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## Algebra 1 Blogs

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All the major test prep books for the SAT, ACT, and GRE -- published by companies like Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barron's, and Manhattan Test Prep -- are poorly written, conceptually deficient, and, worst of all, riddled with serious errors. Students can't be expected to learn from books that aren't even right! And I don't mean the books are riddled simply with typos, which unfortunately is also true, because they are so poorly edited; I mean they really are riddled with serious conceptual errors. Here's a simple example from the Introduction (page 23) to Manhattan's Strategy Guides for the Revised GRE. This passage appears in all eight of Manhattan's strategy guides, so it somehow went unnoticed after at least eight rounds of editing by allegedly "expert" readers and test-takers. See if you can spot the error! ---- "If ab=|a|x|b| which of the following must be true? I. a=b II. a>0 and b>0 III. ab>0 A. II only B. III only C... read more

So I'm sure we all want to EXCEL in school! Who doesn't??? Well how can you do that? Here are a few tips! 1.) TAKE GOOD NOTES IN CLASS. When in class, be very engaged in the topic being discussed. That may require taking extra notes, side points your teacher/professor make. It most definitely includes asking questions! No question is dumb question. Don't move on unless you are clear. If needed, get help outside of class. 2.) GO OVER NOTES THE SAME DAY. After you finish class, go home and review your notes. Make sure you understand them all and write down any questions you have for your teacher/professor. 3.) GO OVER YOUR NOTES WEEKLY AS WELL. The more you review your notes the better you will be at remembering the concepts. 4.) MAKE A STUDY SCHEDULE. This is very helpful, especially if you have a test coming up! You can delegate the amount of time needed and you will also hold yourself accountable for studying. 5.) STUDY WITH GROUP. This is more reinforcement... read more

What a way to start off the New Year! First I met with a student for US History and Living Environment. She is taking the Regents exams in three weeks. When I first met with her, Cee had a fear of taking exams, and was very nervous. She struggled with understanding both subjects; the Historical Events and dates, as well as the vocabulary words for Biology. Her next struggles were understanding and answering the document based questions for US History and the short responses for LE. Now she answers them much more confidently and accurately, and has even improved in writing her document based and thematic essays for US History. I am so proud of her and is certain that she will pass both Regents exams. Then I met with my grade 4 student for Math, English Language Art and Science. He has gone from scoring 31% to 83% on his practice science exam. He is much more confident with doing Math and ELA assignments. I am so proud of him. Then it was on to my grade 6 Math student. When... read more

Greetings! Today's post is about learning styles. One of the most important things that helps teachers provide better instruction is the knowledge of a student’s learning style. My belief is based upon the teachings of noted educational theorist, Dr. Howard Gardner. Dr. Gardner posits that there are “multiple intelligences,” that define our individual learning styles and complement each other (by working together) through our learning processes. His 1983 book, Frames of Mind, detailed his initial findings in this area. In my educational practice, I attempt to identify my students' learning styles by doing extensive diagnostic testing in the very beginning. In my tutoring classes this may consist of having students to write a paragraph or two in the target language we are studying or work some basic math problems. Diagnostics also include inquiring about student preferences, because students generally do better in the areas that they like. After diagnostics, I set a plan... read more

I so enjoyed working with a young lady on her preparation this past summer for an Algebra test from her freshmen year. We even laughed together at some of the 'old school' terminology I learned back in the day and were able to communicate effectively so she felt much more prepared to take her test. It also got me excited about all the great math teachers I've enjoyed throughout my career as a student and it was really satisfying to pass on a positive attitude towards math and help empower another student.

I'm sure you've noticed this--For some reason teenagers in general, especially young men, tend to "resist" when their mothers ask them to do something. Even when they do obey, they seem to have an attitude of "dragging their feet" sometimes....It might be a subconscious part of growing up. I'm not sure why, but I do remember feeling that way when I was a teenager too. So sometimes it really helps to have a coach or tutor or someone else do the "pushing" that is needed. (And it can give moms a break, so they don't have to be the only ones doing all the pushing...Moms, you deserve a break once in a while too.) :) I encourage--push--my students to put in more effort before our sessions, doing as much as they can on their own, which saves time & money and also lets the students build confidence that they can do more "self-starting" in the future. Comments are welcome--I'd like to hear your thoughts and feedback on this. Thanks,...

