July 31, 2008

Tutor Connection Program Honored By President Jimmy Carter

Originally published 7/18/08 on the San Diego County Office of Education website

The Tutor Connection Program created by the County Office of Education’s Michelle Lustig with California State University San Marcos was recently awarded a $10,000 check from former President Jimmy Carter at the National Community Service Conference in Atlanta.

The program is the only one in the state to utilize students from the university’s College of Education to tutor foster children, who range in age from 5 to 18.

Initiated in 2002, the Tutor Connection qualified as one of three national finalists for excellence in academic campus-community collaboration. More than 1,250 student teachers from CSUSM have participated in the program. Over 1,500 students in foster care have received tutoring services. Academic outcomes include 70 percent of students improving their reading scores and 80 percent improving their performance in at least one subject area.

Lustig, who worked with CSUSM professor John Halcon to devise the program, said, “The Tutor Connection Program is unique and valuable in that it is increasing the knowledge of a generation of new teachers,” said Lustig. “This program changes the perception that many have of at-risk kids. It gives people a better understanding of where the youth come from, and bridges those two worlds together.”

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Filed under: Funding,Government,Leadership

July 30, 2008

Illinois to scrutinize wasted ‘tutor’ grants

Tribune story jars state into action

State education officials launched an investigation Monday into dubious after-school programs following a Tribune story that exposed questionable spending and political patronage.

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education vowed to reclaim misspent money and ratchet up oversight of the grant program.

The board already has begun looking into the $20,000 grants awarded to three groups that employed ex-cons, a violation of the state contract.

"The Tribune story raised the bar for us, and we plan to make these grant awards a much more rigorous process," said Jesse Ruiz, chairman of the state Board of Education. "We have to go and try to retrieve funds if people are not doing what they promised us they’d do."

The Tribune investigation, published Sunday, found that taxpayer money was wasted on questionable programs, including many that rewarded one lawmaker’s political supporters.

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Filed under: Government,NCLB

July 28, 2008

10 Tips on How to Solve Math Word Problems

Originally published by the Academic Support Center at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo County, CA

The most difficult homework assignment for most math students is working story/word problems. Solving word problems requires excellent reading comprehension and translating skills.

Students often have difficulty substituting English terms for algebraic symbols and equations. But once an equation is written, it is usually easily solved. To help you solve word problems follow these 10 steps:

Step 1 – Read the problem three times. Read the problem quickly the first time as a scanning procedure. As you are reading the problem the second time, answer these three questions:

  1. What is the problem asking me? (Usually at the end of the problem)
  2. What is the problem telling me that is useful? (Cross out unneeded information).
  3. What is the problem implying? (Usually something you have been told to remember). Read the problem a third time to check that you fully understand its meaning.

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Filed under: Study Tools,Test Prep

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

July 17, 2008

Developing Mathematical Skills in Elementary Students

By Jennifer Stepanek, Claire Gates, Linda Griffin, and Melinda Leong of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.

Editors Note: Although this article was written with the volunteer tutor in mind, it includes a variety of tools and techniques to help any tutor. It was originally published in "the Tutor" sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and LEARNS at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.

From the Conclusion: "To a large extent, the content you focus on will be determined by the assignments your students are working on in class. When you encounter a confusing assignment, need a new approach to a persistent challenge, or simply want to add some variety into your homework help routine, the strategies in this article can help. While the skills and examples included are most appropriate for elementary school students, the broad strands of mathematics instruction presented here—engaging, understanding, computing, applying, and reasoning—and the concrete strategies that support each strand, can be applied to most any assignment or context. Students need a strong grounding in mathematics to succeed in a range of real-world settings. With your help, they’ll be ready!"

To download the entire article in pdf format please click on Developing Mathematical Skills in Elementary Students

Filed under: K-8,Pedagogy,Tutoring Practices

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