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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

1) PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS: Do not sleep or be otherwise engaged in inattentive behavior, otherwise you will miss out on the lesson, and the teacher will likely dismiss you as lazy and indifferent, and be less likely to offer you help or extra-credit when you need it. 2) TAKE NOTES: I prefer "Composition Books" for notes. They are inexpensive, can be purchased at drugstores, supermarkets, etc., and are sturdy and well-made (they have hard covers, and are nicely-bound, so they are less likely to lose your papers, like spiral pads do.) Consider everything that is written on the board important enough to write down, and practice discerning what is important and unimportant when the teacher talks. A good teacher usually stresses or repeats things that are important, and of course, if a review is given, things mentioned in a review should be written in your notes. 3) MAKE FLASH-CARDS: Flash-cards can be an important study-tool. They are especially helpful for memorizing... read more

I am helping a ten-year-old special education child to read.  I will soon be tutoring him an hour every day of the week.  I am finding a lot of materials online; however, most if not all of them require that you pay to join a group to access them.  I do not want to do this.  Can anyone suggest any free resources?  I would like to print them off the computer and I would prefer not to use colored ink.

College application essays are one of my favorite assignments to work on with students. They are a chance for me to get to know my students better as we brainstorm topics for their personal essays. I get to hear about childhood memories, unique family traditions, and uncommon hobbies. I love helping students find their voice and tell their unique stories to colleges. My students do not share my enthusiasm for application essays. They feel immense pressure to produce their best pieces of writing to impress colleges. They have also probably heard vague tidbits of advice on how to accomplish this: stand out, don’t be cliché, and be interesting. It’s no wonder that a lot of students have trouble finding a place to start. Here are a few tips to make college application essays less scary: 1. Reading other essays: Read other well-written college application essays. Many colleges release strong application essays from previous years. Reading an array of these essays... 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

Hi again, I thought I had secured students to tutor in Ormond Beach, Florida. I never did hear back after the initial contact. Maybe this blog post will clear things up a little. The first lesson is free of charge. Here is what to expect during the first lesson: I will meet the student and gather information from the student or the student's parent. I will need to know what textbooks the student is using etc. This first lesson is just a meeting so we can have a face-to-face first time meeting about the tutor/student relationship and agree whether or not to proceed. This first consultation visit is free. I am looking forward to meeting with you. Have a great day, Mark S.

Late University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Joseph Williams was arguably one of the best writing instructors of our time.  I met him years ago when he was teaching a judicial writing course at the National Judicial College. The genius of his approach was to improve clarity in legal and business writing, by asking writiers to first sketch a "story" of their work, including the list of "characters" (nouns) and actions (verbs).  By focusing on storytelling, you as a writer are forced to be more concise in explaining information to your reader--in a more active context.  Using the "character-action" approach to writing simplifies your lanaguge, places responsbility cleary for following regulatoins, and reduces your use of the passive voice. Consider these two examples: (Statutory Instrument 1991 No 2680, The Public Works Contracts Regulations 1991, Part 1, 2.4, page 4)   'General saving for old... read more

As a parent you may be wondering, "How do I find a tutor for my child?" Here are a few questions to ask a tutor: 1. What is your prior experience in ? 2. How will you assess my child's needs? 3. What is your previous experience in education? 4. How will you work in collaboration with my child's teacher? 5. Can you come to my home? Or do I need to come to your location? 6. How flexible are you with your schedule? Is this something you only do part-time, or is this what you do? Here is a list of some questions that a tutor should ask (not in any particular order): 1. What do you think would help your child be more successful? 2. What does the teacher say about how your child is doing up until now in the class? 3. How does your child feel about tutoring? What has he/she been saying about class? 4. How has your child done in previous math courses? When did she/he start struggling? 5. Do you have a copy of the syllabus for the class... read more

This is my first official post as a Wyant tutor. I am not new to tutoring, but I am new to Wyzant. Today at a public library's study room, I will meet my first Wyzant student. I have tutored at the college level for the past few years, but I am a veteran homeschool mom, so I also have experience with children as young as 3 and as old as 16.   My plan is to use both oral questionnaires and written and computer learning assessments.  I am assessing my student for  4th-grade math using an Illinois Common Core standards baseline assessment available at the state website. reading issues by having him read some short passages and asking questions learning style at Accelerated Learning study habits- using 2 online questionnaires atWhat kind of Student Are You and Study Habits I also will be asking questions to get to know the child and his likes, family members, pets, etc. I am both excited and a little bit nervous... 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

Hi. I'm an English Tutor and I have a question for other English Tutors regarding CBEST essay writing prep.  I was wondering if other English Tutors are challenged by the vast number of EL students trying to pass the essay writing portion of the CBEST.  I would love some suggestions on Grammar helpful for ELL.

