Resources and Blog

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Summer 2017!

Summer tutoring is the perfect way to avoid “Summer Slide”

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” and that’s exactly what Summer Slide is. As a former teacher, I could always tell which students did some practice over the summer months, and which ones did not. Students can loose MONTHS of reading and math skills over the summer if they are not keeping their brains active!

Summer is actually my busiest time of year, believe it or not! Students are out of school, so it’s a great time to take advantage of extended hours of availability.

If you are interested in more information, please email me at beth@mytutoringbee.com, call me @ (512) 766-7881 (please leave a message if I don’t answer), or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Summer tutoring schedule starts the week of June 5th

Check out my calendar to find a time that works for you!

My hours are 10 am – 12 noon; 1 pm – 7:30 Mon – Fri.

Summers fill up fast, so get a spot saved ASAP!

 

I’m now offering online tutoring

Easy Interactive white board where the student and I can both write and see what the other is doing.

Both parties can upload documents and pictures to work on together such as math problems, reading pages, writing assignments, etc.

There is an audio and video component so we can talk and see one another during the session.

Ask me for more info if you’re interested in this. I’m happy to conduct a free 15-minute demo!

For more info on Online Tutoring, click here!

Don’t think scheduled tutoring will work for you?

Online Math Review – at your own pace

Some of my students don’t NEED tutoring throughout the summer to “get caught up” but it’s always good to keep those brain cells cobweb-free! I designed this online math review course and used it with students last year with great success! It’s made to simply review the past year’s concepts on a weekly basis while getting consistent feedback from me. The beauty of it is, there are no rigid scheduling obligations, and your child can work at his or her own pace throughout the week (although, it should only take 20-30 minutes per assignment).

 

Here is how it works:

  1. Each week, your child logs on to the interactive whiteboard to find their 5 to 10 question math review page to complete. No need to download any special programs or apps – it’s all online!
  2. At a designated time and day each week, I will log on and check their work and give written feedback and corrections I’d like them to make.
  3. At this time, I’ll also “assign” the next page for them to complete over the following week. – There is no need for us both to be logged on at the same time, making scheduling easy!
  4. The process then repeats: Student does corrections and work; I review, provide feedback and assign new work. It’s that easy!

 

  • It’s a great way to keep skills fresh throughout the summer months and not fall behind!
  • This method allows students to work at their own pace, practice problem-solving skills, and receive constructive feedback on their work.
  • I will still communicate with you each week via email to let you know how things are going throughout the summer.
  • The cost for this option is $20/week. Invoices are sent via email.
  • Scheduling is flexible and some weeks may be skipped throughout the summer.

If you are interested in more information, please email me at beth@mytutoringbee.com, call me @ (512) 766-7881 (please leave a message if I don’t answer), or fill out this contact form.

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Common Core and the People Who Hate It.

What is Common Core, anyway?

I’ve had an interesting dynamic of commenters on one of my math videos that I posted 3 years ago (April 2014). This video teaches how to do the “Big 7 Division” method, which is an alternative method to the traditional long division algorithm.  If you’re not familiar with this method, you can watch my video here. However, to answer the question above, Common Core is…” a set of educational standards for teaching and testing English and mathematics between kindergarten and 12th grade.” The theory is that now each state will teach one set of common standards across the nation, rather than having each state have their own way of teaching.  Simple enough, right?

So why do so many people hate it?

If you don’t watch the actual video, you should at least check out all of the feedback I’ve received in the comment section below the video (especially since that is really what this post is all about). Many of the comments are positive; messages of thanks
for helping with homework or an upcoming test, etc. Then there are the folks who tear this method apart, and who are clearly upset by Common Core and the direction it’s taking students’ math curricula. I even had to BAN someone after a back and forth between her and another commenter because of her increasingly rude and belligerent comments.  Yes, that’s right! I had to ban someone from a discussion on a math video!!  Once she started swearing, that’s where I drew the line. I have a lot of kids who subscribe and watch my videos. I’m just not having that, people!

The method behind my madness.

As a side note, I want to point out that I created this YouTube channel with the intention of helping parents help their kids. So many of my tutoring clients tell me, “I don’t know how to help him with his homework. They just do it so differently than I did when I was in school.” I am certainly not the brains behind any of the methods I make videos about. I simply learn the new method, and then translate that into a video that is (hopefully) easy to understand.

