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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. Thanks for this. Being in NZ, her mom doesn't have a clue what 300+ points means, so it is nice to post here and have you guys be as excited as I am! She doesn't panic, so I'm hopeful she will do well.
  2. NZ education is writing focused. But although you must do writing assessments to earn your diploma and gain university entrance, they do not have to be in English. There is a massive list of what counts for your required writing credits - specific assessments in: Biology, Geography, Classics, Chemistry, etc. The list is huge. Take a look: My younger boy will do NO literary analysis AT ALL. He is a deep thinker about books and poetry, and does not need writing to document this. I also think he would hate literary analysis specifically because he is so deep with his reading of texts.
  3. I was hired for 1 hour a week for 36 weeks. As this was the first time I have tutored the SAT, she and I have worked collaboratively to figure out what she needs to do. A large chunk of the points was her learning algebra and all the grammar/punctuation rules. The other chunk of points was learning to think like a lawyer. This has taken the full 10 months. The writing section has been quite funny, because there was NO WAY she could understand grammar given that she has never even been taught verb vs noun. So I worked with her to train her ear to hear things as complete, or able to be taken out, etc. Very weird and tricky thing to do, but it worked. For the math, she spent hours each week learning basic algebra and geometry. But I have encouraged her here at the end to use 'kiwi ingenuity' because she didn't have enough time to actually learn 3 years of content. So I've taught her to try this, try that, draw accurate diagrams, work backwards. Basically, do anything she can to answer questions that she doesn't have the actual math skills to do. For the reading test, the biggest point increase came from doing 2 things we have read about in different prep books 1) Don't read the passage. yup, you don't read it. This saves you time and makes sure your mind can't make inferences that are not actually exactly written in the text. Then you just do all the questions with line references first. This gives you a feel for the passage, and then you go back and try to find the info in the passage for the questions without line references. 2) You must act like a lawyer. You must find the objectively correct answer. There is only one answer, and ever single piece of each part of the questions/answer must match in some way every single piece in the passage. This is not reading, this is a game to hunt down very specific details. So that is what we have done. Hoping she doesn't panic tomorrow! High stakes tests stink.
  5. Engaging Ideas shows you how to design interesting writing assignments that help your students develop critical thinking. So it is not a curriculum nor is it a book about how to teach writing. It is about using writing as an effective tool to teach kids to think across all subjects areas. Might be the book you are looking for.
  6. Yep -- scientist here. I use math as a tool to answer my questions. Glad there are those who love the proofs, my older son included!
  7. I agree. At some point the SAT becomes a test of mental quickness. Scores would be higher if kids were given more time. I think just getting used to the testing format is worth about 80-100 points. For more movement than that you actually need to learn the content.
  8. Oh, I completely agree that the SAT scores are related to wealth. I was just saying that you absolutely CAN change your score. The girl I'm helping (thread on high school board) hired me for 1 hour per week for 36 weeks. The rest of the work is hers. And I might add that this is the FIRST time I have tutored the SAT so it is not like I am some expert on how to game the system. But we have moved her unofficial scores from 950 to 1300 (superscored) in 10 months.
  9. Yup. And my older boy improved his English/Language score from 700 to 780 by taking 8 practice tests over the period of 4 weeks. 80 points when you are already at a high score is impressive movement. So he went from 94th to 99th percentile with about 20 hours of work. Prep matters.
  10. I so hear you! Two years ago when we did the process was about the most stressful of my life. So many nicky picky details to deal with. So many stupid questions to find answers for. So much uncertainty that it would all work out in the end. So Whine away. The CSS profile is HORRIBLE.
  11. Thanks! This is my first go at helping with the SAT, so she and I had to figure it out together. So here is her unofficial starting point and her unofficial best scores (all timed): Total 950 to 1300 superscored (31st to 86th percentile) Math 460 to 620 (29th to 79th percentile) Reading 490 to 680 (36th to 91st percentile) Now, I know she won't get a 1300 tomorrow, and actually if she does we will be challenged for cheating because her first official score was a 1050. But 1300 gives her enough wiggle room for nerves and pressure to still pull off a 1200. Crossing fingers!
  12. square25, is it just fiction that you need to figure out how to teach? If so, I certainly can't help. My older had no interest, and my younger has written publishable quality since the age of 11 with no help from me.
