As a certified Special Education Teacher with a Master's degree, I consider myself a "Tutoring Specialist" for Reading, Math, Writing at levels K - 12 and GED-Preparation. I trust parents who observe some learning problems such as "My child is slow to use phonics properly in his/her reading." or  "My child needs help to use what he/she has read in order to complete an assignment or to pass a test" or  "My child is just plain slow in reading; I consider her/him to be smart. But he/... [more]
 The study of American History is more complex than it appears at first. One great example of the complexity is the story of the Battle of the Alamo. I was really impressed when I visited the site in San Antonio Texas and enjoyed the oral presentation by an expert who included so many of the personalities and the events that took place during that Historic time in our history. Many conflicts of today are happening as "ripple effects" of that earlier battle.  The essayists who provide us with the complexity and the truth of American History are those who are closest to primary resources.  When I took American History in high school, we were still using a text that seemed to feature one war after another. Hopefully the more recent text books are more sophisticated.  However, when a WyzAnt student is requesting assistance in studying American History, it would be my job to help that student become knowledgeable about the period, the main characters, the environment of the common, man-on-the-street and the conflicts that occurred during that period. We would apply some tried and true study skills for learning to read, review and summarize the text and other documents.
I can comprehend the explanations of biology and biochemistry. I can use strategies to glean the correct meaning from the text book. Thus my behavior can be a model to the student. I can also prepare lessons about topics in biology with the help of the internet. Finally, I can find the simplest manner in which to explain anatomy and physiology as well as the study of plants.
In the subject of Pre-algebra there are some procedures that must be followed in a certain sequence. The initials PEMDAS stand for the sequence: first, solve the part of the equation inside parentheses. Second, solve the section of the equation with exponents. Third, Multiply and/or divide. Fourth, add and/or subtract. It is necessary to understand why we keep the equation equal on both sides of the equal sign. Then we understand why we use the opposite operation on the left side of the equation as we do on the right to solve for the unknown. We learn to set up proportions: x is to y as y is to n. We use positive and negative numbers. We apply formulas to a particular situation.
When I instruct students in reading, I try to make the whole experience one that is enjoyable and sometimes even memorable. The reason that it can become memorable is because there are so many really superb authors of children's books. Some of these books often are written in a series: such as "Where is Spot?" ..."Spot Goes to School" ... "The Magic Tree house" Books ... books by Judy Bloom ... books by Rudolpho Anaya ... Dr. Seuss Books ... Harry Potter Books ... "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" ... As the tutor of children, I can find a book that is at the student's independent or instructional reading level. If the book is written at the child's instructional level, we will work at the vocabulary words that are challenging before we enjoy the story. These books provide a "slice of life" that help to make the world of the student more meaningful.  There are many nonfiction books that relate to the interests of the students: animals, airplanes, biographies of famous people.  In grades three (3) and four (4) we are making a transition from "learning to read" into "reading to learn."  In grades Kindergarten and grade one (1) and two (2), students and teachers go through a process of learning sight words (the Dolch List), Phonics (Sounding out words) and some basic re-telling of a story: "Learning to read." In the higher grades: three (3) through high school and college, students use the reading process to learn concepts for science, social studies and even math.  Usually parents who search for a tutor for their young student are in need of more and better instruction in phonics. These students may show signs of Dyslexia: reversals in the order of letters. Here the tutor will slow down the pace of instruction and assist the student in learning the sound-symbol connections (Phonics) in a more complete manner. (There are so many important kinds of learning and continually advancing of reading skills that the classroom teacher cannot find time to teach all of these sound-symbol relationships.)  For teaching all of the many sounds -- more than 30 -- I rely on a kit of materials called "Touch Phonics." The kit has plastic letters, some of which are "hooked together" for learning sounds in isolation. The kit has books of about 15 pages in length that have ever more difficult sound patterns repeated in the telling of the particular story. In this manner students learn the sound and then apply that learning in the context of the story: The book "Buckaroo Stew" includes many words that have the /oo/ sound spelled in different ways such as /ew/, /ue/, /u - silent e/, /ould/ and so on. I use the word lists that are provided and work with the student in a game-format to learn the challenging part of the English language -- the inconsistencies of the phonetic systems.  When I work with students in middle school and high school, we learn about the way authors use figures of speech and unique surprises in the twists and turns of the plot of the story.  Reading is so important. So much of learning centers around skills we learn in reading.  I congratulate the parents who notice that when it comes to reading, they are not able to help their child come up to "grade level." The parent can join with the tutor to help the child make the progress in developing reading skills.  The time, the energy and yes, money, that we invest in the process of learning to read will pay off in years to come -- with great "dividends!"