More answers = More questions

In all honesty, I find this sort of feedback fascinating. I get so many comments on this ONE VIDEO. Not that I don’t get feedback on my other alternative method math videos, but this one in particular just seems to draw viewers to their keyboards like moths to a flame, and those moths can be “spicy!” I truly love all of the debate and discussion, not only about this particular method, but Common Core in general and what it is doing for our students. However, the more comments I get, the more curious I become. Here are a few questions I have, and I’d love it if you commented with your thoughts and opinions.

What is it about this video, in particular, that makes viewers take the time to write a comment? Is it just the method itself? Is it my delivery?

For parents: How do you feel about Common Core and alternative methods for solving math problems? Do you find it difficult because it is different from how you learned the skills in school, and therefore difficult to help your children? Do you find it helpful for your children because it teaches them another way to learn the same skill?

For educators: Do you teach alternative methods for solving math problems? How well are those methods received at home? Do you get negative or positive feedback? How do you handle that?

For everyone: What does “the easy way” mean to you? The fastest way? The method with the least amount of steps? The most intuitive way? The method that produces the fewest number of errors?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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This just in: You need a new math game!

Need A Great Math Game? I’ve Got Some For You – And They’re On Sale!

Just in case you missed it – I’m throwing a sale in my TpT store! Enjoy 20% off all of my products until Saturday, January 14th at midnight!

Happy shopping!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/My-Tutoring-Bee

Go Pigs! A Fraction-Based Card Game – created by one of my very own students! (And, YES! She was compensated and gave me express permission to sell her game!) Compete against others in the classic “Go Fish” game style and create WHOLES out of fraction cards. 

 

 

 

Integer Climb and Dive – Will you climb to the top of the mountain or dive to the bottom of the sea to win this addition and subtraction of integers game? Featuring my very own artwork! Just look at that adorable goat!

 

 

Angle Wars – It’s my BEST SELLER! Race to the finish by measuring and drawing angles to complete your circle! I love this game because it’s easy to set up – you just need two 10-sided dice, a protractor, a pencil, and two colored pencils.

 

 

 

Multiplication Baseball – Practice 1 – 12 multiplication facts with this baseball themed game. Players take turns playing innings in order to score runs! Watch out for Outs and Strikes! Yet another student-inspired game.

 

 

 

My sale also includes my 6th-Grade 12-week spiral review! This review covers all of the 6th-grade common core standards, and features a basic skill problem and word problem on every page for every standard! There is even a FREEBIE so you can try before you buy!

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5 Study Strategies that Work! (Even when you HATE studying)

Study Strategies that stop Test Anxiety in its Tracks

Uh-oh…It’s that moment. We’ve all been there before. You just realized you have a test tomorrow. Are you ready? Here are some study strategies that can help you become the best test taker ever!

I won’t spend a lot of time lecturing about keeping your notes, binders and folders organized, but it is worth mentioning. Being able to easily find the things that you are looking for will GREATLY help you to not only study more effectively but will help with retention of the information. Take a look at some different note taking styles and choose according to your own taste and the content you are learning. I also won’t tell you to make sure you get a good night’s rest and a nice, healthy breakfast in the morning because…well…I ain’t yo’ mamma! But if I were, that’s probably what I would tell you about…

Ahem…on to the study tips!

1. set a schedule

Have a specific day and time that you sit down and study. Don’t have anything specific to study for? Then organize your backpack, look over your notes, or watch youtube videos to help support what you are learning. Simply setting a scheduled time for yourself to study will have a HUGE impact on your school life. Write it on your calendar. Set a reminder in your phone. Make the effort to carve out this time for yourself. Make it a habit, and stick to it. Then you won’t have to crunch when it is test time.

2. make a self-created quiz

You get to “become the teacher” and make up questions that you think would be good for a test that “your students” are about to take. Finished? Good! Now take your own quiz. How did you do? It might seem silly, but it actually works to help seal in that information!

3. study with a friend

Pick a friend who is serious about studying and is not going to waste your time goofing off! Quiz each other. Make fill in the blank sentences, multiple choice questions, or flash cards together. Turn it into a trivia game and award each other points! Studying with someone else who is also learning the material will help because they might remember something or have information in their notes that you don’t, or vice versa.

