Friday, January 31, 2014

What Percentage of Your Brain Do You Use? - Richard E. Cytowic

Two thirds of the population believes a myth that has been propagated for over a century: that we use only 10% of our brains. Hardly! Our neuron-dense brains have evolved to use the least amount of energy while carrying the most information possible -- a feat that requires the entire brain. Richard E. Cytowic debunks this neurological myth (and explains why we aren't so good at multitasking).

Lesson by Richard E. Cytowic, animation by TOGETHER.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Comma Story - Terisa Folaron

It isn't easy holding complex sentences together (just ask a conjunction or a subordinate), but the clever little comma can help lighten the load. But how to tell when help is really needed? Terisa Folaron offers some tricks of the comma trade.

Lesson by Terisa Folaron, animation by Brett Underhill.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Should We Eat Bugs? - Emma Bryce

What's tasty, abundant and high in protein? Bugs! Although less common outside the tropics, entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs, was once extremely widespread throughout cultures. You may feel icky about munching on insects, but they feed about 2 billion people each day (Mmm, fried tarantulas). They also hold promise for food security and the environment. Emma Bryce makes a compelling case for dining on bugs.

Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by NEIGHBOR.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Extraordinary Team: Viki Fisher


BS Elementary Education, emphasis in Early Childhood Education – Western Oregon State College

Viki has a passion for teaching early learners. She enjoys watching their faces light up when they are able to read by themselves for the first time or draft a complete story. She believes that children should be able to have the freedom to make mistakes, explore through trial and error and discover their own passion through learning. Her goal for her students is to build a solid foundation of basic skills that will give them the confidence to soar.

Viki began her teaching career in a self-contained first/second grade classroom. While there, she was responsible for advancing the school’s reading and writing curriculum in order to meet the needs of a lower performing school district. Her strength in early childhood education proved to be valuable to the district when they transitioned a kindergarten program to their school.

While raising her family, Viki continued to teach part time. She taught third grade in a job-share capacity, volunteered at her church’s “Mom’s Day Out” program, as well as in her daughter’s kindergarten class. After taking some time off from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, Viki began working at her kids’ school as an instructional assistant for children with special needs.

Viki’s most recent experience was at Sylvan Learning Center, where she provided diagnostician services and tutoring. Over the years, her passion for teaching early learners has been greatly enhanced and has allowed her to grow into an experienced and dynamic teacher.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Mystery of Motion Sickness - Rose Eveleth

Although one third of the population suffers from motion sickness, scientists aren't exactly sure what causes it. Like the common cold, it's a seemingly simple problem that's still without a cure. And if you think it's bad on a long family car ride, imagine being a motion sick astronaut! Rose Eveleth explains what's happening in our bodies when we get the car sick blues.

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Tom Gran.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Our Extraordinary Team : Janine Felzer-Boone


Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, UC Davis, 1986
Two years Post Graduate work UCSB and SFSU Spanish Linguistics and Literature 1986-1988
Certificate of Court and Medical Interpretation Monterey Institute of International Studies 1989

Janine is a Vacaville local who lives with her loving husband, Alan, and 10 year old black Labrador. She loves to spend time with them both, especially during their 5-mile weekend walks. Janine has a bright personality, which is evident the moment she steps into a room. She is an attentive listener, and believes that she may have been a good counselor in another life.

Janine knew from a young age that she wanted to teach. She spent many hours of her childhood teaching her nephew, Jason, about geography. He eventually went on to get his own teaching credential. Janine tutored more formally in high school, working with classmates on algebra and Spanish. She later attended UC Davis, where she followed her passion for language and tutored students of all levels in their Spanish courses. She then spent some time at UCSB and SFSU for graduate studies in Spanish Linguistics and Literature. She has worked as a TA and an instructor at local senior centers.

Janine is passionate about helping others and providing service to her community.  She became certified in Court and Medical Interpretation through the acclaimed Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1989.  She has focused on this work for the majority of her career, but recently found her way back into teaching. She is looking forward to continuing her educational journey with The Academy’s Spanish students. She has a fun, unique teaching style and wants to help all of her students feel, taste, smell, and embrace another language. Janine says that she feels at home at The Academy and is thrilled to be able to spend some of her time sharing her love of Spanish with students of all ages.

