Algebra and Chemistry tutoring for RUHS

March 27th, 2014

I’ve been tutoring Kelsey from Redondo Union High School (http://www.redondounion.org/) for about three weeks now. After briefly talking about Kelsey’s day, we discuss how she thinks she did on her most recent quizzes or tests, what assignments she needs to work on in that moment in time, and how we can prepare for her upcoming quizzes or tests. Kelsey mainly comes into Study Hut to get tutoring for Chemistry and Algebra 2. My goal is to help Kelsey overcome her struggles in these two subjects by accommodating her with tutorials that will help her retain information efficiently, develop excellent study habits for any of her future assessments, as well as motivate her to be the best student she could be.

The first day I worked with her we completed her review packet for her upcoming Chemistry test. At the time, Kelsey was learning about specific heat capacity and how to find the missing variable, whether it was the amount of heat gained or lost, specific heat, or final or initial temperature. Kelsey came into Study Hut confused about the basics of this particular subtopic in Chemistry, so I went over the fundamentals by breaking down every significant piece of information she had to know.
The second day I worked with Kelsey, we reviewed for the Algebra 2 test she took last week. Kelsey was being tested on her knowledge of conics, including parabolas, hyberbolas, circles, and ellipses. Kelsey was confused about the difference between each of the conics, how to go about finding the different types of points for each type of graph, how to formulate an equation when given specific points on the graph, and lastly, how to graph each type of conic. I went over the details of each graph and provided her with simply strategies on how to memorize the specifics of each graph.

 

A proud tutor story!

May 1st, 2013

I tutor a girl who is in the 7th grade and she has a twin sister – both in the same classes. These 2 girls have been struggling in all their classes and have not been receiving the best grades (though as a tutor I knew they could do much better).

We bought the girls planners – so that they could get organized and write all their assignments down instead of using only their IPAD. We really want to help them get their grades up before the end of the year – and I feel like it can happen! I tutor one of the twins and another tutor helps her sister.

For many students, it’s only one or two classes they are focusing on – but these girls need help in all their classes – English, Spanish, Science, Social Studies, and Math.

I am very well versed in Spanish and math – my two best subjects – and not so well in English, Social Studies, and Science – but it’s nice to tutor these subjects – not only to help my student but also to reteach myself things that I have forgotten about over the years.

So together, my student and I have made a good plan and we are on the same page – with preparing ahead – doing flashcards, section outlines, and section reviews right when she finds out she has a test.

Last week we knew she had a Science test – so we prepared very early instead of her waiting until the last minute and not studying and also not telling me she had a test.

We worked on the Cardiovascular system and studied all about the heart, veins, lungs, capillaries, arteries, and many other interesting subjects. 

Long story short – she came in today and told me she got a 91% on her test and her sister got an 83%. She told me she wanted to scream with excitement when she got her test. Today, we then studied for her Social Studies test for Thursday and she really wants to get another good grade!!!

Tips to Avenge Your Finals Without Pulling Out Your Hair!

January 26th, 2013

 

 

 

Finals week is coming quick and you might start feeling that uneasy shadow lingering over your shoulders, but luckily there are several tips, tricks, and techniques to make the next few weeks bearable. First of all, you need to make the trade and remember that drowsiness, exhaustion, and brain drain will all pass, but your GPA is forever. Accepting the climb ahead of you will set you on the right path for success. Regardless of the subject matter, people all learn the same which is why you know that cramming doesn’t work, taking long exaggerated breaks, and side tracking yourself is all sure ways to fail your finals. Thus, find an absolutely quite and if necessary (desolate) place to buckle down and really hit the books; this is a great time to turn off your cell phone and get away from your social notifications. Make goals for yourself and set time limits on how long you will study before you take a scheduled break. Don’t feel the urge to work in study groups if you know they will distract you, instead work on as much material as you can and save all your questions for your teacher, tutor, or friends for later. It’s important to build on what you know rather than give yourself test anxiety on what you need to know. Evaluate how your teacher or professor has given previous tests and quizzes and determine a study strategy that will most likely reflect you’re finals, midterm, test, or even future quiz. Then chunk the material into pieces and absolutely take your time learning the material – It takes more than an hour to digest a century of history! Finally, you need to make it interesting. Take pride in what you’re learning and mentally dazzle yourself.