4. use the 30/10 or 45/15 rule

I LOVE this one. Put distractions away. Get a timer. Set it for 30 minutes and STUDY! Once the timer buzzes, set it again for 10 minutes. Now put away your studies and RELAX. Meditate, watch tv, play outside, eat some ice cream – whatever! When 10 minutes is up, set it again for 30 minutes and repeat with studying.

Decide how many rounds of this you’ll need BEFORE beginning. You can also change the amount of time to 45 minutes studying and 15 minutes to relax. Or 60/20. The ratio to remember is 3:1 of study to relax time. This method works well because it gives your brain a chance to process all of that information and gets you up and moving frequently which provides more blood flow to your brain. The timer also gives you an attainable goal to shoot for, which can be very motivating.

5. make use of extrinsic motivation

Speaking of motivation – Having a hard time getting motivated? Bribe yourself! Set some small goals – “If I get X amount of studying done by X time, I get to treat myself to that cute new phone case I was eyeing.” or “I get to have a giant bowl of ice cream.” (What? I like ice cream!) This extrinsic motivation will help you get into the habit of studying. Eventually, this will develop into intrinsic motivation and soon, the feeling of confidence will be the only motivation you’ll need.

 

You got this! Now go get to studying!

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6th Grade Math Spiral Review

Hi, friends!

I’ve just created a new 6th Grade Math Spiral Review resource for you and have placed it in my store!

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Help your students keep skills fresh with this 6th grade Common Core Spiral Math Review! Each page features math problems from each of the 5 domains: Ratios and Proportions, The Number System, Expressions and Equations, Geometry and Statistics and Probability. The left-hand column features basic practice in each of these 5 domains, while the right-hand column features a practical application of those same skills within a word problem or graphing practice.

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I have designed this review to specifically help with connecting the concrete skill practice to application within word problems. Each word problem on the right is directly related to the skill that is being practiced on the left of each page.

Students can use this resource as a daily or weekly review. Perfect for 6th-grade test prep or for returning 7th graders needing to brush up on those 6th-grade math skills that may have been forgotten over the summer. These would also be wonderful math centers or morning/bell work!

Here is what you get:
• 12 student work pages – each covering all 5 sixth grade math domains.
• Answer key.
• Suggestions and guidance on how to use this resource in the classroom.

I also offer a FREE 2-page sample of this product, too – It includes the first 2 pages of the larger packet and Answer key.

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Easy DIY Math Games!

Make Math fun with games!

So many of my math students look forward to the last few minutes of our lessons, not because they want it to be over (right?!?) but because they know we get to play games! Now, I don’t know if you guys know this or not, but teachers do not make a HUGE salary. We have to be creative with how we engage our students. So, I make math games! It’s super easy to take a regularly played game such as cards or Monopoly and tweak it to fit your math learnin’ needs! Here are a few of my favorite DIY math games to play with my students.

Math Stack

Initial prep time = approximately 1-2 hours (you can also have your learner help with this process!)
Game set up time = a few minutes to stack the tower
Game play time = 10 – 20 minutes
Materials needed = Block stacking game, permanent markers, blank die (optional)
  • This takes some initial prep time, but is a great twist to an already popular game.
  • Game play is pretty simple. Each player takes turns pulling out blocks using the regular rules that come with the game. However, before a player can place their block on top of the stack, they must answer a math fact – EASY!
  • I chose to use 4 different levels of difficulty on my blocks with red being the easiest, then green, then blue, and finally purple being the most challenging. I did this because Imath-stack-example work with different levels of learners, so it makes it easy for me to pick a color that we will play with that day. However, my older kids love to use the colored dice (it’s just a blank die that I colored with sharpie – you could also use cards, hearts = red, diamonds = green, etc) for a random chance at the different types of equations they will solve. I even have a side that says “me” and one that says “you” and players get to either choose for themselves or have the color chosen by the opposite player.
  • I chose math facts that students should know without counting. I try to help my students solve the facts without counting by relating “harder” problems to facts that they already know. For example, you’ll see the 5 + 6 = ? block. If they start counting, I’ll say something like, “if you know 5 + 5, then you can easily figure out 5 + 6 because 6 is just one more than 5.”
  • The game is so intense, and it’s so interesting to see the various methods and play styles! Some kids are oh so careful, and others just go for it!

