Posted in Algebra, Child, children, classes, Courses, Parenting, STEAM, student, Studying, summer, technology, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized

Summer Courses 2017: Math Courses with Oxford Tutoring

Oxford Tutoring is offering a variety of summer courses redesigned with your schedule in mind.  Choose from math, reading & writing, enrichment courses, or ACT and SAT courses to prepare your children for the upcoming school year.

Summer Mathematics Courses

1st Grade Math

In our 1st Grade Math class, students will use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions. They will put math facts to memory and extend their understanding of number sense to complete math challenges. Request more information

2nd Grade Math

In our 2nd Grade Math class, students will add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value. Students will also hone their understanding of basic word problems and how to extract the critical information for problem-solving. They will refine math facts knowledge and extend their understanding of number sense to complete math challenges. Request more information

3rd Grade Math

In our 3rd Grade Math class, students will use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities. They will commit multiplication facts to memory and develop strategies for expressing conceptual understanding. Students will not only develop the proficiency necessary for the upcoming school year, but will also be inspired to learn through interactive, exciting projects, including game theory, wherein students engage in metacognition and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

4th Grade Math

In our 4th Grade Math class, students will find all factor pairs for a whole number in the range 1–100 and recognize that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors. They will develop procedural understanding of the algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers and explore various ways of completing these operations. This course will prepare students for the new school year by incorporating both skill building and exciting, interactive activities designed to teach and inspire, including game theory, wherein students engage in metacognition and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

5th Grade Math

In our 5th Grade Math class, students will add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and decimals, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value. They will develop procedural understanding of the algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals and fractions and explore various ways of completing these operations. Through this course, students will receive instruction to develop vital skills for the upcoming school year in a fun, interactive learning environment, including game theory, wherein students engage in metacognition and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

6th Grade Math

In our 6th Grade Math class, students will understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio and use rate language in the context of a proportional relationship. They will review algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals and fractions and set-up simple equations with a single variable. Students will build the skills necessary for their upcoming school year through fun, interactive projects designed to inspire them to learn, and be introduced to game theory, an exciting branch of mathematics that allows them to have great discussions, engage in metacognition, and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

7th Grade Math

In our 7th Grade Math class, students will apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients. They will integrate knowledge of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, ratios and proportions to solve two-step problems and tackle math challenges. In this course, preparation for their upcoming school will be presented in an exciting, interactive learning environment wherein they will be introduced to game theory, an exciting branch of mathematics that allows students to have great discussions, engage in metacognition, and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

8th Grade Math

In our 8th Grade Math class, students will understand that a function is a rule that assigns to each input exactly one output and how the graph of a function is the set of ordered pairs consisting of an input and the corresponding output. They will hone procedural skills for setting-up and solving equations, graphing linear equations and inequalities, and expressing conceptual understanding. Students will also develop vital skills necessary for their upcoming school year, while learning through interactive, fun projects, including game theory, an exciting branch of mathematics that allows students to have great discussions, engage in metacognition, and relate math to other areas of study. Request more information

Integrated Math 1 (9th-11th grades)

In our Integrated Math 1 course, students learn to analyze and compare linear models, understand congruent figures and their properties, and apply both geometry and algebra concepts to multi-step problems that challenge their thinking and ensure they have a solid grasp of the first semester of Integrated Math 1 courses at local schools. Students will develop vital skills necessary for their upcoming school year while learning through a mix of lecture, interactive projects, exploration and analysis, discussions, and metacognitive activities. Request more information

Integrated Math 2 (10th-12th grades)

In our Integrated Math 2 course, students explore quadratic expressions, equations, and functions; compare quadratics to linear and exponential expressions; compare rational, real, and complex numbers; and utilize conditional probability and the counting principle to ensure they have a solid grasp of the first semester of Integrated Math 2 courses at local schools. Students will develop vital skills necessary for their upcoming school year while learning through a mix of lecture, interactive projects, exploration and analysis, discussions, and metacognitive activities. Request more information

Integrated Math 3 (10th-12th grades)

In our Integrated Math 3 course, students deepen their understanding of probability and statistics, compare rational and radical functions, break down general triangles, and learn trigonometry and preCalculus concepts to ensure they have a solid grasp of the first semester of Integrated Math 3 courses at local schools. Students will develop vital skills necessary for their upcoming school year while learning through a mix of lecture, interactive projects, exploration and analysis, discussions, and metacognitive activities. Request more information

Competitive Math (9th-10th grades)

High School Competitive Mathematics builds and develops the necessary problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge required for math competitions such as the American Mathematics Competition 10 (AMC 10). Students will apply and expand on classroom learned skills involving algebra, basic geometry, area and volume formulas, elementary number theory, and elementary probability. Each class, students will expand their problem solving abilities and apply test taking strategies to problems from past exams. Request more information

Algebra I

Students will establish a solid basis for Algebra success in the upcoming year. Students will explore exponents, radicals, equations, inequalities, quadratics, and graphing. Particularly, the class will teach students the primary concepts presented in the first semester of Algebra and expose them to more challenging topics that they will encounter during the second semester. Request more information

