After several months of carrying some pretty heavy textbooks around with me, I recently decided to switch to a Kindle Fire and start using electronic textbooks. Although there are times when a good old-fashioned book really cannot be replaced, I'm very pleased with the weight of my tutoring bag now, and my students seem to be enjoying the switch as well. I'm able to download textbooks for free in some cases ("Boundless" publishing), and I also have several different dictionaries and other reference books a tap away! Any other books I might find helpful for my students? Just a few clicks away. This also frees up my paper textbooks to loan to my students in-between sessions. Using a Kindle gives me the added benefit of being able to load educational applications to use for practice and reinforcement. Since we are in the 'computer testing' age, this also gives my students some extra practice in preparing for computerized exams. I'm sure you'll notice that the... read more
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The past few years have allowed me the privilege of working with many talented students who are on a great trajectory for college through AP courses in high school. Simultaneously, I have tutored students who ended up in AP courses and were not adequately prepped and prepared for what would be expected of them during the school year. AP courses are to be enjoyed and valued as any college course. In the first instance above, my tutoring was helping students develop quality arguments surrounding history issues, exploring literary styles and analyzing the authors work and developing concise answers to biology explorations. In the second case, I actually had to help students learn to study (the 'extra' work which is not assigned homework) and develop writing which demonstrated collegiate level thinking. In order for more students to excel in AP coursework as well as enjoying the class during the academic year. they need to be prepared for the work load. This preparation... read more
I feel lucky to have grown up bilingual. I have my mother to thank for that, who insisted I learned a foreign language. I also attribute my passion for travel to my maternal grandfather. He was a top executive at Braniff International Airlines in Argentina and we were fortunate enough to travel for free when we were kids thanks to him. I also look up to my grandmother. She was a world explorer and wanderer herself; she took me and my brother everywhere on her trips. What my mother didn’t know – and maybe regretted later – was that by insisting on a bilingual education, she was encouraging her daughter to leave her home country. And that’s exactly what I did. With mastery of the English language, which I learned early in preschool in Argentina, I left home as soon as I became of age. Driving by the domestic airport (“Aeroparque”) as a kid meant freedom. It was a gateway for exotic adventures across distant lands. I always knew I’d be a perfect adventure-goer... read more
Learning a language is a funny thing. Lots of people in the world today learn their second language as a child and that language is (maybe) usually English. Many people in the world are introduced to a new language as children during a period when learning a language is optimal. I am well past this age and I have just now begun to start learning a second language, formally. For what it's worth, I knew a little Japanese before I went to Japan. I could read Kana and maybe a couple hundred kanji, so I wasn't a total newbie. But, this was my first time really learning it for real and being in a country where it is spoken. A few things that I learned about learning a language for real: 1. Frustration and disappointment. I came in this knowing some words and the disappointment I experienced when I could hear NONE of them rained on my parade a bit. The frustration was a bit unbearable in the beginning. I was only in the country for a semester... read more
I am happy to announce that all my students have passed the NY State Regents examinations, except one student. The subjects varied from Algebra 1, Algebra 11/Trigonometry, English, US and Global History and Living Environment. I am so proud of them. Most of these students are students who struggled quite a bit. It was a long journey but one I would do again. I am very proud of them as most of them will be graduating this year. The NY State Common Core examinations are next.
The English language can be tough, we have a lot of complicated words and meanings that other languages don't have and it can be hard getting through certain classes or walks of life if a person struggles with English. I can make improving your skills fun and exciting, with a variety of areas to focus on depending on what needs the most work. I am determined to perfect your speaking and reading or writing skills, whatever needs to be done. If you need help writing an essay for school, I have written countless of them so I could help with that as well. Anything English related please contact me I would be happy to help.