math-diceMath Dice

Initial prep time = none
game set up time = seconds to sort out the dice and materials you’ll need
game play time = 10 to 30 minutes (depends on your determined “winning” score)
materials needed = white board (or paper), 2 sets of any 3 dice, 1 extra die for the target die (I use different dice for different levels of players. In this example, I am using one 12-sided for the target die, and each player gets a 6-sided, 8-sided and 10-sided die)
  1. This game is perfect for students who have learned or are learning order of operation. The basic game play goes like this:
    1. the “target die” is rolled, and each player rolls his or her own 3 “player dice”.
    2. Each player must use ALL of the numbers that they rolled to come up with the number on the “target die” or as close as they can. They can use any operation, including parenthesis and exponents.
    3. The player with the closest answer wins a point (I use tally marks in the upper right hand corner of the board). If both players get the exact number, both players get a point. If both players are the same amount away from the target die, no one gets a point. Here are some examples:
  • Here is the first round. The target die is 7. Player 1 rolled 1, 9 and 6. She combined her numbers using exponents and addition to get 7! Player 2 rolled 2, 2 and 8. He used parenthesis, division and subtraction to also get 7! They both get a point!
    round-1
  • OK, second round. The target die is 8. Player 1 rolled 9, 6 and 4. She combined her numbers using subtraction and addition to get 7. That’s as close as she could get. Player 2 rolled 8, 1, and 1. He multiplied to get 8! So Player 2 gets a point for this round.

round-2

  • Play continues like this until one of the players reaches a determined number of tallies. I usually play until 5 if we have only 10 or 15 minutes to play. If we have 20 minutes or more, usually we can get to 10 tallies.

Dominoes

  • There are so many addition and multiplication games you can play with dominoes.
  • One of my favorites is played somewhat like the card game “War”. Lay all of the dominoes face down and each player flips over one domino. Players either add, subtract or multiply the two sides, and the player with the highest number “wins” all of the flipped dominoes!

Index cards

  • You can make your own memory games or matching games with index cards. Tailor them to your specific learner’s needs by writing addition, subtraction, multiplication, or really any kind of facts on them! It’s also beneficial for your learner to actually participate in making these cards too!
  • Pro tip: write with pink or orange highlighter – it doesn’t show through the cards as easily as pencil or some other darker marker or pen. You can also scribble on the “back” to make it even harder to see through.
  • Play with these “cards” in the same way you would these popular games:
    • Memory
    • Go fish
    • Old maid

Games I offer in my store

I also have some fun games that I have created and sell on my store! Click on the links below to find out more about these games that I have created and use all the time with my students.
  • Multiplication Baseball – baseball themed multiplication practice for facts 1 through 12. 2 players.
  • Go Pigs! – A “Go Fish” style play. Players combine different fractions to make wholes. 2 – 4 players.
  • Integer Climb and Dive – Adding and subtracting positive and negative integers practice. 2 players.
  • Angle Wars – Players measure and draw angles with a protractor. 2 players.
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The best year yet…

As another summer fades, I am reminded once again of how much I truly love my job. I realize that not many can say that. It’s not even a “job” to me; it’s just what I’m meant to do! I realize how lucky I am to be able to work with the people that I have worked with, and feel that I can make a difference in each of their lives. It amazes me, that I can be in a grumpy, stressed mood, and just an hour with one of my students turns me completely around. Each one is different; each brings their own set of challenges, goals and attitude towards learning; and each brings out a different side of me on a daily basis.
For all of my students and students’ parents (past or present) reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you for trusting in me to help with your success.
I’m so looking forward to yet another school year of learning and growing! 🍎❤
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Working with percentage word problems (A remake)

A while ago, I made a video to show my viewers how to decipher word problems dealing with percentage. I thought I was making a lot of sense, but the good people of YouTube land let me know otherwise.

 

Therefore, I present to you, <insert trumpeting music here> “(remake) How to work with percent word problems (6th and up)”

 

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Spring Break Strategies

So, what are you doing for spring break?

Hi again friends!

Well, here we are – the first day of Spring Break here in Central Texas. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and your kids…are home…with you…all day…for the entire week…so, what are you doing for spring break?

 

A lot of parents ask me to give their kids some extra practice to do during breaks, and I’m happy to do so! Keeping those neurons frequently firing is a great way to keep the brain in shape! But just like the muscles in your body, your brain needs a rest too. So, how do you keep a perfect balance of the two? I have three words for you – Planning, Planning and Planning!

