Rebecca Zook - Math Tutoring Online

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Topic: study skills

Are you tired of watching your kid give up on math? Or, the secret of the tiny crumb of doability…

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

What do you do when you see a problem full of weird things you’ve never seen before?

Or a super-long problem?

Or just a problem that combines things you’ve learned in a way you’ve never encountered?

What MOST people do is look at the problem, and as soon as they register it as “unfamiliar,” they give up.

They think, “I don’t know how to do EVERYTHING in this problem, so I must not know how to do it AT ALL.”

Like, “If I don’t know everything, I don’t know anything.”

But my students and I have encountered a fascinating phenomenon.

Hidden inside most “seemingly impossible” problems is a tiny crumb of do-ability.

If you find this tiny crumb and you start there…

… a lot of times, that’s all you need to get started…

… and once you get started, a lot of times, that’s all you need to get going… and solve it!

For example, a student of mine came across a problem that combined a bunch of negative and positive integers with brackets and parentheses:


My student’s first reaction was, “I don’t know how to do this.”

Then she realized that she DID know how to do 8 times 5… (to quote her, she said, “I could do 8 times 5 like in second grade”)

…and then she remembered that negative 8 times negative 5 is positive…

…and by finding the “tiny crumb of do-ability”, she was actually able to get started and complete the entire “scary/impossible problem.” It actually took her less than a minute to do the whole thing!

And she observed, “All I had to do was use what I learned in 2nd grade,” just in a slightly more complex combination than before.

For another example, another student of mine got stumped when practicing translating English into math, a problem like, “The difference of seven times n and three is twenty-seven.”

Her first reaction was, “I haven’t learned this yet.”

She looked for the little piece she did know… which was that ‘is twenty-seven’ translates into EQUALS 27.

Once she got started with that little piece, she was able to build out from there, that ‘seven n’ is 7n, and ‘the difference of seven times n and three’ is 7n-3, all the way to the full translation, 7n-3=27.

To quote one of my students on how she felt after we worked on this approach together, “Problems are never so hard when you break them down. You can’t judge a problem by its length or numbers. Even if it just looks really hard, you have to break it down.”

So the next time you encounter a problem that just stops you in your tracks, looks super long or complicated, or overwhelms you with unfamiliar symbols, look for the tiny crumb of do-ability.

Even if it seems insignificantly small, a lot of the time it’s all you need to get on your way to the solution.

This is also a great way to practice deliberately being with the UNKNOWN and setting yourself up for revelations and lightbulb moments, like I wrote about in “Do you wish your kid could feel like Albert Einstein while doing math?”

Do you wish your passionate, unique, visionary kid could be supported in breaking things down and experiencing math as fun, do-able, and creative? Then let’s get you started with your application to my powerful private tutoring programs!

This application includes the super valuable opportunity to speak with me one-on-one and get clear about exactly what’s going on in your family’s math situation.

Just click here to get started with your special application.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not my magical math tutoring programs would be a fit for your family! I’m excited to connect with you!

Related posts:
How to help your kid with their math homework
How to get your kid talking about math
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A 5th grader goes from believing “math doesn’t like me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu

Topic: study skills

What to do when you get spaced out about math [study tip]

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Here’s a super powerful and easy study tip that you can use anytime.

I’ve been using this study tip since I was in college, and continue to do this to this day.

Are you studying … practicing your math … and you start to get spaced out?

You feel like your brain is full?

You’re having trouble concentrating?

Maybe even getting a little frustrated?

It’s time… for a solo dance party!


It’s time to DANCE!

I’ve found that even just taking a break to dance to ONE song can be enough to get me refocused. Sometimes I need like a three-song-long dance party.

Taking a break to have a solo dance party can:

-make you feel happy

-help you feel energized

-refresh your focus

-give your mind a chance to integrate what you’ve been working on while you’re focusing on something else (dancing)

-actually help you get your math homework done faster because you return refreshed and renewed.