Thank you for the opportunity to help you or your child achieve learning goals in English and writing. Helping others develop enthusiasm for learning as well as content-based understanding is my motivation. I am glad to be of service. I also rely on tutoring income to help meet my responsibilities. For that reason, I believe it is important to have policies around scheduling and cancellations. Scheduling I schedule students on a first-come, first-served basis, and, normally, I have students who choose to keep a regular appointment or two each week. However, I also have some students who schedule as needed. Those students need to be flexible as my availability may shift from week to week. All appointments are a minimum of one hour in length. To schedule an appointment please contact me at John.Turnbull@wyzant.com.  Cancellations If you must cancel an appointment, please contact me at least six hours prior to your scheduled lesson. Appointments cancelled after... read more

Math Student's Civil Rights   I have the right to learn Math (Math is learnable like other subjects) I have a right to make mistakes, erase then, and try again (Failure points to what I have not learned yet) I have the right to ask for help (asking for help is a great decision) I have the right to ask questions when I don't understand (understanding is the primary goal) I have the right to ask questions until I understand (perseverance is priceless) I have the right to receive help and not feel stupid for receiving it (asking for help is natural) I have the right to not like some math concepts or disciplines (i.e. trigonometry, statistics, differential equations, etc.) I have the right to define success as learning no matter how I feel about Math or supporters I have the right to reduce negative self-talk & feelings I have the right to be treated as a person capable of learning I have the right to assess a helper's ability to... 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

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. 

Carol Dweck is one of the most famous learning theorists alive today. Though she has been studying mindsets for decades, she is perhaps best known for her (appropriately-titled) book, Mindset Her ideas have directly helped hundreds of thousands of readers learn and teach more effectively, and they have indirectly helped millions more by influencing the way we think about learning and intelligence today. When it comes to intelligence there have always essentially been two schools of thought. One claims intelligence is a relatively fixed quantity that is stable throughout our lifespan, while the other argues it is a malleable quality that can change depending on experience (i.e. a variation of the infamous Nature versus Nurture debate). Adherents to the first school often adopt "entity" theories of intelligence and pursue "performance goals," in which they are concerned with gaining favorable judgments of their competence, whereas adherents to the... read more

Scheduling A regular schedule is the most successful structure for tutoring, and I offer discounts for sessions scheduled on a regular basis (see Session Fees).  I also tutor individuals who want single sessions, have irregular schedules, need immediate help, or simply are not sure.   I try to be as flexible as possible and am usually able to stay longer than scheduled if needed. I will not charge for up to 15 minutes extra if it was not previously arranged. I offer online tutoring as well as in-person, so please let me know if you are interested in occasional online sessions to supplement in-person lessons, or if you prefer online lessons only.      Session Fees All of my fees are negotiable! If you have a request please contact me before the session is scheduled.  Individual student rates for standard subjects: $ 35 per hour Individual student rates for multiple hour sessions (3 hours or more): $30... read more

Students have a wonderful opportunity to show admissions officers who they really are, by using the college essay to stand out from the crowd. In my experience, if you find a topic that you care about, and you write an essay that speaks from your heart, you will have a successful application experience. Admissions officers have to read dozens of applications per day in the 'busy season'. If you give an application reader a chance to pause, laugh out loud or wonder about the end of the story, and really recognize you as an individual, whether using humor, philosophy, creative writing about a memory or a fictionalized experience, or a profound lesson learned, you will hit a home run!   I am happy to help you get started, and then to edit your results. I do not write essays for students, but I do help you present yourself in the best light possible, and to give you opportunities that you may not find on your own.  Contact me for 3-session essay writing package... read more

Since Banned Books Week happens in mid-September each year, I'd like to talk today about the problem with banning books. Last year, my Bring Your Own Book club's topic for September was to read a banned or challenged book. We had a great discussion during our meeting about common threads in all of the books we read, common reasons why books get challenged, and how that relates to the education system in general. One of the things that kept coming up was that often, the reason the book was challenged is the entire point of the book itself – of course it deals with that; that's the main theme of the book! Whether it's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looking For Alaska depicting kids smoking, drinking, and doing drugs, or it's The Giver depicting a fundamentally broken society masquerading as a utopia (psst – that's the definition of the genre – it's a dystopia!), or even a gorgeous picture book called “And Tango Makes Three” telling a true story about a pair of male penguins who... read more

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