Writing is a complex activity: It includes integrating ideas in the brain with past learning and formulating the message so the reader understands. The completed product should be complete, concise and clear. I consider myself to be a competent writer. I enjoy writing. More than enjoyment is a new truth: When I improve as a writer, I become a stronger person. That feeling of strength is what I want to transfer over to the student. Recently I took a class from a professional writer who has successfully published her memoir. I became motivated to improve my own writing. I am reading the book "Several short sentences about writing" by Verlyn Klinkengorg. The following sentences from his book really capture how I will teach writing: "The problem most writers face isn't writing. It's consciousness. Attention. Noticing. That includes noticing language." The act of noticing language could include learning all of the rules for grammar and mechanics. I would never teach those skills as if I were teaching how to fold laundry or how to cook a casserole. The skills become part of a personal creation. The student and I will work at being an author. We will read and reeread. We will undo and redo until the piece speaks C L E A R L Y. My student I will form a team. We will avoid passive voice like a defensive player sacks the quarterback. We will question the strength of the words "with" or "for" like the famous chef refines the choice of certain spices in his/her recipe. There is a place for learning the punctuation, mechanics and how to manipulate the parts of speech. I would use a series of books I found that provide practice in those skills. "You'll discover that being the narrator is not the same as being yourself," writes Kinkenborg. I can apply this approach to any grade level: Kindergarten through senior in high school to adulthood. Some of the most well written books are picture books including titles like these "Swimmy," "The Mitten," "The Little Mouse," the Red Ripe Strawberry," and "the Big Hungry Bear" among others. These jewels exemplify creativity and the hard work of the author. I present the book as part of our lesson. We experience the book as a sensory feast like biting into an apple, throwing a football, painting a picture. Reading feeds our writing. We observe. Make a sentence. Revise. We start in the middle. That's where our idea is lodged. Soon the beginning and ending arise. The story or the description presents something new, something true. Teaching writing? There is no formula!
For college-bound students there is a level of learning English that will demand a command of advanced vocabulary and education in writing. The writing would be related to how to answer an essay question for a certain subject area. The instruction in English for this level would include how to write a research paper. I would have a test that would cover several areas of what we call "usage" and punctuation. Through this Pre-test, we could determine areas that the student needs to learned: either for the first time or in a "let's review" situation. For some students it can be reassuring that math skills can relate to the kind of logic that is used in learning skills for writing.
My deep respect goes out to the people in our town who are able to speak in 2 or more languages. For me, learning Spanish was and continues to be a challenge. I do love the way that emotions seem to flow from Spanish. Learning another language is a way for me to become more human. I have a master's degree in special education. That course work and that experience of teaching students with special ed. needs have helped me to go step-by-step in learning the English language. I taught students whose first language was Spanish. I worked with their Spanish-speaking parents during parent teacher conferences. I worked with immigrant people to assist them in learning English. (In that location, we used pictures and real objects to talk to each other in English.) The situations included: counting money; applying for a job; shopping for groceries or for clothing; ordering food at a restaurant; or asking for directions to a certain place. From my experience in college where I had a wonderful Spanish teacher, I know how important it is to converse in that language, not only work in a workbook. We can have fun and still learn English language at a quick pace and with a sense of comfort.
Government & Politics
Since mid-July, 2012, I have worked on a volunteer basis with adults who desired to prepare for the GED exam. I was privileged to have some mentoring from a friend who has worked in a community-college setting for more than 6 years. I purchased 4 sets of books that include sample tests and practice exercises for preparing for the GED exam. I have used all four publications at different stages of the learning process. (One text is useful because while it gives the practice exercise, it describes step-by-step how to work it out correctly.) I have worked with Special Education students for the past 20+ years as a certified teacher Special Ed. teacher in Albuquerque. Several skills that I had to learn to be successful with special Ed. students carry over into the teaching-learning interactions with adults studying for the GED. some of these skills include  Students profit from a routine in their tutoring sessions, Students need guidance as they practice the exercises in the available textbooks. Students profit from a "regular dose of humor" in their sessions.  AS the teacher, it is my responsibility to analyze the task at hand. And [Adult] students will bond with the teacher if the teacher is prepared, shows empathy and interest in the student, and shows honest and integrity. I will apply all of the above concepts/skills to the tutoring with the adult who chooses to prepare for the GED. I show an openness with students. If some aspect of my teaching becomes an irritant, I will change or eliminate that behavior. What I have found is that when a particular unit or a particular item in a practice exercise presents itself as overwhelming, we break it down, we locate any "trick or trick-y element" and use a logical approach to completing the work. The student and I are a team. We will succeed. We will have that mindset at each session. I will be a cheer-leader for the adult student. Failures are a part of life. They become valuable as they teach us to use another approach toward success! And gain a winning attitude!
