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Monthly Archives: March 2015


Teaching the age of discovery

Everyone who has been to school has learned about the Age of Discovery.  This is the study of what happened in Europe from the 15th until the 17th centuries.  On the surface, this may seem a dry and daunting task but it does not have to be this way.

One way in which teachers can make this topic exciting is to have your students write a report about the role of coinage during the Age of Discovery.  Here are some of the things that you will learn in doing so:
1.    The Middle Ages in Europe were on the wane as the earliest travelers returned from the Far East with odd and curious spices, which became valued as Europeans learned to liven up their cooking by using them.
2.    The spice trade spurred post-medieval European economies.  While they wanted to trade with the Far East, which is where the spices came from, they had to have money, which was coins.  Therefore a fondness for precious metals, especially silver, grew in Europe that lasts even today.
3.    During this time Europeans had few coins to trade with other than small, silver, hammer struck pennies.  There were many reasons for this shortage of coinage however the desire to trade spurred a need for money.  It also spurred the need for finding new deposits of silver and gold to mine.
4.    The Spanish provided most of the solution for the Europeans.  This happened because the greatest infusion of circulating coin came from 15th century Spanish discoveries in the New World, which was a byproduct of Spain’s search for a shorter trading route to Asia.
5.    The Spanish also found a lot of sunken treasure, including coins.  A lot of people are fascinated with these types of stories.  This is especially true in recent years as technology for undersea archeology and treasure salvage has developed.

Another way of teaching your children about this time period is through the study of pirates.  It was during the age of discovery that countries such as England began to use statues as a tool against piracy.  These early statues included the offenses at Sea act of 1535 and the Piracy act of 1698.  Herein it was stated that piracy was illegal.  These acts also defined what procedure was to be used in Piracy cases.  However, it was still up to customary law to actually define what piracy was and what activities constituted piracy.

Those students who are interested in science may also be interested in studying silver during the age of discovery.  Herein students will find that silver is one of the cheapest precious metals.  However, before the Age of Discovery it traded at one sixth the price of gold whereas today it currently sits at about one fiftieth the price of gold.  This is because it is a soft metal that needs to be alloyed with other metals before being made into jewelery so that it can be made stronger and more resistant.  This is why ‘Sterling Silver’ contains at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper to keep the silver from tarnishing.

Teaching history at home

Most adults have some part of history, or even several defining events or times in history, that played an important part in their childhood.  These times could include John F. Kennedy’s funeral, man’s first step on the moon, the first episode you saw of Saturday Night Live or even hearing Ronald Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech.  Regardless of what it is, these parts of history will remain forever fixed in both your brain and your heart.  Remembering these defining points is the best place to start whenever you are teaching your children about history or social studies.

Children love hearing stories about when they were born.  They will even come right out and ask where they “came from.”  This is something that is important to them.  It is something that is meaningful to them.  It is also something that they can relate to since it is their history.

Another idea is to share those parts of your lives, events and times that are of historical significance with your children as they grow up.  This will teach them how the historical events and times have shaped the world in which they live in today.  After all, your children really are interested in you because you mean a lot to them.  They see you standing right there in front of them, which is able to make the events that you talk about a little more realistic and believable to them. So, by sharing the excitement that you naturally have about those events that you have experienced and have feelings about can help bring those events and historical situations to life in the eyes of your children.

It is also a good idea to take some time to visit the history museum in your area with your child.  Herein not only are you spending quality time with your child but you are also teaching them about history.  By looking at the various displays that are available at the museum, you may even find yourself with more stories to tell.  As aforementioned this is very beneficial because children get to see and hear history through your eyes.  Furthermore, with the items that you are talking about being located right there in front of them, history will come alive for them in ways that it never has before.  Of course, all of this can also create a great bond between you and your child for the 2 of you to enjoy for the remainder of your lifetime together.

