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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. I have just been asked to tutor a kid for the SAT math section. She is going for a full sports scholarship. She has a recruiter and has been told she needs to get over 1200 on the SAT. I have been asked to get her up to a 600 on the math section. I have been tutoring her in statistics for the past year, but in New Zealand kids are allowed to drop algebra and focus on qualitative statistics report writing in 10th grade. I've gone through the SAT content this afternoon, and she knows NO algebra, let alone advanced math. She knows about 1/3rd of the content on the data analysis and maybe 1/8th of the additional math. I figure this is about 10% of the content. I have until November. This scholarship would be worth about NZ$300,000! Just a bit of pressure on ME. What resources can I get that are SAT specific that are for kids who need to learn the basics? This kid would not know how to do 2x+3=5x-2. My first step is to have her take a practice exam so we can get a bench mark (and to cover my butt if I can't get her up to 600 by November). Open to suggestions. Ruth in NZ ---------------Copied from below------------ Gosh you guys are great! To answer some of your questions: Can she actually do this? I believe she can or I would not take her on. I have worked with her for a year, and know her skill. It is not as if she is a low-end math student because she does not have algebra. The NZ system works differently. Not only does it have integrated math, it also has a qualitative statistics course that runs up to a very high level by 12th grade, including report writing (data types include time series, continuous variables, and discrete variables), bootstrapping, trig, probability, and one quantitative stats unit. However, she can still get good marks by avoiding all algebra in these units. I have taught her trig this year, and she was crazy fast. I tutor a lot of kids, and she was by far the fastest I have every taught. (However, she did memorize the algebraic manipulations.). I believe if I had gotten her a year earlier, I could have remediated her algebra and she would now be in the calculus stream rather than the stats stream. She has also dropped down to just 4 classes for 12th grade with the approval of the recruiter, so has 2 hours each day at school when she can study. Basically, I think this is possible. Minimum standards for NZ universities: Yes there are minimum standards - 10th grade math must be passed. But given that it is an integrated math class, you can pass geometry, numeracy, trig, and stats, and fail algebra and get a pass overall, which is what it looks like she did. Then she moved into statistics for 11th and 12th grade. Resources I need: So I think that the print books will be a better choice especially in the beginning. Given my time constraint, I need to be very efficient as to what we go over. So I can't just do all of algebra. Is there a *very* detailed list somewhere? And which SAT prep book is for getting a student up to 600, rather than working on the hard stuff to get higher than that? What I think we can get through: So the break downs are stats 29%, algebra 33%, additional topics 10%, and advanced 28%. She needs 67% correct to get a 600. (obviously this is all squashy). So our focus: All of statistics All of algebra 3/4th of the additional topics (I saw some complex number stuff in there that we will need to skip), and about 1/4 of advanced math (I think she can do: expanding cubics, exponential functions, radicals, graphs domain/range etc, function notation) This gets her up to more than 67% of the content. Then she just needs to get them right! Thoughts?
  2. After really thinking about what was said on my other thread, I had a wonderful, deep conversation with my ds about his dysgraphia. I am looking for 2 things: 1) specific ideas for how to help him, 2) what tests to ask for to help me understand his difficulty. We need to get him tested in the next couple of months for accommodations for November. Here is some background: Between 8 and 11, I knew he couldn't spell and was a slow writer, but I figured that it would work its way out as he got older. We just keep working through different programs: SWR, Sequential Spelling, Spelling Workout, Spelling Power, Spelling Wisdom, Natural Speller, etc, basically every program out there with very little luck. I kept hoping for the silver bullet and there was none. Age 11: I finally came to the realization that my son had dysgraphia. He had not been tested, but I worked with him with the assumption that he had it. We spent a full year working 30 minutes a day to increase speed through dictation, proper position, better grip, etc. I finally realized that spelling lists were not working, and that he needed to practice all spelling in the context of writing. So we abandoned all spelling programs and switched to dictation. We also tried different pens, different grips, different tactile sensations, strengthening exercises etc. In 12 months of consistent effort, he increased his speed from 5 wpm to 8 wpm. At this point I knew we had a problem. I asked on this board, and decided both get him tested and to abandon handwriting. There were clearly two distinct problems: the lack of handwriting automation and spelling automation. Age 12-15: he was tested by a not very inspired psychologist as having dysgraphia. The goal was to get him accommodations by the age of 15 and to just have this as evidence of a long