 

Decide what you will work on ahead of time

Pick out a good book that you and your children can read together. Yes, it’s OK to still read to your kids, even if they know how to read on their own. Being read to is still a great way to learn comprehension, expand vocabulary, and develop a love for stories. Or, one of my favorite ways to share a book with a student is to “Partner Read.” You read a page, I read a page – or a chapter, or a paragraph, or whatever – just keep it bounding back and forth between the two of you. Visit your library or discount book store together to find something that will be interesting and that you can break up into sections over the week. Maybe you found some great math flash cards, or a cool math app to work on. Whatever material you pick, decide ahead of time how much you will do each day. You and your kids will know what is expected each day; plus, it will give you a sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished that one little section each time.

 

Make learning part of your daily schedule

Just as important as brushing your teeth and eating meals – doing a little bit of brain work each day is essential to growth and skill mastery, and it can be made into a daily routine. It only takes 10-30 minutes a day of skill review to keep the brain active. Depending on how old your kiddo(s) are – adjust the time to fit your needs. Schedule it. Plan on “10 minutes after breakfast and before going out to play.” or “20 minutes before bed” or even as specific as “it’s 1:30 – time to do some math facts for 30 minutes!” You don’t have to do a whole lot if you’re working just a little each day. Don’t wait until Friday (or even worse, Sunday night before school is back in session!) to work on those multiplication facts, or read a book. It’s best if you do a little at a time.

 

But what about vacations?

Go on vacation! Have a blast! Say “Hi!” to Mickey for me, or your Grandma Josephine, or whomever you’re spending time with. Vacations don’t have to mean you can’t do some fun learning too. And hey, if you can’t get to brain work one day because you’re too busy with surfing lessons – that’s totally cool! Again, just plan ahead of time. Know what your limitations are, know what kind of extra time you’ll have, and try to work in some practice. Have a long car ride? Play the Alphabet game with billboards. Play the 50 states game with other drivers’ licence plates. Read a book. Get a recorded book the whole family can listen too! Challenge each other with math facts, or bring along some Sudoku puzzles. It doesn’t have to be worksheets to be considered learning! Which brings me to my final suggestion…

 

Ugh, worksheets!

Yes, worksheets do offer a great, portable way of getting in some extra practice. But there are so many other ways of practicing. Be creative. Find a game. Have you heard of this awesome site called TeachersPayTeachers? It’s designed by teachers for teachers. Teachers spend so much of their time preparing fun, engaging lessons and activities for their students, and this site allows us to share those activities with each other. But, you don’t have to be a teacher to purchase materials. You do have to sign up with an account though. AND there are a TON of FREE games and activities on there. You should check it out. Here is my store where I am in the beginnings of adding resources: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/My-Tutoring-Bee

 

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful Spring Break! Please let me know what you did to keep the brain active in the comments below!

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Spelling Tips and Strategies

I’ve been working with one particular student lately who just has a hard time with spelling. And trust me, I. Get. It! The struggle is real. I can’t tell you about the countless Thursday nights I stayed up as a child crying and spelling, crying and spelling in preparation for the following day’s spelling test. “Why do I have to know these?!?!” I would sob. I mean, I don’t know any other languages fluently, but I’m pretty sure English is the hardest to learn and get all of the rules memorized. Yes, our language is a beautiful mixture of worldly cultures, filled with dipthongs, consonant pairs, silent letters, r-controlled vowels, blends, and don’t even get me started on the rules when adding suffixes, all tied up into a nice little package that we call English. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

So what do I do when I have a student that just can’t remember how to spell? I teach a lot of phonics rules, and that helps a lot, but “just sound it out” doesn’t always cut the musterd mustird mustard. Here are some tips that I actually use for myself, and a few others that I’ve taught to my students that seem to help them too!

Behold! Spelling Tips and Strategies 101!

