October 29, 2013

Tips for Tutoring Math with Common Core

by Ishmael Brown, originally published in The Tutor Report on 10/28/13

Ishmael Brown, Jr. Owner & Founder of InfiNeXt Educational Solutions and a National Tutoring Association Advanced Tutor.

As tutors, we (certified or not) feel that we have a passion for the subject area(s) that we tutor.  We are as fond of our subject area as we are of our tutees.  We know that whatever type of problem that a student may bring to us, that we can easily solve it, and that we especially know how to illustrate our process to our tutee.

For years, states have been using their own standards with districts using their own curriculums for those standards.  It made the job of being a tutor somewhat easy because some of the states’ standards and/or indicators had not changed in years.  There were instances where one state would have Algebra II as a course, while another state would call the same course Math Sequence 3 (or something to that affect).

Neighboring districts would even have vastly different curriculums, but across that state, all of the districts would teach the same standards.  But, as of late, there is at least one common denominator (no pun intended) that has crept into the education forefront:  The Common Core State Standards.

For those who are not familiar with the Common Core State Standards (or the Common Core as is affectionately called), these standards, introduced and voted on by the National Governor’s Association, are a “common” set of standards that includes an abundance of rigorous and challenging indicators, use a more leveled comparison between states on assessments and better prepares students for college and career readiness.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Training/Education,Tutoring Practices

October 23, 2013

Khan Academy Adds Automated Tutoring Service

Summary: Khan Academy, a popular site that features free educational videos and resources, has recently added a personal tutor capability that helps students figure out where to start their lessons and to know when they truly understand the concepts. Students start with a knowledge map for the subject, currently limited to math, that is built from an adaptive pre-test. As the student demonstrates understanding the system moves them through successive levels, presenting supplementary videos to clarify confusing concepts. “Mastery challenges,” allow students to show how well they can recall and apply what they’ve learned in a mixed group of questions that cross multiple skills.

By Dian Schaffhauser, originally published in T.H.E. Journal on 9/26/13

Khan Academy, the site that features free educational videos and resources for use by anybody, has just added a personal tutor capability that helps students figure out where to start their lessons and to know when they truly understand the concepts. The “learning flow,” as it’s referred to by Founder Sal Khan in a video about the new functionality, is currently available for math; additional subjects will be added “soon.”

The development of learning flow, according to Khan, grew out of feedback from Academy students who “didn’t know where to start. They didn’t know what level was appropriate for them.”

Once a student has set up a free account in the service and logged into a personal homepage, he or she will see a “mission,” a condensed knowledge map that shows a box with tiny tiles in it, each tile representing a new skill to be learned. For example, the “world of math” mission includes 482 boxes. They start out gray. As the student shows understanding, the tiles begin to be filled in blue; the deeper the blue, the more the student has proved understanding of that skill. Eventually, missions will be offered that align to grade level, preparing for a test, or performing some type of project. They’ll also be offered for other subjects besides math.

To use the learning flow, the student starts with a pre-test that’s adaptive. As he or she answers questions or chooses “I haven’t learned this yet,” software in the background performs an on-going analysis and presents easier or harder questions as the test progresses.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Technology

October 16, 2013

Professor finds Web-based tutoring system improves students’ reading

Summary: A new web-based tutoring system  is helping improve reading comprehension among fourth and fifth graders. This is done by helping them learn about how texts are organized and how using text structures strategically can improve reading comprehension and learning. The article also discusses successful strategies for reading expository texts, an emphasis in the new common core standards.

Originally published 9/11/13 in Penn State News

According to recent research published by College of Education Professor Bonnie Meyer, a Web-based tutoring system is helping students gain better reading comprehension. Image: Penn State

Bonnie Meyer, a professor of educational psychology in the Penn State College of Education, recently published a journal article that reported how a Web-based tutoring system helped improve reading comprehension among fourth- and fifth-grade students. The tutoring system, Intelligent Tutoring System for the Structure Strategy (ITSS), is an online computer program that provides modeling of a reading strategy, practice lessons and individualized feedback.

According to Meyer, strong skills in understanding expository texts are important for success in school and effectively coping with everyday life across the life span. “Fourth- and fifth-grade students are expected to read their textbooks and other informational texts,” said Meyer. “Learning about how texts are organized and using text structures strategically can improve reading comprehension and learning. For example, students learn that scientific articles often start with a problem and its cause,” said Meyer. “The next part of the text often provides a solution that responds to the problem and eliminates or reduces the cause.”

Positive results from randomized experiments involving many classrooms and schools—which she said are rare in research efforts like this one — are important to both students and teachers, according to Meyer. “Structure strategy instruction is important to students because it provides an effective way to learn information needed in school across the grades and throughout life,” said Meyer. “ITSS is important to teachers because they can use it to teach about text structure that is individualized for each child.”

To read more click here.

Filed under: Technology

October 9, 2013

United Way tutoring program expands with grant

Summary: United Way of Lowcountry has been awarded an Americorps grant which will add a program director and 41 Americorps tutors to a current roster of 200 volunteers. This will grow the number of students being served to approximately 600.

Originally published on 9/5/13 by islandpacket.com

An effort to improve students’ reading at eight local elementary schools has received a $234,000 boost to add 41 tutors.

United Way of the Lowcountry has been awarded a federal AmeriCorps grant to expand its tutoring program at six Beaufort County schools and two Jasper County schools for the 2013-2014 school year. The agency has set a goal of getting 80 percent of all fourth-graders at the schools reading on grade level by September 2016, says Deborah Edmondson, program director for the local AmeriCorps initiative.

The United Way provided a 24 percent match to the grant, bringing the total amount to $234,000. The money will be used to pay stipends for the 41 AmeriCorps tutors being added, as well as Edmondson’s salary. The AmeriCorps tutors will join about 200 local volunteers helping students at these elementary schools: Shanklin, St. Helena, Red Cedar, Pritchardville, Hardeeville, Ridgeland, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, and Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Education Center. The United Way has hired all but 16 of the AmeriCorps tutors needed, Edmondson said.

The agency seeks those who can commit to providing 450 hours of tutoring. They will receive a stipend of $2,250 over nine months. If they complete the commitment, they will also receive an education award of $1,400 to be used toward college tuition or student loans. Parents and grandparents can also use the award for their children and grandchildren, Edmondson said. She said the AmeriCorps tutors range in age from college students to retirees. Sixteen of them are students majoring in early childhood education or human services at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. “We’re looking to have a diverse group,” she said.

To read more click here.

Filed under: K-8

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