Also, just FYI, professional mathematicians will deliberately take breaks in order to give their subconscious mind a chance to find unexpected connections and solutions.

I just had a solo dance party myself before I wrote this, and I highly encourage you to do the same!

Would you like your creative, passionate kid to sing and dance about math? Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child. I look forward to connecting!

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Topic: study skills

The secret to getting straight As in math (it’s not what you think)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

I was recently talking with one of my favorite students about her goals for the upcoming school year.

She told me her big goal was to make straight As.

This actually made me kind of worried!

You might be thinking, what, Rebecca, are you CRAZY? Why would it be BAD for a kid to WANT to get straight As?

So … let me explain.

The reason why this made me a little worried is because what is most important to me as a math mastery mentor and joyful learning expert is that the students truly master the material.

I’ve found that when students are committed to the process of mastery, and receive aligned support, everything else just happens naturally – the confidence, the grades, successful classroom participation.

It’s all just a byproduct of the true foundation, which is the mastery process.

So I’m going to share a big secret with you – the same big secret that I shared with this student.

If you want to make straight As in math…

…focus on the habit, not on the goal.

I explained to this student that her success in math up to this point is all because of incremental habits that she’s been developing.

If she keeps doing these little incremental habits, those grades will come, whether or not she’s focused on them.

So here are the exact incremental habits that are the secret to getting As in math.

If you want to get straight As in math, this is what to focus on:

1. Keep track of your assignments so you know what’s due and when.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the assignments and study for tests.

3. Practice new concepts until they are automatic (even if this means doing more practice than is assigned for homework).

4. ALWAYS make sure to get feedback on your work (like checking your problems in the back of the book) so you know whether or not you’re on track.

5. When you miss something on a test or quiz, go over it and figure out exactly what wrong and what you need to do differently next time.

6. Do extra practice of those types of problems you missed on the test or quiz, so they won’t be confusing when they come back in the future.

7. When you don’t understand something, keep a running list of problems, concepts, and vocabulary that aren’t clear and you want help with.

8. Ask for help with the things you don’t understand.

9. If the help you receive doesn’t work, keep looking until you find help that TRULY makes sense to you.

Do you want your creative, passionate kid to receive math help that actually makes clicks with their individual brain? Help that supports them in truly mastering math (and getting great grades and having awesome confidence as a result)?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

This application process has been meticulously designed to help us both get clear about whether the special, magical way I work is a match for you.

Once your application is received, as part of the application process, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child. I look forward to connecting!

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Topic: study skills

Will guessing move you forward, or throw your hard work out the window?

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Have you ever been working with your kid on a math problem and they just throw a number at you out of nowhere?

When this happens to me, I usually ask diplomatically, “Is that a guess?” or make the observation, “That sounds like a guess,” with a little smile.

The thing is, guessing is a super powerful problem solving technique – but most kids don’t realize that there are different kinds of guessing, and that certain kinds of guessing can move them forward confidently, while others can throw all of their hard work out the window.

Let’s break it down.

1. The first, and least helpful, kind of guessing is WILD GUESSING.

WILD GUESSING is NOT a helpful kind of guessing. It’s like if someone asks you what the capital of New Jersey is and you just open your mouth and name any geographical location that comes to mind. (“Poughkeepsie, Montreal, the Cote D’Azur…”)

Sometimes wild guessing happens at the beginning of a problem, when a student doesn’t know how to get started, so they just start doing random operations with the numbers in the problem. (“Hm, I have no idea what to do, there is a 5 and an 8 in the problem, let me multiply them together, then at least I have ‘done something’…”)

For some reason it also tends to happen when a student is almost done with the problem – usually almost at the very last step – and for some reason, instead of actually doing the tiny bit of work remaining, they’ll just throw a number out there.

This kind of WILD GUESSING – whether with guessing a number or just doing random operations – is important to recognize, because it usually means the student is not connected to what is going on in the math.

