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I have been involved education as long as I can remember. My parents were educators. They helped start a school, were on the board of another, and were founding board members of the North Dakota Home School Association. I started teaching at the age of thirteen, as a volunteer. I have taught professionally, for over fourteen years. I have coached soccer. I co-founded a school and taught a wide array of subjects there for three years, including Latin, Rhetoric, General Science, and History. For nearly twelve years, I have been an education consultant, tutor, and mentor. I am prepared to tutor students in all subjects through high school, and I am well-versed in ACT and SAT preparation. I also do some college-level tutoring, particularly in English, Writing, Study Skills, and other humanities-related subjects. Feel free to ask for more details. I tutor adult students in a variety of subjects, and I have also had success in the past working with students who have a variety... read more

Duden: a (the) decisive dictionary of the German language, if you choose „Textprüfung“ Duden corrects your writings (max. 800 characters)---I use it regularily and I love it! http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibpruefung-online Duolingo: a free language-learning platform, great for beginning up to intermediate level, not only German, I tested French and it's great http://www.duolingo.com/   Linguee: Translation search with lots of example sentences from human translators.   http://www.linguee.de/deutsch-englisch 'Deutsche Welle': news (spoken slowly), articles, even a 'Telenovela' with German subtitles (which is great for learning the language)! http://www.dw.de/deutsch-lernen/s-2055 About education: some dual-language reading selections (German-English) http://german.about.com/library/bllesen_inhalt.htm Goethe Institut : online game, I never played it, but it looks nice :) https://www... read more

Five major tips to making learning a foreign language fun:   1. Make it applicable to your life. Learn stuff that you think is important to you, things that you'll use the most often, and things that will stick.   2. Integrate the culture. Learning a language is more than just learning how to speak. You want to learn how to understand other people, and how they think.   3. Make it a part of your routine. Try to do something that you normally do in English in your target language, though you should keep it simple in the beginning. Read a short story in Italian, instead of a novel in English. Follow a recipe for a simple cake in French instead of a recipe for a cake with fondant decorations in English.   4. Get your friends in on the fun. Learning a language is undeniably a social activity. There's nothing more entertaining than trying to learn a language with your friends, and messing up while you do... read more

I'm sure everyone has seen a commercial or heard a discussion on raising kids from a very young age to be bilingual. While many of these DVD and CD sets are marketing and capitalizing on our desire for our kids to be the shining star of their school, they really do have validity. Our brains are wired to best absorb language before the age of 5 and still ready to take on language up until the age of 8. Yet of course we don't start learning a second language until our brains have closed the doors on language absorption! So it's not your fault that you have to hire tutors like me to help with your Spanish classes...it's really the school's fault for not introducing language sooner! More and more families and school systems are finally coming on board though and creating bilingual schools, or at least exposing youngsters to a second language, and I couldn't be happier! Until I end up jobless because all our children have become linguistic geniuses...uh oh.    I... read more

One of my favorite French resources is an app called Duolingo. Duolingo is free and it provides an easy way to track your progress and set goals for yourself. It's set up like a game and you win points for correct answers, and you can 'compete' with your friends at different levels. It also requires that you "strengthen your skills", which keeps your memory fresh and up to date by having you repeat certain parts of a lesson that you haven't encountered within a certain period of time. Duolingo is a great supplementary resource to go alongside formal classes, tutoring, or self-instructed study, and it's really fun and even addicting! Even as a fairly fluent French-speaker, I enjoy the vocabulary and grammar games because they help keep me engaged in learning and remind me of vocabulary words that I don't often use. I've also used it to start developing a basic vocabulary in German, Spanish, and Italian. Duolingo is available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and... read more

On this website you can find books and texts in different languages with their literal translations into English and brief linguistic comments, These texts are structured on the basis of a special method, by Ilya Frank. Its main principle is that a text is divided into excerpts that you can read twice: the first time – with the English translation inserted into it in brackets and afterward – with no translation.  It's a great source. I've tried it for other languages and it really works. Here is a link for Russian language: http://english.franklang.ru (List of languages is on the left side).    BBC Languages ~~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/russian Basics. A Guide to Russian: Facts, key phrases and the alphabet in Russian. No grammar.    BBC Russian.com Russian service provided by the BBC   http://www.gramota.ru Website in Russian. Great website. Explanation of Russian grammar, Forum -... read more

These FUNNY cartoons are very easy to understand and are helpful for those who just started to study Russian or who is trying to improve it ~~~ http://www.youtube.com/show/mashaimedved ~~~ It's about Masha, a troublemaker little girl & her friend Bear. You don't have to speak Russian very well to understand these cartoons. Check them out, you won't regret it! It's a fun way to learn Russian! Let me know what how do you like them :)

A tip I often give my students who are studying Spanish is to watch English-language DVDs with the Spanish subtitles on. It's probably best to start with a movie or show you have seen before and with which you are familiar with the basic plot and dialogue. As you watch the movie or show (in English), read the subtitles as you go. Stop the DVD or go back and take notes about the way the English dialogue is rendered into the language you are studying. You will find that you pick up many new idiomatic expressions this way, as well as getting to review the grammar of the language you're learning in action!   Take notes about any phrases or forms that strike you s particularly creative and also phrases or forms with which you are unfamiliar. Bring a list of new phrases to your tutor, along with the English dialogue being translated. You'll be surprised at how creative subtitle writers can be!   

My current job is at a chocolate shop.  My experience there seems inapplicable to my future career, however important lessons are all around us. For example, my Spanish has vastly improved since I've been working at Compartes.  Many of the employees are monolingual Spanish, and clear communication on the job is highly necessary.  I can communicate with my coworkers.   Language Goals: Become fluent in Spanish. Increase English vocabulary while studying for the GRE.