Green Eggs and Ham

August 7th, 2012

This summer I have been tutoring a lovely young girl named Hailey. She is the cutest little thing ever! Going into first grade her mom, a new mom to The Hut, called to see if she could get some reading help for her daughter. She explained that Hailey was not behind in her reading, but at the same time wasn’t in the upper level reading group. I explained how I am a credentialed teacher and used to teach 1st grade. Her mom heard what I had to say and got her into the Manhattan Beach Study Hut twice a week.
The first day I worked with Hailey I fell in love. She was shy at first, but that was not stopping her improvement in reading. Shen she came in at the beginning of the summer she had some trouble with even short vowel sounds. Each day we would go over a new sound and test her phonemic awareness, eventually getting into the more complex long vowel sounds. We then read a book together, followed by some writing, and then play sight words bingo. Of course we switch it up every now and then, but she tends to do really well with the structure.
This week we tried a book that she had tried to read in Kindergarden, but it was too hard for her. That book was the infamous Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. After about the 20th page she looks at me and goes, “wow, this book is pretty easy!” with the biggest smile on her face. My heart melted. She took the book home to read to her parents. They emailed me the next day saying they could not be happier.
Hailey is now reading at the same rate as a first grader at the end of their year. She has shown an incredible amount of improvement. Most importantly, she LOVES coming in here! I am so proud of her progress, motivation, and preparedness for the first grade!

Post Finals

January 31st, 2012

Finals are OVER! Sound the bells, raise the banner, and sing it to the heavens. That wretched time of year is gone, and shall never darken our door again! So, now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Self, you don’t need to study anymore. All the hard work is behind you, and it’s smooth sailing from here on in.” Oh, if only this was true. But, the fact of the matter is that this is when the real work begins.

Finals aren’t just an opportunity for teachers to make you nervous and lower you’re grade. (That’s only an extra perk.) Finals are also a major indicator on how well you’ve been learning throughout the first half of the year. They tell you which subjects you need to dedicate more time to, and which ones you’re clearly acing. Which means, you have a major opportunity here. An opportunity to get it all together before June comes along.

Getting a bad grade on one of these tests can be paralyzing. You see that test, and the effect is has on you’re overall average, and just assume the fight is over. Don’t give in to this feeling. Nothing’s over until you win or give up. The bad grade is in the past. There’s nothing you can do about it. But you can LEARN from it. Among the things you can do:

-Get your test from the teacher. Go through all of the wrong answers and see if you can correct them. Among other things, it makes sure you don’t make the mistakes again.

-See if there’s any relationship between the questions you got wrong. (Were they from the same chapter? Were they from a week you were absent?) Go back to the book, and relearn that material. It WILL come up later in the semester, and you don’t want to be caught twice.

-Compare what material you studied BEFORE the test, and compare it to the material that was ON the test. Did it match up?

Above all, remember this: A bad grade is not the end of the world. But it should be motivator to get your butt in gear, and make sure that the same mistakes aren’t made again. Because guess what? Finals will be back in June! The only difference is, next time you’ll know exactly what to expect, because you’ve already done it. Get mad, get mean, and get those grades up.

FInals

January 16th, 2012

Ah, final exams. That glorious time of year. (I’m just kidding; I’ve heard finals called many things, and “glorious” has never been one of them). They are daunting, difficult, and above all, important to your final grade. But the good new is that they CAN BE BEATEN! (Huzzah!) It all depends on HOW you bring the fight to them. Luckily, that’s kind of a specialty here in the Study Hut.

Now, it’s difficult to write a catch-all strategy that will help you study for ALL of your finals. Mainly because you’re going to be using completely different methods for completely different tests. You wouldn’t study for a geometry test the same way you’d study for history. HOWEVER, there are similarities. Number one (and this should be completely obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t do it): Give yourself enough time. Finals are not like other tests. You cannot start studying for them a few days before, and expect to be all right. Ideally, you should have started studying for each test AT LEAST 2 weeks before the test date. Remember, these tests include everything you’re studying now, PLUS everything else you’ve studied in the semester. You need time to review concepts, do practice problems, plan essays, ask questions, etc.