Here are some of my favorite English (high school) resources. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores. (K-12) Readwritethink.org – Click on “Parent and After School Resources,” for a great list, sorted by grade level, to help your child practice a variety of different skill sets at home (ex: giving an interview, thinking critically, writing activities, etc) (Gr 6-12) Englishpage.com – Very thorough grammar lessons (Gr 6-12) TheOatmeal.com/tag/grammar – Short, humorous grammar lessons (Gr 6 -12) Grammarbook.com – Free video lessons on common grammar topics. *Note- some areas of this site are subscription-based. (Gr. 6-12) Grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar – Quick lessons on parts of speech, and tips on writing essays. (Gr 9-12) Owl.English.purdue.edu/owl – Grammar lessons, tutorials on writing essays and using specific formats (MLA, APA,... read more
Ms. Betty Lynn Snyder, a sixth-grade teacher at Forrest Park Elementary, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas is my most memorable teacher. She was a great teacher because she made us think, write, and create. In Ms. Snyder's class I learned about Shakespeare's sonnets, The Belgian Congo, Nigeria and conserving natural resources. She was ahead of her time: she was a Project-Based Learning (PBL) Queen! The independent project learning broadened my knowledge of the world and of myself. It was through Ms. Snyder's class that I became enamored of the story of diplomat and Ambassador Ralph Bunche. This was particularly important, because I was the only person of color in my class--before our schools were officially integrated--and she found a way to create diversity in our learning. Thus, I always felt comfortable in her classroom and, in fact, I was elected secretary general of the mock United Nations. As I recall, Ms. Snyder had two sons--one of whom was named Edward,... read more
I remember the moment clearly even now: Mrs S., brandishing the loose-leaf pages in front of my fourth-grade classroom, her wild-eyed look at odds with her precise hair and immaculate apple-printed skirt. I remember how I had quietly slipped the papers into tray of finished homework, how I had felt somehow embarrassed by the inked words. I remember her words: "Julie is going to be a famous writer someday!" And I remember the feeling: elation, pride, and a stark wonder that someone believed in me this much. Now, years later--after a college degree in Creative Writing and a few published pieces in literary journals--I think back on the powerful impact that Mrs. S. had on my writing. I was an extraordinarily shy student. English had been my second language, and I had been shuffled through ESL classes all throughout my early elementary school years. But for me, English was not a hardship—it was a refuge. I lost myself in books, and found myself in paper and pen. I wrote... read more
The holidays are almost upon us - school will be out soon - and parents and students are looking at a 2-4 week hiatus from the regular routine of school work. What happens to all of the knowledge and skills learned from school and tutoring during those weeks? Well, having been a high school principal for years, as well as a classroom teacher, my experience is that students often will not read on their own, review math on their own, or if in an AP class "read ahead" on their own. If you have tutors in the educational profession, we also have that time off and our lesson times can be flexible - so instead of all of those late afternoon, early evening, or weekend appointments, most of us can now meet with our students in the morning or afternoon. So, what would your student gain from tutoring in the winter break? 1. Weekly reinforcement of knowledge and skills already learned in the first semester... read more
Real funny!!! I was working, talking to a customer of the store. I asked a question using the Present Perfect Tense and soon a partner of mine tried to correct me, but he was wrong in the end. I, the Italian guy of the team, had to explain some English grammar to an American... Davvero divertente!!! Stavo lavorando, parlando ad un cliente del negozio. Gli feci una domanda usando il Present Perfect e subito un mio collega ha cercarto di correggermi, ma alla fine a sbagliare era lui. Io, l'italiano del gruppo, ho dovuto spiegare un minimo di grammatica inglese ad un americano... Divertido de verda!!! Estaba trabajando y hablando con un cliente del sitio. Le hize una pregunta usando el Present Perfect y mi colega se puso a corregirme, pero el se equivoco'. Yo, el italiano del grupo, tenia que explicar un poquito de gramatica inglesa a un chico americano...