Geometry

Geometry students will prepare for success in the upcoming school year by learning to reason and problem solve based upon an understanding of the theorems and postulates of geometry. Students will learn to work with angles, polygons, and circles by using logic to solve problems. Particularly, students will develop mathematical reasoning skills. Request more information

Algebra 2 with Trigonometry

Students will solve and/or graph rational functions, irrational functions, matrices, logarithms, exponential growth and decay, conics, trigonometry, and other challenging topics. This course will ensure that they are well-prepared for the school year. Request more information

Pre-Calculus

Students master trigonometric functions, the unit circle, limits, graphing, complex polynomials, logarithms, conics, and exponents. Students master the first semester of Pre-Calculus with a focus on developing problem solving skills and building confidence to tackle challenging problems. Request more information

AP Calculus

In our AP Calculus course, students learn the operations and applications of limits and derivatives, related rates and curve stretching to ensure they have a solid grasp of the first semester of the AP Calculus concepts taught at local schools. Students will develop vital skills necessary for their upcoming school year while learning through a mix of lecture, projects, exploration and analysis, discussions, and metacognitive activities. Request more information

AP Statistics

Students study the first semester of AP Statistics, specifically descriptive statistics, normal distribution, linear regression, and probability. Request more information

 

Sign up for any of our Math Courses today! (949) 681-0388.

Summer Math Courses Graphic

Posted in children, Education, K-12 Tutoring, school, student, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized

Students Ask the Darnedest Things

In the last few minutes of a session, I had a student hit me with this question, just out of the blue:

Does anyone have one googol dollars?

For those who aren’t familiar with “googol”, it’s actually not a misspelling of everyone’s favorite verbed search engine. It’s this very large number:
10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
… or, with commas:
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
… because those commas, of course, make all the difference.

It’s probably for the better I wasn’t taking a sip of water when this question came up, since I almost did the dry version of the classic spit-take, but I caught myself in time, paused, and instead said, “… Ok, well, let’s have some fun with this.”

1-zillion-dollars
Hint? You’re going to have about as much luck cashing one of these…

The average dollar bill weighs 1 gram. For ease of transport, dollar bills come in “straps”, or bundles of 100. We’re going to do ourselves a couple favors and say (1) that we’re only going to use $100 bills, to minimize the number of dollar bills we will have to create, and (2) the paper strips holding the straps magically have no mass. Sure, this is entirely wrong, but, trust me, we’re going to need all the mass we can have available for $100 bills.

 

According to the US Federal Reserve, there were 38.1 billion currency notes in circulation in 2015. While this doesn’t just mean dollar bills (it could include other valid notes of value), this provides us our first estimate: If we convert all of these notes up to $100… we’re nowhere close. That would give us $3.81 trillion, which gets us a paltry 3.81 x 10^-88 percent of the way there. In numbers?
0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000381%

This clearly won’t do, not if we’re trying to become the richest person ever known, and quite possibly in past, present, and future, at that. So, let’s do something mathemagical here.

Our home, good old Planet Earth, has a mass of 5.972 × 10^24 kg, or in grams like our money, 5.972 × 10^27 g. I’ll spare you writing out the big number, but that number, in grams, is also exatcly how many $100 bills we could have if we could turn every single atom of the Earth into $100 bills (this is where we put the “magic” in “mathemagical” – this would take ridiculous amounts of energy that we’re going to magically ignore the need for right now). By doing so, we get a grand total of $5.972 × 10^29. We also now lack for a place to store all of these $100 bills (one of the downsides of no longer having a planet), but I’m sure we can just grab a spare black hole for a wallet. Unfortunately, we need 70-and-a-half more zeroes, so we’re going to need some more mass…

… so we’re going to use the entire Solar System!

But it turns out this doesn’t actually help too much more. The Sun, all the planets, every moon, and all sorts of other objects like asteroids and comets and other items (oh my!) comes to a collective mass of 1.991 x 10^33 grams, or $1.991 x 10^35 dollars, and we’re still just under 65 zeroes too short. Can we go bigger?

Of course! Our Solar System isn’t just floating around in space. It sits on a far arm of the Milky Way galaxy, which has a mass of 1.153 x 10^45 grams. I’m going to guess now though, my savvy reader, that you’ve caught on to the pattern – the number of dollars is two more than the number on 10^##. At $1.153 x 10^47 dollars, we’re just under half the number of digits!

And this is where we reach the point of impossibility. Best estimates state that there are on the order of 100 billion galaxies, and even if we take all of these into account, we’re going to need some of that as-yet-undiscovered dark matter to get things to work – converting every single galaxy, with generous estimates, only gets us to approximately $1.153 x 10^58 dollars. To put this titanic number into perspective, compared to our $1 googol? Halfway to $1 googol would be $5 x 10^99.

At this point, it’s safe to say we’re not going to get $1 googol. If we somehow could get this to work though, we wouldn’t have a planet to put it on. We might be able, somehow, to arrange in space, but this much money just might make for the strangest galaxy of them all…

Money Galaxy.png
Money Galaxy

 

About the Author: Jason Orens – a Math and Computer Science Instructor, has been tutoring with Oxford Tutoring for over nine years.  Utilizing the student’s existing knowledge and a touch of humor, Jason strives to remove students mental barriers between themselves and the difficult, technical materials.  He combines his years of tutoring experience and expertise in the fields of Math and Computer Science to give his students the tools they need to succeed in these challenging classes.