standing problem, so I didn't worry that we didn't have particularly good clarity. Based on the suggestions of this board, I switched from handwriting to typing dictation to work on spelling automation (not phonemic skills and spelling rules, as he knew these. He can sound out nonsense words without trouble). For composition I scribed or he used a dictaphone so he could type it up later. He continued to hand write his math. I came to understand that the problem was that his spelling was not automated. He could spell 'cat' by sounding it out, but he had to sound out *every* word, which was both slow and caused him to forget what he was trying to say. People told me that spell check would be his friend, but he still had to get something down that looked like a word, and this required him to sound it out, and when you sound out *every* word because *nothing* is automated, you simply cannot write. We started typing dictation with Cat in the Hat, spent 3 months getting the basic 100 words somewhat automated, and then moved up to Frog and Toad for 3 months. Then the next book, then the next. We have just finished up 3 months on Titus Groan, which has very hard words and complex sentence structure. He can type this at 20wpm with about 10% words misspelled, and about 40% words needing to be sounded out. By doing typing dictation, we were able to work on the lack of spelling automation and avoid the lack of handwriting automation. Focusing on one thing at a time has been a great decision. I asked if he thought it was time to loop back around to handwriting now that the spelling was generally better, and he thinks that it will not be an easy process and probably not worth his time. Age 15: Now. After 3 years of 30 minutes a day of typing dictation, he can type about 20 words per minute. If he is simply copying, it is 40 words/min. At this point we are moving up to the next level: he is reading a paragraph, and then writing it as a whole without looking, so having to reconstruct the logic and sentence structure. Then read 2 paragraphs and write them from memory. Clearly this requires a new skill of re-composing rather than typing exactly what he is told. It is going well and helping him immensely to connect his thinking to his writing. So today we talked about his dysgraphia. He asked me to do a handwritten dictation for him - the first time in 3 years. He wrote at 9 words per minute for 4 minutes. This is what he noticed, in his own words (I wrote it out word for word as he told me). I will add that we have never really talked about this, so these are really his thoughts and not influenced by me. I was actually quite surprised by what he said. Dysgraphia as described by my ds: "It is not a processing speed problem. It is as if I'm missing a piece of my brains that allows it to make automated movements. Each different letter is not a single sign, it is a collect of strokes that I have to do. Y is 2 strokes; other people have a letter as 1 stroke, they even have whole words as a single movement. I tell my hand to write 'the.' It has no idea how to write 'the'. It tells my brain that. My brain say write a 't'. My hand says which stroke. I say the down stroke. Then it asks what's next. I say the up hook to connect to the h.... I am not drawing letters. I remember when I used to do this when writing thank you notes to grandma, I'm not doing that now. Each letter is composed of 2 or 3 different movements. Some letters are only 1 easy movement like a,e,d. O is hard for me as I do an o as an 'a-stop'. If I don't say stop, I write an a - so an 'o' is two movements. A's are one of the only letters that is automated. N and r are difficult. I naturally do an r, and have to think to extend it to an n. So an n is two steps - an r plus an extension.... The problem is not just in the hand. I have no indecisiveness in my drawings. I want to draw a tree, and I imagine it and it appears on paper. Also, numbers are one stroke, even zeros. Zeros are not like o's as zeros are only 1 movement. They are not an 'a-stop.' For math, I'm not thinking of writing it. An equation in my mind is made incarnate. I think 'x=5', and it appears on paper. I've never had a problem writing numbers. There has never been a mismatch..... It is as if I am on a moving walkway in the airport. My thoughts are like when I walk on the super fast moving walkway. Writing for me is like when you step off. There a physical shock of stepping off and feeling like you are wading through molasses. It is distracting..... When I try to write faster, my hand panics, and it starts to jitter and sends signals to my brain saying 'panic.' This negatively impacts my brain, making it unable to send better and clearer signals to my hand." Fascinating. I'm open to your thoughts, but please be kind as we have been working hard on this for years. Ruth in NZ
  3. He also improved and relaxed his grip using a Lamy fountain pen that had a built in grip.
  4. I guess I wonder about the press. We avoided it like the plague. I had one bad experience when my son was doing his first science fair project at age 6 on mushrooms, and the reporter seems so keen and nice. But then she realized my son was homeschooled, and started looking for an 'angle'. I told her I would need to see the article before it was printed, and she said no. So we withdrew. How does the press help this boy? He seems very adjusted to his intelligent and for that I praise the parents as it is not an easy thing to accomplish especially when a kid is in school. But why put him out there?
