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Way back in 2010, one of my first blog post series on this site took the form of a five-part series on rules for effective time management.  For the next few Ellen's Choices, I've decided to go back through these rules and apply them to the world of preparing for the SAT (or any standardized test). So let's begin with Part 1: All-Nighters Are Evil Ellen’s Rules for Effective Time Management 1. Never pull an all-nighter. 2. NEVER pull an all-nighter! Seriously! I mean it. All-nighters are downright useless. Besides the fact that this concept breaks almost all of my other rules for effective time management in one go, all-nighters cause fatigue, stress you out, and just end up producing sub-par work. You can’t write well when you’re tired, and staying up all night studying just means you’ll be yawning all the way through the test the next day. If you haven’t learned the information on the test by the night before, you’re not going to learn... read more

I was just contact by someone in a city near me (25 miles) who would like just some phone conversation/tutoring for her French exchange student.  I told her that I would adjust the rate($15/hour) since all she is asking for is some pick-me up conversation in her native tongue, and a little help learning the American English. Would anyone else have some ideas for me about rate for phone conversational English/French? 

I mentioned this problem from one of my earliest blog posts with one of my students last week, so I thought I'd bring it back as this week's Math Journey.  Enjoy!   ~   The SAT messes with your head. Don't feel embarrassed, it messes with everyone's head. It's designed to. The SAT is a test of your critical reasoning skills, meaning it's actually far more about logic and figuring out the correct course of action than it is about actually knowing the material. This is nowhere more evident than on the Math section. The SAT Math trips up so many students because they expect it to behave like a math test. The truth is, the SAT Math is about figuring out how to answer each problem using as little actual math as possible. It's all about working quickly, and the questions are structured such that they conceal the quick logic and context-based route behind the facade of a more complicated math question. They're trying to psych you out; to make you... read more

No-Shows/Cancellations: 1) If the student gives between 1 and 3 hours notice of cancellation before the lesson, I reserve the right to charge 50% my rate for the lesson length. 2) If the student gives less than 1 hour notice of cancellation, I reserve the right to charge for the entire lesson at the full rate. 3) If I, the tutor, miss a lesson without more than 1 hours notice of cancellation, the student reserves the right to request the next lesson of equivalent length for no fee. Tardies: 1) If a student is more than 15 minutes late, I will charge for the length of the actual lesson plus a 50% rate for every minute late to the nearest 5 minute mark.  Exceptions will be made for students who provide reasonable advanced notice of tardiness (determined at my discretion). 2) If I, the tutor, am more than 15 minutes late without reasonable prior notice, the student reserves the right to request 50% rate for the length of the lesson.

I'm seeing more and more requests for assistance with writing. In my tutoring experience, students often need help developing key messages. What would you like a reader to know, learn, or remember? What are the main points to support your point of view, whether the message is informational or persuasive?   Another consideration for effective communication should always be the audience. What does the audience (or teacher) expect to gain from reading your paper, for instance?   Before you start writing, I recommend that you step back and look at the writing assignment (and requirements) carefully before proceeding. This will save you time and enhance your chances of providing a deliverable that is spot-on!    

The Psychological Difference Between Repeat Purchase & Brand Loyalty Posted on May 19, 2016 By MaryPosted in Media Buy, Social Media, Technical SEO, Technical SEO Explaining the psychological difference between repeat purchase and brand loyalty. When consumers become committed to a brand and make repeat purchases over time, they are brand Loyalty customers. This phenomenon is a result of consumer behavior and is affected by a person’s preferences. Loyal customers will consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price. A great example of the sociological reasons why people will go to great lengths to purchase a brand is Apple computer and its Mac products. In this case, the brand becomes a prestige product, in that it makes the one who owns it feel good. Some people think Apple really over-prices their products, yet because the psychological and emotional value attached to it, price doesn’t matter. Consumers... read more

