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I am a tutor, a retired, currently certified State of Illinois teacher, K-9, with a current LBS-1 Illinois State teacher endorsement to teach special education.  I believe that I am responsible for the quality and effectiveness of the lessons that I prepare.  This commitment pledges me to hours of serious preparation of lessons that meet the educational needs of my students, offering them significant steps for attaining their goals through lessons designed to be interesting to the student, strengthening their enjoyment of the learning process.

Folks, I have been out of the tutoring game for a few years for numerous reasons - moving, demands at my day job, grad school, all sorts of things.   Wait - grad school? Yes, I am pursuing an MBA at Fitchburg State University. It has been a long haul but I am in the final stretch and will graduate in May 2019. I hope to get back into tutoring after June. Yes, I need a break. A long week at the beach is in order.   Many apologies to the families and students who have contacted me over the last couple of years. I was unavailable but will be again soon.

You are playing a game involving three dice. You can choose to bet on any number from 1 to 6. I'll roll the three dice. If: - none shows your number, you lose $1 - one shows your number, you win $1 - two show your number, you win $3 - three show your number, you win $5 What is the expected value of this game?  Email your answer so as not to ruin the challenge for others. 

Welcome to the NEW Series 7        FINRA has introduced a new licensing structure for people entering finance. The new structure brings on new challenges and possibly an alternative method for evaluating new candidates. For the first time, the new Series 7 encompasses a prerequisite SIE exam that can be taken prior to being employed by a FINRA Broker-Dealer. This SIE exam tests your basic Securities Industry Knowledge and will have a passing score of 70%. Your score on this exam will most likely be a part of the application process and will be compared to other candidates. The “old “ way of studying for the Series 7 with just the goal of just passing and not worrying about your score is likely a thing of the past. You will need to have a more solid understanding of the material and the basic inner workings of Broker-Dealers. How well you do on the SIE should give the hiring manager an idea of how easily you will pass the Series 7 top off exam once you... read more

WyzAnt: From the moment I stumbled upon it, I was intrigued by the name of this tutoring organization!! Well, maybe “intrigued” is not exactly the best word to describe my impression. You might say that for me the name held “karma" for a couple different reasons. A story is in order! Read on: I was on the WyzAnt website the other day, and my brother chuckled as he looked over my shoulder at the red, bespectacled ant. I have no idea if my brother was laughing because the ant seemed like a funny mascot for the organization or because of the coincidental name of the organization. Well, I never got around to posing that question to my brother because I became distracted by his denial that the name was based in a biblical concept. So, I proceeded to prove the depiction of “the ant” in the Bible as a role model. I said, "Listen, Brother, to the words of King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived!" The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 6, verses 6 through 8 say: 6... read more

Writing often feels like you have to be a wordsmith and come up with your ideas clearly and expertly from the jump. This isn't true! If you're a college or high school student, I want you to know that writing well is a skill that takes time. Here are some tips that can help you get started with your essay. 1) Simple Language Is The Best Language.  Something that a lot of writing students do is “over-complicate” their sentences. Students make mistakes like creating really long sentences or using extremely flowery words. These are signs of a student who believes that this is what makes good writing. However, the reality is that the more concise your sentence is, the more powerful your point. This often leaves your sentences with simpler, clearer, and more basic language. If you find that you tend to do this in your own writing, it could be a sign that you may need someone to help flesh out what you’re really trying to say or get a deeper understanding of your... read more

On vacation in Mexico? Attempting to hold a conversation with a Spanish-speaking in-law? Have you already been living here for years? EVERY language has its "common mistakes foreigners make when trying to speak it". Avoid these 3 VERY embarrassing mistakes while speaking Spanish... 1. Number one on my list would have to be the very common mistake in translating the English word, "preservatives". In Spanish you should NOT say, "preservativos"!!! Unless of course you meant to say, "condoms"... CORRECT TRANSLATION: "conservantes" or "aditivos". 2. What would you guess is the Spanish word for, "embarrassed"? "Embarazado"? Not quite, because this word means, "pregnant male"! CORRECT TRANSLATION: "apenado/a" or "avergonzado/a". 3. "Estoy caliente" said Julie, as she took her jacket off at her fiancé's family reunion in Guadalajara, Mexico... read more

