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How to maximize your mathematics tutoring experience

Hi math students :) When preparing for a mathematics tutoring session, try to have the following things at hand... Textbook (online or e-text) Syllabus, assignment, tips/hints/suggestions, answer sheet/key Class notes Pencils, pens, erasers, paper (graph paper, ruler, protractor) All necessary formulas, laws, tables, constants, etc. Calculator that you will use on tests Do I really need my calculator? I can do most of my work in my head. Having your calculator is just as important as paper and a pencil in most cases. You'll be using it on your test and if you don't know how to input what you want, you won't do very well. Have your tutor teach you about your calculator's functions beforehand. Learn how to check your simple math and how to input exponents, logarithms, or trigonometric functions before your test. Why do I need my book, notes, or answer key? Isn't the tutor supposed to know everything? Yes :), but even the most experienced tutor... read more

Traditional Teaching & Current Practices of Mathematics & Science

Reflecting on the message from the State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction” it was in 1983 the report “A Nation at Risk, by the National Commission on Excellence in Education had brought to light “a rising tide of mediocrity” in the schools (Larson, 1997). This was when an era of education reform began. Larsen described the results of this reform was uneven, but it did stimulated some key infrastructure improvements: instructional time was increased, high school diplomas came to mean the completion of minimum course requirements, and emphasis was placed on local planning efforts to improve the schools’ efficiency and effectiveness. This reform caused the awareness and need to get back to the basics with our students, such as requiring a strong foundation in basic skills. Although some may not agree that technology did not replace the need for all students to learn and master basic mathematics skills, but they must be able to add, subtract, multiply... read more

Introducing Myself

Hello all you bloggers out there, Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Lorton and I am a graduate of Brooklyn College where I did my masters degree in math education. Prior to this I had completed my bachelors degree at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, the island and not Jamaica Queens. "Yea man, Jamaica... no problem man." I specialize in math but if anyone of you bloggers wants to learn some Jamaican lingo, you need to talk to me, just joking. Anyway I also did a diploma in education at Mico Teacher's College (also in Jamaica) where I won the Best Math Student Award in 1991. I am currently teaching at a college in New York City.

Tips for learning by a classroom teacher

The MOST important skills that a student needs to master are: add/subtract/multiply/divide whole numbers, decimals, & fractions. If a student can do these most basic math operations, he/she will be fine in and out of school. When a student needs extra enrichment or practice, it is a great idea to purchase a workbook at Walmart, Office Depot, etc that is the grade level needed (higher or lower) and the student may practice more at home or even at school when other assignments are completed. Not to mention practice with a tutor on the internet! My goal is to meet the needs of the students by: *using professional judgment as to how much time to spend on a topic. *starting from the basics & giving students skills to build on. WORDS TO LIVE BY... An educated person is not one who knows a great deal, but rather one who knows how to find out anything he/she wants to know. Using your text books: ***Check the table of contents for the... read more

Making Learning Fun

The majority of teachers use events or facts to apply math and science to everyday life. Parents teach their kids these lessons at home. Take a step inside the child's shoes, and vision what they see. Learning the same techniques from home and school becomes redundant and eventually boring to the child. It can cause the child to loose interest and focus in their work. Become retroactive and productive in your teaching sessions. Make the lessons more invigorating and creative. This keeps the child more focused and eager to learn. Remember, LEARNING IS FUN!

Useful Resources

HyperPhysics probably the best layout for a site containing physics equations, definitions and problems I've seen. HyperPhysics For more in depth information MIT posts a lot of it's course data (class notes, slides, chalkboard pictures and video). MIT Wolfram Alpha is an excellent resource for scientific searches, and solutions to mathematics problems. It describes itself as "a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers—not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods". I largely use it to solve complex math problems (it uses the "Mathematica" computational software program) but it does many other things as well. Wolfram

Tutoring Can Help Students Refocus and Set New Goals

During the third marking period, it is not unusual for students to lose focus on their subjects. Many times students also forget the good resolutions that they had made during the beginning of the school year. A new tutor can help turn this around. A WyzAnt certified tutor will help students get back to better study habits and reset their focus on academic success. One or two hours a week with a tutor can be spent completing assignments, designing projects or papers, and preparing for tests. Perhaps a review session the day before an important test with a tutor will help a student feel more confident, prepared, and relaxed, resulting in a better grade. Tutoring sessions can help students reinforce their basic skills in reading, writing, and math with convenient one-on-one sessions in their own homes. Now is definitely an ideal season to begin working with a new WyzAnt certified tutor either for your school aged child or for yourself.

