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There are a lot of different opinions about how to set up a Lightroom catalog. Some teachers suggest creating a new catalog for each shoot, some say one new catalog for each year. After 7 years of working with students privately, I have to say - one catalog - is all you need, especially if you keep your Library photos and folders in order. And your Library should be on a dedicated external hard drive. And, if you're using a laptop, then Smart Previews are the way to go, as they allow you to edit and develop your photos without actually having the hard drive with you.    What's a Catalog and what's a Library?    The Lightroom catalog is how Lightroom knows where your photos are on your hard drive. It is also where it keeps all the information on what you've done - flags, rejects, developing, books, etc. Consider the Catalog a big filing system, but it's not a file cabinet. This is a unique aspect of how Lightroom works and can trip up many beginning... read more

Congratulations to Alex Z., in my Critical Reading Class at Focus Education. For the past year or so Alex has been writing critical analyses of articles in TIME Magazine based on prompts I assign. While Alex is obviously super gifted, he's thrived in the class, and will be continuing even now-- despite having gotten a perfect 800 score in a test designed for kids 3 years older than he is! WOW! An eighth grader with already a 2270 on an official SAT! He could skip high school and go straight to the Ivy League (although I might suggest Williams or Amherst instead). Should I be proud or what? Congratulations also to Ryan of Santa Clarita-- who was accepted today at UC Irvine. Just the first of many "fat envelopes" I expect will be arriving (digitally) this spring. Not to mention my student in Bel Air Crest: a fourth grader who just wrote a fantastic paper on "Wuthering Heights." She's already catching onto SAT techniques, too. In a few months she'll be... 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

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

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

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

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

Recently, I've noticed other tutors asking questions about raising rates and client retention.  Professional tutors learn how to provide this educational service and negotiate payment for services rendered.  This website is great for providing leads and helping a new tutor get started.  Attaining a level of education and specific tutor training will help beginners become effective professionals, not simply peer tutors with high GPAs.  Successfully tutoring others who achieve high marks on writing assignments and exams takes preparation and time.  This job requires more than just one hour with a student.   When I first started tutoring I did not calculate all of my travel expenses, including my time, into my hourly rate. As I quickly gained experience, I began to realize that my clients appreciate and value my willingness to drive to their homes once or twice a week.  Then gas prices began to slowly rise and I had another epiphany.  My... read more

I reserve the right to charge up to the full amount of a lesson or the amount of an hour-long session, whichever is the lesser, in the event of cancelled lessons less than 4 hours before the scheduled start time of the lesson.   Additionally, I reserve the right to charge this same cancellation fee for no shows. I consider no shows to be sessions where the student does not arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time without notice given 4 hours in advance.

From my experience, designing a lesson for one student could be challenging due to not being able to include group or pair-work, which is not only a great way for the students to apply what they have just learned with a fellow classmate allowing them to feel more comfortable to make mistakes but also gives the teacher the opportunity to walk around and listen in and find common errors that can be brought up to the class as a whole instead of singling out a single student's mistake possibly discouraging them, but also because after some time the student can easily get bored deterring them from fully learning the material the tutor is teaching. Here are five things I include in each lesson to ensure that the student is actively learning and having a fun time doing so as well.   1) Make your first lesson informal so they feel comfortable with you from the get-go. They will be hesitant until they feel it is okay to mistakes and the sooner you can get them to let their guard... 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

       Book, books... Table, tables... Phone, phones... Day, days... So... life, lifes, right? Nope! The plural of life is lives. And, isn't the plural of sheep sheeps? Nope! The plural of sheep is sheep. It's the same word.      Have you ever wondered how to handle all of the rules and exceptions to rules in the English language? Here is an introduction (a beginning) to understanding the rules about plural nouns. Hopefully, it will make figuring out how to change that word less of a guessing game and more of a skill. '   Plurals What is a plural noun? A plural noun is a person, place, or thing of which there is more than one. Example: If there is more than one phone, they are called phones. When should I make a noun plural? Make a noun plural when there is more than one of what that noun represents How do I make a noun plural? Usually,... read more

When I worked for Kaplan, they required all private tutoring lessons to be two hours. That surprised me because I thought of lessons as one-hour affairs. However, I soon discovered that we could get through a lot more in one two-hour lesson than we could in two one-hour lessons.  Why? For starters, each lesson always starts with a few pleasantries and takes a couple of minutes to get going. Furthermore, it usually takes 15 minutes or so for students' minds to warm up and perform at their best. So by the time we are at our best flow, if the lesson is only one hour, we have often used a quarter to a third of our lesson time.  In my experience, I've found that 90 minutes works well for many students. With 90 minute lessons, we can go through the warm up period and spend more than an hour at our most productive level. An hour is generally too short and delivers less value per dollar than a longer lesson.  Exceptionally motivated students can often... read more

I was asked this question recently by several mothers about which book (singular, not plural) they should get for their sons for their upcoming tests. To both of them I replied: "Get the Princeton Review edition of the book." And while I believe this to be the CORRECT answer, this answer unfortunately is misleading because what I actually want to say is, "Get ALL editions of the book." For example if there is a Barron's version, a Kaplan version, a Princeton Review version, etc. etc. of AP Chemistry, then I would advise the moms to get ALL of these books for their sons (assuming of course that they'll read them). The reason is because one book doesn't have enough practice problems. From experience, after reading the first test preparation book or textbook, the student will have a rather hazy outline of the subject material. Books 2-5 make the outline clearer. Most students don't begin to really understand the subject until around Book 7. And that's the reason... 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 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

Do you find that your child is often impulsive, is easily frustrated, and demonstrates behaviors that you do not know how to explain? You are not alone. I have received several calls in this past week from parents looking for advice regarding the onset of "behavior problems" in their children. Every child has an innate need for structure and for sensory experiences. Every child has a need to be listened to and understood. Every child has a need to understand and to interact with his or her environment. Unfortunately, these needs are not met for many children, especially in the fast-paced, get-up-and-go culture of American society. If your child regularly comes home from school with bad reports or regularly exhibits signs of discomfort of misbehavior at home, ponder these things: 1. What specific things happened today that could have caused my child to feel misunderstood, ignored, or to feel as if his needs were not met? Think through the whole day, especially... read more

Typically, I don't follow a set of rules when I go to tutoring; I work based on what the students needs are.  But here are a few things that I have noticed have improved my comfort level with new students and their and heir families comfort level with me.   1.  Find out what activities your student is interested in outside of the subject you're tutoring in.  The parent may mention an activity they do or just ask; this breaks the ice and lets them see you as more than someone to help with homework.   2.  Don't be afraid to be goofy.  Most little kids love silly jokes, middle schoolers will pretend like they don't, but really they do, and high schoolers may laugh right then or giggle to themselves about it later.  Oh, and adults might be a tougher bunch, but tap into their sense of humor a bit.   3.  Make friends with their pets.  A lot of families have pets that will greet you sometime during your meeting... read more

Tutoring is a two way street. Both sides of the party need to put in 110% of effort in order to see positive results.   A tutor needs to be enthusiastic about the subject. They need to be passionate about what they are teaching. Throughout my college career, I had a better experience and better results in classes where my professor was enthusiastic about the class. Adversely, teachers who don't show enthusiasm, do not connect with the students, and the students refuse to create that connection as well.    Another healthy tutoring tip is patience. Nobody likes a pushy tutor! Yes, be assertive, but being too pushy will annoy the student. Patience allows the student to digest the material and to create cognitive connections.   Positive encouragement is also a good way to make lessons fun. There are teachers who scare their students by giving them discouragement. When a teacher gives the student positive encouragement, the student feels good... 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

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