Saturday, November 28, 2015

What Would Happen If You Didn’t Sleep? - Claudia Aguirre

In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percent of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience: staying awake can cause serious bodily harm. Claudia Aguirre shows what happens to your body and brain when you skip sleep.

Lesson by Claudia Aguirre, animation by TED-Ed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward 

Wishing You and Your Family a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Helping Your Kids Succeed in School

Watch and learn about the top four things parents can do to help their kids succeed in school.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Getting Better Grades With Tutoring

There is nothing harder on a parent than to see their child suffer in any way. We all want our children to succeed and achieve their dreams. We don't want our children to be ridiculed by their peers. If your child is struggling to succeed in school there is a great opportunity for getting better grades with tutoring. Have you considered that the reason your child uses homework excuses is because he/she can't handle the stress of working on something he doesn't understand? If your child is not goofing off in school and has a genuine need and agrees, hiring a tutor is one way to help him/her out.

Finding a tutor for your child should be a decision based on what is best for your child, input from you and your child as well as consultation with your child's teacher to discuss your child's learning strengths, weaknesses and style. A tutor can not only teach the material, but can also give your child suggested ways to do homework more efficiently, approaches or tricks to test taking, motivation and an assessment of the child's learning style.

Tutoring Pay Rates

The rates paid to tutors for their services are not regulated, so there is no way to judge what you will have to pay. If the tutor has a high degree of education, they may charge more than a college tutor might charge. Setting yourself a budget and deciding where you can cut corners may be necessary to ensure that you can pay for the tutoring. A professional tutor, because of their experience, will likely be more able to adapt to your child's learning style/difficulties than a tutor that you hire from a college.

How to Find a Tutor Online

If you search online, you'll find many sites with a list of tutors in your town or city. These sites will have the tutor's contact information available for you to use. The site will have somewhat of a biography of the tutor, listing the tutor's education, grade levels they want to teach, etc.

Another option would be to check your local college or university website to see if they have students available that offer tutoring services. The rates charged by college students may be lower than those charged by professional tutors and there may be an agreement in place between your child's school and the university or college. Some schools may assist with the payment to the tutor.

There are also companies that specialize in tutoring. They have a big online presence and their sites are full of information on the types of tutoring being offered at their location.

All of the choices above are great to use as a tutor finder and have a lot of information to enable you to make the right decision for you and your child. Imagine your child getting better grades with tutoring because the tutor was able to get through to your child using a different style of teaching.

How will that positively impact your child's and your life?

Scott is an expert at both student tutoring and finding a tutor online. Scott can help you or your child improve their grades with the use of several online tutor finder websites.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Group theory 101: How to Play a Rubik’s Cube Like a Piano - Michael Staff

Mathematics explains the workings of the universe, from particle physics to engineering and economics. Math is even closely related to music, and their common ground has something to do with a Rubik's Cube puzzle. Michael Staff explains how group theory can teach us to play a Rubik’s Cube like a piano.

Lesson by Michael Staff, animation by Shixie.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Learning, Academy Style

By Barbara Dwyer

“Would you like an easy problem or a hard one?” asks the teacher as the third grader nervously stares at the unmarked, white-board table. “Oh, easy, please,” answers the child, relieved she will not have to do hard math. “We don’t do easy math here,” replies the teacher. “Easy math is boring. Watch.” The teacher carefully writes 1 + 1 on the white-board table. “Can you answer this problem?” The child giggles, “Yes,” and carefully writes a 2 under the line. Nodding, the teacher questions, “Would you like to just do this kind of problem over and over again, or would you like to do some fun problems?” This is the moment where the teacher discovers if the child has a growth or fixed mindset.

Research by the eminent Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, has shown that in a fixed mindset the belief is that intelligence is fixed and static. You are either smart, or you are not smart. This belief is the either-or principal of intelligence and was the widely accepted theory of cognitive development until the 50’s and 60’s. In contrast, a growth mindset is the belief that intelligence is active and that the brain changes (grows) based on experiences. This theory of growth mindset is supported by research into brain plasticity and has proven to be pivotal in helping students improve their academic achievement.