Posted in ACT, Education, English Language Arts Tutoring, Individualized Tutoring, K-12 Tutoring, Private Tutoring, student, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized

The Power of “We” – Tutoring Stories

by Julia M. – tutor at Oxford Tutoring

She sat across from me, completely defeated.  Tears slipping through the cracks of her calm demeanor.

When I first began tutoring her, she wanted to study the writing section of the ACT, and she wanted to study it at rapid speed.  She is a visual learner, so once she viewed the standards of grammar she needed to know, it was imprinted in her memory, utilized easily when she answered questions.  We whizzed through that section, my voice relaying information at the speed of an auctioneer just to keep up with her alert, competent mind.

Approaching the reading section I anticipated more of the same.

Yet, I quickly learned that she is a perfectionist. Hard on herself in school, sports, and life.  She demands a lot of herself.  I admire her work ethic and willingness to push herself in order to complete her goals, however, in this case, her high expectations were holding her back.  She could not finish the reading section in a timely manner, while still maintaining respectable marks.  The ACT is a test that requires students to think critically, move quickly, and work efficiently. In a desire to do well right away, she overwhelmed herself, not realizing that it takes time to build up the stamina and skill necessary to complete this task well.

It was my job to show her.

I spent much of the weekend thinking of a way to reach this sweet, intelligent girl.  I wanted her to feel bolstered and help her to realize that with time, she would be able to master the reading passages.  I had tried to explain this to her on our last session, but her emotional state made it impossible for her to process any new information.  She was simply too entrenched by discouragement to hear me.

I needed to find the words to reach her.

Then, I remembered a few years back when I was going through a particularly difficult situation, disappointment encircled me in the same manner.  A friend of mine was helping me through this challenge.  I will never forget what she said to me as I sat across from her feeling defeated.  She said, “Julia, we are going to get through this together.”  We.  She said we.  That meant that I was not alone in my troubles.  I had someone supporting me and with her help I would be able to make it through to the other side.

Remembering this pivotal moment, I realized that this is exactly what my student needed.

At our next tutoring session, I hoped that these same words would bring the comfort to my student that they had brought to me.  Calling upon the student’s background as a gymnast, I asked how she knew when she was ready to attempt a new move.  She explained that her coach served as her spotter, teaching a new technique and not letting go until the coach was certain her gymnast could handle the new move on her own.

After hearing her response, I looked at her and explained that, just like in gymnastics, the ACT required time and practice in order to be able to master it.  And, I was going to be her spotter.  We were going to work on the new techniques together, and I was not going to let go of her until I was positive she could handle the ACT on her own.  I paused, trying to read her expression to see if I was getting through to her.  Her mind was busy processing; she stayed silent.

“You know,” I added, “We are going to get through this together.” She breathed.  Her shoulders relaxed.  She sighed, relieved, “Okay, good!”

Ahead we moved, student and tutor together.

Meet the author:  Julia M. is an ELA instructor at Oxford Tutoring who has been working with students for over 10 years.  She builds up her student’s confidence in the subjects they struggle with through encouragement and support.  Striving to make her students ready to tackle even the most difficult concepts as they move up in their education, she motivates her students to take their education into their own hands and thrive.

Posted in children, Education, K-12 Tutoring, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized, website design

The Light in Their Eyes – Tutoring Stories

by Nuria T. – ELA, Graphic Design, Math, and Social Studies Tutor at Oxford Tutoring

bigstock-education-and-school-concept--90609524.jpg

At Oxford Tutoring, there are many different types of students. Some students who are advanced, some in the middle, or others who just need a helping hand. Regardless, one thing has always been the same: when students finally grasp an unknown concept, their faces light up!

This summer I began to teach website design. The subject is in my area of studies, and I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to teach it.  I spent time writing the curriculum and doing extensive research on new program updates. I was greatly looking forward to putting all of my efforts into application and having the opportunity to teach the class.

When the class started, I noticed that even though my student did not want to pursue a career in the area of website design, she was still interested in the material. She asked as many questions as she could, gobbling up the information I presented. What impressed me the most is even though there were moments where she was having a hard time, my student would often ask if she could try it out on her own before my stepping in to help.

We went over Photoshop and Dreamweaver.  To learn two programs in four weeks is not easy on any student.  The student picked up Photoshop relatively easily, but Dreamweaver proved to be more challenging for her.  This is because the program has a very different interface. She often would ask me for “hints” when attempting to work with this program. Even though she struggled in class, she never failed to turn in the homework I assigned.  Not only would she complete what I assigned, but would also work on extra work that she assigned herself. When I asked her why this was the case she simply stated, “It looks so cool when you do it! I want to try too!”  As an tutor, it’s always fantastic to see and hear your students desiring to learn more.