Number two: Organization. The very first thing you should do, before even cracking open your text book, is set up a schedule for yourself. This may sound like a chore, but you would not believe how much pressure it takes off of you. It’s a lot less scary to look at a list of things you need to accomplish than it is to stare at 6 months of notes and not know where to start. For example, I’m working with a student who has to study for a History final, covering 6 chapters and about 400 years of history. SO, we set up a schedule that he’d study exactly one chapter per night for six days (not too hard to do). Since he started so early (see Tip 1), by the time he’s done with those six chapters, he’s going to have a full week left before his test. Now, he can use that week to go more in depth, bring problems to his teacher, and make himself more confident before the test. It’s a lot easier to study a huge amount of material if you break it up into small pieces, and have ample time to do so.

And number three: Confidence. Finals are stressful. We’ve all been there. Make sure that you get a full night’s sleep the night before. And (this is huge), don’t go nuts cramming 15 minutes before the test. By that point, you know everything you’re going to know. Give yourself that 15 minutes to decompress. Just close the book, and trust in the fact that you’ve put in the proper work. You’d be amazing what a difference it makes to go calmly into a test.

If you follow this tips (and of course, come see your friends at your local, neighborhood Study Hut), you’ll greatly increase your chances at doing well on your final exams. Good luck!

ISEE Prep

January 3rd, 2012

It’s not uncommon that we witness nervous and frustrated 7th and 8th grade students walk in with one test on their minds. The independent school entrance exam at a first glance can appear not only intimidating but overwhelming. While some students find themselves lost and perplexed as they glance through what seem to be infinite pages of preparation in many booklets sold in bookstores, others take the easier route of denial and try to forget their woes of test taking anxiety. It covers extensive material in English, math, and uses these subjects in a critical thinking manner that can be a perplexing to many students. The English alone covers vocabulary words that have never been seen by most students, as test consultants we are familiar with test tactics that send students crying to their parents and do our very best to ease their minds. Here at the study hut, we succeed in not only planning a method to conquering the ISEE, but make it easy enough that any student can overthrow this test. Our tactical schedule of tutoring preparation gives the student the ability to do better than well in their weak subject matter and strengthen other subjects they are already confident in.
Our tutors are very understanding, and understand on a personal level the obstacle that each individual student is facing in relation to the ISEE. As recent college graduates we comprehend the pressure and are fresh on test taking strategies and are more than happy to pass on the wisdom. At the Study Hut we breakdown the ISEE preparation to a science. Offering an extensive personalized study plan, we allow each student to change bad testing behaviors and confront each fear they will face during the test. In a nut shell, we are here to help your student, not make a cookie cutter plan for everyone and offer extensive knowledge to each student in test taking skills and want each of our students to rule the ISEE.

Meet Tori

November 19th, 2011

Hello! My name is Tori and I have been working at Study Hut for about two months now. I absolutely love it!! The environment and people here are so friendly and welcoming. I graduated from Mira Costa High School in 2007 and since then got my BA at San Diego State University and I am currently getting my teaching credential at CSU Long Beach. I love working with kids and this job is not only great practice for my future, but it is so rewarding. I now have about six students that I see on a regular basis, once or twice a week. I look forward to seeing them each week and helping them grow as a student. My students range from elementary to high school age and I have already learned so much from each and every one of them. Most often I help them study for a test. The first thing we do is gather all the material needed to study for the test. I ask them how they feel about the test and what material they know and what material they need to study more. From there we review all the material so that I can truly see what they do and do not know and we then start studying! I find flashcards to be the most helpful for any type of learner so I have my students make flashcards for the material they do not know. Depending on what kind of learner they are I either have them write down facts, draw pictures, or make acronyms in order to learn the material in a way they are most comfortable with. I then give my students anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to study the flashcards while I make a practice test for them. Once they are done studying I verbally quiz them on the material and then have them take a practice test towards the end of the session to see how much they have progressed; I usually see great improvement! I leave my students with words of encouragement, sometimes a to do list to finish studying, and another practice test for them to take closer to the time of the test. Well I am off to tutor now!