2. Another completely different kind of guessing is ESTIMATING. This is a great way to quickly predict an answer and then be able to confirm at the end of the problem whether or not you’re in the right ballpark, or if you made a calculation/computation error and are way off.

Frequently, estimating involves rounding the numbers and then making a mental calculation, before you dive into the nitty-gritty EXACT computation.

Estimating is a powerful tool and also a great way to practice mental math!

3. The third kind of guessing is DELIBERATELY TESTING A HYPOTHESIS.

This type of guessing is SUPER POWERFUL, and it’s something that professional mathematicians and scientists do all the time to move human knowledge forward!

For example, today I was working with a student on graphing a straight line.

She said, “What would happen if I flipped the xs and ys? Would they just be all over the place, or would they form a straight line?”

Though I knew the answer, I told her, “Why don’t you try it and see what happens,” because I knew that would be more impactful than if I just told her without her actually doing it.

Then she got to see that the points she was graphing DID still make a straight line – just a completely different line than the original one.

DELIBERATELY TESTING A HYPOTHESIS is also a great as a way to get started when you’re not quite sure what to do, but you have a hunch that you could try a particular approach, but you’re still not sure.

It is most helpful when there is some way to check your answer. Otherwise there’s no way to tell if your test was correct!

So guessing can either be a super powerful and savvy sophisticated tool – or the sign that a student is flailing and not yet connected to the meaning of material. That’s why it’s so important to know about the three different kinds of guessing, and discern between them.

Would you like your innovative, unique kid to experience math from the powerful position of being able to deliberately test out their own creative hypotheses? If so, I would love to talk to you!

To make sure it’s the right fit, I accept students into my magical tutoring programs by application only, and the application includes the extremely valuable opportunity to spend 90 minutes on the phone with me so we can getting super clear on what’s going on with your kid’s math and whether or not it would be a fit for us to work together.

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

I’m excited to connect with you!

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Topic: study skills

How to ace your math final exam (without losing your mind)

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Are you getting ready for math finals… maybe even your first math final ever? Are you uncertain how to study and prepare?

Or, if you’re a parent, not a student, does the thought of getting through your kid’s math final fill you with dread?

This week, since I’m right in the middle of preparing several of my students for their final math exams, I want to share all my best math studying tips with you – whether you’re a student or a parent – so you can happily survive finals week with a minimum of stress.

This is the exact same process I walk my students through, and also the exact same powerful tips I share with my private clients!

And I’m not just going to share my own tips – I’m also going to share some of my students’ tips, too!

First, just some basic overall tips about the big picture of taking your math final, especially if it’s your first one:

1. Breathe. If thinking about your math final, or your kid’s math final, sends you into a panic, keep breathing. Just keep breathing deeply. If you forget, you can start again right now. Take a deep breath. Right now. You can do this. Take three deep breaths. Yes. That’s right!

2. Eat. Make sure that you’re getting really good meals all throughout finals week. You want to keep nourishing your brain with high quality protein! Also, you will be less stressed, more receptive when studying, and find it easier to retain what you’re learning when your blood sugar isn’t careening all over the place.

If you’re the parent, making sure you get good nutrition this week is also important and will make it easier to be calm and loving with your kid if they need help from you.

3. Sleep. I know! It is important to get good sleep all through finals week – not just the night before the test! (Even if you’re the parent!) You will get WAY more out of your study sessions if you are getting good sleep every night. And actually, if you have to choose between studying and sleeping, you’ll get higher grades if you choose to sleep. (Counterintuitive but true!)

Just doing those three simple things alone will help. Now let me share with you the exact play-by-play study plan one of my star students and I just created.

Before finals week…

1. At least a week before finals week, make a study plan for the entire week.

2. Pace yourself. Be realistic about how much studying you can get done each day of finals week. If you have another final the next morning, it probably isn’t going to be a big math study day, and that’s OK.