The last class was my proudest moment. My student admitted that she was slightly overwhelmed, but was ready to learn the final steps. For the quiz I gave her thirty minutes to design one page of her website. She sighed but she told me not to help her throughout the quiz no matter what! I knew that she would succeed and agreed to let her handle it all on her own. And she did it! Not only did she complete the quiz, but even excelled at various font changes, DIV boxes, DIV color changes, margin spacing, padding spacing, navigation, links, and creating a footer.

The student proved that although there may have been many difficult moments, it was still worth it to try. Students often think that when an instructor assigns a harder task it’s for no reason. That’s not the case; a tutor challenges a student because he or she is confident that the student can rise to meet the challenge.

At Oxford Tutoring, when a student and tutor come together striving to learn, the sky is the limit.

Posted in Education, ELA, English Language Arts Tutoring, essay, Homework Help, Individualized Tutoring, K-12 Tutoring, student, Studying, teacher, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing, Writing Tools

Elements of an Essay: Conclusion Paragraphs

For the last several weeks, we have broken down the format of an essay into easy to understand parts.  There is a basic formula for writing a well-structured essay.  Ultimately, it is the writer’s job to plug their words into the formula effectively and correctly.

However, having the tools to put an essay together in an organized manner can go a very long way to writing a successful essay.

Structure is one of the key elements in essay writing, and with the conclusion of today’s blog, you will have all the elements needed to present a well-structured essay.

Speaking of conclusions, today we are going to look at conclusion paragraphs.  As a reminder, let’s briefly look at all the components  of an essay.

The introduction paragraph is the heart.

It is designed to catch my reader’s attention.

Next, the thesis statement is the glue.

It holds my entire paper together and is placed at the end of introduction paragraph.

The body paragraphs are the meat.

They are the largest portion of my essay.

Then, the details of my body paragraphs are the key.

They unlock my argument.

Also, the commentary is the treasure.

They make the paper shine.

Lastly, the conclusion paragraph is the bow.

It ties my whole essay together.

 

Since the conclusion paragraph wraps everything up, we need to learn how to write one well.

Let’s take a look.

Your conclusion paragraph is your chance to remind the reader of your thesis, points you made in your body paragraphs, and leave the reader with a powerful closing statement. It should be made up of three parts.

Restatement

 

Use different words to remind the reader of your thesis statement.

 

Recap

 

Remind the reader of the main points from each of the body paragraphs.

 

So What

Your last sentence of your paragraph should be powerful. It tells the reader why they should care about your essay.

How to Write a “So What” Sentence

Your “So What” sentence will change based on the type of essay you are writing.

Informative Essays

Consider writing an objective truth.

If your paper was an informative essay on the devastation of the Black Plague, your sentence could look like this:

As society continues to develop and grow, it is necessary to remember that maintaining health standards is just as important now as it was in the 14th century.

Persuasive Essays

If your essay was persuasive, try writing a call to action.

For instance, if you were writing a persuasive paper on how Peeta is better for Katniss than Gale, your last sentence could look like this.

Show your support for Peeta by liking the Facebook page “Team Peeta.”

 

Analysis Essays

Write an expression of why your analysis improves the reading the text.

For example, if you are writing about how Fitzgerald develops Daisy’s character, your last sentence could look like this:

Fitzgerald allows the reader to see different sides of Daisy in order to create sympathy for a character who might otherwise seem thoughtless and unkind.

 

Your conclusion paragraph is the last thought your reader will be left with. So, it is important to make the conclusion powerful.

Now, we suggest you put your own essay together based on the elements of an essay that we have discussed.

Then check back in with us next week for proofreading.

 

As always, give us a call if you need help with essay writing.

(949) 681-0388.

Posted in ACT, College Admissions, College Planning, Courses, Education, Homework Help, Individualized Tutoring, K-12 Tutoring, New SAT, Orange County, Private Tutoring, SAT, SAT Test Prep, student, Studying, summer, Tests, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized

Summer Courses 2016: College Prep Courses

How are your children going to be spending their summer?

Summer is a great time to get ahead for the next year’s courses or to catch up from the previous school year.  Instead of your children wasting their summer playing video games, spend the summer hours productively, building their skills and preparing for the challenges of the next year.

Find a balance between vacation and edification to truly bask in all summer has to offer!  In Oxford’s summer courses,

  • Maintain or Build your child’s skills in Math, Science, Reading or Writing;
  • Explore a new skill such as Speech and Debate, Python Programming or Web Design;
  • Discover the joy of hands-on learning with Science Explorers or Build-a-Computer courses;
  • Ensure your child completes Required Summer Reading; OR
  • Prepare for college entrance with Essay Writing, and SAT or ACT
  • And much more….

Let’s take a look at the College Prep Courses we will be offering this summer.

For a complete schedule click here.

College Prep

bigstock-summer-holidays-education-ca-55035950.jpg

Designed for students entering the course or seeking to explore the field, these courses focus on essential concepts in a hands-on, exploratory manner

High Stakes Writing (grades 10-12): In this course, students learn how to write memorable and commanding personal and timed essays.  Session 1 focuses on SAT and ACT essays, while session 2 focuses on personal statements for college applications.

PSAT (grades 8-10): Students in 8th-10th grades should begin preparing for the newly formatted SAT. The materials and pacing of instruction are designed to build on classroom studies, providing extended instruction at the SAT level.