So, regardless as to whether your child’s teacher is having them study history by making “All About Me” books out of construction paper or by reading textbooks, sharing a part of yourself and how you have related to some of the special times and events in history that occurred during your own lifetime will help your children to develop an excitement, awareness and appreciation of times that lie beyond their own understanding.  Plus, you will be surprised at just how much fun this can be to do together.

Teaching children english through play

What child do you know that does not like to play?  With this in mind, there is no reason why you should not use this to promote English language learning.  There are lots of different kinds of toys available throughout world that you can use to your advantage in motivating your young learners.  Here are some of the most common toys that you can use:
1.    Stuffed animals and dolls can be used to simulate conversations or even to illustrate prepositions of place and position.
2.    Soft rubber or inflated balls are things that each classroom should have at least 1 of.  These can be used in taking turns wherein after one learner is done answering a question they can then “select” another person by simply tossing the ball to that other person.  This will keep the teacher from “playing favorites” whenever there is an activity.  Plus, a ball can also be used in a relay fashion to signal the next learner in a sequence or game. There is no worry about dropping or mishandling a ball either because it will simply bounce a few times before returning to the game.
3.    Cars, trucks and other vehicles are toys that both boys and girls like and that can be “driven” to places in a neighborhood.  These different parts of the neighborhood can either be located in different parts of the room or at different places on a game board.  This simply depends upon the size of cars that you are using.  Obviously, small vehicles work well as place markers for a board game while larger ones work well as props in dialogs, role plays and conversations.  Of course, these cars can also be used for grammar and verb practice as well.
4.    A small selection of board games, such as just 2 or 3 games, and a little bit of imagination.  Some all-time favorite games include Scrabble, Monopoly, Checkers and even Chess.  (Both Checkers and Chess use the same alternately colored squares board, which makes it easier for you to have both games available to play in your classroom.)  These boards can then be used to create your own games to play too.  Of course, you should not forget to also have a deck or two of Playing Cards available as well.  With these playing cards you can play some quick and easy games such as War, Go Fish or even 21.

It is not a good idea to use “fake” guns, not even water pistols, in the classroom. There should also be nothing such as bats that promote aggressive behavior.  While you can get aggressive behavior from some of the aforementioned toys, this can easily be put down without a lot of trouble simply by explaining to the learners what is and what is not allowed.

Of course, you can probably think of many other toys that can be used for teaching English.  There are sure to be a lot of toys that are available in your area that can be used in your classroom.

Succeeding after graduating high school

Unfortunately, only 1 out of 3 ninth graders graduates with enough skills to succeed in college.  The remaining students either drop out of school or graduate being unable to handle the challenges of college.  This leaves America struggling and losing their competitive edge to growing industrialized nations such as China and India.  Obviously, something needs to be changed in the American public school system and it needs to be done fast.

Bill Gates is involved in bringing public attention to this important issue.  He is also running pilot programs in those high schools that are open to his techniques. Herein studies are also being done to see if demographics make a difference in how children learn and the way schools are designed.

The United States use to have an edge in education.  In fact, many brilliant minds came here to learn because we were able to provide them with teaching assistance.  However, we have lost that edge today.  Many of those brilliant minds are leaving the United States and it is now a lot tougher for higher education students to immigrate here.  There is also an extra burden being placed upon our school system by illegal immigrants who need to be educated.

Fortunately, there is currently a trend underway that attempts to remedy the shortcomings of the American public school system.  This is being done through independent and private tutoring companies that are located in the United States, as well as offshore.  There are some of these tutoring companies that are recognized by the state department of education and thus they provide services that are paid for by the schools with federal funds that come from the US Department of Education.  This may sound good but it can actually complicate things in many ways for parents.  It has also led many parents to choose to hire private tutors, which they have to pay for out of their own pockets.  Therefore, a lot of parents grow extremely frustrated whenever all they are really trying to do is help their child get a good education, which is what the American public school system should be providing them with in the first place.