3. Break it up. If you have a big review packet due for homework, don’t plan on doing it all in one giant lump. Doing three math packets all in one afternoon is probably not the best plan.

4. Make sure to build in some wiggle room. That way if you don’t get all of your study packets done as planned, you still have time to get it done before your math final and before your study packet is due.

5. Expect to have questions, and plan accordingly. As part of your overall study plan, expect that there will be some problems, topics, or concepts you’ll want to get outside help with.

Factor this into your study schedule so at the latest, two days before the test, you can turn to your parents, teacher, or trusted math-savvy friends to get your questions answered. Then the day before you can just focus on reviewing what you’ve already clarified.

When you start studying…

6. If you really need to prioritize your studying time, when you start going through your study packet, look for the hard, confusing, unfamiliar problems and try to work on them first. That way you’ll know what you have questions about as soon as possible. If this freaks you out, don’t worry, that’s okay. Just back up and do easier problems that are related to that topic to build up to the harder problems.

7. When you get to a problem you don’t remember how to do, make an easy, simplified version of the problem. A lot of times this is all it takes to remember exactly what to do.

For example, let’s say you need to convert 5.6% from a percent to a decimal. You might think, “OMG, I have no idea what to do, how can I convert it to a decimal when it already has a decimal in it…??!!” First, make a simpler version of the same problem. Just say you need to convert 5% from a percent to a decimal. Ok, now you remember you just need to move the decimal point two spaces to the left, so it will be .05. Great! Now it’s easier to see that with 5.6%, you also just need to move the deciaml point two spaces to the left, so it would be .056. Now we’re back on track! (And by the way, this is what professional mathematicians do when they get stuck.

8. As you go through your study packets, make a list of the equations you need to have memorized for your math exam. Practice writing them down from memory so by the day of your math final they are no big deal.

9. Plan to take breaks. And then actually take breaks. This will help you remember things better, keep you from getting too stressed out, and also makes the whole process more enjoyable. Take breaks that rest your eyes (from all that reading), your neck (from having it at that “reading angle”), and your brain (from thinking so hard). Pay attention to what actually helps you feel refreshed – maybe walking around the block or taking a dance break will replenish you more than checking facebook, for example.

The countdown to the final…

10. The day before the test, plan on reviewing
what you’ve already practiced and understand.

11. Be sure to do something fun and relaxing the night before the exam, like watching one of your favorite movies or listening to your favorite music.

12. If this would help you feel super prepared, pack your bag with everything you need so you won’t need to worry about it the morning of the test.

13. Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
(This probably the most important thing you could do of all!)

14. The morning of your test, be sure to get a good breakfast with lots of protein.

15. A great tip from one of my very successful students: On your way to school, don’t study in the car. At this point, you really either know it or you don’t. Just listen to some of your favorite relaxing music, for example.

16. Be sure to get to the location of your math final early
so you’re not worried about being late.

During the final…

17. Another tip from one of my successful students: When you get your math final, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and then open your eyes to begin. This will help you focus.

18. Write down all of the equations you need to know at the top of the page before you even look at any of the problems. That way you won’t need to worry about keeping them in your brain while you’re going through the test. It will be way more relaxing knowing they’re already written down and right there for you.

19. Once you start going through the test, make sure to do the easy problems first.

20. No one problem is worth a lot of your time or worth freaking out over. So if you find yourself getting really bogged down, stop, mark the problem so you know to come back to it later, and move on. You can always come back to it later after you’ve gotten the easier points first.

21. If you come to a problem where you don’t know what to do:

-take a deep breath and read it again (this tip directly comes from one of my students)
-if you’re not sure what to do, mark it and come back to it later
-when you come back to it later, experiment with creating an easy version to see if that reminds you how to do it (like you did while you were studying)
-a tip from one of my students: sit in silence with your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths, and go through your mental math files to see if you get any ideas.