Biology Study Techniques

October 27th, 2011

Many students fear science like it’s the plague, but like any subject one can succeed in science if the WORK is put into it. For biology, there are three most effective techniques to receive an A. These three techniques can actually be applied to all subjects, not just to biology. They include: 1. paying attention in class (diligently listening to the instructor’s lectures), 2. understanding what is happening in the laboratory sessions (for other subjects, presentations, videos, handouts, etc will fall into this category), and actively reading the textbook when studying.

The first technique involves listening to lectures in class. This means actually going to class and staying awake! The best idea is to bring the textbook to every class in order to follow along in the textbook as the teacher is presenting the concepts. If you come across a topic that does not make sense to you, you can ask the teacher to explain it right then and there. This will help you associate the pictures/diagrams/graphs that are in the book with the teacher’s explanation for later recall. Attending lectures this way will help the student learn the material in two different ways (visually and auditorily).

The second technique is to understand the laboratory work you do in class. For 99% of the time, the labs will coincide with the concepts that are taught in class. By understanding the labs, you are able to understand the concepts in greater depth and to relate it to a real life example. The labs also serve as an aid to recall the concepts with a hands-on experience. Oftentimes, teachers will also give some exam questions about the lab as well. These will definitely serve as easy points on the test.

The third technique would be to read the textbook! Most students who do not understand the concepts did not actually read the textbook! The textbook is where all the answers are! Reading the textbook will definitely help one understand the material (if the teacher’s explanations are not enough). But one must read the textbook ACTIVELY. This means taking notes in your own words and making flashcards using the textbook which will further help in memorizing and understanding the material. Most students only do the assigned homework but do not actually read the textbook. All the information is given in the textbook and it serves as a great tool in studying.

Although the type of assignments teachers give will always aid students in learning the material, if the student does not take out the time to learn the material or do the assignments, they will definitely not do well. It is the same for every subject, not just biology. If you want a high payoff, you must do the work and put out the TIME.

SATs

October 18th, 2011

Ah, the SAT. No matter where you live, where you go to school, or what kind of grades you get, the SAT is an experience that bonds American students of all ages. It’s changed over the years, but the idea is the same: find a way to accurately gauge a student’s level of education through completely standardized means. Now, whether it’s an effective gauge is another debate entirely. What matters to you is how well you do on the test. And that’s what we’re here to help with.

First of all, you should understand what you’re getting into. The SAT is divided into three sections: Math, Writing, and Critical Reading. The Math section covers nearly everything you’ll learn in the first two years of High School, plus a little bit of Junior year. Basically, expect to be tested on all of Algebra and Geometry. Not to worry, though; nothing from Trig or beyond will be on the test. The Critical Reading section involves two main parts. First is Reading Passages, in which you’ll be given passages to read (duh.) and will have to answer questions based on the content of the reading. Second is the Fill-In-The-Blank section, where you’ll have to school SAT vocabulary words to complete sentences, based on context. Last but not least, there’s the Writing section. This begins with an essay, followed by MORE reading paragraphs (now based more on grammar and sentence structure than content), and correcting sentence errors.

The test runs just under four hours. This involves 6 25 minute sections (two from each subject, including the essay), two 20 minute sections, and one ten minute sections. You’ll receive breaks after each two sections (3 breaks total).

NOW, how do you prepare? This is going to sound weird, but studying the material is NOT the biggest way to prepare (but still important). What we do here in our SAT Prep Courses is teach you STRATEGY. We teach you how to solve any problem, and how to do it in a quick and efficient manner (which, on a timed test, is priority one). We’ll teach you when to skip a question, when to guess, how to mark up a paragraph, and how to write a proper essay that the graders will love. We’ll show you how to raise that grade.

SO, this is how to do it. Come in for a free diagnostic. This let’s us see what level you’re at. Then, sign up for either our group classes, or private SAT tutoring sessions. This is dependent entirely on you, and how you learn best. Either way, we’re gonna work hard to make sure you know what you’re doing when that SAT rolls along.