I've been creating mad-libs to use with my middle school French students. If anyone else would like to use them, feel free. Many of them are created from non-copyrighted short stories, not my original writing.    Mad Lib 1   1. un mois 2. un profession 3. un lieu 4. une Fete 5. une chose 6. un verb avec ils 7. un prenom d'une femme 8. un verb avec elle 9. une chose pluriel 10. un verb avec elle Nous sommes en __________(1). Gilles est ________(2) dans un/une ________. C’est bientôt la __________ (4) et Gilles a acheté un nouvel ________ (5). « ____________ (4) est un lundi cette année », dit le _________ (2) à sa femme. Ensemble, ils _________ (6). La femme de Gilles s’appelle ________(7). Elle _________ (8) dans un magasin de décorations en ville. Durant le mois d’octobre, elle a souvent beaucoup de _______. L’automne est une période où _______(7) ________ (10) beaucoup.     Mad... 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

The complaints against WyzAnt’s 40% commission demands a response. Suppose a tutor with 15 hours of work time through WyzAnt charges $40 an hour. Of that amount, WyzAnt will automatically deduct $16. This deduction is based on WyzAnt’s commission rate, which is 40% for the first 20 hours of work time. So the tutor is not earning $40 an hour; rather, the tutor is earning $24 an hour. According to a number of individuals, WyzAnt’s 40% commission rate is too high, way above average. Some folks, oddly enough, have even posted complaints on other websites. Why? Here's some food for thought. 1. Twenty-four dollars an hour is higher than any state’s hourly minimum wage. 2. You can create your website for tutors and charge a lower commission. 3. If you tutor for an hour you will be paid $24. 4. If you don’t tutor for an hour you will not be paid $24. 5. Twenty-four dollars is more than zero dollars. 6. You don’t have to stay with WyzAnt, but before you leave... read more

Ellen's Rules for Effective Time Management, Part 2 3. Know when it’s time to take breaks. Spending a good chunk of time on one subject is good; it helps you settle into a rhythm and lets your brain get into the correct frame of reference for the subject. But there exists a horizon beyond which no progress can or will be made. It’s the point at which your brain has become over-saturated with the current material, and if you continue on you’ll just end up working yourself into circles of frustration. In paper writing, it’s the point at which anything you wrote would make sense to you regardless because you’ve been reading the same few paragraphs to yourself for hours. In math, it’s the point at which you will just end up confusing yourself more and more as you try desperately to work it out. When that moment arrives, you know it’s time to take your break. 4. TAKE BREAKS. I don’t care how much work you have, there’s always enough time for a fifteen-minute break... read more

Reading is the foundation for all learning. Whatever we want to learn, we need to be able to read. We read instructions in a manual, recipes for cooking, road signs, labels, Math, Science, History, Music, Art, documents for car and house purchases, banking terms and the list goes on. How do we learn to read? Do we need to be taught how to read or do we just listen to a person read and be able to get it, without learning the sounds and blends? I think it takes both. First of all, a child does not know that there are short vowel and long vowel sounds, the ‘ph’ has an ‘f’ sound and ‘g’ and ‘c’ has soft and hard sounds. ‘g’ can sound like a ‘j’ as in ‘cage’ and ‘c’ can sound like a ‘k’ or ‘s’. There are so many digraphs, trigraphs and diphthongs and words that do not follow any particular rule, like ‘what’ does not following the short ‘a’ rule, and ‘where’ and ‘here’ sounds different yet they are spelt ending in ‘ere’. Words like that has to be taught. I would say that for a child... read more