22. If other kids are finishing earlier than you, don’t worry.
Just because someone turns in their exam before you do doesn’t mean that they actually got the problems right. (Not that we would want this to happen to anyone, but they might be turning it in quickly because they gave up and didn’t finish!)

23. Throughout the entire exam, remember, it’s just an exam.
If you get a point off, it’s not the end of the world. (This is an exact quote from one of my students!)

After the math final, when you’re still at school…

24. Remember, right after the final is over, it’s up to you whether or not you want to discuss the test with your classmates. If that is helpful to you, go for it! If it makes you stressed, or you just like to keep your experience private, you don’t have to talk about it with anyone!

25. If you do talk with other students about what answers you got, don’t worry if they got a different answer than you. Just because they got a different answer doesn’t mean that they’re right!

After you leave the school building…

26. If you’re the parent: don’t ask your kid “How was your math final?” We’re socially conditioned to say, “fine,” “good,” or “great.” This isn’t actually very informative. And it doesn’t encourage the student to reflect.

You’ll get a lot more information out of your kid – and encourage them to analyze their experience – if you ask, “What was your math final like?” Then they can share the experience with you more fully without it being about “I did great” or “I did horribly.”

27. Be sure to celebrate! Give your parents a hug, have a dance party in your room, eat some ice cream, sing your favorite song, or just do whatever feels like a celebration to you. You just finished your math final!! YAY!! Party time!!

28. When you get your test results back, focus on learning from your experience.
If you did amazing, what did you do to create that awesome result? Be super specific with yourself about what worked so you can do it again next time and get great results again! If your results aren’t what you wanted, expected, or hoped for, what could you do differently in the future?

If you want next year’s math finals to be a way better experience for your entire family, and you’re ready to receive high-level, exclusive one-on-one support that is not typical tutoring, I would love to talk to you.

To get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs, just click here.

Sending you love,

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Topic: study skills

When doing your math homework just isn’t cutting it

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

What if math could make you jump for joy?

Did you ever take the Presidential fitness tests growing up? I vividly remember being asked, about once a year, to run a mile. Even though I got a lot of cardio growing up from serious ballet training, running the mile in middle school and high school pretty much always made me feel like I was going to die. Even if I actually ran the whole thing, there would always come a point midway where it literally felt like my lungs were bleeding inside.

Looking back at this experience, I was like, what the heck were the PE teachers thinking? If you only run a mile once a year of course you are going to suck at it and totally hate it!

What about actually creating a physically fit generation by nurturing students to LOVE to run… not just endure a yearly test? What about actually creating a generation of students who LOVE to do math… not just “get through it” to make the grade?

Whether you’re at the starting line of a race, or freaking out the night before a math test, whenever there’s a gap between what we’re being asked to do, and our preparation, it can create a lot of stress and fear.

And very frequently, the reason you will have trouble in math, or with your physical fitness test, is because – bottom line – the practice you’re assigned is NOT ENOUGH for you to really master the material and be prepared for the task.

Ironically, usually when you’re in that “freaking out” place, the last thing you want to do is do MORE of what is freaking you out… whether it’s running a mile or doing math problems.

It actually requires a significant shift in your mindset, away from “let me just get through this” to “how can I truly master this so I can consistently perform at the level I desire”… And working from that new place of aiming for true mastery is so much more rewarding and satisfying… you can even learn to LOVE what used to fill you with fear and despair.

I’ve seen this transformation in my own life and also in so many of my students’. What I’m talking about here is a much higher and deeper level of taking personal responsibility for your own experience. And the beautiful result of this is realizing that whether or not you “make it” is really, truly up to you, not your teacher’s agenda or assignment schedule.

So how do you DO this? Let me share some super easy to implement tips for how to customize your own “math workout” when you know that your homework alone is not enough.