SAT and ACT (grades 11-12): Oxford SAT and ACT courses are demanding programs for high school juniors and seniors committed to raising their scores over the summer.

The Magna course is designed for students of all levels and guarantees a significant score improvement, typically 200 points for the SAT and 4 for the ACT.  Classes are small and students are provided with 2 private tutoring vouchers for individual sessions in addition to the weekly classes and testing.  The 8-week summer schedule (below) is followed by a fall extension of weekly testing and a 6-hour Crash Course review prior to the student’s selected test date.

The Summa course is designed for highly motivated students of advanced levels and guarantees a top score, typically 1400 or more for the SAT and 30 or more for the ACT.  Classes are small and students are provided with 4 private tutoring vouchers for individual sessions in addition to the weekly classes and testing.  The 8-week summer schedule (below) is followed by a fall extension of weekly testing and a 6-hour Crash Course review prior to the student’s selected test date.

Enrolled students interested in additional sessions in a private tutoring setting may purchase sessions at a discounted rate.

Enroll for a summer course by May 15 and get 15% off!

Refer a friend and you each will receive 25% off the course fee.

Check back with us next week to learn more about our Summer Enrichment Courses!

Call us today to enroll in our summer courses! (949) 681-0388

 

Posted in Book, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing, Writing Tools

18 Overused Words to Replace When Writing

Words, Words, Words

There are many words that when writing we tend to overuse.  Sometimes, when we are in the middle of expressing a thought on paper, we just cannot think of a better term other than “very” or “said” to get our thought down, so we simply write the word and move one.

Why does word choice matter?

writing funny.jpg

As a result of using overused words, we end up using words that many other essay writers will use, making our paper or piece look just like the others.  Furthermore, we might end up using the same word repeatedly.  Lastly, what does the word “very” mean anyway?  It is not very descriptive; and is not a word to use to accurately explain our intended message.  This is just one example of an overused word that does little to make our paper unique.  Check out our list of words that we recommend you replace in your writing, and lists of replacement words you can use to make your essay stand out.

1. Bad

25 Words to Use Instead of “Bad”

Bad

abominable, appalling, atrocious, awful, beastly, careless, cheap, crummy, defective, dire, dreadful, erroneous, faulty, frightening, gross, horrid, inferior,  inadequate, incorrect,  lousy, poor, raunchy, rough, shocking, unacceptable

2. Big

25 Words to Use Instead of “Big”

Big

bulky, burly, colossal, considerable, enormous, fat, gigantic, gross, heavyweight, hefty, huge, humungous, husky, immense, jumbo, mammoth, massive, monster, oversize, sizable, thundering, titan, tremendous, vast, voluminous, whopping

3. Funny

21 Words to Use Instead of “Funny”

Funny

amusing, capricious, comical, clever, droll, engaging, entertaining, hilarious, humorous, hysterical, joking, jolly, laughable, merry, playful, priceless, rich, riot, silly, whimsical,  witty

4. Good

25 Words to Use Instead of “Good”

Good

admirable, agreeable, commendable,  excellent, exceptional, fabulous, fantastic, favorable  great, honorable, marvelous, neat, phenomenal, pleasing, positive, precious, satisfactory, spectacular, splendid, super, superb, valuable, wonderful, wondrous, worthy

5. Happy 

25 Words to Use Instead of “Happy”

Happy

beaming, blissful, cheerful, chipper, delightful, ecstatic, elated, excited, glad, gleeful, intoxicated, joyful, jubilant, lively, merry, mirthful, overjoyed, peppy, perky, playful,  pleased, sparkling, thrilled, tickled , upbeat

6. Know

17 Words to Use Instead of “Know”

Know

appreciate, apprehend, catch, comprehend, conceive, discern, envision, estimate, experience, fathom, gauge, grasp, imagine, learn, measure, notice, perceive, realize, recognize, see, think , understand

7. Laugh

18 Words to Use Instead of “Know”

Laugh

burst, cackle, chuckle, crow, exult, giggle, grin, guffaw, howl, rejoice, roar, shriek, snicker, snort, teehee, titter, whoop, yuck

8. Like

22 Words to Use Instead of “Like”

Like.png

admire, adore, appreciate, care, cherish, commend, devoted, embrace, esteem, exalt, fancy, fond, glorify, honor, idolize, love, prize, respect, revere, treasure, value, worship

9. Little

21 Words to Use Instead of “Little”

Little

bitsy, dainty, delicate, diminutive, infant, microscopic, mini, minor, minute, modest, petite, puny, short, slight, slim, slender,  small, teensy,  teeny, tiny, undersized

10. Look

22 Words to Use Instead of “Look”

Look

behold, bore, eye, fix, flash, focus, gander, gawk, gaze, glance, glare, inspect, leer, notice, observe, peel, regard, squint, stare, survey, view

11. Mad

21 Words to Use Instead of “Mad”

Mad

angry, annoyed, enraged, furious, heated, irate, irritable, offended, outraged, exasperated, incensed, boiling, upset, riled, livid, aggravated, fuming, steamed, cross, indignant

