In 399 BC, the Athenians Anytus (on behalf of the craftsmen and politicians), Meletus (on behalf of the poets), and Lycon (on behalf of the rhetoricians) brought Socrates to trial on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth of the city. These charges may seem strange to modern ears, but there was in fact much at stake for the city of Athens. "Impiety" This charge stems from the fear that Socrates was another natural philosopher like the Ionians who preferred a naturalistic account of the cosmos to the traditional account of Hesiod and Homer. The references that Socrates makes in Apology 18b-d and 19c are to Aristophanes' comedy Clouds, in which Socrates is portrayed as a buffoonish academic who teaches his students that natural phenomena are not due to the action of the gods; e.g. in the play Socrates explains that thunder is the result of the clouds farting. There was also a common fear that Socrates was another Sophist who would teach his students clever... read more
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My great-uncle Hans was the executive officer (1 Wachoffizier) of the German submarine U-618 during WWII. While on patrol, the sub's activities were recorded in the log (Kriegstagebuch, or war diary). After the war, captured German naval records were microfilmed and archived by the British Admiralty, and copies are stored in the National Archives. Another u-boat researcher, Jerry Mason, was kind enough to send me digital copies of U-618's war diaries, and so I have begun to translate them. Aside from the family connection, this project is motivated by my interests in WWII naval history and the role that intelligence and cryptography play on the battlefield. Clay Blair's books on the subject are worth a read ("Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters", "Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted", "Silent Victory"); for a great fictionalized account of cryptography's role in war, see Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon". I've found the translation to be rather challenging... read more
In my work as a teacher, I cannot help but notice that many of the reading selections written for our students include words that are beyond our students' experience. Students simply do not have & could not usually acquire the background knowledge necessary for understanding some words they encounter in subject-specific reading selections, such as social studies & science. Reading instruction in language arts classes cannot adequately address all the words students need to know, as language arts teachers have other specific concerns to address every day. This is why every teacher must be a reading teacher & consider reading an integral part of their subject. Certain subjects are the best place for students to encounter, learn, and understand some of the vocabulary they need to know, while context clues are only useful if students already have the needed background knowledge. In other words, a context clue is not really a clue at all if students do not have the background knowledge... read more
The most obvious answer is cost. If a tutor charges the same rate for one or four students, it becomes cheaper per hour as you increase students and share the costs with other families. It is often believed a tutor is best when working 1:1 with a student. In some instances it is well worth the time and money to have 1:1 tutoring and sometimes it is appropriate for students to study and do school work in small groups. What is not obvious is the dynamics of small group tutoring. In a variety of circumstances it is invaluable for students to learn how to study “what needs to be studied”. The acts of independence and self regulating behavior have far reaching benefits. Groups need to learn to share and take turns. This seems simple and yet there is the underlying tendency to allow the ‘smart one’ in the group to carry the burden of work. Assuming each student is in the class and has a different point of view/observation about what is happening in class, they should share... read more
The Summer session has just begun. The stress has already begun to set in, but this week I had a break through with a few of the students. So this is my second week with a student who I am tutoring for both Algebra I and Earth Science. So far he seems stronger in Earth Science but still needs much practice, before I can be very confident about his ability to pass the Regents exam in August. After the first session of Algebra, I walked away thinking about how am I going to get him ready by August 13th. I recommended an additional session to the parents, but so far they have said no. I did several practice examples, and made the second session mainly a teaching and learning session. Then I ended the session with a quiz, but he failed :(. So when I had to meet him again for Earth Science, my mind was swirling as to how I can help him, and will I at least be successful with this subject. When I checked the homework, there was a slight improvement but not enough to celebrate.... read more
Hello Miss Gil, I received a 96% in Global History. I was so excited to hear these words from my student! At first she did not want to be tutored. Her father dropped her off at the Library. So I told her that if she did the practice test, and did well, she would never have to see me again. Well, she scored a 58%, and there were so many events and topics that she did not know. We scheduled 3 additional three hour sessions. By the last session, her essays had improved and her overall score was an 83%. I told her that I believe that she can score as much as a 95% on the Regents Exam. She laughed and said "Yeah right". Well she scored a 96% and I am very proud of her.
