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Over the past two years, I have discovered some very effective methods for helping ADD/ADHD students improve their concentration levels and ultimately their, academic performance. When my ADD/ADHD students struggle to concentrate, my job as a tutor is to find a solution. Tutoring one-on-one gives me the opportunity to make what a student believes is difficult extremely easy. Many times, students do not understand because they are not processing the information correctly. As a special needs educator, I make learning much easier. While many classroom teachers advocate ADD/ADHD medication, I believe that medication should be used: (1) as a last resort and (2) as a temporary fix while a long term solution is being sought and (3) in conjunction with other therapy and teaching that fosters good academic skills, reduces anxiety and tension at home and at school. As an experienced teacher, I have proven methods for treating ADD/ADHD students and improving their ability to concentrate... read more

It's that time of the year -- standardized test time! The famous NJ ASK is making its rounds. The pamphlet with everything that will be on the test has made it home. You open it and start doing the practice questions. Then, you say to yourself, "how is my child going to pass this thing?" Those questions are hard. The writing assignment is like nothing ever seen before. And, with weeks to the test, what is a parent to do? The obvious answer is to contact a tutor who can work with the child and help him or her pass the NJ ASK or whatever standardized test that is being given. But, acquiring the knowledge in order to simply pass the standardized test, is that a fair assessment of a child's knowledge of a subject? I would think that it is not! Passing a test means that the test taker knows enough about a subject to answer specific questions. Being able to apply one's knowledge is the real indicator of what a child truly knows. As we go forth into testing season,... read more

With the new school year approaching, I was thinking about a recent article I read about the nutritional value of school lunches. Then, I thought about Mayor Bloomberg's idea of banning extra large soft drinks in New York City. I remember the lunch lines (one hundred years ago) when I was in middle school. We all loved Friday because it was Pizza Day! On other days, there was meatballs and pasta. The cafeteria line had cookies and cakes, ice cream and all things that weren't especially good for you. As a kid, I never realized how important good nutrition and exercise was for kids. I recently started my own diet and became more health conscious. And, with tutoring so many athletes and sports minded students, I thought that these students would certainly be mindful of exercise and nutrition. But, many don't. And, that's my concern. Parents are busy people. Between work, homework, laundry and keeping house, food plays a big role in family life. Now, most kids don't go to... read more

Try teaching one new vocabulary word to your child each day. Use a word that you would not normally use and talk about its meaning. Encourage your child to read and ask questions. Read with your son or daughter on a regular basis. Point out words that appear to be challenging. Then, maybe, have a contest to see who can use the word the most in one day. You can do this among all your kids, even the kids who can't even read yet. It's never to early to start learning vocabulary. Robert B.

When I was going through my teacher certification courses, one of the catch phrases in the late 1990s was, "to create life long learning or learners." As I entered the classroom for the first time, I was thinking, "how do I get students to love to learn and become life long learners." My first challenge, was to figure out how to get them to become 42-minute learners. I figured if I couldn't get them to learn something in 42-minutes, how was I EVER, EVER going to teach them to learn something during the course of their entire lives. Looking back ten years, I think that teaching isn't about finding answers to questions; but rather, finding great questions to answer. A great teacher moves students in the direction of asking great questions and creates a synergy within the classroom that enables each student to answer their own questions. I believe that every student has a heart, has a passion, a will and a wish. As students move through their formal educations,... read more

I was listening to the radio last night. Coming home from a tutoring session, I sometimes put on my XM Radio and listen to the news. I never have time to really sit down and watch the TV anymore. I was scanning the radio channels, and I don't even know which station or channel it was that I was listening to. But, the announcer was talking about how to get your child to listen to you -- to actually mind the parent. I began to think, just what has caused parents to not have control over the behavior of their children? What is the message that parents are sending to their children? I flipped the station/channel to listen to someone else tell me that if I could get rid of all my debts and my mortgage through their special method of eliminating debt. When I got home, I opened my mail. In my mail was a newspaper that had a kids section. I looked at the kids section to discover the many things that some children were doing to help others who were less fortunate. From toy drives... read more