12. Nice

25 Words to Use Instead of “Nice”

Nice

amiable, charming, cordial, courteous, delightful, favorable, friendly, genial, gentle, gracious, helpful, inviting, kind, lovely, obliging, peaceful, peachy, pleasant, polite, swell, sympathetic, tender, welcoming, well-mannered, winning

13. Pretty

20 Words to Use Instead of “Pretty”

Pretty

attractive, beautiful, cute, appealing, sweet, gorgeous, striking, eye-catching, alluring, charming, pleasing, pleasant, lovely, delightful, fascinating, desirable, stunning, graceful, fair, elegant

14. Sad

21 Words to Use Instead of “Sad”

Sad

depressing, gloomy, miserable, cheerless, distressed, heartbroken, discouraged, bitter, melancholy, pessimistic, somber, sorrowful, sorry, wistful, blue, dejected, despondent, downcast, forlorn, grieved, troubled

15. Said

36 Words to Use Instead of “Said”

Said

alleged, argued, asked, asserted, babbled, bellowed, bragged, commented, complained, cried, declined, demanded, denied, encouraged, expressed, giggled, growled, hissed, inquired, lied, moaned, nagged, rebuked, rebutted, replied, rejected, retorted, roared, scolded, shrieked, shrugged, stated, taunted, vowed, warned, whined, whispered, yelled

16. Ugly

20 Words to Use Instead of “Ugly”

Ugly

awful, beastly, deformed, disfigured, foul, frightful, grotesque, grisly, gross, gruesome, hideous, homely, plain, repelling, repugnant, revolting, unattractive, uninviting, unseemly, unsightly

17. Very

33 Words to Use Instead of “Very”

Very

awfully, chiefly, clearly, completely, deeply , dreadfully, enormously, especially, , exceedingly, exceptionally, extraordinarily, extremely, evidently, fantastically, greatly infinitely, immeasurably, immensely, incredibly, intensely, mainly, notably, obviously, outstandingly, particularly, remarkably, seriously, significantly, tremendously, uniquely, unusually, vastly, wholly

18. Went

35 Words to Use Instead of “Went”

Went

avoid, bolt, bound, depart, exit, escape, flee, fly, hike, hop, jaunt, jolt, journey, jump, leap, leave, lurch, march, mosey, move, pace, parade, pass, progress, retreat, saunter, scoot,  skip, split, step, stride, stroll, tour, travel, vanish

What do you think of our list?  Are there any others you would add?  Tell us and we will make a chart for you of replacement words.

Thanks for reading!

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Thank You for “Forcing” Me to be Bilingual

“¡En la casa solamente se habla Español!” is what my mother and father would say to me and siblings. Translation: “You only speak Spanish when at home!” This was a rule that we children had to abide by in my house. At first, this rule was easy for me being that Spanish was the primary language of my family; however, once I began middle school this rule slowly began to annoy me. You see, the population of the middle school I attended was primarily white and the friends I began to make were also white. All but maybe two of my friends spoke only English, so a majority of my day was spent with me not only speaking but also hearing the English language.

When I would return home and my mom would ask me in Spanish how my day was, I would automatically begin speaking in English. My mom would then wait until I was done and would respond with, “¿Qué? No te entiendo.” Translation: “What? I can’t understand you.” Her response would irritate me because I knew she understood me. Although my mother was born in Mexico, she had been in the United States for many years; as a matter of fact, she even attended middle school and high school in the States, so she understood English well. I would then have to retell my story all over again in Spanish, and, along the way, she would correct me here and there making sure I pronounced every word correctly.

As the school years went by, a bad habit began to form. When it came time for me to speak with my parents, I was no longer speaking English or Spanish, now I was speaking “Spanglish.” My sentences consisted of English and Spanish words; I was now saying things like, “And then, yo le dije a mi friend que she couldn’t do that por que she was going to get in trouble!” Translation: “And then I told my friend that she couldn’t do that because she was going to get in trouble!” I spoke like this for months before my dad finally put his foot down and told me that “Spanglish” was not allowed in the home because it wasn’t a language and I sounded ridiculous. It took a couple of months to me to remove “Spanglish” from my list of languages.

Looking back, I am very grateful that my parents “forced” the Spanish language on me; I was especially grateful when I had to take Spanish classes in high school. With the Hispanic population on the rise, being bilingual has definitely come in handy. In my career, at Oxford Tutoring,  being bilingual has given me the opportunity to help many clients of all ethnicities. I have had the opportunity to work with non-Spanish speaking students by helping them with their Spanish homework and preparing for their tests. While it has been extremely gratifying to help some of our local youth excel in their language studies, learning another language has afforded me the opportunity to help my community in another way as well.

Tutoring English as a Second Language (ESL) students who have needed help with the English language has enabled me to make a fundamental and positive change in my students’ lives by helping struggling students gain access to the educational opportunities that some take for granted: a standard public school education. Currently, I spend a majority of my time speaking with Hispanic parents regarding tutoring for their ESL students who are struggling academically. Being able to tell a parent that we are going to get their student the help that they need to be successful in school is truly rewarding.

