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I tutor a lot of "little learners:" students K-6.  In order to keep my costs of materials and resources low but maximize the expanse of my creative lessons, I recently signed up for a membership to my local public children's library.  Although I do not have any children of my own, I stop in once a week to pick up several books for my students to use during our lessons.  They love having a new book brought to them each week "just for them" and I appreciate not having to break the bank to bring new and exciting topics and activities to my students!  Memberships are usually free, so there is no reason why tutors of elementary age children should not take advantage of borrowing books/lesson ideas from their local libraries!

1. Hopscotch Draw a hopscotch outline with chalk or tape and write the letters of a spelling word in the squares. Your child says the letters out loud as he hops. Erase one letter at a time until he can successfully spell the word without hopping, and then move onto the next spelling word. 2. Ball Toss Toss a ball back and forth to reinforce spelling in a fun way. Each time your child catches the ball, they say the next letter of the spelling word. 3. Hide and Seek Write their spelling words on note cards, and tape them in unusual places, such as on the back of cabinet doors, in your child's closet or in her pencil or jewelry box. When they find a word, they bring the card to you and spells the word. 4. Street Signs/Store Names   Have your child learn to read street signs and store names around your neighborhood. This will help them learn where they live, colors and sight words all at the same time!  ...

There are several points in grade school that involve a critical shift in the thinking that is required in the school work.  Parent's should be aware of these points as they navigate through the abyss of raising a school-aged child and supporting the child as he/she moves forward through the grades.   3rd Grade - The third grader is transitioning from whole number thinking into understanding the concepts of parts.  They are exposed to fractions, decimals and percentages.  This is a major paradigm shift.  Students are also exposed to long division at this point.  Supporting children in this phase requires an emphasis on helping the child conceptualize whole things being split into parts.  In addition to homework support, tutoring, and supplementary work, parents should introduce cooking chores to children at this time, and make them follow a recipe that has precise measurements.  Reading comprehension and writing is also an issue here... read more

"Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words." In order for a student to be able to read words off the page they must understand how words are made up of individual sounds called phonemes. Phonemic awareness is not something that comes easy for all children but if a student has a strong foundation in their phonemic awareness it will propel them forward in reading and writing. Playing with words and their sounds, for example, substituting sounds, deleting sounds, and adding on sounds will help students build that foundation.    Examples: Subbing sounds: "Change the n in nap to c. What word do we get?" "cap"   Deleting sounds: "take away the s in slip. What word do we get?" "lip"   Adding on sounds: "Add a s to the beginning of mile. What word do we get? "smile"   Make sure you model these... read more

The answer: Let them read what they like. Most kids have a preference. For instance, some children will not read chapter books, but they love non- fiction text with pictures and captions, great vocabulary, and scientific or historic content. Standards actually encourage this type of reading.  Some kid's love reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, magazines, and even religious stories. Video games have manuals and books on tips and strategies. Many include complex organization. Let them read!  Rarely, I have met a child who completely repels all literary content.      Watch what texts your child naturally gravitates towards; then feed that interest with diverse literary texts.     

I am very excited about the opportunity to work with your child or children. I love to take students from where they are and bring them up from there!  I have over 10 years elementary teaching experience from prekindergarten to fifth grade!  I love working with math and reading with students. I love watching a child's eyes light up when they learn something new!  I always try to use different strategies with students to match their learning style.  I would love to add your child to my tutoring profile!  I have availability this summer and fall during the weekdays and can also on some weekends! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 

After several months of carrying some pretty heavy textbooks around with me, I recently decided to switch to a Kindle Fire and start using electronic textbooks. Although there are times when a good old-fashioned book really cannot be replaced, I'm very pleased with the weight of my tutoring bag now, and my students seem to be enjoying the switch as well.   I'm able to download textbooks for free in some cases ("Boundless" publishing), and I also have several different dictionaries and other reference books a tap away! Any other books I might find helpful for my students? Just a few clicks away. This also frees up my paper textbooks to loan to my students in-between sessions. Using a Kindle gives me the added benefit of being able to load educational applications to use for practice and reinforcement. Since we are in the 'computer testing' age, this also gives my students some extra practice in preparing for computerized exams. I'm sure you'll notice... read more

Here are some of my favorite resources that cover multiple subject areas in a single resource. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores.     (All grades) - homework help from real tutors and teachers (All grades) - lessons and tutorials from real tutors and teachers (Varies) – Formulas, practice, and basic information for chapter reviews or previews. (PreK-8, 12) – Math, Language Arts, Science, Health and History games, + SAT vocab flash cards (K-8) – Flashcards, practice lessons, and general guidance in all core subjects (K-6) – Online textbook-based lessons and practice for elementary school students- a GREAT resource if you’ve left your textbook at school or if you need more worksheets to... read more

I remember the moment clearly even now: Mrs S., brandishing the loose-leaf pages in front of my fourth-grade classroom, her wild-eyed look at odds with her precise hair and immaculate apple-printed skirt. I remember how I had quietly slipped the papers into tray of finished homework, how I had felt somehow embarrassed by the inked words. I remember her words: "Julie is going to be a famous writer someday!" And I remember the feeling: elation, pride, and a stark wonder that someone believed in me this much.   Now, years later--after a college degree in Creative Writing and a few published pieces in literary journals--I think back on the powerful impact that Mrs. S. had on my writing. I was an extraordinarily shy student. English had been my second language, and I had been shuffled through ESL classes all throughout my early elementary school years. But for me, English was not a hardship—it was a refuge. I lost myself in books, and found myself in paper and pen... read more