Speaking a foreign language is most frustrating when you know exactly what you want to say in your first language, but you either don't know how to say anything similar in the foreign language or anything that captures the exact nuance.   The process if less frustrating if you accept that you should not think in your first language and that you may never be able to capture the exact subtlety. It's absolutely okay that you cannot express yourself as eloquently and exactly at times. There are certain times when you need the exact word or exact phrase because of a nuance, but there are other situations where a generic phrase will do.   This post is focusing on idioms and phrases that are useful to know and that can be used in many situations: they will be adequate, even if you could have picked a more colorful phrase in your native language.   Think of learning Spanish phrases this way: every time you learn a phrase, you add it to your bank of... read more

When addressing general learning - especially in K-6 - we must keep in mind that subjects cannot be separated from one another. An obvious example is science, which requires mathematics, writing, and usually reading. Mathematics word problems, of course, require skill in reading and logic. If we consider social studies, we quickly realize that reading, writing, science, and math concepts are usually necessary for appropriate learning experiences. The common element in all our learning is, of course, language, which we began learning before we were even born. As we grew and learned, we imitated our parents' oral language and learned to associate words with things we observed in our environment. Eventually, we began learning to read, which is simply associating written symbols with oral language. Reading opened us up to a variety of learning, but we had to practice reading on its own, for its own sake, as well as in the other subject areas. This is why schools nowadays often... read more

I discovered my passion for the Spanish language on a church trip to the Dominican Republic ten years ago while serving a group of amazing people there. At the time I was a junior at Western Michigan University and was majoring in Creative Writing. I had only taken a few years of Spanish in high school and was very shaky with speaking. However, something amazing happened while I was there! I found myself being able to communicate and slowly understand. A little boy named Jorge was sitting with my friend and I one night and slowly repeating  "estrella" when it suddenly clicked. I have little Jorge to thank for igniting that passion in me. I went on to double major in Spanish and Creative Writing, then continue to get my Master's degree in Spanish literature. Through the years I have lived in Santander, Spain; Queretaro, Mexico, and finally Barcelona, Spain for the past five years. My husband (who is Spanish) and I just moved back to Michigan and are starting... read more

There is a lot to be said for knowing vocabulary.  Just about any profession you enter will have its own "lingo", and being able to break sentences down word by word is incredibly helpful.  There are reasons why teachers push basic knowledge, like knowing how to alphabetize quickly, doing your multiplication tables in your head, and understanding how to break sentences apart.  Unfortunately, a lot of students come and go through school without learning the basics.  THIS is your opportunity to improve your communication skills; written and verbal.  If you know your vocabulary, you can discuss topics in a professional manner, and get your point across in a more understandable way.  It's harder to be misinterpreted when you use words appropriately.     If you're reading a textbook, look for underlined or highlighted and/or bolded words.  Read them out loud several times.  Make sure that you are pronouncing them... read more

There are a few easy steps for gaining fluency:  1. Use a new word each day as much as possible. 2. Do your best to think in the target language. 3. Speak in that language with friends or strangers as much as possible. 4. Speak to yourself in that language with scenarios you feel you would be in. 5. Review the words that you learned in conversation or study each day before bed. 6. Study reading and writing as needed. 7. Keep a personal journal or diary in that language. 8. Speak with native speakers if possible. 9. Join communities that speak in the target language. 10. The best way to learn anything is to teach it to someone else. try teaching a family member or friend the language. 11. Watch television as much as possible in the target language. 12. As for music, listen to music in the target language only. (if possible) 13. Write down words that you do not understand that you have heard. 14. Don't be afraid to ask questions... read more

"SUMMER SLUMP SURVIVAL GUIDE" 1.  GEOGRAPHY...If you travel this summer, that too can be a learning experience.  For example, at some point during your journey, you likely look at a map.  To do this, you must understand north, south, east and west.  Mathematically, you should also experience the relationship between speed of travel (e.g., 65 miles-per-hour), distance and timing.  If you travel inter-state, then you study the geography of the United States.  If your journeys take you internationally, then this is more than a geographic experience. 2.  LANGUAGE...Traveling to another country may require developing the knowledge of how to say HELLO and GOODBYE, how to ask a cab driver for a quote for the cost of a trip, as well as many other details. 3.  TELEVISION...When you are at home, you may find yourself watching television.  Although it has been called the IDIOT BOX, it can be as... read more

For parents who are trying to do any of the following: 1. Engage your child in reading 2. Increase your child's reading skills (fluency, comprehension, rhythm, expression, tempo, etc.) 3. Increase your child's language acquisition, vocabulary, grammar skills, and spelling skills This blog post is for you!!! There are some really unique ways to help your child become a "reader." I myself wasn't a "reader" until about the age of 10. Up to that point, though I loved books and collected books and asked for books for birthdays/holidays, I was not a reading self-starter. However, I loved being read TO! At the age of 6, I took a great interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. Not only, was I fascinated with the time period (late 1800's), I also found a kindred spirit of sorts in Laura. She stood up for things in which she believed strongly, she was stubborn, and she was short! I found a heroine that was very much like... read more

Hello! Thank you for visiting my site! I have 8 years of language teaching experience. I taught for 7 years at Princeton University and 1 year at the University of Notre Dame. It is truly a joy for me to help people reach their academic and personal goals. Please contact me as soon as possible to inquire about scheduling a tutoring session with me. I specialize in language arts, particularly Spanish, French, and English. I also have experience tutoring people of all ages, and helping them prepare for standardized tests. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Best regards, Valerie

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

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.

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