This is what my student, Alysa, told me on Monday, December 3rd. She has been struggling with fractions, and so I would give her several practice exercises, and show her some new ways to do them. I had her convert mix numbers to improper fractions and vice versa. I had Alysa add, subtract, multiply and divide a variety of fractions. Just when she seems to understand them a bit, I had her cross divide. At first she was a bit confused and resistant because her teacher was not teaching her to cross divide/cancel. As she began realizing how much easier it makes arriving at the final answer, she began to gravitate towards this method. Now her teacher is teaching this method in class, and she is so excited. Not only did she understand and pass her quiz, she was able to assist her best friend. She came to the tutoring session beaming with pride. I am so proud of her. Now we are on to decimals and percentage. So far so good :).

Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A.... read more

Assigning homework between lessons I think is essential to the learning process. However the homework I assign typically isn't like school homework and problems. Instead my homework is to always be thinking of (and writing down) questions to ask me the next time we meet. Helping a student is a lot more successful when they come to me with specific questions and specific problems that we can address in the tutoring session. If the student does this I think the tutoring session more worthwhile because it is focused more on solving the issue than finding it. Sometimes if I see a specific error they continuously make I will recommend practicing between lessons. These problems are usually pulled directly from homework or are very similar to homework so they are practicing what they need for school. I don't like to get too far off "track" because it just adds to the already large workload from school.

I came across this question while applying to a teacher training program called EnCorps. I liked it so much I think I'll share it with you. As a successful professional, how have you used math or science in your daily work? What would you say to a student who questioned whether math or science would be useful in their future? How will you communicate that with students in a classroom? As the owner of a private math tutoring business, I use math in my work everyday - and not just in the ways you would expect. I use skills from Pre-Algebra to help my students calculate their grade percentages,, to determine how much a \$60 lesson would be at 25% off, and to do my taxes. Algebra helps me show students how to calculate the scores they need on their upcoming tests to get the grade they want. The concepts of logic introduced in Geometry help me to reason my way through difficult problems both in mathematics and in my everyday life. Algebra 2 skills help me schedule my students... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears... read more

I've managed to tutor a number of students this year and it has all been very rewarding and enjoyable. Every now and then, I have seen the proverbial light bulb go off in a student's mind when they start to grasp the subject. It's moments like this that I feel very lucky to have such an opportunity to work with students. It's a really enjoyable experience for me as a tutor and it's a bit reason why I decided to be a tutor. Whether it is assisting with homework or discussing mathematical ideas and concepts, I'm very interested in helping your son or daughter improve their skills and abilities in math.

Some study tips for math are actually not what you might expect. I love sudoku puzzles and believe it or not, solving these puzzles on the most difficult level that I can manage helps my math solving skills exponentially. The way in which you solve sudoku is very much the same way you would solve a math problem; searching for patterns, trial and error in some cases (mainly the super hard ones), and strategy. Another game that has a very similar effect is cryptograms. They seem daunting at first, but fear not. A little bit of practice and you will be impressing friends in no time with your uncanny ability to decode!...and solve math problems lol! Honestly, any strategy games involving numbers are great. It gives you confidence when you see the numbers and not a sense of dread lol. Approaching a problem with a smile and eagerness definitely produces better results than disdain and chagrin. A second, and I think the most important, tip I can give is... take breaks often... read more

My recommended strategy to Students at all academic levels for learning and successfully passing the course at all modalities (on-line, on-ground) is the culmination of at least ten years of teaching and tutoring statistics at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels in business, management, sciences, social studies, and psychology. It consists of the following: 1. The first is to learn how to overcome fear and anxiety from the unknown and look at tutoring as a prudent investment to your immediate future and success. Engage the tutor from the start of the course and don't prolong the decision because of the complexity and quantitative nature of the subject area. This component of the overall strategy is to keep the weekly normal pace and retain basic real life knowledge for ongoing participation in the political and economic process of the National affairs and State-of-the-Union. 2. Academic Reading Materials and Study Guides encompass three distinct sections... read more