Grad Pic

Growing up I felt like my parents where mean for “forcing” me to speak Spanish to them; after all, we were in the United States of America and not Mexico. I was never going to use the Spanish language in the real-world, besides for communicating with my grandmother. As I got older, I realized that if it weren’t for them “forcing” me to learn the language, I would not be where I am now. When it comes time for me to start a family of my own, I too will be “forcing” my children to speak Spanish to me; I only hope that they too will be as grateful as I am.

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”‒Frank Smith

About the author:  Marcela is an ELA, Spanish, and Math instructor who specializes in K-6 students. She reaches her students by striving to make learning fun using a variety of educational activities and games.  She also works as Oxford Tutoring‘s SES Director, which enables her to reach out to the local community and help students receive tutoring who would otherwise not have the chance.

Posted in Education, Homework Help, Parent and Child, Parent Help, Parenting, Private Tutoring, student, Studying, teacher, Tutoring Sessions

A Teacher’s Advice: Managing the Classroom from Home

A mother is late for school and work while rushing with her children for a funny stress concept on a white isolated background. There are objects flying away from them.With schools settling into a hectic hum of activity, students and parents need to guard against the complacency that can take place when students get lulled into the mundane details of school, forgetting to keep up with its demands. Deadlines slip. Important papers are left unsigned. Projects get pushed to the last minute. Days become shorter and shorter. All the while, progress reports and grades loom. As a classroom teacher for over a decade, I had to worry about managing twenty-five students making sure they had what they needed to be successful. However, a student’s academic prosperity first depends on what happens at home. So, as a guard against the overwhelming big picture students and parents have to face, I’d like to offer a teacher’s perspective on helpful practices at home that will make a student’s time in the classroom more productive.

Backpack Check

School bag with books and equipment isolated on white background

This should happen every day! I have encountered countless assignments, office paperwork, flyers, food, and assorted classroom supplies stuck at the bottom of a backpack or trapped behind some internal zipper.  Every night, the student should completely empty out their backpack and go through any materials with a parent. Don’t forget to check between book pages and through pencil pouches. The daily backpack check will then set you up for a:

Homework Check

Parent asks, “Can I see your homework?” Student says “I did it already. At school.” The parent now has no way of knowing what their child has done at school and what to anticipate in terms of upcoming tests, school activities, etc. Make it a household rule: bring all work home. Even if it’s “finished.” A perusal will tell the parent what the child needs to do, and can praise accomplishments. Now, a parent does not (and should not) have to correct the homework, especially if the parent is not comfortable with the material. However, a parent should be aware of the homework, and make sure that it’s finished. A homework check will be followed by a:

Planner Check

Most schools provide and require a “binder reminder,” daily planners for students to write down their assignments. This planner should be coming home every day, and be found during the backpack check. A parent can see in the planner if the child has what they need for homework completion, plan for future assignments and activities, and help with organizational skills. This will then lead to a final check:

Website Check

All schools have a website that is updated daily. A parent and student together can look over the site (and its calendar) to be updated on the chaotic life of school activities and stay on top of what the student needs to anticipate, and engage in conversation.

With very little practice, these daily checks will become secondhand and not take up much time at night. Anxieties will be mitigated, grades will go up, life will become less stressful at these helpful routines becomes of part of everyday life.

Happy family laying on the floor reading in the kids room

Meet the author: 

Brendan with his Masters in Education, a Math Credential, and a Bachelors in Psychology is a highly-qualified tutor at Oxford Tutoring with over a decade of teaching in the classroom.  As a curriculum and lesson planning expert who knows the Common Core State Standards inside and out, Brendan can ensures that his students understand the material they are being taught, by making certain they articulate and express their comprehension.

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Posted in Education, English Language Arts Tutoring, Individualized Tutoring, Private Tutoring, Reading, Studying, Tutoring, Tutoring Sessions, Writing

Why do I Have to Learn this? English Language Arts

Confused young man sitting at the library desk with a book stack and laptop on it

In this second entry of Oxford’s “Why do I have to learn this?” series, we will explore the link between English Language Arts (ELA) and the adult life of one who is not a professional writer. 

Why do I have to learn ELA?

It is fair to assume that most of us are aware of the fact that the fundamental reason for learning the English Language Arts (ELA) concepts and skills presented between Kindergarten and Junior High is to be able to function in society.  Obviously, we need to be able to read the written portion of the DMV’s licensing exam, the menu at a restaurant, and the check-out instructions on Amazon.com.  We also need to be able to request and present information verbally such as when we want to ask our friends what they thought about the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy or The Walking Dead, or if we need to convince mom and dad to let us borrow the car for the evening.  But, if we learn how to do that by the time we get to our teenage years, why are we tortured with ELA instruction throughout high school, the first year or two of college, and by our ELA tutors?