In my work as a teacher, I cannot help but notice that many of the reading selections written for our students include words that are beyond our students' experience. Students simply do not have & could not usually acquire the background knowledge necessary for understanding some words they encounter in subject-specific reading selections, such as social studies & science. Reading instruction in language arts classes cannot adequately address all the words students need to know, as language arts teachers have other specific concerns to address every day. This is why every teacher must be a reading teacher & consider reading an integral part of their subject. Certain subjects are the best place for students to encounter, learn, and understand some of the vocabulary they need to know, while context clues are only useful if students already have the needed background knowledge. In other words, a context clue is not really a clue at all if students do not have the background... read more

When addressing general learning - especially in K-6 - we must keep in mind that subjects cannot be separated from one another. An obvious example is science, which requires mathematics, writing, and usually reading. Mathematics word problems, of course, require skill in reading and logic. If we consider social studies, we quickly realize that reading, writing, science, and math concepts are usually necessary for appropriate learning experiences. The common element in all our learning is, of course, language, which we began learning before we were even born. As we grew and learned, we imitated our parents' oral language and learned to associate words with things we observed in our environment. Eventually, we began learning to read, which is simply associating written symbols with oral language. Reading opened us up to a variety of learning, but we had to practice reading on its own, for its own sake, as well as in the other subject areas. This is why schools nowadays often treat social... read more

The human muscular system is not only complex, it intrigues by the amount of work it can perform, and sustain under the most demanding conditions. There are many viable contenders for determining the strongest muscle, included are: longevity, strength alone, load, lift, durability, response to pain, healing qualities, size, function, growth, suitability in recovery and reproducibility of destroyed or diseased cells. Within the human body, there are several muscles that may be considered such as the heart, jaw, tongue, uterus, the list can go on until you have covered most of the over 630 muscles in the human body. The strongest muscle is that muscle required to work all day, every day without tiring or failure. It could be a group of muscles or a single muscle. It is the one that responds to high demand and allows us to function almost flawlessly. It is the one that is mechanically, the most perfect muscle. The muscle that outperforms any mechanical device conceived... read more

Why does learning have to be boring?  Most kids struggle in school because they are unmotivated, not engaged, and embarrassed.  Unmotivated because they haven't found the connection to what they are learning about and their own lives.  Not engaged-well, unfortunately most schools are set up in a traditional setting with desks and books; and a lot of students don't learn in that setting.  Embarrassed- many are confused or struggling and are afraid to ask for help because of their peers.     I've created a way for students to learn in fun and engaging ways!  With a little competition, and a simple game such as Connect Four, my students start spelling words they never thought they could spell!  Playing Jenga was never so serious until there was a challenging task to meet if and when that tower falls!    As well as being a certified elementary school teacher, I'm also a certified personal trainer.  ... read more

Back-to-School Smart Tips It’s FINALLY almost time for school again, and I know a lot of you are excited (I know I am!), but there some excellent pointers to keep in mind as school starts back up again. Before school starts: 1. Get a really good planner you like. Most students aren’t accustomed to using planners or don’t keep up with it. Planners, whether you know it or not, are just as important, if not more important than binders and pencils. I know that all through middle school, high school, and college, I would have been completely lost without my planner. Planners are EXCELLENT for writing down quiz dates, test dates, homework, and after-school activities. Some schools will sell planners and those can be excellent, but I also recommend looking around at Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart/Target for other general planners that organize by time and day. Weekly planners typically do not work well for people with full schedules, so try to stay away from those... read more

Five tips for surviving the summer slump! 1. Spend time getting physical exercise - it keeps the brain active. 2. Read as much as possible - choose books that interest you, not just what might be on your school's summer reading list. 3. WRITE - write a journal about what you did during the summer, places you went, reflections on books you read. 4. Limit the time you spend on computer games. 5. HAVE FUN.

As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to... read more

Summer means fun, no school, swimming pools and a number of other things that do not include school work.  So it is  important to create a routine for learning  you could name something like " The Summer Fun Club".   See if you can find a couple of neighborhood kids who might want to join in the fun.  It is important you schedule 30 minutes every day for fun time. 1)  Plan a time to play school everyday (you can call it anything your student will find interesting) for 30 minutes. 2)  Echo read a passage that is appropriate in terms of level, then choral read then individual reading. 3)  Retell the story. 4)  Retell the story and change the ending. 5)  Act out the different characters in a little play. It is amazing what a student can learn and remember if they have a gross motor connection.  These are a few suggestions.  All kids learn in different ways.  Pay attention to how your student... read more

For parents who are trying to do any of the following: 1. Engage your child in reading 2. Increase your child's reading skills (fluency, comprehension, rhythm, expression, tempo, etc.) 3. Increase your child's language acquisition, vocabulary, grammar skills, and spelling skills This blog post is for you!!! There are some really unique ways to help your child become a "reader." I myself wasn't a "reader" until about the age of 10. Up to that point, though I loved books and collected books and asked for books for birthdays/holidays, I was not a reading self-starter. However, I loved being read TO! At the age of 6, I took a great interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. Not only, was I fascinated with the time period (late 1800's), I also found a kindred spirit of sorts in Laura. She stood up for things in which she believed strongly, she was stubborn, and she was short! I found a heroine that was very much like me! So... read more

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