Parents -- this blog post is for you! Encouragement and discipline are key to success. Be it a sport, an academic subject or even a musical instrument or other skill. Students thrive when they are encouraged to become more disciplined with their efforts. High achievers focus, practice and thrive on successes. Athletes feel great when they are at the top of their game. Superior chefs feel a great sense of pride when their food is enjoyed by their guests. Everyone feels good when others sing their praise. Over the summer, I saw a commercial for Major League Baseball that showed, a San Francisco Giant pitcher learning to pitch from his father. His father encouraged him to pitch well, provided him with lessons and provided discipline to move his son through the learning process. Today, this particular pitcher is one of the best in baseball. During the World Series, many players noted discipline and encouragement from coaches and family members as reasons for their success... read more

Commercial test prep centers try to teach you all the tips and tricks. Some smart students who learn these tips and tricks think they can outsmart the SAT with them. If that's you, think again! ETS, the test maker, varies the test ever so slightly and thus far has rendered many tricks useless. The best way to increase your score is to know your math, read a lot, learn vocabulary by reading and doing exercises, remember your grammar and write effectively. When I tutor students, I teach the skills, not the tips and tricks. I show students how to take the SAT correctly and use their time effectively. Commercial test prep centers are great if you like group instruction. But, when it comes down to your individual score, it might be best to have a teacher who knows how to teach to your specific learning style. When I tutor students for the SAT, I tutor to their specific learning style. I work very hard at making sure that every student strengthens their SAT skills. Most SAT... read more

It's summer time. The lazy days of summer. But, in a few months, your summer reading assignments will be due. Don't let too much time go by before starting your readings. Taking a book on a road trip or to the sea shore is always a great idea. Expanding your vocabulary, allowing your mind to learn new things and appreciate new ideas from books will improve your "smarts." Take time and have some great fun this summer. If you didn't do as well as you would have liked to do, maybe a once a week tutoring session, this summer, could help give your a running start for the next school year. For more information on my summer session program, please contact me through WyzAnt. -Robert B.

Summer is almost here. Final exams, projects and standardized tests are the only things standing in the way of VACATION! Are you having a hard time "sticking it out" and making the final push? Are you stressed? Do you really need to pass with a good grade? Do you have something to prove? Are your college plans on the line? It's called the final push. The time to put aside the child's play and concentrate for your future. You don't have to sweat it. You do have to prepare. A parent, a teacher, an older brother or sister or cousin who has taken similar courses may be able to help you. But, if they can't or you want even stronger academic support, there's nothing better than a tutor who will teach you what you need to know, one to one. If the thought of having a tutor on a regular basis sounds strange, maybe you could try one session and see if it helps. Every tutor is really just a teacher who is dedicated to just you. Without having to deal with an entire... read more

Just the other day, I arrived at my student's home to find him sitting at his dining room table with six major subject books open, notebooks on the floor, his computer screen open to not one but three different essays that he is working on for three different subjects. And, to make matters even worse, his AP test prep book was opened and sitting there. Mom, of course, was in the kitchen baking cookies. So, how do you get out from under the pile? Where do you start? What do you do? Now, this situation sounds a bit extreme. This post is designed to give students some pointers on how to keep up with current assignments. (1) If you don't have one already, keep an assignment pad. If you have a cell phone, you might even be able to keep your assignments on your phone. Some students use google calendar or yahoo calendar to keep track of their assignments. Whatever you decide, you must have a system for keeping track of when your assignments are due. (2) When you get... read more

