I have worked with students of all ages and levels, from preschool through graduate school. While I have expertise in teaching reading, literature, writing and creative writing, I also have experience in tutoring math subjects. I think math is fun!?and I try to make it fun for my students. As a recent student myself, I know that good study skills are essential to making schoolwork a more pleasant and efficient process. While studying at Sonoma State University I served as a Teaching Assistan... [more]
The best way to develop a large vocabulary is to read, read, read! Keeping a little notebook of "new" words and jotting down a short definition (preferably in your own words) and reviewing these words once a week will work wonders. I can work with students on getting to know some Greek and Latin word origins, learning the meanings of specific prefixes and suffixes, and learning how to get the most use out of what a good dictionary offers.
Geometry is math and algebra made visual. In kindergarten you learned to identify circles, squares, and triangles. Now you get to learn about some additional very interesting polygons--the parallelogram, rhombus, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, etc. Perimeters, areas, volumes, angles, ratios, probability--all these words indicate measurements and relationships. Math teaches us to use what we know to find out what we need to know.
I like to think of math as a language--with a vocabulary (terminology)that students can acquire and a grammar (formulas and rules of operation) that students can learn to manipulate successfully. If a student has missed out on mastering some of the necessary basics, such as fractions, decimals, percents, multiplication factors, etc., then we can review and develop those skills.
Reading is a complex activity that requires concentration, mental and visual focus, and an understanding of the vocabulary and grammar that the text presents. The student who doesn't like to read is a student who needs help to master the skills that will enable him/her to become a fluent reader. Whether your student is a beginning reader learning to blend sounds, or a young reader beginning to switch from reading aloud to reading silently, or a more experienced reader struggling with unfamiliar material involving new vocabulary and formal style, I know how to make the process easier for her/him. And I always integrate reading comprehension into the practice technique. Even students who are prolific readers can have difficulty maintaining their focus, as college students and adult readers are certainly aware! The good news is that there are a variety of simple techniques that can facilitate the dynamic activity of reading. Whatever the challenges at your student?s stage of learning are, I can show him/her how to work through and overcome the difficulties. With regular practice, your student can become a fluent and capable reader who reads with understanding and retains what they have read. The thrill of reading for enjoyment and the advantage of access to lifelong learning are a priceless gift that our culture has bestowed on us. Every student deserves to achieve the status of becoming an excellent and happy reader!
There are many reasons why writing is not always easy. Composition is a very complex process. There are so many things that beginning writers need to remember--capitalization, spelling, grammar rules, organization--plus of course deciding what to say! This is why teachers like to break down the process into simple steps: brainstorming, first draft, revising, second draft, editing, third draft, proofreading, finished composition. Of course, the process varies, according to grade level expectations. I have worked with beginning writers and with experienced writers, from preschoolers to college professors. Helping students and adults to develop and improve writing skills is one of my very favorite activities! One way to become a more fluent writer is to write daily for ten minutes in a spontaneous manner, in the form of 'free-writes' or journal entries. And of course, keep reading!
In the current, ever more "global" world, it is essential to develop an awareness of the people and cultures who share our continent and our planet. In elementary school, we learn about the original thirteen colonies that became the first states of the U.S. Then we learn about the westward expansion that resulted in the rest of the continental 48 states. As an aide to a high school instructor for several years, I have been coaching students studying cultural geography. My first impulse is always to go directly to the atlas or world map on the wall, so that the student can practice developing a visual, spatial perspective of the geographic topic. As an American who has lived and traveled outside the U.S., I have developed a sensitivity towards cultures, languages, and the geographical features that help to shape them--and I enjoy sharing this appreciation with students.
As a person who once was an English learner myself, I am keenly aware of the challenges that students and adults face in learning to speak, read, and write successfully, whether for school, work, or social communication. I have worked with both native speakers and English learners at all academic levels, from preschool children to doctoral scholars. I know that English spelling is often irregular, and English grammar rules can sometimes be confusing. However, a little knowledge, together with regular practice, can make you a more fluent speaker, a more engaged reader, and a more accomplished writer!
Do you have a favorite author? If not, keep reading till you find one! My favorite books are treasured good friends! No one is too old or too young to enjoy stories, and our civilization's best stories are sitting on the library shelf waiting for you to engage with them. One author whom I truly love is Virginia Woolf--because reading her novels and essays and other writings has given me a greater appreciation of life, art, poetry, and literature. I hope that a little of my enthusiasm for reading good literature has rubbed off on some of the many students I have assisted with reading and writing about literary works!
If you want to improve your proofreading ability, then you probably already know that you should ALWAYS read the paper you are about to turn in to your teacher or the letter or application you are about to submit. Technically speaking, proofreading is considered to be the very last step in the writing process that should have already included drafting, revising, and editing--in other words, a first, second, and third draft. However, we can also describe the process of reworking each draft as proofreading. One good way to proofread is to read the paper aloud, especially if this is your final version. Reading aloud from a typed copy should allow you to spot typing errors, such as words left out or misspelled words (or words whose spelling you want to look up in the dictionary). If you are reworking the first or second draft, you want to first work on content and organization, and lastly on sentence structure and correct grammar. Another important factor is your audience. Try to pretend that you are the person receiving the document, and imagine how they will view what you have to say. Whether you are a student or job seeker or writing a business letter, careful proofreading is essential to looking your best on paper! Whatever your purpose, I can show you how to become a better proofreader.
