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# Prealgebra Blogs

## 5 Things I've Learned From My Favorite Students

1. No one was born to lose. The best of my students understand this principle like the backs of their hands. No, there is no inherent genetic formula or organic compound you can use to get an A in a class. We are all products of our hardwork and investments. Whoever decides to put in excellent work will definitely reap excellent results. 2. Always aim for gold. Have you heard that there is a pot of gold lying somewhere at the end of the rainbow? It's true! Okay, I'm just joking, but my best students always aim for the gold. The very best. As, not Bs, or Cs, or Ds. Just the very best. The one thing people don't think they are capable of achieving is the best. The top of the class. Or the valedictorian. 3. Never settle for less. My best students are innovative, inquisitive thinkers. They tend to think outside the box, never settling for "just what they got from class." They love to use real life examples and explore how theory comes alive in their personal... read more

## Calling all students

I'm new to this site and can't wait to help you. Got questions? I got answers! Whether you need some simple study skills and techniques or if you have very specific problems in a subject, I can help. Let me show you how all these subjects work together and are not isolated disciplines that you're never going to use. I'll show you the relevance of each subject and how they're all integrated. Learning is so much fun when you understand why you need to know.

## Math - Check your work!!

Whenever you complete a math problem, it is paramount to go back and double check your work. Remember, no one is perfect and mistakes will be made from time to time. The first step is to always ask yourself "Does this answer make sense"? For example, if you're working on a geometry problem and you're trying to calculate an angle of a polygon, and you determine the answer is 110°, look at the angle and ask "Does this answer makes sense, does this angle look like it's greater than a right angle or a 90° angle"? If not, you know you've made an error and can go back to find the mistake. You can do it!!

## A Success Story

I wanted to take a moment to share a recent "success story". Recently, a Student contacted me because he needed to pass a formal standardized exam, known as the "Praxis I". The Praxis tests are used by State Governments and Colleges of Education to ensure they bring only quality students into their programs to be trained as educators. My Student had unfortunately previously failed all 3 components of the Praxis test, and was now "under the gun", since a second failing score would have resulted in his expulsion from his School. In my home State, students must achieve a combined Praxis I Score of at least 522 to be eligible for School. The passing score for the Reading test is 176, the Writing test 173, and the Math test 173. The minimum score on each test is 150, and the maximum score is 190. It should be noted that this is a fairly difficult exam series; the median scores (175-179) are barely above the minimum passing scores (173-176). My... read more

## Math Doesn't Have to be Stressful

OK, so I'm a math geek, but actually very down-to-earth and not much of a blogger. My students like that I'm friendly, approachable, and explain in plain English using tangible objects when possible. For example, when teaching the calculation of volumes generated by revolving curves around a line, I've used a glass vase to illustrate; for cylindrical shells, a roll of toilet paper got the idea across. For Trig, 'sketch, look, and count' go much further than memorizing the gazillion rules your textbook makes you think you need to memorize. Exponents? Easy--think of asking for a certain number of copies when you print. Do the same thing with the algebra expression, only multiply those copies. Yup, plain analogies make the concepts way clearer and less intimidating. No, I don't eat math for breakfast and love dogs, cats, and doing arts & crafts. But I am very experienced at teaching math and my students tend to stick with me as long as they need help. Being too humble to... read more

## How to Solve and Graph Systems of Inequalities

I recently sent this as advice to one of my clients having trouble with linear systems of inequalities. I thought I would share it here on my blog for students, parents, and tutors who have use for it. EXPLANATION OF LINEAR SYSTEMS OF INEQUALITIES A system with regular lines (the ones with equals signs in them that you have done before) shows the single point where the two lines cross each other on the graph. The X and Y at that point are the two numbers that make the equal sign true. For instance, with the equations 3 = 5X +Y and 10 = 2X -Y, the answer is x = 7/13 and y = 4/13 because if you plug those numbers into both equations you get true statements, 3=3 and 10=10. The point (7/13, 4/13) is the point where the two lines cross each other. Inequalities, where you have "less than" or "greater than" signs work the same way. But, instead of getting a point where the equations are true, you get a whole area on the graph where they are true. So,... read more

