A website I like to use with my SAT students is freerice.com. This website has a vocabulary section which asks students to pick a synonym from a list of 4. For every correct answer, the website donates 10 grains of rice to the World Hunger Programme. It's a great way to study vocabulary and do good at the same time! You can create a profile and the website will track your progress with the vocabulary. For every 5 consecutive correct answers at a given level, the difficulty is then increased, so it is also a good way to challenge yourself. Encourage students to look up words that they have never heard of and create a list of their own of vocab words to study. I've found this to be much more effective than simply using flashcards as it is less repetitive and more fun. This is also a great resource for those learning English! Additionally, there are minimal vocabulary games for other languages, but the website is constantly improving, so in the future these may become... read more
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Hello! My name is Heather, and I'm a sixth grade English teacher in Arlington, Mass. I've never had a blog before, but this seems like an awesome place to put all my loves in one place: writing, education, and providing useful information. So here goes! Each blog post will feature helpful hints & resources for teachers, tutors, and students alike. Everything I put up will be tried and proven effective by me, my colleagues, or my students. Happy learning! Love, Heather So begins blog post #1: A few years ago, I swore by flash cards as a way of drilling myself on memorizable test material. I would spend hours slaving over stacks of color-coded index cards, carefully inscribing the name of the concept on the blank side, the definition and other useful material on the little blue lines on the back. Fast-forward to today. Nobody has time for that-- not when Chrissy has three hockey games and then soccer practice... read more
For practice over the winter holidays, try the following resources: Vocabulary practice Quizlet Create your own vocabulary lists with pictures. Writing You Can't Write English Under Pressure A stressful game to check your knowledge of spelling and word order. Listening Voice of America, "Stories about People" Hundreds of MP3 files and transcripts about famous people. Speaking / pronunciation American English Pronunciation Practice Audio files for practicing pronunciation, especially difficult word pairs. Grammar English Video Video English lessons on assorted grammar and vocabulary topics, including English slang. For example, try this video on the English meanings of "John." For Spanish-speakers Spanishdict.com, Aprender inglés gratis Different levels, different English topics offered in Spanish.
I find that many students, not just ESL students, need to work on vocabulary. Sometimes a reading comprehension problem is actually poor knowledge of the vocabulary used, even words we’d expect the student to know. When you ask students comprehension questions, also pick out several words and ask them give you the meaning. If you find they often don't have a clear understanding of the words you choose, then work on vocabulary before you work on comprehension, preferably before they read the passage. "Children’s books have more rare words for each 1000 words than educated adult speech!" For more information about teaching vocabulary, go to: http://21stcenturyhiteachers.wikispaces.com/Vocabulary and at the top of the page, click on "Partial Vocabulary Workshop". There are also links to a number of good websites on the same wiki.
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
I just picked up (and started reading!) a book I would recommend for vocab study: "Hot Words for the SAT." The author is Linda Carnevale, M.A. The book is published by Barrons; I got my copy from Barnes and Noble. Briefly, the author advocates learning new vocabulary words by clusters which have similar meanings to one another. So for example, under "Words Relating to Friendly and Agreeable," she puts "affable, amiable, amicable, congenial, convivial, cordial, gregarious, jocular, levity." This is a great way to teach and to learn new things! I briefly tried this approach in the past with New Testament studies (I am agnostic today:) in attempting to learn clusters of Greek words. Yes, I think I'm better with English:) For students of religion who are interested though, I do recommend Louw and (Eugene A.) Nida, "Greek Words According to Semantic Domains," and (Bishop) Richard C. Trench, "Synonyms of the New Testament." So check Carnevale's book/approach out... read more
The most important part of preparation to go back to school is to keep a list of vocabulary words related to each subject, define those words, and use them in a sentence. Doing this one thing will almost ensure a student of making good grades in the school year. This is because many tests at elementary and high school level are vocabulary questions, such as matching, fill in the blank, or define. If a student is not very familiar with the vocabulary of a subject, that student cannot hope for more than an "average" grade. However, if a student will apply himself and learn relevant vocabulary, he will excel. For example, in social studies, what is meant by "latitude" and "longitude"? In science, what is meant by "density" and "atomic structure"? In math, what is meant by "place value" or "least common multiple"? In reading, what is meant by "genre" or "details"? In English, what is meant by "preposition" or "predicate"? If a student... 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 correctly. Try using them in sentences. Learn their definitions,... read more
Despite the title of this post, I’m not actually suggesting that parents hire an SAT tutor for their preschoolers or that they drill their preschool children on SAT practice questions. Rather, I’m suggesting there is one important skill essential to doing well on the SAT that is a lifelong skill and should be started early: vocabulary building. The average SAT test preparation book contains about 2,000 vocabulary words to study. If your child has an especially poor vocabulary in high school, hiring a tutor three months before the SATs will only do so much. Creating a good vocabulary must start as early as possible. Helping your preschooler develop a good vocabulary doesn’t mean using flash cards or lists of vocabulary words. The best way to learn new words is through exposure to them. Baby talk has its place, of course. When babies and toddlers are first learning to talk, listening to baby talk encourages them to imitate basic sounds that make up our language. However,... read more
Philosophy of Education for M.J. T. To me the purpose of education is threefold: (1) provide students with a basis of knowledge, (2) teach students how to reason so that they can continue their education throughout their lives, and (3) instill in them a life-long excitement about and love of learning. Students must acquire a basis of knowledge, a framework on which to sort out and understand how various aspects of information in any subject area fit together to make the whole picture of where we have been and where we are going as a civilization. Science affects philosophy which affects the arts … ad infinitum. Nothing exists in a vacuum-sealed box. All knowledge is recursive and intertwined - reaches out and affects many areas outside the discipline in which it begins. I liken this basis of knowledge to a needlepoint tapestry mesh framework. The threads of different strands of information are worked in at various points. In some way every thread touches every... read more
Five tips for surviving the summer slump! 1. Spend time getting physical exercise - it keeps the brain active. 2. Read as much as possible - choose books that interest you, not just what might be on your school's summer reading list. 3. WRITE - write a journal about what you did during the summer, places you went, reflections on books you read. 4. Limit the time you spend on computer games. 5. HAVE FUN.
