Archives for Education

Education

For Better Student Writing, Reading Comprehension And Thinking: Teach Conjunctions

And, but, when, although and because are some of the most common conjunctions. We hear and read them all the time, yet many students don't use conjunctions in their writing, sticking instead to only the simplest of sentence forms and producing essays full of short, vapid, disconnected thoughts. Conjunctions join words or groups of words to express more complex thoughts. Without conjunctions, writers can only create very simple sentences. Adults may be surprised to learn that many students need to be taught what each conjunction means and how to use it.
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Education

Ratios Are Hard For Student Brains To Learn

Right now, algebra students are studying unit rates, proportions and dimensional analysis. Geometry students are working on similar figures and triangle proportionality theorems. All of these topics are hard for the same reason: They involve ratios, which may seem easy for adults but are actually deeply challenging for the learning brain to grasp. A ratio is the comparison of two numbers, usually using a fraction bar. If there are two dogs and three cats in a room, I could write that the ratio of dogs to cats is 2/3. Like so many things (reading, driving), ratios become second nature with enough practice, and people lose touch with how difficult they were to learn. And like reading and driving, ratios are hard for the brain because they involve simultaneity of thought. The brain is required to multi-task; it must think about the 2 dogs while at the same time thinking about the 3 cats.
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Education

Closing In On “Close Reading”

If you haven't heard this latest buzz phrase, you will soon. Standardized tests and schools alike are shifting their focus towards cultivating not just more reading, but reading that is deep, thoughtful, purposeful...close reading. This is good news, because close reading is one of the skills that well-prepared, informed, mentally active and employable adults need in order to thrive in our increasingly complex and sophisticated world.
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Education

Rounding Up Three More Usual Math Suspects

We tutors get an interesting perspective into students' math struggles. We find ourselves reteaching the same concepts over and over, to students from 5th through 12th grade.

The human brain has a hard time grasping and retaining certain kinds of information. Terminology is especially hard, which is why you will notice that my Usual Math Suspects List comprises mostly math words and the procedures these words are meant to trigger.

Parents need to realize...
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Education

Parents Should Supervise Their Older Kids’ Studying

Kids of all ages need support as they gradually develop good study habits.   Educators call it "scaffolding," the kind of adult guidance that keeps young learners on the right path until they've internalized good practices for themselves. Many parents assume that by the time students are in middle school, they should no longer need day-to-day homework supervision. Meanwhile, I find that even high school students do better when their parents are checking in with them regularly and specifically about their schoolwork. This helpful checklist was created by a local middle school principal, to show parents the ways they can lend support to their adolescent students:
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Education

Is Math Acceleration A Good Idea?

Way back when I was in school, Algebra I was considered a ninth grade course, and it was only a handful of "honors" kids who took it as eighth graders.

Since then, there's been a trend towards introducing algebra material to younger and younger students, in the hopes that by getting them primed earlier for algebraic thinking and giving them more years of algebra instruction, more students...
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Education

5 Ways To Get Support During Final Exams



It's best to study at the library!

High school students are facing final exams now, and many feel anxious, confused and isolated.

Exam preparation is your responsibility, but that doesn't mean you need to go it alone! The best exam preparation involves reaching out for support from other people and resources:

Let parents help. During stressful times, support from other people can be invaluable. Let your parents remind you to...
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