1. Use mnemonic devices.

“What’s that?” you say? A mnemonic (new-mon-ick) device is just a tailor made way to help you remember something. Ever heard of “My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nachos”? Or how about “i before e except after c”? Those are all mnemonic devices. (By the way, mnemonic is a really difficult word to spell over and over!) Mnemonic devices were my saving grace when I was studying for any tests where I had to memorize something. My dad actually introduced me to them. I can remember it so vividly – “Georgia” was the spelling word I was trying to spell, and I just couldn’t get that “G-E-O” part right. My dad said, “Just think of the car Geo (the Geo Metro was very popular at the time), and think, Geos are made in Georgia!” Of course I replied with, “They are?!” “No,” he said, “it’s just a way for you to remember how to spell it.” Light Bulb!  Now, I recommend this method with caution. Some things will stick – such as ‘Geos are made in Georgia’ and some won’t. This isn’t a great method for long-term memory, but it can get you through those tireless nights of studying for spelling tests. I will only add one more piece of advice – have your child be part of the process. Come up with these together. It will go a long way.

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A recent brainstorming session. You can see we were using all different types of strategies.

2. Good old phonics rules and “chun-king” words.

As I said, I teach a lot of phonics. I teach a lot of my students how to chunk words into their syllables and their phonemes. A phoneme is just a single sound that you hear in a word. Sometimes they are made by one letter, sometimes they are made by 2 or 3. The word “a” has one phoneme – the long a sound. The word “dog” has three phonemes – /d/-/o/-/g/. The word “fish” also has 3 phonemes – /f/ – /i/ – /sh/.  This is a great strategy when students are maybe trying to go too fast, and just plain skip a lot of letters when they spell them. For example, the word “birthday” might be spelled “brthda”. If students break apart this word into its syllables, birth – day, and then focus on each phoneme they hear, they will hear the r-controlled vowel sound of the “ir”, and if they have learned it through phonics, will know that a word that ends in the long a sound is usually spelled “ay”.

3. Visual cue cards.

There is a lot of study behind students who learn visually and can benefit from seeing words represented in a visual way. Get a stack of index cards and not only write each spelling word on them, but draw pictures around them to make the word into an image. For example, the word “look” can have two eyes drawn inside the Os. The word “tall” can have nice long tall Ls for legs of a stick figure. First, identify the part of the word that your child is having trouble with, and focus on that part specifically when making your visuals. Again, have your learner be a part of it! Don’t just make the cards for them. Let them be a part of the process!

4. Write-Say-Test.

Gesh. I really wish I had a better, cuter, more clever name for this spelling practice exercise. We’ve all heard “write the word 3 (or 5, or 10) times each,” but Write-Say-Test does more. I actually learned this from a former employer at my first tutoring gig. Here are the steps:

  1. Write the word as you are looking at it from your list, and say each letter as you write it.
  2. Write the word again as you say each letter again.
  3. Write the word a third time as you say each letter again.
  4. Either fold your paper or flip it over and test yourself on the back by writing the word while saying each letter as you write it.
  5. Do each word one at a time. Don’t write each word three times on the front and then flip over your paper to test. Once you’ve written a word three times and said each letter as you wrote, immediately test yourself on the back, and then go on to the next word.

It’s very important to note that you need to say each letter as you are writing it. A lot of kids try to skip that step, but there are so many things at work with this technique when all of the steps are followed. Motor skills of writing the words, visually seeing the words, speaking each letter in the correct order, hearing the letters by saying them out loud, and finally, immediate testing of the spelling are all helping the brain to retain the information when studying with this strategy.

Write-Say-Test
They have started on the first 2 words in the list.
Write-Say-Test
And then tested themselves on the back.

5. Find smaller words.

Look to find any smaller words that are “hidden” inside larger words. For example, in the word “further” I can see “fur”, “her”, and “the” – all words that students who are being asked to spell “further” should be able to spell.

6. Games!

Maybe I should have listed this one first…or maybe I saved the best for last. Either way, I love games, and so do most kids. There are many many games out there. Honestly, when I’m looking for a new game idea, I start with Pinterest and then modify some of the ideas I find there to fit my needs. Here are a few of my favorite spelling games:

  • Spelling word tic-tac-toe: Make a tic-tac-toe grid, but instead of playing with Xs and Os, you choose two different spelling words to write inside the grid! Genius! Jill at A Mom With A Lesson Plan gets credit for this idea.
    Sight word Tic Tac Toe - what a fun idea!
    I like the two different colors she uses too!

     

  • Spelling Battleship: This game is probably my favorite, but set up can take some time. Luckily, for us, someone over at Deceptively Educational has created a free printable!