I have worked with a number of students on preparing for the TOEFL, as well as for other standardized tests. The TOEFL written and spoken answers to questions require following prescribed formulas and giving very topic-specific responses. As the prep books recommend, it is essential to be sufficiently experienced in English in order to score well on the test.
Learning to spell correctly is a process that gets easier as the student advances in experience and proficiency. Because English spelling is far less regular than, for example, Spanish, students of English need to not only learn spelling rules, but also need to spend time memorizing and practicing vocabulary words. Reviewing and learning 5, 10, or 20 words a week, when combined with reading a few minutes every day, is the most efficient way to master the habit of good spelling.
The student who has a solid foundation in elementary math is likely to continue to do well when later on facing the demands of high school algebra and geometry. Furthermore, elementary math has become more demanding in recent years, with the introduction of algebraic concepts, such as equations and variables. Is your student having difficulty with learning addition or multiplication factors? Or understanding fractions and how to work with them? Or working with measurements, decimals, counting money, or doing word problems? All these skills are complex activities that may require several steps. I patiently prompt the student, so that she or he can derive a sense of accomplishment at each step of the process. I know how to identify what the student needs to master in order to accomplish the task at hand. Often, with elementary math, grasping a concept involves the ability to visualize the process. This is why I bring my collection of "toys"--colorful manipulative objects and shapes that can be arranged, categorized, and counted. Usually, the student?s eyes light up when I pull these out of my bag and place them on the table. Then I have the student organize the items in accordance with the task. Whatever the difficulty, I work with the student as an individual, building on what he or she already knows in order to develop a new skill. With sufficient repetition and practice, the student's confidence level improves--and this makes math less scary and more fun!
My experience working with elementary school students started years ago when I assisted my own three children with their homework. Then I began to help a few of their friends. Also, I took the training to become a Junior Great Books discussion leader, and enjoyed conducting discussion groups for third, fourth, and fifth graders at my children's school for several years. More recently, I have served as a classroom aide in preschool classes, and as a tutor to kindergarteners and students in first through sixth grades in West Contra Costa schools. Getting to work with young learners in every grade has enabled me to develop a good understanding of the various grade level expectations for each grade. My goal in working with students is to not only help youngsters to improve their academic skills and confidence, but also to instill in them a love of learning that will continue to motivate them throughout their school years and for the rest of their lives!
I am an intermediate level pianist, classically trained. I am able to teach children and adult beginners to read music, play scales, and progress with playing classical and popular music. All three of my children took Suzuki method piano lessons, and I helped to coach them. Although I do not have any formal certification, I know how to incorporate some Suzuki method into my teaching technique.
Having tutored high school and college students in English, math, and other social science and humanities subjects, I certainly appreciate the value of showing students how to improve their study skills. Whether this involves breaking a research paper effort into several steps, or setting up a schedule for managing a full load of classes, or efficiently memorizing terminology--I've had to do these things myself throughout my education, and I have experience in sharing these techniques with the students I have taught or tutored. I enjoy helping students to maximize their efficiency in order to succeed and excel!
Many of the students with whom I have worked in my school district are English learners. It is easy for me to identify with them and the challenges they face, because I myself was an English learner when I entered first grade, and I remember what it felt like to be shy and confused. As a CELDT (California English Language Development Test) proctor, I have enjoyed getting to work with students at every grade and level. Furthermore, having studied several foreign languages, I have a good sense for how grammar and syntax and idiomatic phrases can vary from one language to another, and how some of the expressions that we use in English can be difficult for English learners. In 2004 I tutored ninth graders in History and English at Leadership High School in Richmond. Many of these students were English learners, and I assisted them with discussing material and formulating ideas into words for their class assignments. At Sonoma State University, I tutored students in English composition for several years, both individually and in small groups. I am comfortable working with English learner students of any age and level.
In addition to writing the letter that led to myself winning an academic scholarship two decades ago, I have coached more than a few students through the process of writing successful college application essays. Sometimes called a "personal statement"-- this document needs to show how the writer is a unique, special, and deserving applicant who is likely to make the most of her/his educational opportunity. The "judges" who read these essays may be looking over a hundred or more candidates' pieces, so YOUR words need to distinguish you from the crowd. Every sentence has to amplify the message that this student is ready to meet the challenge!
I took the CBEST in 2013, and I passed all three sections--Reading, Math, and Writing. It will be fun coaching others to pass, now that I am acquainted with the test contents and the testing conditions. The writing section involves composing two separate essays under time constraints, so I recommend some forethought and practice; and I have considerable experience teaching writing.
I have been assisting undergraduates and grad students with sociology papers and theses for many years. During my studies at Sonoma State University in the 1990s, I served as a student assistant for a sociology professor for two semesters. Also, at least half of the assignments that I worked on for clients during the two years that I was an editor with EditAvenue.com (from 2009 to 2011) were in sociology or related social science fields. In addition to proofreading and editing for grammar, clarity, and organization, I've also advised students and scholars regarding correct APA (or Chicago or ASA, etc.) style and format.
I have experience in both taking and tutoring standardized tests. Last year I took and passed all three sections of the CBEST in one sitting. I am currently tutoring a student to prepare for the TOEFL, and I recently helped a student preparing for the ASVAB. Part of testing involves competency with the material. But there are also specific test-taking strategies that can make the actual test process more manageable. Most standardized tests involve some math content and some verbal content--and I know how to help students to approach these areas more confidently.