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Have you ever received a graded essay handed back with the phrase, "Needs more structure," or "structure needs work?"   Creating a structure for any written word, whether it is poem, essay, news brief, or novel, is an integral part of the message you intend to convey. Using long, convoluted sentences as means to convince the reader that your argument is very simple will usually only give the opposite impression; simple arguments are best conveyed with short, simple sentences. (For example, the opposite is true in Jonathan Swift's essay, "A Modest Proposal," in which he uses didactic and complex language in an effort to "convince" the people of England that the solution to their hunger and poverty problem is to eat their starving infant children; his complex sentences reflect the sarcastic and satiric nature of his essay, reflecting that he does not see cannibalism as a real solution.)   Structure also helps you keep... 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

Steps to Developing Effective Study Skills Step 1: Assessing Your Learning Style Step 2: Knowing Your Interests Step 3: Developing Appropriate Tools to Enhance Studying Step 4: Making the Subject Work for You (even if you hate it or don’t get it) Step 5: Constructing a Learning-Style-Friendly Environment Step 6: Other Considerations in Developing Effective Study Skills When we sit down to study, most of us follow a routine. We get our books together, get comfy (at a desk, on the bed, sitting on the floor, etc.), and set to work. Some of us turn on the TV or some music; others of us make our environment as quiet as it can be. What we do to study varies, but generally we reread our notes, textbooks, or study guides, and call it a day. The day of the test, we struggle to recall what we studied. Afterwards, we admonish ourselves for not studying hard enough or long enough, and doubt our performance. Does this sound familiar? It doesn’t need to be this way. Effective... read more

It is very good that you are thinking about teaching your child about essays, as they are going to have to do a lot of them when they get to college and university. And, even though the education system puts emphasis on knowledge, the fact is that they are judged on how well they display and express that knowledge, and that is often done via the essay. So, starting them fairly young is important, but you must also remember that they are not yet to the standards of Niccollo Machiavelli or Jane Austen. So, be gentle with your essay lessons. Do not be too harsh with your child The last thing you want to do is make writing a nasty or negative experience for your child. If they experience anything negative then it will impact your child for the rest of his or her life, and you will probably end up visiting him or her in prison when he/she reaches thirty, so that you can look at his/her newest prison tattoo. Start by giving them enjoyable writing experiences This... read more

I recently had the experience of arranging to meet a new client's high-school student for their first time using online tutoring with me. We had already exchanged messages on the platform we intended to use in an attempt to ensure everything was ready for that night's session when the student would be ready.   However, we encountered some problems!  Although we were both logged into the video-conferencing application, and had earlier exchanged IMs through the application, neither of us appeared to be online to the other! After trying the usual restart-the application, restart-the-machine first trouble-shooting steps, to no avail I asked the client to try checking their application for any available updates.  Well, evidently there must have been some updates that hadn't run for quite some time (or perhaps an antivirus program or firewall interfered with the update process, or perhaps the operating system was out-of-date too, or ... could have been any number of... read more

Writing is an essential skill your students should develop. It will be important regardless of the professions they aspire to have in the future. However, teaching students how to write can be a problem. Alyssa Stevenson, Content Strategist at EdugeeksClub advises educators, "Pupils all hate writing assignments, so you’ll have to find a way to make this skill attractive to them." Below are 10 apps to help you out in making learning a lot easier: 1. Kid in Story Book Maker Developed by Locomotive Labs, this tool makes your childhood dream of being in a storybook a reality! Kid in Story Book Maker lets you take a picture for the background and allows you to insert an additional picture of the user. You then get to create a narration for your own story. 2. Write about this This app encourages kids and adults alike to harness their writing skills by providing a wide range of colorful and engaging photos to write about. Each photo has 3 levels of prompts... read more

I’ve been asked many times, “what is the best learning tool that an accounting student has in their arsenal”. When I’ve proposed this question to other modern accountants, they generally list out the programs they utilize most, Quicken, Excel, or the Intuit program du jour; all are cited as the best learning tools for the future accountant. My own response to this question may surprise anyone that has become an accountant post-1995, but would not shock the pre-computer group. While I am a member of the older crowd (by age), I am a new accountant in that I was not accounting professionally prior to 2000. So what tool is most important to me? What one piece of equipment is in my arsenal and is the most dangerous weapon in the accounting world? An abacus? Though I can use one and suggest everyone learn, not the most important tool. A Burroughs Sensitronic with magnetic tape to store ledger cards? Close, but again no. What, what, what apparatus is so important?          ... read more

Some free online courses are available through www.alison.com. ALISON stands for Advance Learning Integrative Systems ONline. They offer free courses if you are able to study on your own online in a wide variety of subjects. These are perfect for preparing you for an exam in a topic that you are weak in or in need of a refresher course. They also have courses and diploma programs for professional development.