Today there are more and more parents that are concerned with their children’s education.  This may be due to the grades that their children are getting or the effectiveness of the classroom instruction that is being given to help prepare them to get into the college of their choice.  So, as you can see, today tutoring is not only for those students who are having problems in school and thus need help with “catching up” but it is also for those students that want a competitive edge in life so that they can do their best and achieve their highest potential.

While both parents and teachers want to provide students with a good education so that they can handle life’s challenges and achieve their best, sometimes teachers fall short.  This is when parents need to step in and hire a tutor to help their student overcome any limitations they may have so that the can excel in school.

Steps for how to become a tutor

If you would like to become a tutor, there are some things that you are going to do.  These steps are as follows:
1.    You are going to need to develop some expertise in the subject area that you wish to tutor in.
2.    It is a good idea, although not required, to obtain some kind of recognized qualification in the subject that you want to become a tutor in.
3.    You will need to make sure that you know and understand the curriculum or syllabus that you plan on teaching.
4.    Take some time to prepare your lessons and practice them.
5.    Make sure that you are very well organized when you first become a tutor.  In fact, you are better off being over prepared than to run dry half way through a session.
6.    Make sure that the lessons that you prepare are both interesting and interactive.  Remember, when you become a tutor, it is the students who should be doing most of the work.
7.    Always be sure that you listen to the student that you are tutoring.  As a tutor, it is your job to respond to what they need help with or do not understand.

There are also some tips that will really help you out whenever you become a tutor, including:
1.    Even though TeachOrTutor.com does some advertising for you, it is still a good idea to do some of your own advertising whenever you become a tutor. The best places to advertise are where parents will see your advertisements because these are your real clients.
2.    Look around to see what other people on TeachOrTutor.com are charging.  You will want to charge similar rates.
3.    You are going to always want to make sure that you keep parents informed about their child’s progress.
4.    Whatever you do when you become a tutor, make sure that you do not inflate a student’s ability.  Of course, you are going to want to be encouraging though.
5.    If you want to get some real life tutoring experience, then volunteer your time.  This will also help you whenever you are tutoring online at TeachOrTutor.com.  Of course, the more experience you have, the more you will be able to charge.  You do not want to inflate your rates too much though.

While there are a lot of great tips and advice that will help you out a lot when you become a tutor, there are also some warnings that you should heed as well. These include:
1.    Avoid any situation that will put you or your students in danger.
2.    You should never become emotionally involved with your students.
3.    You will hinder your ability to find work if you charge too much or too little.  So, whenever you become a tutor on TeachOrTutor.com, take some time to look around and make sure that your rates are competitive.

Spending only $25 to prepare for the sat

It is possible to spend less than $25 and yet be prepared for the SAT test.  Of course, you can also spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in preparation as well.  Why would you want to waste your money though?

Here is what you are going to need to do if you want to spend only $25 in preparation:
1.    Purchase the highest quality practice SAT tests available, which are the College Board tests.
2.    Once you have some practice tests available to you, it is important to make sure that you use simulated conditions whenever you take them.  For instance, when you are told to do 20 questions in 25 minutes, then you should do these 20 questions in 25 minutes.  You should also sit at a table whenever you are taking these tests.  It is also important to understand that you do not have to do an entire test at one practice session, but you should do at least 1 full section.
3.    Immediately after you take the practice test, you should grade your answers so that you know which ones you missed.  This does not mean that you have to sit down and learn these things right now, but you do need to identify the questions that you have answered incorrectly.
4.    Once you have discovered what mistakes you have made, it is time to go into review mode.  The questions that you will want to look at here are those that you answered wrong, skipped, guessed correctly and the ones that you got right but thought you took too long or feel that you need to review some more.
5.    Try to get together with 2 to 5 different people for a study group.  Since everyone will have different questions that they need to review you will have plenty of opportunity to explain these answers.  Here, you will benefit in 2 ways:  First, you will benefit from getting correct explanations to the questions that you got wrong.  Secondly, you will benefit from explaining answers to other questions and thus be able to learn the concept so much better.  If nobody knows the correct answer to a specific question, then go to either your parents, teachers or find a tutor.
6.    Spend some time looking at the various Internet sites that post answers to SAT questions.  Of course, this is also a great place to get answers to your own questions as well.