  5. My son uses frixon erasable pens. Very good ink flow and lots of colors.
  6. I love threads that go in interesting directions! My older boy is amazing at violin. Only 12 music scholarships were offered for 2022's for all instruments, and he got one. However, this child was diagnosed at age 6 with an auditory processing disorder. He had a major speech impediment at the time, which caused him to map half of the letters to the wrong sounds because he learned to read while mispronouncing most words. Talk about the worst spelling disaster ever! But then there was the violin. He could NOT process the sounds. He could not play his notes in tune. Every teacher pulled his hair out trying to get him to play in tune. Scale after scale, ear training, tuning. And it was just sheer persistence and struggle that allowed my ds to dig his way out of a serious lack of raw talent. When people hear him now, they just think that he was born with the skill. And I will tell you, having listened to a dying cat that was his music for 10 years, he was NOT born with skill.
  7. I read 1984 at age 14, and had nightmares about the rat in the cage eating the guy's face for years. 😲
  8. lewelma


    Thanks guys for your ideas. My plan at this moment is to work with him for a month while thinking about issues you guys brought up, and then decide how to approach the future.
  9. I worked with a girl with severe dyscalcula (could not subtract 9-2 at age 16) on chemistry. She also had clinical OCD and other anxiety (plus lots of other problems poor thing). Anyway, she was taking a Chemistry exam where she had to write out equations by hand. She would make errors over and over as she was trying to balance them as she couldn't subtract or add, so was using a calculator. It was really difficult for her. The test was required to be in pen, so we were practicing how to cross out. But in the end it was taking her soooooo long because of being unable to erase and she couldn't even really read or track what she had written because it was crossed out so many times. I finally called the Ministry of Education for advice, and they said that she could write in a erasable pen but this meant that should could not resubmit for a regrade if she thought the grader had made a mistake. We decided that getting the test done was more important than the regrade possibility. And this was a kid WITHOUT dysgraphia. I can only imagine how hard it would be for a kid WITH dysgraphia to work in a pen. My ds uses erasable pens.
  10. yes, this is the one I'm working off of, and another similar one. I'm not sure, however, if they have to use those symbols to gain full marks.
  11. Can someone please tell me a good way to differentiate between E for Energy in J, and E for Electric Field. The textbook I'm using for tutoring a high school class is using E for both, and it is very confusing for the students. Could I just make E for electric field a vector and stick a line over it? Curly E's are used for EMF next year so that is not going to work. I can't use a different letter because they might be marked down because teachers grade the national tests really fast. The book seems to just be using subscripts, EsubK for kinetic energy, EsubP for potential energy, and plain E for electric field, but it is confusing. Suggestions?
  12. This I can do. Makes sense to master material and then switch symbols. I wonder though, would the K and U be commonly enough recognized that they could just use them on the exam? I might get them to ask their teacher who has been working with the NCEA physics exams a lot longer than me.
  13. I work very closely with a lot of students over many years, and I have seen so many really weird things. Nature is huge. And I am straight up with kids and tell them that they have drawn the short straw and will have to do double the hours of their friends. Learning disabilities are a b****.
  14. Just the most recent one: Question is about a mass spectrometer. Find the maximum velocity of the positive ion if it moves from the position shown to the top plate. So he needs to use E_p=Edq and E_k=1/2mv^2 . There are just too many Es and this kid doesn't do subscripts well (dysgraphia so handwriting is difficult to read). So it ends up looking like Ep=Edq. Sometimes the text uses triangle E for electric potential energy, but then the E looks like the E for electric field.
  15. So in my ideal world this is what the textbooks would have: Direct instruction, not discovery method Short explanation with more examples and fewer words Easy, medium, and difficult problems clearly identified, building up students to tackle the most difficult problems Mastery, not spiral. But would be nice to have review problems ETA1: needs to be challenging, but not as difficult as AoPS and definitely not discovery ETA2: DS has *asked* for a textbook that has challenging problems. He has dysgraphia so can't write a lot and does a lot in his head. He really hates easy drill, but loves hard drill where he takes a page to solve a problem and then does many like it to build up his skills. This allows him to practice the basics within a harder problem, and still get the challenge that he wants. I'd like to see easy and medium problems also, just because I have seen AoPS and it ramps up too quickly each section for my ds. What can you guys suggest?
  16. My older boy was this way. But my young boy was not (see above post). Obviously reading and language immersion work for some kids, but not for all.
