July 22, 2008

Free Printable Worksheets Add to Tutoring Sessions

A teacher developed ABCteach to share her educational ideas — and share she does. Initially created for Pre-K through Eighth grade teachers, the worksheets (5,000+ available for free, 15,000+ for members) can be utilized as well in tutoring sessions. Tutors will find printable work sheets on such topics as ABC Activities, Sign Language, and Portfolios. The theme units include materials for teaching about everything from Apples to Dinosaurs and Room Olympics to Trees. Included in the Extra Activities category are Games to Go, Flip Books, Coloring Pages, and How to make a website. Other resources include word puzzles, writing forms, book report forms.

Those choosing to register ($39.95/year) gain access to all of the worksheets, not just the free ones they make available to everybody. The worksheets themselves also come with answer sheets, to make marking easy. This website is easy to navigate, with all of the activities and resources divided up by subject, type, and age group.

Filed under: Free Programs/Software,Home Schooling,Study Tools

May 12, 2008

12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action – One Author’s Personal Journey

by Renate Nummela Caine

Where do powerful questions come from? Those deep questions that drive some of us and determine a life’s path? I didn’t have the questions yet, not until much later, but even as a child I was observing or participating fully in learning.

My belief in myself and my ability to learn began with an exceptional teacher. She had a great deal of freedom because I grew up in Germany, which was just putting its educational system together after the war. She taught history by way of stories that intrigued us. She combined information and romance in order to capture our attention and young minds. She took us to the local museum where we could see a real Viking ship and look at the Viking mummy, which had been retrieved from the moors. Vikings often punished criminals by throwing them into the moors and watching them disappear. This was a horrible death, but to eight year-olds also terribly real and interesting. She took us on long hikes through meadows and woods and taught us about trees and where springs came from.

Click here to read more on "12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action"

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Assessment,Coaching,Home Schooling,Pedagogy,Research,Small Private Practices,Tutoring Practices

May 2, 2008

Using boolean logic to improve search results: A graphical tool and curriculum

by Bob Lasiewicz, Managing Director, Crossroads of Learning
 
Conducting reasearch using on-line search engines such as Google is an important part of student work today. Without a knowledge of Boolean operators, the results that are returned can be mind-numbingly large. The Boolify Project has created a graphical interface and "safe" results tool along with curriculum (text and videos) to help your students understand the basic concepts.
 
From the website:
 
Librarians, teachers and parents have told us how hard it is for students to understand web searching. Boolify makes it easier to for students to understand their web search by illustrating the logic of their search, and by showing them how each change to their search instantly changes their results. It’s simple, immediate and is easy and flexible to use with your class, no matter the subject matter. Search results are presented through Google’s "Safe Search STRICT" technology, so we’re confident that the results your students receive are safe.
 
More Background:

Dede (2000) astutely remarked that “children must learn how to sift vast quantities of information through their fingertips” and “thrive on chaos”. In our lifetimes, the quantity of information available for sifting-through has increased exponentially. Yet, the tools for “teaching how to sift” have not maintained pace with the need for sifting. With this challenge in mind, the Boolify Project offers a piece of software that helps model Boolean operators. Its primary audience is Elementary and Middle School children, but it may find relevance with others. Ultimately, its goal is to increase learners’ ability to perform effective web searches. Just how will it accomplish this?
 
It is hypothesized that visual cues Boolify provides will help learners build a mental model of the search that they are performing. A mental model is an internal visualization that can be used to guide practice and, in the case of Boolify, the software helps make explicit and graphical the formation of their search. Of course, the mental model is visualized as puzzle pieces that fit together and provide real-time feedback to the learner about the efficacy of the search.
 
Dede, C. (2000, March). Emerging influences of information technology on school curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(2) 281-303. http://www.virtual.gmu.edu/ss_pdf/DedeJCS.pdf

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Home Schooling,Productivity,Research,Small Private Practices,Study Tools,Technology

April 27, 2008

Ten Tips for Tutoring Teens

By Nicole Mohr,

Tutoring a teenager can be a difficult task. There can be many obstacles in the way. From the cynical student who doesn’t care about school anymore to the prideful student who is embarrassed to be getting tutored, teens are not easy to tutor. Here are ten tips that can make tutoring a teen an easier and more enjoyable experience for both teen and tutor.

Find out what they are interested in and use it!

Tutoring teens can be difficult, particularly because many teens become jaded about school and learning. They feel like they have been doing the school thing for so long that it is just boring. The best way to keep teens focused is to incorporate things that interest them. Find out what they like to do in their spare time. If a teen girl likes to shop, create math assignments that involve receipts, balancing a checkbook, sales prices, etc. Someone who loves to shop will be excited to know that they can figure out exactly what 40% off of that $50 sweater is. If you are tutoring a teen who loves sports, gather the stats of their favorite team and teach ways of analyzing the data. Teens are much more receptive to learning when they feel that the information is relevant to their lives.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Coaching,Home Schooling,Small Private Practices,Tutoring Practices

March 30, 2008

Tutors’ Reflections: Hey, Stories with Pictures Can Be Fun

(Article length 773 words)

By Erica Jones, 1st-year Anatomy and Physiology Tutor, Selkirk College, Castlegar, BC, Canada
Edited by Andrea Kösling, MA, Learning Specialist, Selkirk College, Castlegar, BC, Canada
       
Everyone has a different learning style. How many times have you heard that? Even though it is true, when I tell that to a tutee, he or she may just go, "Uh huh, that’s great; how does that help me?" So instead of telling a tutee that, I try to use as many different sensory cues as possible; that way, no matter what the tutee’s learning style, I’m covering all the bases. One of the most useful techniques I’ve discovered is to describe a sequence of events as if I were telling a story and then illustrate it as I go. So when I am trying to describe, oh let’s say, how an event on the outside of the cell would signal an action within the cell, I could use the growth hormone and tell it as story:

One day a bone decides, "Hey I need to do some growing here." So the bone calls up the anterior pituitary gland and says, "Hey, I need to do some growing." As a result, the anterior pituitary gland says to the growth hormone, "Hey, head on out to see that bone and tell it to go ahead and grow." So the growth hormone heads out through the blood stream, taking a bunch of twists and turns, and finally makes it to the bone. The growth hormone circles the location for a while until it finds the doorbell (the receptor). The growth hormone rings the doorbell (binds to the active site of the receptor), and the second messenger answers (the protein receptor changes shape, and the second messenger that is bound to it is released). "Hey what do you want?" the second messenger asks. The growth hormone says, "Go and tell the nucleus that it needs to start doing some mitosis so that we can get some growth happening."
 

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Filed under: Home Schooling,Pedagogy,Peer-Tutoring,Small Private Practices

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