“Harder, please,” the child answers. The teacher nods, understanding that the child has a growth mindset and math will soon become one of the child’s favorite subjects. If the child would have answered, “More like this one,” the teacher would then begin to try to break through some of the child’s defenses, realizing the child is demonstrating a fixed mindset and is becoming a non-learner.

“I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don't. I divide the world into learners and non-learners.” ― Benjamin R. Barber

Our babies are not born non-learners. They have a tenacious desire to learn. They try and learn seemingly insurmountable skills like standing up, walking, climbing stairs, even running. They don’t give up after multiple failed attempts; they keep trying until they succeed. Then they learn to speak (multiple languages simultaneously if there are several languages spoken in the home). They discover humor and they memorize stories read to them by their parents. For our babies, failure is the first step in the formula of success.

What happens? Why does the formula change? The answer is, when children become able to evaluate themselves some become afraid to take chances, afraid that they are not smart enough. Such children develop a fixed mindset. Every mistake means, “Oh, I’m not good at this. Maybe I’m not smart enough.” Every time they begin to struggle with new material, their internal chatter shouts, “Maybe I won’t be good at this and will never get it. Maybe I will make a mistake. I mustn’t make a mistake. I must only succeed.” Their fixed mindset makes them insecure about their ability. Over time, this insecurity forces them to stay within their comfort zone(s), rather than risk failure by trying something new and difficult.

There is not a parent alive who wakes up in the morning and wants to turn their children into non-learners. No way! We love our children and only want them to be happy and have a successful life. For years I thought I had the answer to this goal. I believed that my children’s self-esteem was the answer to self-confidence and these qualities would certainly lead to success. It was my job as their mother to ensure that my children were praised for all of their abilities in school, on the sports field, and in life. On the soccer field, my son was a good player and the coaches all wanted him on their team, “You have a natural talent and just seem to know where that ball is going to go! Why don’t you come join my team?” I was so proud of him. “You are the best player out there! You may become the greatest soccer player ever!” Even when his team lost the coach would tell him, “That other team was just lucky, today.” The truth was that he had missed two passes - because he was not paying attention - and that was the reason the other team had won, but I knew how badly he was going to feel about himself and I couldn’t allow my young champion to doubt himself, could I? “You did great, today, son! The coaches are right. You are a natural soccer player, just like Pele.” My son only played a couple of years and I couldn’t figure out why he quit. Now I understand that he was out there to have fun with his friends and not to have to live up to the greatness potential the coaches and I had thrust upon him.

What are the messages we are sending to our children?

“I am so proud of you. You didn’t even need to open a book and study! You are so smart! I love you!” What happens when the child does not comprehend a concept the teacher is trying to explain and must open a book to understand it? To the child it may mean, “I did have to open a book to understand this. Does this mean that mom may not be proud of me because I was not smart enough? Does this mean she doesn’t love me?”

“Oh my gosh, look how quickly you solved those problems and you didn’t make any mistakes! Wow. You are terrific!” What we are actually telling our child is that we want speed and perfection. Is it possible that your child will translate your statement into, “These problems are really tough and I don’t know if I can do them? My parents think I’m smart because I’m fast and get things right. I better not try hard things.”

We need to emphasize to our children that speed and perfection are not a part of the formula for success in learning material that is difficult. As hard as we may try as parents to be supportive, we may not realize the mindsets we are actually developing in our children.

One of the most common reasons people seek out tutoring services for their older children is the mindset caused by test anxiety. “Jessica does all of her homework and always gets 100%. She studies very hard and we know she is a smart girl, but when she takes her math or history or English or Spanish or Chemistry or … test … she always fails it! We think she has test anxiety.” In reality, Jessica is bright and does study. She knows the material, but come test time her mind goes blank. Her internal dialog goes something like this: “I am not going to pass this test, again. I’m going to disappoint my parents who have so much faith in me and I will probably not get into my dream college. If I don’t get into that college, my whole life will be ruined!”

What happened the night before the test? “Jessica, we know how smart you are and you know how smart you are. You have this material down! Put the book away and get some rest. You can do this! Stop worrying!”

