified of failing and of losing out, be it on money or prestige or anything they value. Or maybe they're anxious about some future scenario like getting into college. They kick themselves to work harder, achieve more, but this never works. The only way to understand anything is in the present. Presence makes problems easy or irrelevant.    You can practice presence in many ways. One good way is to sit quietly doing nothing. Another is to fix your eyes on a point for five minutes. Yet another is to repeat a sound for a long time, or count to a large number. The ability to be still inside is so important. It lets all things be known.

For my first blog post here on Wyzant, what better topic could there be than on writing itself? Today I would like to share with you a simple framework for producing quality writing. I call these "The 3 P's of the Writing Process." Step 1: Prepare. In order to write something for someone else, the first objective you must accomplish is understanding exactly what you need to write. Do you need to write a persuasive essay or a love story? A book report or a sales pitch? While many writers accomplish this step unconsciously, many other writers forget to clarify the specific demands of the piece they are supposed to write. Only after clearly outlining the requirements of your piece of writing are you truly prepared for step 2. Step 2: Produce. The second step is producing a body of text. It does not have to be perfect; in fact, it will probably contain numerous flaws in grammar, spelling, organization, etc. This is okay... read more

Hi there and welcome to my blog! This is my first post, with hopefully many to follow.   In my undergraduate years, I learned about a very curious summation discovered by the great Ramanujan. Since then, whenever a student tells me that they hate mathematics and that it is stupid, I show this to them and they almost always see math in a new and enthusiastic light. Here, I will explain the series to you, and hope that it brings you as much excitement and curiousity as it first brought me.   Consider the series 1+2+3+4+5+6+... The series is simple, we simply add two to one, then add three, then four, then 5, and keep going forever. The series is called a "monotonic series", meaning that it is ever increasing. This should be intuitive, since if we look at the first few terms, we have   1 = 1 1 + 2 = 3 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10   If we continue the process,... read more

My friend came up with a really nifty tool for job searching. It's a google sheets document with all the job search engine websites on it.   1. click on the link above or copy and paste it to your address bar and press enter / return / go 2. the page loads, click on the File menu.  3. file menu displays, click on the Make a copy ...  4. click in the text box to change the file name if desired, for example delete template and personalize it. 5. click ok.  You should now have your own copy in your own google drive and you can customize it however you need it.   Tip: Go to each site on the sheets document and make a profile there and post several resumes on each so that those sites can send you alerts when they get new job postings   Happy Hunting.

School is just starting back. That means breaking free of that "summer" mentality. I would suggest staying on top of all of your classes and studies! It's so easy to slack and get behind the first month of class. It's easy to focus on studying for the class you enjoy and are most interested in. Mix it up a little bit! Spend more time on the class you think will be the most challenging. If a subject is boring to you, do some research on it to find out why it's interesting and why people are passionate about it! Happy fall. Goodluck studying!

Containment and Equality If A and B are sets, then A is said to be contained in B iff (if and only if) every element of A is contained in B. So A⊆B means that A is a subset of B. Example: All squares ⊆ all rectangles All right triangles ⊆ all triangles Important! This implies the idea of forwards and backwards logic: If Joe has three million dollars, he is a millionaire. If Joe is a millionaire it doesn’t necessarily mean he has three million dollars, he could have one million dollars and still be a millionaire. Likewise, all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. A=B iff A⊆B and B⊆A Example: {x:x^2=4}={-2,2} {x:x^2<4}={x:-2<x<2}

Sets and Other Elementary Subjects Sets are a collection of things called objects. Objects are all unambiguously defined. In other words, objects have unmistakably clear definitions with one meaning and one interpretation that leads to one conclusion. This may seem convoluted because we are so used to words and phrases having different meanings and whatnot, but not in this case. Look at some examples to get a better idea what it means for objects to be unambiguously defined. Objects                       Not Objects Cars                            Cool cars Children                      Nice children Temperature               Comfortable temperature Baseball players       ... read more

One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words.  I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions.  Here's an example:   At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god.  Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information.  So, in English the line might be written:   Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave.   But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin):   In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave.   Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave!  I find things like this absolutely thrilling.  But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry.   That... read more

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