This is the one question I ask the most when students' grades are starting to go downhill: Are you getting enough sleep? Current research shows that middle school students should get 9 - 12 hours and teenagers should get 8 - 10 hours of sleep each night. This is very important for proper functioning of the brain. Sleep is also when the things we learn are locked into our memory.   Make sure you children are eating healthy meals and getting plenty of sleep. These are the best things you, as a parent, can do to ensure they are performing at their best.   Most Students Need More Sleep

It is difficult to to teach science subjects specially math , physics , chemistry , biology , but if you can understand student condition about understanding a lesson you can handle that . To make a student to apply what they learn you must not give them any chance to become only theoretical concept but some practical data on that, We have to make sure student by asking these questions like 1 Is there anything you confront you cant think ? 2 Is there anything you face in reading you cant add up ? 3 Is there anything you cant match with what you learn before ? 4 Is there anything you read or did that never make any sense to you ? 5 Is there anything you did in the procedure that data have no good use ? 6 Is there any data that have conflicts with any standard texts 7 Is there any thing for considering knowing good about the subject ? 8 Is there anything that will prevent others for learning this subjects ? 9 Is there anything that you think the... read more

Any body else notice the multitude of errors in the C programming test? Here are a few:   Error 1: scanning a character data type using String data type. Error 2: not terminating scanf with semicolon. Error 3: scanning in the memory addresses with the & symbol, however the data is not initialized on the float data type so the compiler may or may not assign a memory address. This error may just be considered bad programming practice instead of an error but regardless there won’t be anything there.

This was a really hard essay to write. Not because I couldn't figure out what to write about; I knew almost from the moment I read the prompt that I wanted to write about Dracula. On the contrary, it was hard because I had TOO MANY ideas for this essay – I had so many thoughts buzzing excitedly around in my head that my outlines kept coming out really scattered and disorganized. I went through, no joke, at least FOUR different outlines for this essay – and I refused to even start writing a draft until I'd sorted out what precisely was wrong with my outline, scrapped it for the third time, and started over from scratch. I went through several different organizational schemes, starting with one centered around a favorite Hitchcock quote about suspense that was a good idea, but ultimately, had no place in this particular essay. My outline eventually settled on the format that probably should have been obvious from the start – the one that related most closely to the prompt. My outline... 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

Standardized tests with reading comprehension components like to throw in inference questions. Their purpose is to see if you can understand how the author feels about a certain topic or if you can draw conclusions from information that is not presented directly in the text but which is implied. When you're reading to answer inference questions, it's important that you understand the main ideas of the passage. Don't focus too much on the details. Then understand how the main ideas are connected. Look at the way the paragraphs are organized. Determine what the author's purpose is in writing the text. What are they trying to convince you of? When you read an inference question, try to put it into your own words. This will help you to understand the question better. They may use phrases like "could be interpreted to say" or "hints/suggests that." Read the text for words like "except" or "however" that indicate perhaps how the... read more

Hi!   If you are interested in a healthcare career, I definitely encourage you to pursue it! Don't let the fact that you may still be in high school or that you already may have a career in another field, stop you from exploring the possibilities in healthcare. If you want to succeed in the competitive environment surrounding most healthcare careers, academic preparation is very important. If you have any questions related to healthcare, please let me know, and I will answer them or refer you to other resources. I love helping students in science and healthcare related studies!

I recently achieved 1000 HOUR status on my WyzAnt profile. This is a point at which to really reflect on the broad positive short- and long-term impacts that have been made on numerous, diverse students. First, there are the dual Math and Chemistry secondary school clients who have been consistently trained in how to become better critical thinkers. This will help them in future courses (math/science-related or not), be they at the secondary or college level, and even in their chosen career fields. Second, those exceptional high school AP Chemistry students have received a level of support that has boosted their confidence as they prepare for college majors in technically- or medically-related areas. And last, those college-level Intro, General, Organic, and Biochemistry students have gained fresh perspectives. They have also developed sharper critical thinking skills. In addition, they have seen how Chemistry is involved within our bodies and not just in laboratory settings... read more

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