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 me! So every night, my mom would... read more
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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
My students and I are celebrating my first month with WyzAnt! Although I have tutored extensively in the past, these past 30 days with WyzAnt have been the most seamless tutoring experience so far. I am loving getting connected with students all over the five boroughs, as well as Westchester! Tutoring is an excellent way to get out and see the City. I've met with students in small coffee shops, huge bookstores, the New York Public Library, and my own cozy study space in my Upper East Side apartment. I have students of all ages, and they all have one thing in common: they are looking toward a bright, grammatically perfect future. :-)
This entry will focus on some interesting vocabulary in the A section of the dictionary. I choose words for many reasons: they have interesting meanings; they have amusing pronunciations; they just generally tickle my funny bone. These are words most people won’t use in daily life, but which are fascinating anyway. Enjoy this first entry as I work my way through the alphabet! Abstriction: [ab-strik-shuhn] noun- a method of spore formation in fungi in which successive portions of the sporophore are cut off through the growth of septa; abjunction. Found in the field of mycology. Acto: [ak-toh; Spanish ahk-taw] noun- a short, realistic play, usually in Spanish, that dramatizes the social and economic problems of Chicanos. Plural actos [ak-tohz; Spanish ahk-taws]. Specific to the southwestern U.S. Aggrade: [uh-greyd] verb (used with object)- to raise the grade or level of (a river valley, a stream bed, etc.) by depositing detritus, sediment, or the like. Forms: aggraded, aggrading... read more
Just like learning a new language, every year students try to learn CBS: College Board Speak. The College Board is the name of the company that creates the SAT. In order to make gains on the SAT, one may have to try new ways of learning. One of the best ways to learn a language is to create an immersive experience by surrounding yourself with speakers of that language, by traveling to an area in which the language is spoken for an extended period of time, or by attempting conversational level fluency prior to learning the written language. Ways that have worked for me and for students I have helped in the past are the following: SAT words on a shower curtain, flash cards wallpapering a bathroom or bedroom wall, and 30-60 minutes of sustained work daily for a prolonged period of time. Just doing to prolonged work won't help all students because some students need a multi-sensory approach to learning. In my classes, I reach students of all learning styles using color-coded... read more
When working with children (especially 7 and below) it can be vital to their memory retention to take a break every thirty minutes. I have had great success with my younger students who become stir crazy after half an hour of reading by leaving the study are and going outside or in a space where we wont bother others and doing some physical activities. Since time is a concern it is important to only do this for ten minutes or so. Sometimes we run and play tag, or we will do some jumping jacks, or just do some silly dancing. When the student returns they are feeling a little more refreshed, lighthearted, and ready to continue. That being said, it is very important to make it clear that the activity is is only supposed to be for a few minutes then it's right back to studying. I hope this helps! Miss Jessica
I love to read. Reading takes you on all sorts of adventures and teaches you about the world around you. I could spend hours curled up with a good book. But lately I have started to think about WHY I read. Simply put, I read because it expands my knowledge, horizons, and especially my vocabulary. Ben Johnson, a British philosopher (among other things), once said, "Language most shows a man. Speak, that I may see thee." This is a succinct summation of how I feel on the subject: the words you choose, the speech patterns you employ, say more about your education* and thirst for knowledge than anything else you do. Therefore, I read to enhance my vocabulary. My vocabulary expands my speech. And hopefully someday my language will reflect the kind of person I strive to be. *Education can, of course, mean both formal academics as well as knowledge garnered through observation and life experience.
After an absence due to the busiest part of the academic year, I am back in search of tutoring clients for the spring/summer. Before June 17, I will have hours available after school. As of June 17, my hours are much more flexible!
I learned in my human development class that babies learn through repetition = Rote memory You may have also witnessed the ease with which the ABC's were learned. Mary Had a Little Lamb? Twinkle Twinkle? It is easier to commit something to memory through a song. Why is it so easy to remember that annoying tune on the radio? To better memorize - Words - Phrases - Rules (Grammatical, mathematical etc) Try putting it to a simple song tune. Ex My 2 year old learned how to spell his name BINGO style. L-O-G-A-N.