## Singin' the Mathematics Blues?

I know, I know, lots of students (and even adults) get frightened even by the thought of math. I've known people to have nightmares, and/or to freeze up when it comes time to take a math test. So much of this fear has been handed down to us by previous generations, unfortunately. But all you have to do is decide to FACE your FEAR of math! I can help you do that, because as an experienced tutor of math at all grade levels, Elementary through Algebra and Geometry, I know that the best way to understand math is to have someone break it down into small, logical steps for you. Once you see the patterns, it's like a light bulb goes off and what just moments ago seemed like an impossible puzzle has now been solved. Eureka! All of a sudden, "that" kind of problem makes sense. And once you see you are capable of understanding one type of problem, you become confident that you CAN understand others. With a patient teacher guiding you (like myself), everything mathematical... read more

## Success Rx: Do a "Gut Check"

Do you really want to succeed in your studies and tests? Here’s the key: a Gut Check. Simply put, when the going gets tough, keep going. This is what differentiates the Good from the Great. We were not created to merely exist. We were created to thrive and fulfill our potential. It’s the consistent overcoming of obstacles that breaks down barriers to success. When you’re lifting weights, it’s the last three extra reps that you did that really bring in the results. It’s the extra mile that you ran, the extra sprint that you did. Let’s apply this principle to academics. Decide today that you will keep going when things get tough.

## Hello and Welcome!

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." (William Butler Yeats) I am new to WyzAnt.com. I am a recent Johnson State College graduate. I majored in Elementary Education with a concentration in math. I recently completed my second practicum at Georgia Elementary School with a classroom of 20 4th grade students. Before that I completed my first practicum at Jericho Elementary School with a classroom of 13 2nd grade students. I currently substitute at the Georgia Elementary and Middle School, as well as, tutor three 4th grade students, two days per week, in math and occasionally in other subjects. I thoroughly enjoy working with k-6 students, their curiosity and enthusiasm are amazing and exhilarating. I welcome the chance to create a spark and light a fire of enjoyment and curiosity to your child's learning experience. Janice B.

I have several areas of knowledge beyond the listed subjects. To be brief, I am available on weekends and after school hours, but usually tutor in a library or Starbucks. At home tutoring is okay as well, but sometimes I may be able to arrange to do this at a child's school, if I work there on that day as a substitute teacher.

Tutoring can be a beneficial tool for your at-risk student. If your child is experiencing issues with confusion within subject matter taught within the classroom, needs a boost in self-confidence, or perhaps needs a challenge, your family may want to consider tutoring as a viable option. An experienced tutor is able to perform a formal or informal assessment to determine the need of your student. Once this step has been accomplished, a good tutor will provide materials and activities that are necessary to making learning both fun and successful for your student. It is also important to develop a rapport with your student conducive to finding out the needs of your student, as well as finding ways to supplement learning when your tutor is unavailable. In closing, I feel that if a family is interested in obtaining a tutor though the WyzAnt company, it may be best to pre-pay in order to avoid confusion between tutor, company and families. This will help greatly in obtaining the... read more

## Taking Time and Learning

“Take time to think, for this is the source of power. Take time to work that you may know the joy of success. Take time to leave the world a better place, for only then will you truly appreciate the journey of life.” Life in the 21st century does not always lend itself to taking time. Since leaving Abington Friends School, I have been taking time to write. In recent days, I have been working on an opus entitled Dear Thomas. Over a two-year period, I penned my son Thomas 155 letters chronicling family history, my life, thoughts and feelings of the day, and hopes and dreams for the future. I am now in the finishing stages as I edit and re-edit this illustrated volume of about 600 pages. "Know you what it is to be a child? It is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing... read more

## Almost Clear Sailing

Finals have started in the middle and high schools and so the break will soon be here. I'm anxious for my students and my daughter (in 9th grade) who are waiting to see what their final grade will be. While a few weeks off is treasured by teachers and students, the Christmas break is actually an excellent time for students to learn in math what they weren't able to master during the year. Neither the tutor nor the student relishes the idea of giving up vacation time but it's those students who go above and beyond who will ultimately succeed. In just a few sessions over the break, so very much can be accomplished because there isn't other work to compete with the student's time. To my students in middle school, good luck and remember to simplify those radicals and fractions. To my high school students, please practice the formulas and mnemonics I've taught you. Good luck to you as well! I have every confidence in you! Sincerely, Tracey M.

