# Blogs

A student needed to draw a circle with a 2" diameter, then draw the following angles: 100°, 120º, and 140º. She had her compass but didn't have her protractor.   First she drew the circle, then she drew 2 perpendicular diameters. Since a circle encompasses 360º, each quadrant comprising 90º. We drew the 120º angle first using an entire 90º quadrant plus 1/3 of the adjacent quadrant, erasing the unneeded line, which leaves 60º in that second quadrant.   Then we found the circumference of the circle (C=πD, or 3.14x2"=6.28"). Next we found 1/4 of the circumference (6.28"/4=1.57"). We wanted to be able find the arc length in 10º increments, so we divided the arc of one quadrant by 9 (1.57"/9=0.174"). We converted this into 1/16ths of an inch by multiplying by 16 (0.174"x16=2.79 sixteenths of an inch).   Getting back to our angles, we measured the 100º angle next by taking our remaining 60º and adding 40º of... read more

Hello friends!    After working with a few students in basic and advanced Microsoft Excel techniques, I've created a syllabus that I think will work for anyone trying to learn Excel. Complete with worksheets, tutorials, and homework assignments.

To my students and their families, Thank you so much for the opportunity to be your tutor. It is with great joy that I prepare an individualized lesson plan ahead of time, as well as detailed coursework for both in-class and after-class practice. As a result of the preparation needed to provide quality service for every student, I reserve the right to issue a cancellation fee for students who either cancel within twenty-four (24) hours of the scheduled time slot or for students who fail to show up to the lesson within the first 15 minutes of the scheduled time slot.   A cancellation fee of \$15 will be issued for those who cancel within twenty-four hours of the scheduled time frame OR who show up to lesson 15 minutes past the start time without prior notice. I completely understand that sometimes there may be an emergency or schedule confusion. If this is the case, I am happy to reschedule the lesson for a later time on the same day as the original slot, if there is... read more

I am promoting the idea of students working daily to increase vocabulary skills! I primarily tutor students who are writing essays, applying to universities, and/or preparing for the GRE, NCLEX, or MCAT. A rich vocabulary is a necessary foundation for life. In test situations, students cannot count on "looking it up on Google". I have my students use a 3x5 index card as they are reading any book, write down any unfamiliar words that they come across during the reading session, and then look them up in a dictionary at the end of the reading session. They then write the definitions on the index card. At the end of the book, they have a list of new vocabulary words. if students grew up using a lot of technology and not reading, it is vital to start now with books that have a rich treasure of great vocabulary words. Enjoy! Rachel High-stakes testing, Essay writing, many other subjects

In addition to the usual suggestions of getting a good night's sleep, and eating a good breakfast the day of the test, I suggest the following: 1. I have my students go to the test site prior to the test, especially in high-stakes situations such as the GRE. I recommend they do this from one to four weeks ahead of time. They check out the route and the parking situation, and mentally picture themselves going in and coming out of the test site door with a happy and confident disposition. If the student has not yet done this, that is still a good idea to do about 48 hours prior to the test. 2. Throughout the tutoring, I have my students review challenging vocabulary words, along with the mnemonic devices I provide. We use colored index cards. In the 48 hour period before the exam, the student would review any words and mnemonic devices that still remain challenging. 3. My students have large posters for their walls that have visual aids for key concepts. These would also... read more

I see increasing numbers of students returning to college and vocational schools, to obtain more education and be competitive in this economy. There is a great need for tutors to help with essay writing and test preparation for the entrance tests like SAT and ACT and also the GRE for those seeking a graduate education. The student's investment in time and money does pay off. Student loans are available at 7% and 9%, which is much less than the amount of increase in salary which a degree makes possible. However, that said, it is important that the student do some research on the future of various career paths. Considering that we are in the worse economic situation since the Great Depression years, pursuing a degree in an obscure field does not make as much sense as pursuing a career in one of the "20 fields expected to grow in the next ten years". A rule of thumb is to borrow student loan money in an amount not to exceed one year's typical salary in the career being... read more