If I could go back in time and give myself some advice ... Well, that's quite a questions. And the answers are not as easy as one might think. We are who we are based on the lessons we have learned over time. If we didn't make mistakes, we would not learn. We might avoid a pitfall here and there, but we wouldn't learn the lessons behind the lessons - the root cause, as it were, for why it was a mistake in the first place. However, one piece of advice I would like to give myself in the past is this: listen to the advice you are given. As I look back, I was given some great advice by a lot of people while I was growing up. Some of it, thankfully, I not only listened to, but took to heart. Some I didn't. When I analyze those things I have done in the past that turned out to be mistakes, I can almost always trace the root of a bad decision back to not following the advice someone had given me earlier. So, with that in mind, I would like to share two of the best pieces... read more
Everyone knows that demonstrating the ability to think critically on tests and assignments and in writing is the way to your teacher’s or professor’s heart. But how do you do that when you don’t even know what critical thinking is? Although “critical thinking” is a much debated term, I would simply call it your ability to analyze a given issue or problem. Okay, great, you say ... so what the heck does that mean? Well ... it depends. There’s all sorts of different types of analysis. A math problem, for example, requires a different type of analysis from say the analysis of a world history essay prompt. Trying to figure out ... or analyze ... , the different reasons why your dog threw up on your favorite pair of sneakers is a bit different from trying to figure out why the author of novel chose to kill off the main character of the book you were just assigned to read. Although, I can see where my description of analysis above might frustrate those expecting a straightforward... read more
IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time. While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities. Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful... read more
History is all about studying the past. But, haven't we always been taught to "look towards the future"? Yes, but we also need to know the mistakes that have been made historically to look towards the future. So how do we determine what important historical information we need to know? Well...that's definitely a debatable topic. However, knowing the challenges those before us faced is a significant place to start! As I learn so many interesting things I am amazed by how I now look at past and current issues. Making sure our youth understand the importance of how we became the greatest nation in the world is so important. Why? Well let's take a look at some issues that are currently debated, such as gun control. The 2nd Amendment states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This Amendment has been interpreted in so many ways. However, what is not discussed... read more
On February 8, 1926, “Disney Brothers Studio” was renamed “Walt Disney Studio”, becoming the entertainment company we know and love today. The Disney brother’s history is one of emotional and financial difficulty. This article summarizes the company’s history including Disney cartoons and theme parks. Roy and Walt Disney began their animation careers when they joined with their friend and fellow animator Ub Iwerks to create a company they called “Iwerks – Disney Commercial Artists” in 1920, but the company was dissolved after only two months. The Disney brothers, Roy and Walt Disney, started working together as animators in February 1924. They hired another animator and moved into a small store. They named their company “Disney Brothers Studio” and had the name painted onto the front window of the store. Once the company became “Walt Disney Studio” as we know it today, the company began to grow. It was large enough that the brothers hired more animators and Walt Disney... read more
Salvete Omnes! (Greetings all!) This post is to inform all potential students that I am currently about 35 weeks pregnant and will not be accepting new students until April 1st. Current students should be advised that my schedule may become severely limited in the next two months. During this time, I may be available for short sessions or for one-time-only students. I will not be able to make any long-term commitments until April 1st.
Hello and welcome to my Blog page. As I jump into tutoring, I hope to fill this page with helpful tips and techniques that I pick up along the way. For example, a great way to study English is to read. The more a person reads, the more vocabulary, grammar, structure, etc. is picked up and translated into their own writing. Even if it is a small article each day, reading motivates the mind. This daily routine is especially important to English learners (ESL). Academic writings, such as articles, should be considered as a first choice in English aid. History and historical perspectives are also great teachers. To get inspired, watch a documentary online, write your own historical interpretation of a recent event, or be a news reporter for a day. For information on my endorsements and work experiences, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your consideration!