These words are said in love, but won’t help Jessica. What she needs to hear is that you understand how it feels to be evaluated when you can’t fully demonstrate what you know. She also needs to hear that you won’t be evaluating her and that you are now, as always, proud of how hard she works; she has tenacity and it is tenacity – the never giving up – that, after all the tests are completed, marks the winners in this game of life.

Okay parents, what’s next? After finishing reading Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, I knew her research was right. I had experienced a fixed mindset in my own life and knew I had helped create one in the lives of my children. I had to change the way I looked at learning, growth, and success. Change is not easy. Mark Twain wrote, “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” And I agree with him. No one likes change, but I have never heard anyone say the effort was not worth the result. I needed to change and so I did. That change has brought additional richness in my daily dealings with my families and their children, my students. I have seen firsthand how quickly children adapt to the new language and change their ideas of what makes them successful. They begin to take a chance on themselves and there is nothing more powerful to the intellectual growth of children than having them change their minds about themselves. So what’s next? Read Mindset and then drop by and we’ll do some really hard math problems, together.

Article Featured in the September/October Issue of Vacaville Magazine

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Makes Muscles Grow? - Jeffrey Siegel

We have over 600 muscles in our bodies that help bind us together, hold us up, and help us move. Your muscles also need your constant attention, because the way you treat them on a daily basis determines whether they will wither or grow. Jeffrey Siegel illustrates how a good mix of sleep, nutrition and exercise keep your muscles as big and strong as possible.

Lesson by Jeffrey Siegel, animation by Brett Underhill.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

3 Reasons to Choose a Tutoring Company Over an Individual

Sometimes your teachers at school cannot provide you with the attention you need to succeed in your classes. Whether you need one on one attention, or you simply need to see the material presented in a different format, pairing yourself with the right tutor can mean the difference between failure and success.

With that in mind, you may be tempted to try and find someone at your school or on Craigslist to try and help you out for a little extra money. However, you would be better off finding an established tutoring company to match you with someone well-suited to your needs. Here are a few reasons you will benefit from a tutoring organization over an independent tutor:
  1. A tutoring company is more dependable - When you find an independent tutor, you simply do not have a backup plan. For example, if they get sick, or if some other unexpected event pops up, your session will get cancelled. Since they are not part of a larger business, there is no substitute tutor, nor are there any procedures put into place to ensure that you make up the session. But when you go with a larger tutoring organization, the company can work with you to place you with another tutor who is skilled in the subject matter you are working on, such as chemistry.

  2. Tutoring companies can provide highly qualified specialists - In truth, anyone can bill themselves as an independent tutor. For example, if you are studying for a chemistry exam and you need help, you may find yourself being tutored by another chemistry student. Sure they might be great at the subject, but are they really qualified to try and teach you? You need to understand that a good student is not necessarily a good teacher. That is another reason why going to a professional tutoring company is a good idea. When you find the right company, they will match you up with someone who is an experienced tutor... someone who has experience teaching students the subject you are struggling in and obtaining positive results.

  3. Tutoring companies are held to a higher standard - When you go with an independent tutor, you have to realize they really have nothing to lose. They are likely tutoring you as a side job for a little extra money. Whether or not your tutoring relationship works out probably is not going to make or break them. That said, there is no one to hold them accountable, and some tutors will take advantage of this. With no one looking over their shoulder, how can you be sure they are adequately preparing you? However, when you go with an established tutoring company, you have to realize that they have a lot at stake. Tutoring is their entire business, and they have a lot invested in it. For example, they have a large investment in an office, materials, and full and part time employees. So they have procedures put into place to ensure that customers are full satisfied with their tutors. Therefore, the tutors themselves have bosses they must answer to, which means they must do a good job.
Remember, do your research and match yourself with a well-established tutoring company!

To find the best Physics Tutoring in New York and ISEE test prep, visit at:
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Does a Jellyfish Sting? - Neosha S Kashef

You’re swimming in the ocean when something brushes your leg. When the tingling sets in, you realize you’ve been stung by a jellyfish. How do these beautiful gelatinous creatures pack such a painful punch? Neosha S Kashef details the science behind the sting.

Lesson by Neosha S Kashef, animation by Cinematic.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

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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