What is one surprising fact about you?
For most of my life, I have followed convention and worked with my natural hair, which is dirty blonde, fuzzy, and out of control.  I thought that this was the only way to get secure work. A few years ago, I decided to let go of convention and do something unexpected- I dyed my hair red with blonde highlights and style it straight with a spikey appearance. This style is much more aligned with my personality, and I am glad that I have opened myself to change and overcome fears of others’ opinions.

What’s on your nightstand?
I have a leopard print lamp with frill and amber colored beads, and a simple and dependable alarm clock from my high school years that always keeps me on time for work and morning exercise. Also, there is lots of dust because, with my schedule, dusting isn’t a top priority.

Monday, January 13, 2014

How Sugar Affects the Brain - Nicole Avena

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

Lesson by Nicole Avena, animation by STK Films.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Founder's Message - The Academy of 21st Century Learning

The Academy of 21st Century Learning transforms lives by uniting the academic standards of reading, writing, math, science, foreign language, and study skills with creativity, leadership, art, and music.

By focusing these abilities through curriculum targeted to the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, our students will become much more competitive when seeking higher educational opportunities and competing in the global marketplace.

Conveniently located in the Nut Tree Center in Vacaville, and serving the needs of students and families from locations throughout Solano and Yolo Counties (Fairfield, Winters, Woodland, Dixon, Suisun, and Davis). The Academy is a new place for learning! Our energetic instructors, many with degrees from UC Davis, provide expert and state-of-the-art, STEM-based tutoring. We are also proud to offer summer programs, counseling, SAT/ACT prep, and many other academic services to our students from Kindergarten through High School.

Come join us and be a part of the fun and excitement at The Academy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mysteries of Vernacular: Lady - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

Why do we call women ladies? Well, etymologically-speaking, the word comes from the Old English words for hlaf (bread) and daege (maid), which, combined, mean the female head of the household and eventually indicated high social standing. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel follow the word to its contemporary position simply describing a female.

Lesson by Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel, animation by Jessica Oreck.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Choosing the Right Tutoring Services

If you set out to do something worthwhile, be sure to go about it correctly. That is definitely true for succeeding at choosing the right tutoring services for your children. Planning carefully up-front, getting good advice and following it, could possibly make a major difference in whether you will do something right and succeed, or apply it wrong and fail. Improperly choosing a tutoring service may bring unwanted results. You could possibly end up with a service that just does not meet your children's needs, and perhaps a service that will make the problems worse instead of better. Here are three basic steps you might take to avoid failure and insure success.

Initially, you will want to find a service that understands your needs.

You will definitely need to start with a tutoring service that is going to listen to your concerns regarding the needs of your child since that will help avoid frustration for you and apprehension on the part of your children. Not getting this done properly could make it much more difficult to find a solution for the situation if you have to go back to the beginning and start your search over. So please do not make the mistake of disregarding this important point.

The second thing is finding a service that will match the tutor to your children.

Nearly as essential as finding a tutoring service that understands your needs when struggling with choosing the right service is finding a service that will take the time to match the tutor to your children. Take it from me, this is simply not something you want to leave to chance. It's very helpful to find a service that can provide a tutor who is not only qualified in the subject but whose personality matches with that of your children.

Finally, keep in mind that tutoring is about more than just the subject matter.

And finally, while you are dealing with choosing the right tutoring services, just be sure to keep in mind that tutoring needs to do more than just help your children with the subject matter in question. This will likely help with providing opportunities for your children to grow their self-confidence and improve their social skills as well as their learning skills, which can be an essential part of not only helping them to catch up to their classmates in terms of schoolwork but provide them with incentive to move ahead in their studies. Failing to keep this in mind can result in boring tutoring sessions that may cause your children to tune out.

When you're in the process of choosing the right tutoring services, you really want to make sure you won't make some mistakes that can cause you to ultimately end up with a tutoring service that just does not meet your children's needs, or maybe even a tutoring service that will make the problems worse instead of better. The thing you really want is a tutoring service that will aid your children in succeeding in not only their schoolwork but in their lives outside of school as well, which you can achieve by closely sticking with these steps.

Anton Lebedev is the director of Plus Plus Tutoring, a private K-12 in-home tutoring service in the United States.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

"May every day of the new year glow with good cheer and happiness for you and your family"