I started my Physics course this Summer telling my students they are not allowed to say "I don't know," unless they can't read, listen to a recording, watch a video, or ask a question of someone more knowledgeable. When I was in school we did not have access to information like students do today.  In my humble opinion, students need to bulk up on two things like body builders do using supplements. What are those two things students need to bulk up with? Asking quality questions and learning how they learn.  Take for example, Google is an awesome resource, but if you ask the wrong question or use terms inappropriately, you will not get the answer you seek. Ask a bad question one gets a bad answer. Ask a wrong question one gets a wrong answer. Ask an incomplete question one may very well get an incomplete answer. Its that simple. Quality of questions is paramount and good questions come from meticulous vocabulary management. Therefore, students must become... read more

In mathematics, word problems have been known to pose challenges for elementary school students, middle school students and even some high school students. In addition, a vast majority of students also have difficulties with solving problems with fractions. If we mix a word problem with a problem with fractions, then we end up getting an even tougher problem to solve. How can we expect those students who have not yet mastered language to make meaning of word problems? Let's dive right into a math word problem which will illustrate this.    Problem: Tashira has a piece of lace material that is 3/5 yard long. She used 2/3 of the material to make a quilt. How much did she use to make the quilt?   When a student reads this problem one of the questions she/he may ask is, "Where do I start?" The student may have difficulty with translating the word problem into its mathematical representation. The next difficulty is that if the student decides... read more

I specialize in teaching essay structure and style. When I began tutoring, I had a vague idea that I'd work with college students like the friends for whom I'd proofread during university: young Americans who've grown up in a public school system which emphasized group work over individual learning, and who therefore never got a chance to develop their writing skills. I've certainly worked with students from a background very much like this. However, I've also had the pleasure of building a strong ESL clientele. At this point, I've spent enough time with ESL students to have made some observations about the nature of ESL learning and the way it is discussed. I'm certainly no expert, but by now I am a reliable dilettante. I speak with the authority of firsthand experience. From that vantage, I'd like to address one mistake which is frequently made in conversations about ESL learning. It is a very serious mistake and I have to believe that it muddles teachers' thinking considerably... read more

General - All sessions are billed in 5-minute increments. - All sessions will be charged beginning at the scheduled start time, unless I am late, in which case, the session time will begin when I arrive and charges will be assessed accordingly. - If a session goes past the scheduled end time, you will be charged until the session is complete, in 5 minute increments. If you need a session to end “on time,” simply let me know. - If I choose to end a session early, for example, because we covered all the necessary material--or any similar event--then I will charge you for only the actual duration of the session, in 5-minute increments. - If you choose to end a session early, for any reason, you will be charged for the full scheduled session. - Unless otherwise agreed, all sessions will be schedule for 2 hours. For more explanation, see my TutorFAQs. - Sometimes, it is necessary for me to have my 6-year-old daughter with me when I tutor. She is very well-behaved... read more

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!

I have taught SAT/ACT prep in the public school system for many years.  On the first day, I ask my students to flip their book over and read the quote that says, "The SAT is not designed to trick you!"  I then have them circle that quote and write "LIE!" next to it.  College Boards are as much about successful test taking skills, as they are about knowledge.  There are so many simple strategies that can easily improve scores by 100 points.    One concept I emphasize is skipping questions.  I had a student's score go up by over 100 points, simply by answering less questions!    You don't have to be an English star to do well on College Boards.  With practice, knowledge, and the right test-taking skills, you can walk in on test day confident, and emerge successful!

In my experience with elementary level students, I am constantly amazed by these kids imagination. However when it comes to math i find myself frustrated that their minds wander so much. Sometimes i want to just be like, "Super man and unicorns are not a part of math! pay attention!!!!" Reality is, that just doesn't help. I began trying to revamp my ways of teaching so that super man could join us in our lessons. I found that using examples that incorporate the child's imagination works wonders. They being to laugh and enjoy themselves when I am tutoring them and the best part is....THEY PAY ATTENTION! The fun examples also help them to remember math concepts when they go to take their tests. It is a win win for everyone. A basic example could be "superman already saved 4 people last week but this week he saved 5 more people from a burning building! So how many people has he saved?" We have taken a basic 4+5=9 math problem and made it fun for them. Sometimes... read more

Rhetoric is the tool of influential oratory polished by elegance and the light of ability to use language persuasively; misleading those willing to accept what is being presented is true, even if the undertone is not.

You've purchased the latest and greatest of new digital cameras and have just come back from spending the day enjoying all those new features and taking great photos using Camera Raw. But when you insert the memory card and go to Import Dialog in Lightroom, all your thumbnails say, "Preview Unavailable For This File."   What's wrong?    Don't worry, it's not you. It's the Adobe Camera Raw Plug-In (ACR). Adobe updates the ACR plug-in on a regular basis, but never quite fast enough to keep up with every camera manufacturer's changes to their version of camera raw. So what happens is, Lightroom cannot yet read or see these new camera raw files.    What to do?   It's tricky, but not rocket science. Until Lightroom gets an updated version out that includes your new camera, you can download the Adobe DNG converter from the Adobe website that (hopefully!) includes your camera. The link is here - http://helpx.adobe... read more

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