@AskATutor (during the emergency)

Because many parents find themselves suddenly homeschooling, we’re offering some of the tutoring handouts we created. We were tutors for quite a few years,  from tutoring kids as part of a government program and freelance tutoring. Along the way, we created handouts to help our students learn new skills and understand concepts. We’ll keep posting them, so check back. One note — these are offered strictly for your personal use. Commercial use is strictly prohibited (if you’re interested in commercial use, contact us). Downloading, reproducing and/or using these handouts constitutes your agreement to this.

If you’re just looking for something to read, we’ll be posting that, too. Excerpts from “Dear Donny: Emails of the Presidential Pen Pal,” are already available at https://ideajones.com/?page_id=1224 .

Copyright © 2020-2024 Joey and Mark Jones

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#AskATutor tip: for the littles, modify other games, like hopscotch or Twister. If you’re teaching addition, the spaces are numbers (1-10, say), and you have to add them as you hop. 1+2=3… from there you can either continue adding (if your kid is strong enough in addition), or add the next two. Wrong answer? Back to the start. Works for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Coming soon — our punctuation worksheet.

Planning your next adventure gives teaches math, language, history (and hope).

#AskATutor project: No matter what your kid’s age, planning a future trip can help teach language skills, math, history, all sorts of things — including how to hang on to hope. You see, planning something for the future gets the mind to consider that there will BE a future and you’ll be in it. You may not know when you’ll get to go, but anticipation is an important part of any adventure.

Choose a place you want to visit together. It can be as simple as a road trip to a nearby city. Plot the route and note how far it is. Now figure out how far you can drive in a day. Are there places you want to visit along the way? Does that change how far you can go in one day?

All sorts of questions can be used for lessons: history (look up places on the historical registers, state and federal, along the way), language (write a pre-trip journal. Where do you want to go and why?), math (how many miles, how many gallons of gas, how much would this hotel cost vs. that one (or campground), planning (set up a trip budget, a vision board with pics and info about places, a list of websites), geography (maps, etc.). You can make what you do age-appropriate, of course.

After one trip is planned out, plan another, then figure out cost and which you would be able to do first.

#AskATutor tip: Teaching sentence structure. Try the sentence game. Write words on post-its, put up around the house. Call up stopwatch on your phone. Kids race each other to retrieve words and use them to lay out sentences. If you have one kid, your kid can race to beat his/her best time. They get to run and you’d be surprised how quickly they figure it out. The key is your level of excitement. Think of this as a game show. If you have little treats (raisins, cheerios, etc.), you can award them for snacks.

I used this with a kid who had trouble sitting still for too long. Especially on rainy days, this was helpful. He really got into trying to beat his best score. We started “adding points,” shaving seconds off his time, for longer sentences. We started with two-word sentences (I jumped.) and worked our way up to longer ones. Include punctuation, which must be in the right place. I + ran + . He + turned + , + and + smiled + .

#AskATutor tip: One way to teach science, reasoning and language skills is to have the student design a dragon (or do it together), based on the qualities reptiles really have. Draw your dragon. If your dragon has a big, heavy tail, what’s the advantage? What’s the weakness? Is your dragon big and strong (needs more food, fewer good dens available) or small and fast (not as strong, but doesn’t need as much food and more dens available)? Some lizards don’t have legs (yet aren’t snakes), so does your dragon have legs? Design two dragons and have a dragon war, figuring out who would win. Look at science sites such as https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/ for ideas on what characteristics reptiles have.

#AskATutor math tip:

#AskATutor math tip: if you’re teaching kiddos basic multiplication (1-10), here’s a magic trick to show them: Take any number, 1-10, and multiply it by 9. The answer will add up to 9, i.e., 3×9=27, and 2+7=9. Also a way for them to teach them to check their answers. If it doesn’t add up to 9, the answer is wrong.

11-20, more magic. The answer will add up to 18, i.e. 14×9=126, and 12+6=18. 17×9= 153, and 15+3=18.

21-30, the answers add up to 27 (seeing the pattern here?). 23×9=207, 20+7=27.

31-40, the answers add up to 36.

I once taught a student who, when he grasped this, said, “How long has THIS been going on?”


#TeachingTip #coronavirus #homeschooling #math #multiplication

Art resource: free coloring books. If you have a printer, over 100 museums are making coloring book pages available for you to print. Beyond coloring to keep the kiddos busy, you can color WITH your student, look at the original artwork, and talk about what you see. Why do you think they used those colors? Why are things drawn that way? Use art as an easy way to teach history and reasoning. Write a poem inspired by a work of art, a story, or an essay (Who was Jackon Pollock? How did artists in the middle ages make their paints? Where do the various pigments come from?) , teaching language arts. Here’s the coloring book link: Free Coloring Books From 113 Museums (With thanks to artist Antonia Hansen and OpenCulture.com.)

The “silent E can be a hard concept for kids, or new English learners, to grasp.

The first handout, “Mysterious, Magical Mister E,” is one I wrote to help students learn the concept of the silent E. To kids, the idea is confusing — why would there be a letter in the word that doesn’t make a sound? This also helps them with the idea that the sound of the word is dependent, in part, on what the letters do together, not just the sound of each letter alone.

When we teach students their letters, we usually start with the alphabet. Great, but in the alphabet, each letter has only one sound. E is “ee,” not “eh” as in letter. U is “you,” not “uh” as in “butter.” And note that “er” at the end of “butter.” We could spell the word “butr,” but we don’t.

How to use this: You can pull up the picture on your computer (if you don’t have a printer). Read it out loud, together. Have the student (whether kid or new English learner) copy the story by hand (engages different parts of the brain). Talk about the idea that Mister E has his own sounds, but he also works magic on other letters. Look for other words he’s in, like prune, or home. Write the word down without Mister E and read it (prun, hom), then with Mister E. The next page is a worksheet for the student to complete.

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