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
Many of my students have told me that Social Studies or History is their worst subject. When I ask why, they say they “just don’t get it”. I usually find out that they have a hard time connecting the dots. For example, they learn about the American Revolution but don’t understand how it connects to King George III and the Declaration of Independence. This article gives parents, tutors, and teachers some hints and tips for helping students connect the people, places, and events of history to improve their comprehension. 1. Use historical thinking skills. The National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) is a UCLA - based organization dedicated to collaborating with schools and teachers to provide “engaging and exciting explorations of U.S. and World history.” (From the NCHS mission statement; use this link to visit their website: http://www.nchs.ucla.edu/.) One powerful tool they created is their list of five historical thinking skills teachers, parents, and tutors can... read more
As you know, all teachers (and tutors!) were once students. So they know all the pitfalls that can cause a student to not get their homework done. The reason can be social - maybe the student wants to get his or her work done but the distraction of all the social media is too much to resist. The reason can also be academic - maybe the subject is difficult, such as challenging concepts or perhaps they're faced with an assignment that didn't get explained well enough to be done independently. Or sometimes it's the dreaded PROCRASTINATION. That can be the worst of all reasons to not get work done because the longer you procrastinate, the more the work piles up and then the student becomes "paralyzed", overwhelmed by the mountain of work that has accumulated. When procrastination has gotten the better of you, the important thing is to not let yourself be so overwhelmed that you don't do the work at all. Here's what you do: PRIORITIZE AND GET STARTED! It is a simple phrase with... read more
Summer learning loss can affect everyone. Teachers must spend quite a bit of time in the beginning of every year reviewing to get students past the summer slump. There are a variety of ways you can keep yourself or your child from losing to much ground over summer. One of the best ways to keep the brain sharp and active is to keep reading both fiction and nonfiction literature at or above grade level. Even if it is only 25 minutes a day, you will keep the reading skills sharp and continue to learn new things. I also found out that Barnes and Nobles is offering a free new book reward to children who read 8 books. You can check out their website or visit the nearest store for more information. Whether in a cool place during the heat of the day, or as part of the night time relaxation, reading for 25 or more minutes is possibly the best time investment you can make. There are also many kinds of puzzles you can practice solving such as Suduko to keep the math and problem solving... read more
Writing a research paper is one of the most difficult parts of being a student. You find yourself asking: - How do I start? - What is a thesis statement? - How do I determine if this is a credible source? - How do I make an in-text citation? - Why do I even need a citation? - What is a bibliography? - WHAT AM I DOING? Whether you are in middle school, high school, college, or even graduate school, the following websites provide information about research papers. With a click of the mouse, you can find answers to all of your questions and put an end to those research worries. Purdue Online Writing Lab One of the most useful website you will ever visit. Everything from writing, researching, grammar, mechanics, citations, and formatting – it’s all here! http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/658/01/ Google Scholar A great place to start begin your research and gather information on your topic. http://scholar.google.com/schhp... read more
Although there are many things you will learn in your academic career that you may never use again, there are just as many that you will use on a regular basis or will come in handy when you least expect it. The basics of any subject will never let you down. You DO need to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide in YOUR HEAD. Why? Because people make mistakes when inputting data into calculators and computers. The answer that comes out of those devices is only as good as the data that went in. If you are shopping and something is advertised as 25% percent off, you should be able to do the mental math to determine if it really is a good deal or not. When applying for a job and writing a cover letter or resume, you better be using grammatically correct sentence structure or the person who is reading either one will decide that if you can't write a simple cover letter, you aren't worth the time to interview. Learning about cultures other than your own will be invaluable... read more
Over and over I hear from students that their teachers don't require them to use their textbooks; instead the teacher uses power point presentations and has students take notes. Here is the problem with that way of thinking. MOST students don't take really good notes which makes it difficult to complete homework or to study for tests. THINK OF YOUR TEXTBOOK AS YOUR BEST FRIEND. It is the go to guy for those questions you need help answering. Your textbook includes the curriculum that your teacher is required to cover, hence it has the answers within its pages. Your teachers tend to follow the flow of the textbook for the order of their lessons, so if you take the time to read the chapter that comes after what you are currently studying, you will already have some knowledge about the material your teacher will be presenting next. This makes note taking so much easier and gives you a heads up on material you may find confusing which, in turn, allows you the opportunity to ask... read more