Spelling Battleship

  • Spelling Hangman: Who hasn’t played hangman before? It’s a fun game, and kids need to specifically focus on where each letter goes when they are the ones writing the letters as you guess them! It also forces them to pay attention to where each letter goes and what other letters might be missing when they are the ones guessing the letters.

    Hangman spelling
    Hangman with sight words.
  • Spelling Magnets: Get some of those great alphabet magnets, clear some space on your fridge or other metallic surface and have a ball! If your kids really need the extra support, choose the letters they need and either place them on the fridge out of order, or in a jumbled group. Then, let them sort out the letters into the correct order. You could also give them a choice between 2 or 3 letters each time they are adding on a new letter to the word they are spelling.

    long vowel spelling with magnet letters
    You can see we were working on “magic e” with long vowels

Well? What do you think? Have you tried any of these? Do you think some of these would work for your learner? I’d love to hear how they work for you, so please feel free to comment below. Thanks for stopping by!

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A New Twist on Number Expressions – Part 2

You may recall my previous post about this new interactive math wall I put up back in February. I had a few students who participated and here are the results!

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I really like how some students went with a similar format that I did (like when I used parenthesis, word problem form, etc.) and sometimes they just went with what they knew!

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I bet you can find the post-its from the student who just learned that multiplication of 1 by any number was that same number!

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It was surprisingly difficult for many of my students to not ANSWER their own problem. I had to have several of them rewrite their expression only, and not write it as an equation.

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It brought about a lot of questions from my students like, “What does product mean?”, “What are those things?” – asking about parenthesis, and, “You wear size 9!?!?”

 

My favorite moment during this experiment was when one of my girls (who always tells me I look 10 years younger than I really am – she gets brownie points) tried solving the “My Age” card. She multiplied instead of divided and got 140! I quickly put on my old lady voice and said, “Does that answer make sense to you, missy? Back in my day, this symbol meant divide!!!” It was pretty hilarious, and I think, a good lesson in always asking yourself if your answer is REASONABLE!

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Hope you enjoyed this! Now on to a new math wall for next year!

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4 new math videos for the price of one! (Don’t worry, the price is still free.)

Factor Trees, GCF, LCM, square root, oh my!

Hi folks!

I’ve been working hard to get a video recorded and posted on a more weekly basis. Well, this week I started working on my original idea of a video about prime factorization using Factor Trees. Of course, I thought of 3 other topics factor trees are related to, so I decided to just go ahead and make a video for each of the topics! I’m sorry if by the last one I seem a little loopy. I actually get pretty nervous making these videos, and I think it started to get to me a bit after #4!

Alright then. My first video is, as I said, about factor trees. Using a factor tree is one method of finding the prime numbers that make up a composite number, i.e. 2 and 3 are both prime numbers, and when you multiply them together you get the composite number of 6. See how easy? What about finding the prime factors for 250? or 360? Lucky for you, I show you exactly how to do that in this video. Enjoy!

 

For my second act, I have a video that explains what LCM (Lowest Common Multiple) is and how to use factor trees to find the LCM for 2 different (larger) numbers.

 

Who can talk about LCM without also talking about GCF?!?!? Not this gal! Greatest Common Factor can also be found with the help of factor trees.

And last but not least, there’s good ol’ square root. Who wants to know what the square root of 225 is?!?! Anyone? Anyone?

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you! And share, share, SHARE!

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New Video! Conversion between fraction/decimal/percent!

Want some examples of how to convert between fractions, decimals and percents? Well, look no further! I have step by step instructions right here!

Take a look at my new video. I’d love to hear what you think. I’d also love to hear what other math topics you’d like to see. And please, Share, Share, SHARE!!!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/359232507754350788/

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Metric Conversions!

Here’s a new video for you! This video shows you an easy way to do conversions within the metric system. I will apologize in advance – I was having some serious technical issues while making, editing and posting this video! It’s kinda choppy, and you may or may not be able to hear the aggravation in my voice. I mean seriously. If it could go wrong, it did! Battery dying, dogs barking, not having it saved in the right format…ugh… Nonetheless, it’s still a good strategy! Enjoy!

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New Video: How to do Metric Conversions

Hey all!  I was recently helping one of my students with conversions within the metric system. I showed him this mnemonic device that helped him to know how to move the decimal around when converting from one unit to another. For example, he was trying to find out how many centimeters are in 7 meters. We

You can also multiply or divide by multiples of ten, but this way seems easier to remember, and gives a visual, too.