Everyone has their own approach to writing. Some writers are very methodical throughout the entire writing process while others write freely and revise their way to the final draft. For proposals and admissions essays, a structured writing process draws from the strengths of both approaches. It starts with a creative focus and concludes with deliberate writing and revision. First, with the requirements and prompt in mind, the writer lets him or herself write and think freely. Second, the writer reviews his or her own notes and ideas to identify a cohesive focal point. Next, the writer distills the ideas into a concrete thesis and engages peers, friends, family, and instructors to develop and strengthen the arguments. Finally, the writer lays out the elements that support the thesis and backs it with specific examples or anecdotes. Creative Stage. In this stage, the writer thinks and writes freely but not chaotically. It starts with a careful review of the requirements laid... read more

Accessing the online lesson for the first time can be tricky.Below is a detailed explanatation   First and foremost, your computer must have a webcam and headphones are recommended. To avoid a panic at the later lesson time, I strongly suggest attempting to access the lesson the second that your lesson is scheduled. This will allow you to explore the features and familiarize yourself with the program. I'll be happy to assist at the time of the lesson as well and it usually takes no more than a minute.   The access to the lesson is generally to the right of the messages tab on the computer. There should be a "join online lesson" option. This may be labeled differently, but should say about the same. If you have any trouble outside of this, please message your tutor and they (or I) can hopefully guide you in the right direction.

Hello.  I am a private tutor in Westchester county.  This is about 40 minutes from NYC.  Many affluent people live here.  However, there are also many middle class and lower middle thar struggle to pay bills?  Does anyone offer rates based on grade?  For example 40.00 per hour for elementary, 50-60 per hour for middle school and 60-70 per hour for high school.  I have been posting on social media, however I am finding that many people, particularly the younger grades are finding my rate of 60.00 per hour too high.  Should I lower my rate, until I get fully booked and then move up the rate as I get more in demand?

One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words.  I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions.  Here's an example:   At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god.  Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information.  So, in English the line might be written:   Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave.   But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin):   In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave.   Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave!  I find things like this absolutely thrilling.  But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry.   That... read more

In today's Writing Rundown, I want to leave the brainstorming process for a bit and discuss responding to a prompt. Take a look at the prompt I used for my last Literature Spotlight, “The Blanks Left Empty”: AP Literature Open-Ended Prompt, 1975, #2: Unlike the novelist, the writer of a play does not use his own voice and only rarely uses a narrator’s voice to guide the audience’s responses to character and action. Select a play you have read and write an essay in which you explain the techniques the playwright uses to guide his audience’s responses to the central characters and the action. You might consider the effect on the audience of things like setting, the use of comparable and contrasting characters, and the characters’ responses to each other. Support your argument with specific references to the play. Do not give a plot summary. Whew! That's a lot of information to sift through. Unfortunately, many high school and college-level writing prompts are as... read more

10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

I couldn't find any references to this tool in the blogs or forums, so I wanted to put this out there.   I use A Web Whiteboard (AWW) found at https://awwapp.com for all my online tutoring needs. No download, registration, or install necessary... and it's completely free! It also has zero ads or any other clutter you might associate with any free tool. It appears the developers behind AWW make their money by selling a premium product to those interested in that sort of thing, but I've found the free tool more than enough for my needs.   It has pretty much everything I'm looking for in a whiteboard tool: multiple colors, incredibly simple to invite students to join the board, cross-platform (any student with an internet connection can use it, and it works in every browser, as far as I can tell), and there is an option to save the images you create so you and your students can have material for reference later.   The only conceivable drawback... read more

As I have tutored over time via instant messaging, certain problems come up again and again among the students that I have taught English writing to.   As I have corrected student essays over the past few years online, I have developed this set of advice for writers with less experience.  Much of this advice is influenced by Strunk & White's and Payne, so I don't claim much originality here.   General organizational advice for essays: 1. Don’t take the reader’s attention for granted. In the introduction, use attention-getting devices, such as a set of leading questions, interesting statistics, a famous quote from a famous person, a striking assertion or claim, etc. The following sentences in the first paragraph should narrow down the topic to the more specific point made in the thesis. 2. Always put the thesis statement, or main point to be proven or explained, at the end of the first paragraph. Aim to write it as a single sentence, not two... read more