So, you have spent $20 to purchase the College Board book of practice tests.  You can then use the remaining $5 on ice cream.  This is something that you definitely deserve after all of this studying for what will be a very long test.

Speed-reading

In today’s work world we are faced with a lot of reading in the form of journals, reports and email messages.  It is important to be able to read fast so that you can finish your work earlier and thus devote more time to other important areas of your work.  With this in mind, you will be happy to know that speed-reading is a technique that you can acquire at any time.  Here are some of the important skills that you will need for speed-reading:
1.    Whenever you are speed reading you need to use your finger.  This is because our eyes have an innate tendency to follow a moving object.  Thus, as you move your finger across the page your eyes will pick up the words at a faster pace.  This may seem a bit irritating at first, but this is good because you will know that you are actively engaging in learning this skill.
2.    You also need to learn how to better develop your peripheral vision.  This can be done by teaching yourself to look at a few words at a time so that you can eventually read at a speed that exceeds 1,000 words per minute.  It is best to learn how to do this while reading a newspaper because it is divided into columns with only 4 to 6 words per line.  Your goal here is to put your finger in the center of each sentence and stretch your vision as much as you can to capture as many words at one time as possible.  This technique may slow down your reading speed at first, but eventually you will begin to read faster and better.
3.    Another trick that will help you to read faster is skimming and scanning. This is a form of “adaptive reading,” meaning that you should learn to skim through the article and pick out only those key words that are actually important.  Usually this is not a big problem for most people.  This is especially true for these people whenever they are reading articles that they are actually familiar with.  For instance, if you have bought a new DVD recorder and want to know how to use the recording function, you are not going to spend the time to read the entire manual.  Instead, you will skip to the portion that has to do with recording.  However, practicing this technique is helpful whenever you are reading newspapers, magazines, emails and Internet web sites.  Your goal here is for your eyes to sweep through the text and find only the information that you are looking for.

Regardless of which technique you are working on, remember: practice makes perfect.  Not only will speed-reading help you to read things faster, but it will also improve your vocabulary and increase your general knowledge.  However, you are not going to be able to learn how to speed-read over night.  It is going to take some patience and discipline while you practice the aforementioned techniques.

Reading Activities Parents Can Use For Their Children

Is your child in the process of learning how to read?  Are you looking for some activities that you can use to help him with this learning process?  Then here are some ideas to help you get started:
1.    Make your child a set of flash cards with the “at” family words.  These words should include flat, chat, brat, spat, splat, drat, bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat and sat all on separate index cards.  This exercise is meant to help increase your child’s reading speed by using words that he already knows. Once you have made all of these flashcards, you will want to spread them out, face down, on the table.  Turn them over one at a time and ask your child to read each word to you.  Then turn them back over and mix them up before having your child read them to you again.
2.    Purchase a set of reading flashcards for your child.  You will want to select some words from the pack that your child has already had some practice with. Your child can then read the word before turning the flashcard over in order to see that he is reading the word correctly as the word’s picture will be on the back of the card.
3.    Encourage your child to take the various flashcards that he has (both the ones that you have made for him as well as the ones that you have bought for him) and read these cards to other friends and family members.  You can also encourage your child to make his own flashcards.  However, you should know that most children will prefer to have an adult write the flashcards for them since adults are able to do a neater job.  If your child wants to make his own flashcards though you should not discourage him as this will help him to have a sense of pride in them.
4.    Create a variety of flashcard games and drills to augment, not replace, the one on one work that you do with your child.
5.    Once your child seems to have a firm grasp upon the “at” words, help him to make bigger “at” words.  This simply means adding more letters to “at,” including blends such as “fl” and “ch.”  You can make this “fun” by presenting this exercise to your child as a challenge that you know that he can accomplish.  Before doing this though, make sure that you have “at” written on one whole index card.  You will then want to cut 3 other index cards in half so that you have 6 halves.  On each of these halves you will want to write 1 of these 6 pairs of letters: fl, ch, br, sp, spl and dr.  This will allow your child to make the words: flat, chat, brat, spat, splat and drat. Once this is done and you are ready to work with your child, put “at” down in front of you and spread the other cards around “at.”  Your child can then choose 1 card, slide it over to the front of “at” and tell you what the new word is.