The general idea is this: 1. Start with the letter of the unit you are given. 2.Count the jumps you make to the left or the right towards the new unit you are trying to find. 3. Move the decimal of your original number the same number of spaces and in the same direction as you did on the letters.

Here is a quick graphic for this lesson, but check out the following video for the whole explanation!Metric system Conversions

 

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A new twist on number expressions

I recently found a great pin on Pinterest about how some teachers got their students to come up with different ways to write expressions. I loved the idea, so I made my own!

Figure Me Out

For each category I have created a number expression to show my age, the number of brothers I have, the year I graduated college, etc. This is posted up on my wall in my ‘classroom’ for all to see! I don’t want my students to simply solve the problems. I want them to solve it and then write another expression that would yield the same answer! For example, my age: a student could write the expression: “30+5” or “5²+10” depending on their level and knowledge of math skills.

 

I just put this up yesterday, so I’m excited to report back later on with an updated picture of my students’ responses!

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New Video: Fraction Conversions

Along with my adding fractions video, I also created a short video on how to convert mixed numbers, improper fractions and whole numbers. Here’s a quick info graphic to help you out with those conversions, along with visuals. To view my video, check out my “Math Videos!” page, or you can visit my YouTube channel link by clicking here. Enjoy!

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New Video: Adding Fractions

I created a video yesterday with just a simple explanation of how to add fractions with unlike denominators, and why we do it that way. Since I did all of my work on this paper, I thought I’d just post the picture of it as a quick reference for you! To view my video, check out my “Math Videos!” page, or you can visit my YouTube channel link by clicking here. Enjoy!

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Creative kids

Summertime is my favorite time of year! I used to say this because it was when I got a much needed break after a long and tough school year – but now, my busiest months are June through August and I love every minute of it! I love it so much because it’s usually the time when I get to spend quality time with my students developing skills they need to improve or catch up on, and we don’t have to worry so much about keeping up with skills being taught at school. We can really take a step back and develop good number sense and practice skills necessary for the coming year. I spend a lot of time and effort to make tutoring as fun as possible with games and cool activities – and summertime is no exception. However, I was running out of ideas for new and innovative educational games to play with my students. What could I do to make summer tutoring fun for my students? I could go out to some of those teacher stores and buy some new games…but those things ain’t cheap! Uh…light bulb moment! Have the kids make their own math games as part of their summer activity!

So that’s exactly what we did. Initially I thought it would not only be fun and educational to play the games together, but it would be fun and educational to actually MAKE the games. To my wonderful surprise, I discovered that my students were not only learning math concepts, but they were also developing real world problem solving skills, time management techniques, hands-on production skills, and most importantly, the feeling of pride and accomplishment once their game was finished – especially when they heard that others had played their game and loved it!

Here are a few photos of me playing these home-made math games with my students. These are all kid-created. I coached a little on things like making sure the fabrication of the game was practical, length of game play was appropriate, and that all players would be actively practicing the skill that was chosen, and a few of the kids’ parents helped with cutting, printing, etc. (thank you!) – but these games are 100% my students’ ideas and creations! Enjoy!

 -Go Green Multiplication-

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Much like war – but your product must be closest to the blue “target number” rather than just the highest. (She hand drew and colored all of those cards!)
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Multiplication and comparison of numbers in one game!

-‘Mine’craft Fractions-

Comparing fractions
Another game similar to ‘War’ in that players look for the largest fraction – however, the winner of each round picks up a ‘resource’ from the center pile, then at the end, each player tallies their score to reveal the winner!

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We had a triple war!

 

-Baseball Multiplication-

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Each player flips 2 cards and multiplies the number on them. Your product determines how your ‘players’ move around the diamond!
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Batter up!

 

-Go Pigs!-

 

Go Pigs!
Kinda like ‘Go Fish’, but instead of pairs, players try to collect enough fraction pieces to make a whole. (Another artist – hand drew all of those adorable pigs!)
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The battle of fractions is on!
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No peeking!
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Welcome!

I’m so excited to have my new tutoring website up and running!

I plan on sharing my math videos, educational tips and tricks, and all things tutoring in Central Texas.

If you haven’t already, please join me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube!

I’d love to get some feed back from my audience. So tell me…what would you like to see?