While creating engagements on social media, I came across a Copywriting book that I think is pretty good, especially being that the author-- Adventure Communications --encourages people to share the book with anyone free or charge. Now, if you are an SEO or Digital Marketer, you must be asking yourself, "What does copywriting have anything to do with Marketing?" One of the most important skills for any Digital Marketer to have is copywriting skills, which is a type of writing that aids in conveying a persuasive or effective Ad message through online media and print materials. Copywriting is primarily used for the purpose of advertising or marketing. This type of written material is often used to persuade a person or group as well as to raise brand awareness. In fact, some of the most successful SEO and Digital Marketers you see on Conferences and/or publications like MOZ, Search Engine Land, State of digital, TechCrunch, Forbes tech and the like;... read more

Last week in my Literature Spotlight, I discussed the idea of science-fiction as a reflection of the time period in which it was written. For this week's Writing Rundown, let's take a look at my brainstorming process. As I mentioned in this blog post, there are many ways to brainstorm for a project. For this one, I decided to use a technique I hardly ever use myself: free-writing. Free-writing is a great tool for projects for which you have the beginnings of a lot of ideas bouncing around in your head, but none are quite fleshed out enough for you to contemplate their connections. It generally requires another form of prewriting such as a word cloud or outline to get it into a state that helps you write the essay, but it's a great place to start. So, as a brief recap: in freewriting, sometimes called “stream-of-consciousness” writing, you put your pen down on a blank piece of paper and just start writing – and you don't stop writing for at least ten or fifteen... read more

I have successfully completed 15 graduate Physics courses, completing a B.S. in Physics only a year ago. As an undergraduate I found the topic very enlightening and intriguing because it aims to answer all of the underlying why questions that arise in nature. I really enjoyed Newtonian Physics (classical mechanics) the most during my undergraduate career because so many real world examples are used and explained (an easy stated example: dropping cargo from an airplane at a constant velocity from a designated height and needing it to land in a particular spot).    While I was in the Air Force I was a ground RADAR technician and found, in practicality, the importance of physics. While unknowing to me then, the very job I had was engineered by the top physicist of that time. The RADAR I worked on was old but ground breaking when it was first commissioned. I joined when I was 20 (so I had a couple of years of schooling completed prior to entering) and had not yet formally... read more

  Critical reading can feel like a pretty nebulous topic, but there are specific skills that can be practiced to improve your understanding. One of the most basic skills is simply paraphrasing as you read through a passage. I did say "simply", but I realize that this does not always feel so simple. Still, with practice, paraphrasing can (and should) become second nature.   As you read through a passage, practice frequently rephrasing what you have read. Paraphrase every few sentences or even more often if the passage is particularly difficult. While you might imagine that this process will slow you down, in practice it can save you time. It is certainly faster than reaching the question section and realizing that you don't understand what you just read. Rereading the entire passage can make it difficult to finish the section in the given time.    Paraphrasing is not summarizing; paraphrasing is instead a way of clarifying what you just read... read more

Prompt: Explain the popularity of Science Fiction. Use at least one work from this genre to explain its appeal. Science fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love it (and I suspect many of its readers love it) because despite its trappings of the future, good science fiction is very much a reflection of the time period in which it is written. One of Sci-Fi's major draws for me is that it can highlight and discuss social issues that might be touchy to talk about in the present day. Through the skillful use of spaceships, aliens, utopian planet colonies, and other 'flight-of-fancy' scenarios, a science fiction author can hold a mirror up to the way our current society deals with an issue by showing how their fictional society does. By reading sci-fi from previous eras, then, we can catch a glimpse of what people of that era were thinking about – and what was considered an acceptable 'flight of fancy.' The Skylark of Space, written by E. E. 'Doc' Smith in the... read more

To keep your math skills sharp, try Khan Academy. They have numerous math resources, and even more computer science exercises. You can learn how to program. Go there today.