Are you ready to become a teacher or tutor?

It is with much anticipation and excitement that the new TeachOrTutor.com web site is launched.  This site is now ready to welcome both teachers and tutors to its online community.  After years of research and develop TeachOrTutor.com is now ready to declare itself “open for business.”

Ruben Lira, President of TeachOrTutor.com says, “We are really excited!  We have created this community to serve the needs of both the instructors and the students.  Now we are officially open for business.”

At TeachOrTutor.com anyone can become a tutor or teacher, regardless of their experience level.  Here you will be given all of the tools that you need to reach out to students who need your help.  The best part is that all of this can be done via the Internet, from the comfort of your own home.

You will notice that founder Ruben Lira has set this site up in such a way as to make it look like the classified section of a national newspaper.  In this environment people can come together to teach and to learn.  The layout of this web site allows for close interpersonal communication between students and teachers.  As such both teachers and tutors will now have a platform upon which they can share lessons with students.  At the same time teachers and tutors will also be able t profit from high quality traffic, higher click-thru-rates and great sales conversions.

So, come and join us and be part of our team!  It is very easy to do and it is FREE.  So, go ahead and start making money today.  Together we can revolutionize the way in which students learn!

As one member of TeachOrTutor.com says, “Here at TeachOrTutor.com you will be able to easily establish your teaching or tutoring services.  The best part is that all of this is free, regardless of the number of listings you create.  This really is the best place online to be a teacher or tutor today.”

If you are ready to become a teacher or tutor, you are invited to start using the services at TeachOrTutor.com today.

Online tutoring increasing

Online tutoring acts as a supplemental education for whenever you are taking a class and learning new things.  This can be very advantageous in that both your classroom and your instructor are essentially available 24/7.  Therefore, you can easily clear up any doubts that you may be having before you go online for a chat simply by sending an email to your instructor.  Another benefit to online tutoring is that it can easily be rescheduled at your convenience.  As such, you really do have everything that you need in order to make your learning more enjoyable and interesting right at your fingertips.  In fact, the reality is that the whole world of information is right there in front of you.

With online tutoring there really is an immense amount of flexibility available to you.  This is because you get to decide when you want study and whom you want to study with.  So, if you are uncomfortable with the tutor that you have, you can easily ask for a replacement without ever having to face the tutor that you dislike again.

Another benefit of online tutoring is that you will not ever get tired of traveling.  You also never have to worry about what the weather conditions are outside again.  Both of these things really should help to improve your concentration on the topic that is being taught.

Of course, besides simply saving money on the cost of gas and time when it comes to traveling, you will also save money on parking charges and child care as well.  Plus you may not even have to lose money by missing time at work so that you can be tutored.

Thanks to the one-on-one nature of online tutoring, you will be able to quickly clarify your doubts and move forward fast.  This is because while you may not be comfortable asking questions in class because you may think you will feel stupid, you will be able to easily avoid this with online tutoring wherein you are simply typing your question into the chat window on your computer.  Of course, you can also always shoot off an email to you instructor even after your tutoring session has finished.  This is something that is not always possible with traditional tutoring and so you may forget questions or you may lack the courage to ask a silly question in front of the rest of your class.

With all of this in mind you can easily see how online tutoring could be the way for you to receive the help that you need.  It is also nice to be able to meet students and tutors from different countries who could really help you to learn more about things other than just the subject that you are studying.  This will then help you to succeed in the future global village while making you want to learn more about many new things.  So, as you can clearly see, the possibilities here with online tutoring truly are endless.