Instruction for Elementary Math is a wonderful experience in logic. One area builds on the former area: Subtraction builds on Addition; etc. Knowledge of shapes leads to the student's increased success in geometry. Word problems are an important key to the whole process. Comprehension of those "problems" leads to how to solve them. The youngster's brain develops a great foundation for whatever career he/or she may choose. Playing math games serves as another key to opening up the student's "portal" of success. During the game, the student is practicing those troublesome "facts" that can almost overwhelm him/her. Practice leads to mastery. There are so many "angles" in the study of Elementary Mathematics that can make it fun to become a master all of the areas in the Common Core curriculum. Yes, really: F U N!
For most of my career, I have worked with Elementary-aged students. Between 1985 to 1986, I had to complete 12 credit-hours of college-level classes on how to teach subjects in the elementary school curriculum. When I completed this requirement of 12 credit hours, I was granted certification to teach elementary-school students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. The curriculum for all subjects are included in the "Common Core" represents a nation-wide effort to abide by universal goals and procedures for each grade level. is an effort to assure that what is being taught corresponds to best practices throughout the whole country. As the teacher, I use a version of the "Hunter Model" for implementing the lesson plans. That model includes an "anticipatory set" to help the student "tune in" to something new or to something related to what was taught recently. I state the objective/s. I demonstrate or explain or provide directions. I "coach" the student during "Guided Practice" segment of the lesson. reader?" a variety of manners. I reinforce students when they are successful. Kindergarten students as well as first and second-graders are learning how to read. The words are "sounded out" through sound-symbol correspondence. At this age level, vocabulary words that cannot be sounded out may add a level of confusion for students who are stumbling. During the reading lessons, I help the students move from letter sounds to words to sentences and then to paragraphs. I find that students who have not mastered the phonetic code for reading English will become frustrated and feel embarrassed when they realize that they are not "keeping up" with their peers. I "back up" the instruction for this student to back up to the level where he/or she is independent. We quickly move to the "instructional level" where I carefully tailor the lesson to the individual needs as well as the criterion for his/her class. Elementary mathematics can be a challenge if the student needs more practice before moving on to the next skill or unit of study. I use games for this practice. soon we are actually enjoy this remedial instruction. It's fun; not "a drag." Elementary mathematics helps students to organize their learning in general. However, students need specific tips for organizing: A place for everything and everything in its place. We use different colors for math than for reading. We are building our knowledge and our study skills in a kind of "organic" process. We learn from mistakes. We take pride in our achievements. What a wonderful experience: to work at learning and to experience small successes on that learning path. I will communicate with the child's teacher at school to be sure that we are working as a team. I will emphasize the positive accomplishments. The student and I will engage in activities for coping with stress. My plans and record-keeping can help to give the student feedback as to her/his progress.
I have my own program called, Touch Phonics, which has been very helpful when working with students who need intensive instruction in sound-symbol correspondence. I have had workshops in Orton-Gillingham and in the Wilson Language Program. With these programs as resources, I can create a customized program for your student. Those resources serve as the foundation for my lessons. However, I can integrate what the student is using in his/her classroom. Once the foundation is laid, there is a point at which I will integrate the other avenues for learning to read: sight vocabulary, use of context and use of books that have the same word or phrases repeated frequently. Phonics is the key for some students. However, that whole approach can be a mystery for students who do not keep up with the pace at which the sound-symbol correspondences are being taught. It is with great pride that I can honestly say that the students with whom I have worked as a tutor in the area of phonics have made great gains. One father has made a point to tell me over the telephone -- more than once -- that he is very grateful for the help that I provided his daughter (age 9). This young lady had been diagnosed with dyslexia. She and I worked to increase her reading level from grade 2 to grade 4. We worked for 1.5 hours for about 24 lessons. Other success stories include two second-grade girls in different settings and a boy in kindergarten. I am currently working with a six-year-old first grade boy. He demonstrates developmental delay for articulation and some confusion with left-to-right orientation. With my help he is progressing according to the expectations in his first-grade classroom.
I am a certified teacher with 20+ years of experience, including work with Milwaukee's Inner City Development Project where I led students in study skills using the SQ3R method.
I am a Special Education teacher with a Master's Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities.