Grammar is a particularly challenging aspect of language study, for several reasons. First, English grammar is typically taught though direct instruction, where student must memorize parts of speech, and systematically follow and apply the rules pertaining to usage of these parts of speech. This is contrary to how humans naturally learn language. Young children learn how to speak through generative grammar - they learn to mimic the language use of those around them; rather quickly and without direct instruction, children internalize and solidify the "rules" of how to use spoken language, long before they learn how to read or write. Second, English grammar consists of rules and exceptions. As with English spelling, there are nearly as many exceptions as there are rules, and many students "give up" on learning grammatically correct writing skills, because the sheer amount of memorization is daunting and intimidating. Third, when English teachers... read more
Hey everyone! This is Regan ready to provide a basic review of Plural Nouns. I know, it seems like it's the most basic thing in the world; but sometimes the most basic is the hardest thing to remember right off the top of your head. These are just some quick little 'rules' I use the term rules loosely. 1. Most plural nouns you can add an 's' to. Bike---Bikes cup---cups Lake---Lakes so on and so forth. 2. There are also nouns that end in ch, x, or s sounds; for these you add 'es' Box---Boxes Latch---Latches Bus---Buses 3. For words that end with the 'f' sound or 'fe,' you change the 'f' to a 'v' and add 'es' Wolf---Wolves Life---Lives Wife---Wives Knife---Knives 4. Some nouns have different Plural words Man---Men Child---Children Mouse---Mice Goose---Geese 5. Then you have the words that end in 'y' and 'o,' these words don't have a specific set of rules to follow Baby---Babies... read more
Essay writing can be challenging for young writers. I have written hundreds of essays. It's always been a pleasure to receive a grade of A on an essay; however, it is even more enjoyable to receive a direct deposit for a winning scholarship essay! Yes, it can make all the difference when funding your own education. There are thousands of scholarship opportunities and most of them require a well written essay submission. Have you ever been given a writing assignment that requires referencing a dozen different documents? Are you learning to organize your writing? Is it overwhelming when you are asked to complete a lengthy essay or report that includes more than just 5 or 6 references? Do you want to apply for scholarships but you don't know how to write a winning essay? To write any type of essay, my first tip is to take a step back, re-read the assignment criteria and/or rubric, and ask yourself a few questions. 1. Do I need to do any research before... read more
Writing and Reading Arts are recursive processes. That is they constantly impact and influence one another. The process of writing has not changed. It consists of seven basic steps: Pre-write, Rough Draft, Revise, Response Group, Edit, Teacher Conference, and Publish, grade, celebrate! The difference then is how the teacher uses strategies to impart this knowledge to the student. Practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect! It is up to the teacher to find out what modalities, the student best learns in, and present material in that way. At the same time teachers must have students work on areas of learning they are weak in, because higher education requires you be a thinker that learns from stimuli that is physical or even total physical response, for special needs, (kinesthetic), visual, auditory, graphophonic. The teacher models for the student to self monitor. Many do this by talking to themselves and asking themselves questions and responding... read more
Good morning, lovely learners! Time to rise and shine and, well, learn. Today's post is the last in three I've done on Aristotle's Rhetoric Trifecta. We've done pathos--persuasion by emotion--and logos--argument by logic--but now it's time to end this with a final powerhouse punch: ethos. Ethos is persuasion by authority. A little strange, sure, but if you tilt your head and squint your eyes a little, you'll see why I think this is the most important strategy of the three. See, you can have the cutest, big-eyed puppies campaigning for you, and dozens of scientists out spouting statistics and studies, but unless you yourself come across as someone who knows what they're talking about--as a reliable, trustworthy source of information--no one will listen to you. So appearing to your audience, whether in writing or in person, as someone worth paying attention to must be a top priority. Let's take this blog and my profile on Wyzant as an example... read more
Good morning, writing minions! It’s time for more lessons from a dead white dude. In my last post, I discussed the power of pathos as one of three primary rhetorical techniques Aristotle developed to persuade an audience—techniques that still work today, whether for campaign speeches, college essays, or talking Mom and Dad into a later curfew. Today, it’s time to talk about logos, or the logical argument. And to explain it well, allow one of my favorite television characters of all time take the stage: Abed Nadir, of Dan Harmon’s Community. Abed, a socially awkward young man in community college, offers a piece of chocolate to the female members of his study group whenever they become agitated. This goes unnoticed until his agenda book is opened and the study group sees the calendar marked on certain dates with the female members’ names. It’s alarmingly obvious that he’s been charting the women’s menstrual cycles. Horrified, they ask Abedwhy... read more
I have a thing for old, dead guys. Sure, they're a little dusty, but you just wipe off their tomb--er, tome--and you'll see they can breathe fresh life into your writing. There's this particular old dude Aristotle whose advice I've taken to heart for myself. He used to be a tutor himself to Alexander the Great in ancient Egypt. He taught biology, physics, geography, oration, and--most importantly for us!--rhetoric. There's a fancy definition for rhetoric, but the basic idea is this: There're a series of ways to sway an audience to your own opinion and view, be they in person or on paper. The art--and yes, it's an art--of doing this well is called rhetoric. According to Aristotle, there were three ways to go about convincing people that your way is the right way. He called them "logos," "pathos," and "ethos." You can use one, two, or even all three in combination. In order to use them, however, you have to know what they are. (It's all very well... read more
I'm a professional writer, since 1996, and college-writing instructor, since 2007. Topic development, support, flow, style, grammar, and editing - I can help you with all aspects of the writing process. Effective college writing is your gateway to academic and professional success.
Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language. Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?" Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience. Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning. DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not really of interest to you. DON'T... read more