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

Most sentences are not simple! When students understand conjunctions, their reading comprehension improves.

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...

## How To Help Kids Make Knowledge Stick

Kids tend to under-prepare for tests and be overly optimistic about the quality of their writing, and parents may suspect laziness or lack of motivation.

However, much of the problem can be the student's fuzzy sense of what "knowing the material" means or what "a good essay" is.

The ability to "know what you know" is called metacognition, and it's one of the big developmental tasks for maturing students. The younger...

## Pythagorean Pitfalls: Help for Math Students

As I go on my tutoring rounds, I wind up reteaching and clarifying the same material over and over. Certain topics and concepts are just plain hard for students to wrap their heads around.

Many kids in grades 6-10 are currently covering Pythagorean Theorem or other geometry topics, and many are struggling (as usual!) with the word problems.

If you are a parent, thinking Yipes ! I don't remember Pythagorean Theorem, the good news is that...

## 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...

## Tests Are Valuable Learning Tools

When students get a test back, they typically glance at the grade and then stuff the test in their backpack, never to think about it again (unless, of course, the test has a refrigerator-worthy high score).

Meanwhile, teachers invest time and effort making careful corrections and thoughtful comments. This feedback is meant to help kids learn and improve. Reviewing test results with students and helping kids digest the information is an important part...

## Four Great Online Resources For All Learners

1. For Younger Kids.  Each evening, Bedtime Math e-mails a quick, fun, math-centered bedtime story to parents of preschoolers through elementary school.

## 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...

## Use Math Tests to Teach Executive Function

The point of taking a test is to find out what you know and what you still need to work on. Tests are powerful learning tools!

It's also important for students to use their test results to help them learn to plan and prepare better in the future. Did my study methods work well for me? Should I change some of my tactics? Maybe I should begin studying earlier.

## 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...

## To Read Is To Grow: Literacy in Cuba

I was very fortunate to have spent eight days of my spring break in Cuba!

Americans still need a reason (other than pure tourism) to be allowed to visit Cuba, and  I went on an educational research tour, during which we visited schools, clinics and...