Students who demonstrate signs of ADD/ADHD need extra structure in order to attend to the instruction. Some silent cues will help the student. These include "when I touch my nose, Return to focusing on the lesson." Students need to increase time-on-task from the first lesson to the middle of the school year and the the three-quarters mark. They can be rewarded for approaching that goal. I am a Special Education teacher certified in the state of New Mexico. My training came from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At that University, I completed the requirements for the Masters Degree program in 1979. For this program I wrote a Masters' paper regarding "Locus of Control." I taught Special Education students with Albuquerque Public Schools from 1985 to 2009 when I retired. I have worked with groups of about 8 students at a time. As many as two showed signs of inattention due to ADD/ADHD. I have worked to establish systems to help the students stay on task and to refrain from bothering others. In working with students who show signs of ADD/AHHD, I will offer a change-of-pace activity. This activity is intended to teach systematic methods for the student to organizing his/her body movements and to improve the level of focus on the activity at hand. During the change-of pace activity/ies, students will use Yoga movements and music in order to relax and tune-in to the work of school-related tasks. Students will be allowed to request an opportunity to engage in "heavy-duty movements" such as running in place, lunges, jumping jacks. My records will note the use of this routine during the sessions. I will use this "feedback" information to determine how this student can increase in self control. The lessons must be highly structured with pictures or other icons to indicate the activities in a routine sequence. I will work with the student to "Check your schedule" on the strip of foam board where the pictures/icons are attached with Velcro. The student will remove the picture for the activity. For each session the sequence stays the same. Thus the student can predict what will happen next. This technique helps the student share in control of the situation. As a result, he/she is able to refrain from the ADD/ADHD behaviors.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
I have a Masters Degree in Special Education with a concentration in "Learning from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I worked as a Special Education teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools from 1985 to 2009 when I retired. I have had some experience with students who demonstrate "autistic-like" characteristics. Students with autism are delayed in their social interactions. They need a very controlled structure. For instance the materials will be placed inside a certain space. After retiring, I worked as a substitute teacher with APS. I observed programs set up by some excellent teachers who work with autistic students. The students may need a tactile "squeezie" in order to have tactile needs satisfied. Instruction needs to be one-to-one for the most part. When I worked with a first-grader who had autistic-like characteristics, I provided an area free of distraction. The student had a set of pictures and some words to help him to move from activity to activity. At the cue, "Check schedule" he moved the picture of a finished activity to the "finished box." This student showed an almost obsessive compulsion to play a math game of dice with tally marks. For a language arts assignment, he could write about that activity or draw a picture of it. For autistic students, social interactions need to be taught and practiced. I will find books that have pictures and some easy words about friendship and working together. We will use puppets and social dramas for this learning. I will tell social stories about him/her. The stories are useful for reviewing recent events and for planning the next activity. Easy games in which there is no winner will aid in the "how-to-relate-to- others" curriculum. The objective is for the student to self-regulate. As he/she develops some skills, he/she will be given opportunities to make choices. I will work closely with parents and with the student's classroom teacher in order to maintain the consistency that is needed. We will devise a system for him/her to earn rewards for complying with the rules/expectations. Autistic students do not mean to be anti-social. Rather they need special accommodations to learn how to interact successfully. They need to verbalize what they need. They need to internalize how to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Slowly progress can be made.
The student who suffers from Dyslexia does not proceed from left to right in order to read. That student may "reverse" letters while reading and writing. Remedial activities include using a dot (.) under the beginning letter of a word and a line (.____) connected to the dot to help the student to "track" the letters and to read the word, thus extracting meaning. My training for how to work with students who have dyslexia includes the work that was required in my Masters' Degree program in Special Education with an emphasis in "Learning Disabilities" 1974 - 1979. During that period, I was learning about the way in which dyslexic students are hindered by their perception of the letters, sounds, words and sentences although these students have average or better IQ's. There were times when I was tutoring an individual as part of my coursework. In 1996 I participated in an eight-week course taught by a Speech and Language Pathologist. This course specifically qualified me to use the program authored by Linda Mood Bel: "L I P S." During the time frame 2005 - 2006 I completed training for the Wilson Language Program up to Level five (5). That program includes more materials than the Linda Mood Bell program. However, the Linda Mood Bell program has many features that make that program the one favored by some parents and teachers. Although I never participated in training for the "Spire" program -- "Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence" by Sheila Clark Edmands, I have used that program with groups of students as recently as 2012. I have my own kit for "Touch Phonics" that includes plastic letters that are hooked together when they make one sound and have textures that help students incorporate another sensory process in learning to master phonics and use that learning in the content ares of Social Studies and Science as well as Math word problems. From my experience, students with whom I have worked work through the direct instruction lessons have shown positive results. Moreover, they are willing to cooperate in the step-by-step learning process that may be almost burdensome at times. Handwriting is difficult for students diagnosed with dyslexia. We move through letters that are easy to form: "stick letters": l, i, t, to the more complicated formations for x, q. I have used a program called "Handwriting Without Tears" with great success. This program includes wooden "sticks" and wooden "curves" as students become ready for the paper and pencil activities. The tactile experience is very appropriate for students younger than eight years of age. Specially designed paper is available for these students to help them stay within lines and to organize their letters into words. The beautiful part of the opportunity to work in a setting for tutoring one or two students at a time is that I can adjust the teaching/learning process to fit the individual/s.