Tutoring Writing Lesson

Posted on 23rd September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I tutored one of my favorite New Tampa writing students today. He is a wonderfully talented student. We’ve been working in a book that I found at the Friends of the Library bookstore at the Temple Terrace library.

Image created by Martin Kingsley. See more of his photos on Flickr. Image licensed under Creative Commons

It’s called The Lively Art of Writing. So far, it’s been a reasonably good textbook, although it isn’t a new one. The problems that students face in writing good essays have not changed much since the text was published in 1969.

I’ve struggled to find a really good writing book for gifted students in the middle grades. I’m not sure that I have the best one. Is anyone using a textbook to teach or tutor writing to gifted 7th and 8th graders that is especially good?

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/23/2009 11:19 PM

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More Pasco Students Taking AP Classes

Posted on 10th September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I read a recent article by Grayson Kamm of 10 Connects about the rising number of AP students in Pasco County. According to the story, Pasco schools are encouraging more students to attempt AP exams.

Because the AP classes are open to any student who wants to take them, some unlikely students accept the challenge and excel. I applaud anyone who wants to tackle an Advanced Placement class.

This under the boardwalk image from Tampa, FL is the work of Tony the Misfit. See more of Tony's photos on Flickr. Photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

Many moons ago at Chamberlain HS, AP American History and AP European History were my favorite classes because of Mr. Laundy’s love for his subject and students. He was a great teacher and inspired in me a love of history. I also was fortunate to have been taught World History and Speech by Mr. Frank Gregory at Dover High School.

Mr. Gregory was an inspiring teacher. One of his favorite sayings is from Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I thought he meant that we were going to have a fire drill before 4th period, but that’s another story. Mr Gregory is no longer teaching at DHS, but he still teaches history at Wesley College in Dover.

I did well on AP exams and did get a good chunk of a minor in history from AP credit. Not all schools give credit for a 3, as the 10 Connects article states.

I still don’t  understand why the Pasco schools are moving kids out of honors classes and into AP classes. Don’t get me wrong, I think AP is wonderful, but why is there such a big push to enroll?

For some, AP classes spur achievement; for others, AP classes overwhelm For some students contemplating AP, dual enrollment makes more sense. My step daughter moved from AP English to dual enrollment to take away the pressure of making a score to get credit.  If a student is genuinely capable of college level work, why not just do dual enrollment?

If you know someone who attends Wesley Chapel High School and needs AP American History tutoring, AP English, or AP European History, call Wesley Chapel, FL English & History tutor Eric Anderson at 813.797.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/10/2009 9:24 PM

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New Tampa History Tutor

Posted on 9th September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Today I tutored one of my favorite IB American History students. Although history isn’t her favorite subject, she put in the effort to learn the part of the chapter we studied today.

Mom asked, “How did you do on the last history quiz?”

This image is the work of Erin (Misserion on Flickr). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only. See more of Erin's images in her photostream.

“Eight out of ten. The best in the class,” said the student.

The student was content to measure her performance by how other IB students had done, but her mother pressed her to set a higher standard for herself.

As a recovering perfectionist, this New Tampa History Tutor can appreciate both points of view.

The best score in the class is an achievement.

Nevertheless, I see the parent’s point. So much of how we do in a class is determined by where we draw the “good enough” line. With the rigors of the IB course of study, finite study time may be needed for some other subject. But I admire those students whose standards of excellence don’t depend upon how well others perform.

Where are you drawing the “good enough” line? What do you expect of yourself? What are you willing to accept?
I just finished reading A Message from Garcia. The author challenges readers to push themselves beyond what they believe they can do.

One of the most successful students I ever met told me about surviving a class in high school that featured pop tests. When I hear students grousing about how hard it is to prepare for scheduled tests, I think of his story.

Confronted with an unorthodox instructor, this student dug in, studied like a madman, and succeeded in mastering the material.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/29/2009 11:15 PM


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Tampa FL English Tutor Tips for Learning Vocabulary Words for Middle Schoolers

Posted on 7th September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I recently added a new client for Tampa English tutoring in Carrollwood. I normally only tutor ages 6-12 and adults, but this client has a terrific 5th grader who wanted to improve vocabulary and writing skills.

My wife, a middle school teacher, advised me to look into using the Frayer Model  to help this young student expand her vocabulary.

There are a number of wonderful  web sites on the Frayer.  The Frayer Model helps students make connections with the word they are trying to learn.

This image created by Eddy Van 3000. See more of his beautiful photos on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

The Frayer model divides a page into four equal squares. The word goes in a circle in the center of the page. Although versions of the model differ somewhat, each square invites the student to make a different kind of connection.

In the upper left square of the Frayer, students might write a definition in their own words. In the lower left, they might write a sentence or two using the word. In the upper right square of the Frayer, they might describe what the word reminds them of. In the lower right, they might draw a picture to go with the word.

The person I tutored this week became engrossed in making connections. I recommend at least trying the Frayer Method to teach vocabulary if you haven’t. It’s engaging and especially effective with students who are visual or enjoy drawing.

Here is a link to a PDF of a blank Frayer model.

If you would like to have an English tutor help your child improve his or her vocabulary, reading or writing this school year, contact Eric Anderson, Tampa English Tutor at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/7/2009 9:35 PM


Tampa PSAT Tutoring – The Race to be a National Merit Scholar

Posted on 3rd September 2009 in Tampa PSAT Tutoring

I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone and how close a pair of my students are to the scores needed to get into the race for National Merit Scholarships. Both have worked very hard over the summer.

Being in the upper half of the 99th percentile of the people who take the PSAT is a tall order, but not impossible for someone dedicated to cracking the PSAT. Even if you don’t become an NMS, taking the PSAT is great practice for the SAT.

Marathon image created by Eneas de Troya and licensed under Creative Commons attribution only license. See more of his photos in his Flickr photostream.

My brother was a National Merit Scholarship Semi Finalist. When he won it, we lived in Dover, Delaware, and I thought he got a little full of himself.

This summer was the first time I tutored the PSAT, so I had to learn a bit more about the scores required to compete for a National Merit Scholarship. It’s tough, and I admire anyone who can get within striking distance. Students interested in taking a shot at the PSAT can find out all the info here: http://www.nationalmerit.org/student_guide.pdf

My best standardized test score was years back on the LSAT, I managed to get a score in the top 5% of people who took the test and thought I was the bees knees. That ain’t even close to what you need to become a NMS…

If your student is preparing for the PSAT or SAT and would like to get help a Tampa PSAT tutor, call Eric at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/3/2009 12:23 AM

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