  17. My younger son is an interesting example of both ideas. He has *very* advanced and correct grammar usage in his writing due to his reading, but has a complete lack of understanding of any of the constructions he is using. At the age of 12, he still did not know where to put a period let along a comma, despite years of grammar like MCT and more traditional approaches like KISS. He is both language gifted and dysgraphic. So somewhere in his brain there is a clear dichotomy between language construction/composition and any sort of ability to understand which ideas combine to make a sentence (see story example below). All traditional direct grammar texts and workbooks were a complete failure. I tried many for about 5 years The best workbook for him was Killgallon high school, as it went through the advanced constructions and had him move them around into different parts of the sentence. He did this orally, and would just listen to the different feelings each gave. Eventually, this helped him to see the different constructions as units of grammar. But the bigger thing that I had to do, was dictation for 3 full years 30 minutes a day from the age of 12 to 15. During this time, I would dictate to him his favorite fantasy novel, and would correct his spelling word for word, and then discuss the grammar and punctuation in context, occasionally mentioning the rules and at other times having long conversations about how language fit together. He needed *direct* instruction but it still had to be *whole language* instruction. This approach was very teacher intensive, but the only way forward that we could find. He can now edit his own work reasonably well. But after all this work and so much success, I look at the SAT writing and language test and don't think there is a chance that he can do it. Editing someone's writing is NOT the same as editing your own. His response would be to rewrite the whole thing to make it better, and he is a good enough writer that his improvements would be improvements. Doing it the way the SAT tests will be close to impossible without a TON of very specific test prep drill. ------------------------ So for example, here is my ds's writing at age 12 (a paragraph from a story). ORIGINAL: For three moons I wandered aimlessly through the wilderness living off of wild berries and the occasional deer then one day saw me once again tracking a boar when I stumbled upon a clearing the clearing was about a stone’s throw across the ground being made of packed earth with a light covering of leaves in the center there was an ancient beech tree of immense size gnarled with age leaning against it was a small hut made of wood and thatched with fern fronds by the door there sat a venerable dragonborn scales dulled by time he turned to me and spoke. I helped him to punctuate it as he had NO IDEA where a sentence was and could barely identify the verbs even after years of direct workbook grammar. WITH PUNCTUATION: For three moons I wandered aimlessly through the wilderness, living off of wild berries and the occasional deer. Then one day saw me once again tracking a boar when I stumbled upon a clearing. The clearing was about a stone’s throw across, the ground being made of packed earth with a light covering of leaves. In the center there was an ancient beech tree of immense size, gnarled with age. Leaning against it was a small hut made of wood, and thatched with fern fronds. By the door there sat a venerable dragonborn, scales dulled by time. He turned to me and spoke.
  18. I've hear good things about those! What I finally decided on, was a 1990 NZ text. It covers NZ content (meaning integrating Alg 2, Precalc, and Calc each year), but it was published before it got overwhelmingly colourful and more segmented into units with little connection. Very pleased to have found it.
  19. Well, I would argue that the NZ high school system is not much into editing. There is only ONE assessment in English each year where they work to bring two papers up to publishable standards. For the rest of the exams and assessments in all subjects (English included), spelling, mechanics, and punctuation is not marked down on for any essay, and all exams are essay based. They mark on Blooms Taxonomy of thinking. The lowest levels (memory and comprehension) earn you a C. The middle level (relate, compare/contrast) earn you a B. And the highest level (analyze, apply, critique or abstract thinking for things like math) earn you an A. This system is designed into every exam and every assessment in ALL subjects for the national system that all schools must use. NZ grades on level of thinking, not percentage correct. And it doesn't mark off for spelling and mechanics, as they have little to do with level of thinking. It is a totally different system of grading than in America. I would add that there is no grade inflation here: approximately 15% A, 25% B, 40% C, 15%F. (other 5% kind of distributed out). So showing insight by analyzing/applying/critiquing is not easy. You can't just slide by into an A, even in academic PE or music.
  20. No, not the essay. She doesn't need it. I was talking about the "Writing and Language Test" which I referred to as the 'writing portion.' Sorry for the confusion. But interestingly when she hear about the essay, she was all for that. "Oh, I'm good at that." So no fear of writing under time pressure.
  21. Thanks for this. I enjoyed it very much. Some of the items are endemic even in the city, some of them I have never heard. Woman as plural is the one that always catches me. NZers also don't use 'the' for certain nouns like hospital. "He went to hospital" is standard here.
  22. Haha. This *is* a classical board. 🙂 But I will say that my older ds has always been a keen reader and did not have trouble with the test even though his grammar knowledge is pretty iffy. There were about 5 specific rules that he felt he needed to learn for the SAT, and he only missed one question on the writing section. However, he had read things like the Economist and Scientific American for all of highschool, so had extensive experience with high level writing styles. I'm not sure what this kid's reading background is.
  23. Because ALL NZ exams are essay based, she will have done way way more writing than most American students. My guess is that her writing skill is good from an American point of view and she will just have to figure out how to answer the very odd questions on the writing portion of the SAT exam. I'm guessing she will bomb this portion of the exam first time around because the format is just so strange to her.
  24. Seriously! We will see. Maybe her intuition is good. crossing fingers.
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