Take the plunge

Are you a "mathphobe", struggling to understand and use numbers in school, work, amusement, life in general? Overcoming a fear of math is easier with a support system, a tutor who loves the subject and cares about your progress. Of course, you have to make a commitment to yourself, starting with the understanding that YOU can master the math skills you need to reach your goals. So don't settle for math illiteracy. Take the plunge, expand your horizons, make numbers your friends. You can even have fun along the way.

Student Wins 'Boy Scout' Car Design Contest

The minute I walked into my student's home, he ran to get his wooden, green race car & beautiful trophy that he had won over the weekend. He placed 2nd out of his entire boy scout troop for having one of the best designed cars & for it's speed in finishing their race. He really talked fast & used correct sentences as he excitedly told me how he had drawn his sleek-looking race car, then explained how he carved it out of a wooden block, put wheels on it and painted it too. He was so over-joyed about his winning. He told me also how he had to measure for the size of the car, write about the steps that he took to make it, & that he had to explain his project in front of the group. His mom was beaming just as much as he was! She is thrilled that he is gaining more confidence in speaking & reading before an audience. She added that her son gave a speech at his church, plus she & other family members couldn't get over the fact that he volunteered to speak... read more

Six Strategies to Tackle Challenging Math Word Problems

Probably the hardest thing about doing word problems is taking the words and translating them into a workable mathematical equation. For this reason many students fear and hate doing them. It can be confusing to know where to start and how to go about figuring out the answer. However, there are ways of breaking down a word problem that makes it clearer and easier to solve. The following is a list of helpful hints and strategies in tackling these challenging word problems. 1. Remember that when you are doing a word problem you are looking to convert the words into an equation, so read through the entire problem first. Don’t try to solve the problem when you’ve only read one sentence. It’s important to completely read the problem in order to get the whole picture and effectively translate and solve the problem. 2. Go back to the beginning. Reread the first sentence. Write down what you know and what you don’t know. Use variables to stand for the unknowns and clearly... read more

5 Study Tips for Math

1.Distinguishing similarities vs. Differences Go over the titles of each lesson and be able to distinguish how they are different and similar. *How was yesterdays homework lesson different than today? *What is the difference between problems in each subsection of your homework? * How is this chapter related to and different from the previous chapter? 2. Be able to explain these differences. *Explain what the difference is out loud. This helps to organize what you have learned. Perhaps you are more visual. *Break problems down into steps and in your own words describe what you did at each step. Color code steps. 3. Representative Problems After you complete your homework, pick out a problem that is representative of each subsection and be able to explain how to do it. Again, explain what steps you took and distinguish how this problem is different or similar to other problems in the section. 4. Homework Do all your... read more

Ken-Ken for Practicing Math Skills

This winter, I was doing a bit of holiday shopping and happened upon a page-a-day calendar that uses puzzles called Ken-Ken. I had never heard of this, have you? Ken-Ken was designed by a Japanese math teacher, and it's kind of like Sudoku with scaffolding! It is also different from Sudoku in that you have to use math facts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I've been playing it every day since the new year, and it can be a bit frustrating at first, but fortunately the answers are on the back of each page of the calendar, so you can check the correctness of your partial solutions if you really get stuck. After this first week, though, I find it much easier, and there are great tips at the back of the product, too (like to look for sums that have only one solution and fill those in first). I won't write out all the rules here, but will just link to a site that explains everything: http://www.kenken.com/ My question for other tutors and parents... read more

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