## Doing Better on Quizzes, Tests, and Exams - Part I

Work is force times distance: handling your calculator is just as much work as is figuring out what to write down. You will have more time to figure out what to write down if you wait until you've worked out solutions to all the problem you know how to work, before you use the calculator to compute numerical values. Picking up the calculator, putting it down, making the context shift in your mind,.., all take time away from the work that's earning you points on that test. So just do it once. I will say it again: deal with the numbers only once!

It's simple. I can help you more, and more quickly, if I can identify your problem areas in advance. So scan in a couple of graded tests and homework assignments and attach those to your email. I can get an ideal of how your teacher grades and how you may be missing the mark. Make sure your writing is legible on the scanned document. Sooner is better than later.

## Siblings as Free Tutors

Psssst....parents, you have access to a free tutor and you don't even know it! As a tutor always on the lookout for more business, I am not sure I should give away this highly confidential secret, but here goes. You know your son in Prealgebra who needs my help because he recently started getting Ds on his tests? And you know your other son, the one in Algebra II that needed tutoring to prep for finals last semester? You may not be aware of this, but son #2 knows most of the material giving son #1 problems. Not only does son #2 have the ability to help the younger one, he would also greatly benefit from working with his dear sibling. He would stay on top of the review material he tends to relegate to the far reaches of his mind and start understanding the concepts he knows on a deeper level that relies less on memorization. Now, let's not get carried away. I am not saying that my professional services are unnecessary for either one of them - I have a lot of expertise and experience... read more

## Math and Career Development Tutor and Coach

My philosophy is to treat each student as an individual, with their own style of learning, level of knowledge and motivation. Associated with that, I focus on creating relevance in subjects to the aspirations of that person. My bottom line objective is to build their self-confidence. Learning is an ongoing process. It provides ways to look at any problem. I have discovered that while earning my MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business (Dean's List) and a BA in Economics and Studio Art from Lafayette College (summa cum laude, Economics and Business Prize). I currently serve as an Alumni Admissions Representative for Lafayette. I have studied education as a graduate student at Pace Graduate School of Education as well in adolescent mathematics. Mathematically Yours, Barry

## First Tip in Tutoring: Learning Style is important

Tutoring is never easy. But if I had to describe it, I would say its a session where you and a student sit down and learn together. Whether it be learning about each other or the material, it's all a part of the learning process. But going through school I've noticed that a lot of teachers now a days don't work with all the learning styles possible which makes it hard for students to learn. So my advice to everyone who is tutoring, or even learning--Discover what yours and your students learning style is. Students, take a test and discover what learning style you are. Are you more of a visual learner? i.e. power points, videos, pictures, etc. or an audio learner? i.e. lectures, repeating notes out loud to yourself/friend, etc. or are you a kinesthetic learner? i.e. work with your hands, reviewing notes, etc. Whatever style you may be (which you can be more than one), talk about it with your tutor. How can this style help you inside and outside of class? How can you make... read more

## First Lesson is FREE

Hi again, I thought I had secured students to tutor in Ormond Beach, Florida. I never did hear back after the initial contact. Maybe this blog post will clear things up a little. The first lesson is free of charge. Here is what to expect during the first lesson: I will meet the student and gather information from the student or the student's parent. I will need to know what textbooks the student is using etc. This first lesson is just a meeting so we can have a face-to-face first time meeting about the tutor/student relationship and agree whether or not to proceed. This first consultation visit is free. I am looking forward to meeting with you. Have a great day, Mark S.