The reason ELA instruction lasts so long after we learn to read and speak is that we also need to be able to understand how this whole language thing works.  That way, we can understand the subtleties that make the difference between the literal meaning and the author or speaker’s “real” meaning and intent.  When you listen to the weather report in the morning, you can be certain that the meteorologist is simply trying to inform you of what you will experience while you are outside today.  However, are there ever times when what someone says or how he or she says it is purposefully meant to confuse, entertain, test, trick, or mislead you?  Of course there are.  One author who is famous for inventing such scenarios in written and spoken form is the one and only William Shakespeare.  Arguably, his greatest skill was his ability to present language so cleverly that he could entertain the social elites and common rabble at the same time.  Specifically, he could write a play that entertained the rabble by making fun of the elites without the elites realizing that they had just been insulted. Then, he would turn around and do the same thing and entertain the elites at the expense of the rabble.  We study such works even to this day because we recognize the skill and power that results from mastering ELA.  It is with those scenarios in mind, that high school teachers, college professors, and ELA tutors strive to get you to learn the subtleties, nay, the artistry that lies beyond the use of language for direct information presentation and reception.

Rhetoric – Word Choice

young beautiful student girl lying on campus park grass with books on rug studying happy preparing exam in university and college education concept

Without putting too fine a point on it, the two main areas of focus when classifying one’s use of language as great or just OK are rhetoric and structure.  To paraphrase, rhetoric refers to what you choose to say and structure refers to the order in which you say it.  There are many aspects to consider when analyzing rhetoric, but the simplest way to think about it is to focus on the desired result.  Going back to our earlier discussion of the weather, we can choose to talk about the atmospheric conditions in our local neighborhood with two main goals in mind: we can focus on the scientific /factual nature of the weather or on the emotional result caused by the weather.  For example, if rain is in the day’s forecast, the meteorologist could describe the atmospheric conditions using technical terminology such as informing us that there is an eighty percent chance of precipitation due to a high or low pressure system in the region, or he or she could say that we’re probably going to get some rain today, which is great news since Southern California is always in a drought.  The difference between the two examples is that the scientific version left emotion out of the picture so that we could focus on exactly what was going to happen while the latter example encouraged us to be happy about the impending rain.  These examples show a stark contrast between the two ends of the rhetorical spectrum, but one who has great control of his or her use of language can seamlessly blend the scientific and emotional sides so that the reader or listener thinks and feels exactly as the author or speaker intends.

Structure – Organization

While rhetoric addresses the issue of the type of impact we want our words to have – emotional or intellectual, the structure of our words can help us present the information or argument in the most effective order in terms of what will make the most sense to the reader or listener.  To better understand the effect of structure, let’s compare the structure of words in a speech or written passage to the structure of music.  What makes music musical and not just a collection of random sounds is how the sounds are structured: the order in which the sounds are presented.  This is because our brains are designed to recognize patterns.  Thus, part of the pleasure of listening to music comes from identifying the musical patterns and recognizing when the patterns change.  Consider what happens when you are “rocking-out” to your favorite song.  Most likely, the two best parts of the song are when you are in sync with the melody and when you anticipate the build up to the change from the melody to the chorus and back again.  Our brains consider written and spoken words in the same way.   We’ve come to expect information to be presented in certain ways.  If the author’s purpose is to explain, we expect to be informed of the “Five Ws:” who, what, where, when, why, and how.  If the purpose is to describe, we want to know who the main characters are and what happens to them.  We generally consider the presentation of information successful or not based on whether or not our expectations have been met.  However, if a speech or passage is considered successful when all of the parts have been included, how do we decide if it is better or more impressive that one we’ve heard or seen before?

What makes a passage great?

To answer that, we have to consider the rhetoric and structure of the entire work.  A speech or passage is considered more successful if the elements were presented in a unique, interesting, and pleasing order.  If an author intended to inform an audience of people who are out of touch with pop-culture and need to learn about selfies, the text would only be considered successful if the audience was informed about all of the necessary aspects of selfie taking more effectively and interestingly than ever before?  For example, does the reader now know when it is appropriate to use a Selfie Stick, or how to ask a famous person to join them in a selfie?  Was said information presented completely, clearly, and in a unique and interesting manner?  If so, then, the author has written the best or most impressive informational passage about taking selfies ever.

We learn it because it’s Art

Language can be used to create the same or greater impact as the most famous painting, sculpture, or song.  The only difference between the audience being able to appreciate the words, melody, or image is how well the audience understands mode of artistic expression.  If you’ve learned to appreciate the technical and aesthetic components of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, it would only be possible because you’ve trained your “visual eye” to consider all of the relevant characteristics of the piece.  Similarly, if you want to learn to appreciate Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” you would need to have trained your “literary eye” to identify the skill relating to the contrast created by employing a pastoral setting; the subtleties of satire; and the challenge of creating a story within a story and seamlessly transitioning between the two, all in order to appreciate the fact that the loves, pains, and joys that comprise daily life in the middle ages closely resemble those you and I experience today.  If you can accomplish these tasks, you will likely appreciate Chaucer’s literary and cultural achievement.  In the end however, appreciation for art – in whatever form – cannot be forced upon one who does not wish to “see” it.  Therefore, schools and ELA tutors will continue to teach English Language Arts so that students will, at the very least, be able to tell the difference between someone’s thoughtless utterances and another’s words of wisdom.

Meet the Author: Alex Claude is an SAT and ACT ELA Director and an ELA tutor at Oxford Tutoring.  He takes the time to get to know his students so he can learn and apply how to best teach them.  Alex teaches his students how to effectively communicate through writing, and how to analyze informational texts and novels.

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