  13. yes, it shows a complete lack of understanding of what equals means. It is not so bad with computation, but it becomes very very bad with algebra. The problem is that no transferable skills are taught in primary school. There is no way to connect the mess above to algebraic thinking.
  14. She came today with a 620 in math!!! This from a kid who in February could not have done 2x+5=7.
  15. Well, here is the thing. I can write an essay super fast, with clarity. And then I sit with my boy and think "How can I get him to do xxx, without just telling him." I could just do it myself, like really really fast. And just now I took the computer from him, told him to sit on the sofa next to him, and just added what needed to be added, changed what needed to be changed, and moved what needed to be moved. And talked about *why* I did this, that, and the other. And then reviewed my points, twice. I just couldn't figure out how to help without 1) making him upset, 2) taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r, and 3) not actually accomplishing what needed to be done. So I modelled it instead. Was this the right choice? Beats me. But at least for me, just because I can write well and fast, doesn't mean I can get him to do it. He is 2e with writing so I am clearly in a different boat than the majority of people, but extending gifted writers is difficult no matter how you cut it.
  16. Haha. Sure, you can remember struggling. Also, I keep forgetting your dd is 7. I'm at a different level with a kid writing a research paper comparing the impact of the leadership of Mobutu vs Khama on the present economic and social development of the DRC and Botswana, respectively. Kind of different situation. 🙂 I will also say that it depends on the child, but for my younger boy who is a gifted writer, we are going way way beyond standard essays taught in school, which means that I have to up my game.
  17. I so totally agree. Engaging ideas has pointed me in the direction I need to go. It has reminded me what I learned all those years ago when I read close to 30 curriculum/books on writing - that writing is thinking. If you cannot write it, you are not thinking it. And I too decided I needed to understand why writing was so hard for my ds. So I spent a weekend a couple of months ago trying to argue a very high level thesis about how slavery in the DR Congo directly led to the troubles they have today. It was a very hard thing to do, and I watched how my mind worked as I was making connections and figuring out how to organize them. It was HARD. But this process also showed me many tricks that I use when writing that I was unaware of. The main point with writing is that students need a coach. And for me, at least, I have had to educate myself on composition in order to be an effective coach. This has required continuing education year after year by reading books and writing papers myself.
  18. The thread is definitely more about curriculum, but it also categorizes different writing approaches and does work through a bunch of the books listed here. And it focuses on organizing the big goals and how to accomplish them. ETA: I'm rereading it. Wow what a trip down memory lane. Here are some good non-curriculum posts past the first page page 3 detailed discussion on how I taught my son to write beautiful and purposeful descriptions, with an example page 5 post 20 and 21 (I think, boy I miss post numbers) - discussion of anthologies Page 6 - discussion of teaching reading vs writing papers (multiple posts on page 6 are non-curriculum)
  19. Do that! It definitely does not spark joy. And every time you see it, you will get mad again. Get rid of it.
  20. See my update on the first post! Doing well! Crossing fingers.
  21. I've read it twice. It is about *how* to design writing assignments to encourage thinking and engagement. Definitely not a curriculum. Half of the book is not very useful to a non-professor audience, but the other half more than makes up for this.
  22. I don't know much about how primary school math works here, just the results I see with almost every student who seeks me out. There is just a huge disconnect between primary and secondary math -- even the curriculum documents are written by two different non-connected teacher groups. And intermediate math is basically a joke. Stick the kids on a computer and let them self teach. So I actually don't like teaching algorithmic methods for computation, I much prefer mental math. But this must be connected to some sort of understanding that you are actually doing a multiplication problem even though your mental math calculation is repeated addition or piecemeal multiplication. If not, algebraic skills are completely foreign. How can you possibly understand xy let alone set up an algebraic word problem, when you don't know you are multiplying. So for 8*14, students here would do 8*10=80+5*8=40+80=120-8=112 And they would write it that way too. If you try to clarify what multiplication is, they just don't get it -- they don't think that way. So xy is completely meaningless and they can't use algebraic skills to work real life problems. Most students I have worked with have no idea that if you have 80 pies split between 8 people, that you are dividing the pies among the people. So when you have x pies split between y people, you are sunk. It only gets worse from there.
  23. I find it hard to believe that your dd would ever struggle with the issues most of my students have. She has you!
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