Michelle (not her real name, of course) is a bright, energetic 5th-grader. She is super-smart (and wants to be an astronaut when she grows up), but unfortunately she has a perception disorder that makes her jumble up letters and words when she reads or writes. (Special glasses help). She was doing very badly in math (especially word problems, as you can imagine), and her parents were in despair. It took several sessions and a lot of discussion with her mom to understand where she was having trouble and come up with ways to help her work-around those challenges. One thing I discovered right away was that she did not know her multiplication tables! (I can’t tell you the number of students I have taught, even in high school, who do not have a good handle on their multiplication tables...) Here she was facing division problems, fractions, and factoring, and she did not have the basic tools needed to handle those. So the first thing we did was made her some multiplication... read more

-Tutoring Rates- My base rate may be increased at any time. Students who have tutored with me within the last 2 months will continue to keep their original rates. Those who contact me again after 2 months will have their rates increased to the current rate.   Billing begins at the scheduled session start time (or earlier if the session starts early). Time spent waiting on the student to arrive is billed as part of the session. Travel fees may be assessed for students seeking my services outside the specified radius of my location.    It is the student and/or parent's responsibility to notify me at the start of each session of how much time they wish to be tutored. In the event that a specific time frame is not specified, I will continue working with the student and bill each lesson based on the final duration.   Based on factors such as subject, class structure, online vs in-person, group rates, etc, I may elect to offer different... read more

At a conference in town earlier this year, I presented several panel discussions centering around the difficulty of defining and quantifying art. Our discussions in these panels got me thinking about literature, and how one of my main points could apply equally easily to much of the literature that students read in high school. The point in question is this: one of the defining characteristics of art, in my view, is that it is something that creates an emotional response in the viewer. Experiencing it changes you in some way. This is easy to see when the emotions are ones we generally see as 'positive;' if a play makes your heart swell with hope for the future, or a ballet duet makes you flush with the excitement of new love, or an epic novel makes your heart race with anxiety over the safety of the main characters, it's easy to argue that those works are art and have changed you. But what if the emotions you experience are more negative – what if a novel bores you, frustrates... read more

To my fellow educators and students,   I know that it is very tempting to give your students answers to their questions immediately, but sometimes it's best to let a student struggle a little. Asking students why they are doing what they are doing can help students to make lasting connections that go beyond that next test or ACT exam. This approach can be frustrating for both teachers and students at times, but it is quite rewarding.   I have a student who was completely scared about sharing their opinion on an answer they gave. Throughout most of the lesson i refused to give them a yea or nay answer. I asked them to talk it out and see if they could understand why they did what they did. The student was correct, but having students explain their answer and even get frustrated with me some helped this student achieve deeper understanding of the material. 

1. There are no wrong answers, judgement is OUT the window in my class.   It is only wrong if you do not participate in the discussion because anything "we" say is all of value.   2. Multiple avenues are used to give the best tutoring experience possible-and humor!   3. Make every lesson different, yet challenging   4. Understand what way your student(s) learn best. Use the tools they are comfy with, and the tutor needs to adapt.   5. The best tutors are students as well as educators. They have a thirst for knowledge and are willing to learn together with the student, not lecture the student. Good tutors positively engage and do not criticize in any form.   ♠♣♥♥♥♥ß¾ƒ∑©™®-Study, learn, and have fun while doing it!

An engineering program is the best preparation for your college-bound child’s future as a doctor, lawyer, corporate manager, best-selling author, management consultant, high school science teacher, mayor, senator, police detective, touring musician, factory production manager, pharmacist, banker, financial advisor, small business owner, CEO, CFO, COO, university professor or administrator. The student in question may not have to finish the degree to reap the benefits. The idea is to learn how to think and make decisions "like a GOOD engineer". Depending on where a person starts at, and the freedom to chose classes, this can happen sooner for some than others. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a strong believer in personal wellness management and simplicity so I personally avoid anything that involves regulation, legislation, litigation, medication, or invasive surgery. But when I need help with any of the above, I prefer that the party coming to my aid, started their... read more

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