Here are some great ways to create extra practice that matches what you’re already working on:

1. Super simple: if you are assigned the evens, do the odds for extra practice, or vice versa. Just be sure that you’re able to check your answers somehow so you know you’re practicing things correctly.

(extra tip: If the answers aren’t in the back of the book, you can check a lot of math problems by plugging them into and it will tell you what the solution is. Just a word to the wise: Wolfram Alpha is a very powerful tool, and it often includes a lot of extra information that might be way more than what you’re looking for or need, so don’t get overwhelmed by all the “extras” – just pay attention to the parts you need, like a solution for ‘x’, for example. Just trust that the more sophisticated stuff will make more sense later on in your math learning adventure!)

2. Look for an ‘extra practice’ section in the back of the book. Most math textbooks have extra practice in the back, but a lot of times teachers won’t mention it or assign problems from it. Again, it’s most valuable when the book also includes solutions to the problems so you can check your work.

3. Don’t wait until the end of the chapter to use the “study guide” or “chapter test” problems for extra practice. Most books have a chapter review at the end of each chapter which will include several extra problems for you to use, labeled by section. Use them for extra practice as you learn each section. You can always revisit them closer to the test if you like!

4. This is a little more advanced: make up your own problems by just changing a few of the numbers. This is best to use if you know there’s a way you can check your answers so you know you’re practicing correctly, or if you are feeling confident about checking your own work.

5. Invest in an extra math textbook for extra practice. (I am a fan of the Algebra 1 & Algebra 2 “Structure and Method: The Classic” books, which also make a good reference.) Use the table of contents and the index to find problems that are similar to the ones that you’re working on.

6. Get the solutions manual or teacher’s manual for your regular textbook.
When they’re available, they usually include answers to EVERY problem in the book, not just selected problems.

(Note: Please understand – my intention in suggesting this is absolutely not for students to take a shortcut and skip doing the work of the problem. It’s because it’s something I personally do when I’m learning a new math concept or technique and I want to make sure I can check ALL my work.)

7. Most important: be sure to choose problems where you can check your answers as you go, whether in the back of the book, from wolframalpha, or from a trusted friend or adult. If you don’t know if your answer is correct or not, it’s like practicing the violin wearing earplugs. The only way you know you’re really learning is if you’re getting feedback that you’re on the right track.

Are you tired of watching your kid do their homework diligently night after night, and then bomb their tests and quizzes? Do you dread trying to answer your kid’s questions about math? Are you ready to invest in totally customized support so that your son or daughter can see great results from their hard work and experience math as a source of joy and strength?

If you answered yes to those questions, you’re invited to apply to my very special one-on-one math tutoring programs!

Just click here to get started with your special application. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore what’s going on with your kid and get clear on whether or not it would be a fit for me to support them! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Sending you love,

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Topic: study skills

How to get your kid talking about math

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
A lock growing out of a tree?

A lock growing out of a tree?

That’s what I found on the trunk of a holly tree in my neighborhood!!

Who did this and what does it mean? It is completely intriguing to me – a door lock that looks like it’s been grafted onto (or growing out of) this beautiful tree!

A lot of times, kids can feel that talking about math is like a door they just can’t open all the way.

Maybe they know some of the words, but really expressing what they understand or asking about what they don’t understand – that might feel like just a tiny sliver, like they can only open that door a crack.

I want to share a powerful question I use all the time to get kids to open up about talking about math.

This is especially helpful when you want your kid to explain something back to you to really check that they understand.

After spending some time working through problems together, I will ask, “How would you explain this to your best friend?”

A lot of the time that is all it takes to get them talking. Instead of worrying about not using the right “math words” or making a mistake, they’re able to connect to the feeling of just helping their best friend.

Occasionally, a student will be totally tongue-tied even with this question – and that’s OK. That usually just means they need to spend more time doing the concept together before trying to explain it to someone else.