Many of my students are preparing for midterm exams or finals. With the cold weather and snow, some schools have re-scheduled their exams, making organizing a sound studying strategy a little more difficult. Not knowing when your exam is, makes it hard to pace yourself. But, if you were studying all along, and know what to expect on your midterm or final exam, you have very little to worry about. Let's start with those who have an over confident attitude -- they know everything. They know the subject matter like they know their names. They always got great grades in school. They know they'll do well on the final. But, will they be satisfied with a B or do they really want the A? I take the good students, the successful student and show them how to become great students. My techniques cut study time. I help turn Bs to As. Now, suppose you didn't study all semester, you have a C or D average or even worse, you risk failing your courses. If you have the aptitude and... read more

For many students, it's midterm or finals time. This is the time where students must "strut their stuff" and show their teachers that they have mastered their lessons. No matter what the subject matter, getting ready for midterms or final exams can be stressful, even for the well-prepared. Here are some tips to help you get ready for those important exams: (1) Organize your subjects first. Know what exams you will be taking and WHEN the exams will be taking place. (2) Prioritize your study time based on (a) your current grade point average; (b) your understanding of the subject; (c) the information that you need to know in order to pass the midterm; (d) the weight of the midterm on your course grade. (3) For each subject, reconcile any review sheet with your notes. Review course outlines and see how your notes and review sheets relate to the course outline. Check with your teacher in cases where you have no notes for any missing areas on the course... read more

Ace that test! Cram for it the night before! Study with a buddy! Get through it all with a few cups of coffee, soda or whatever your favorite drink might be! You might even be thinking about doing an all nighter or even not taking the test at all since you are not properly prepared. If grades are important to you, getting stressed out will only hurt you, not help you. Pressure can be a motivator; but, those who are ill-prepared will receive a grade that reflects their knowledge, not the number of hours that they studied for the test. So, what does this mean? What this means is that how long you study doesn't mean jack! How well you study is the key to a better grade. So, how do you ace that test without having to cram, study with a buddy or get totally stressed out? First, you need to keep up with your class work. If you fall behind on the class work or the homework assignments it is difficult to recover after a certain point. Difficult does not mean impossible... read more

Your text book could be your best friend when it comes to passing your test and completing your writing assignments. Most text books are divided into units and chapters. Each unit and chapter has content, skills, questions and mini-versions of the content. Knowing how to use your text book is one way of improving how well you score on tests. Most teachers take test questions directly from the text book. However, most teachers want you to learn how to apply your knowledge or demonstrate your understanding of the subject matter by thinking critically about it. These questions depend on you thinking about the subject rather than providing facts and figures. Your text book has skill builder exercises. Usually those exercises can help you expand your knowledge and think critically about the subject matter. The parts of your text book that you don't work on in class may very well be the test you receive on test day. Teachers are not usually creative when it comes to... read more

Some students learn by looking at the big picture FIRST and then finding out all the little details. Other students learn all the little details FIRST before understanding the big picture. Social studies courses are usually taught from the TEACHER'S learning style, NOT the students.' Consequently, many students who could easily grasp the subject matter, think the teacher is from another planet. And, you know something? They're right! If your teacher provides a series of facts and asks you to formulate a conclusion, what do you do with these facts? If your teacher asks you to find the facts and formulate a conclusion, where would you start? How much of your own personal knowledge do you bring to the classroom each day? Whether you bury your head in the details or seek out the basic elements of the subject matter and work your way through the details, getting the critical information (the information for your report, test, exam, project) is key to learning the subject... read more

How do you stay on task when you feel like you just "gotta get up and walk around" because the subject is so boring? Taking meds may help you focus. But, focus on what? Something you could care less about? Something you just would NOT want to learn about at all? Do you completely tune out when you need to tune in? Can you relate to this? I can! I lived with ADD my entire life WITHOUT meds. I had trouble in school focusing on any subject that I didn't like or on any teacher whom I didn't like. I just didn't care about my school work, my grades or really anything else. I just liked to hang out, play sports, have a good time. Here's just one tip for students with ADD or ADHD: Create a BULLET & TASK LIST and run through your list each morning and evening. This will keep you on track each day. What is a bullet? What is a task? A bullet is information you need to know - A list of presidents, an understanding of how a bill becomes a law,... read more

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