## 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...
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## 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...
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## 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...
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## Simple Solutions to Many Reading Problems

The first question I always ask struggling readers is: Where do you read?

Almost always, the answer is: I read in my bedroom.

Aha!!...now for Question #2:
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## Math For Dessert Helps Students Remember

My students are working hard to master all the new concepts they've been learning in math class. It's a lot to absorb!

The key to getting all these rules and procedures straight is to keep looping back and practicing the material, over and over.

Here's a GREAT study habit:
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## 3 Math Facts All Kids Need to Know (But Many Do Not)

With school back in session, I find myself reteaching and refreshing students on a very familiar (to me, anyway) list of math concepts. By now I think of them as The Usual Suspects.

I hope parents will find it reassuring to know that it's not just their kid who can't seem to retain certain math facts. Students from middle school all the way up through 12th grade have trouble making some...
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## 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.
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## Getting a Handle on Academic Anxiety

Do math tutors ever suffer math anxiety?

Sometimes I feel anxious when I'm going to have to tutor a topic that is hard for me. (Yes, even tutors and teachers find certain topics difficult!)

Here's how I cope:

I begin reviewing well in advance. Cramming...
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## 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...
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## Perfect for a Snow Day: ACT/SAT/ Math Review

Many students will be taking the ACT or the make-up SAT this coming Saturday, February 7, and today's snow day is a wonderful opportunity for kids to do some prep work.

There's lots of test prep material online; here are some of my favorites:
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