Also, kids can even use this technique if they are completely by themselves. This can actually be a bridge towards encouraging students to talk themselves through problems more, like we talked about in my recent post about talking math out when you’re in doubt!

Do you want your kid to experience math as an intriguing, fun puzzle, instead of a monster in the closet?

Is the pain of your kid’s math challenges actually causing you pain as their parent?

Are you ready for high-level one-on-one support?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

Sending you love,

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock "grew" out of

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock “grew” out of

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Topic: study skills

How to experience math as your own unique creation

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A great way to check if your son or daughter really understands what they’re working on is – once they’ve already spent some time practicing a particular problem type – to ask them to create their own original “designer” problem.

I frequently use the words, “Now I want to see a [student’s name] Original!” (Like if I was tutoring a student named Sally, I would say, “Now I want to see a Sally Original!”)

Why does this help?

1. First, being asked to create an original problem quickly reveals whether or not the student has truly internalized what they’re working on. If they can create and solve their own unique problem similar to what they’ve been working on, it means that they understand the material on a deeper level than just being able to DO it – they can actually CREATE it from scratch.

2. Second, it’s fun! Usually kids are really excited for the opportunity to create their own problem.

3. Third, when students do this, sometimes they’ll actually create and solve something much more complex than they have been working on. It’s like they want to take it to the next level, and they can without anyone stopping them, because they’re totally in the driver’s seat.

(Also, sometimes the opposite will happen, where a student will be reluctant to do this because they haven’t been asked to do it before, or they don’t feel ready. If this happens, you can just offer to go first or take turns, or if you really sense they’re communicating they need more practice first, do more practice problems before coming back and asking them to create their own.)

4. Fourth, it really helps them take ownership of their own learning. When you’re making and solving your own problem, it means you understand math is something you can CREATE – not just something random you’re being asked to do. This is a major confidence builder.

And it also really brings home the fact that math is a human creation, with its own beautiful idiosyncrasies!

Are you tired of not even having time to create dinner for your family because your kid’s math homework has become an overwhelming family-wide project? Do you wish that your kid could experience math creatively, as a source of fun, confidence, and security, instead of dread or incompetence? Are you ready to invest in high-level, super-customized tutoring support?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

Sending you love,

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Stuck on a math problem? Call your brain on the phone!
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Topic: study skills

How to get started when you have no idea what to do … talk it out!!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Most people think of math as a silent activity, but solving a problem effectively doesn’t mean you have to stay quiet. Talking through a problem out loud can trigger insight. So when in doubt, talk it out!

Psychologists in Spain found that college students who talked through challenging math problems out loud solved them faster and more accurately than students who stayed quiet.

Researcher Jose Luis Villegas Castellanos suggests that talking themselves through the problems provides math students with “more possibilities of finding the right solution.”

Many times in my one-on-one work with my students, once they open their mouth and start talking, they are totally surprised by how much they are able to figure out, even when initially they were super stumped!

Do you want your son or daughter to have the opportunity to consistently talk their math problems out with an expert who fosters their mathematical independence? Do you wish your kid could see math as a challenge they can handle, rather than a task that they dread? Do you want them to feel confident, fearless, capable, smart, and relaxed? Are you ready as a family to receive top-level math tutoring support?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

I’m excited to receive your application!

Sending you love,

Related posts:
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Topic: study skills

Tips for a Happy Math Year – #5 – Make Word Problems Routine

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

It’s time for our next tip in my special series, tips for a happy math year!!!

Make word problems routine.
The reason why our kids study math is so they can solve real world problems. Yet word problems sometimes get a bad rap. While translating English into math is a separate skill that goes above and beyond simple computation, everyone can develop this ability.

If your kid’s math book includes word problems, invite them to do one a day just for fun, even if it’s not assigned for homework. You can get free word problem worksheets at teachnology.

You can also make up your own word problems together while running errands or at mealtimes. A lot of kids like to make up their own math problems, and it helps them feel like math is something that is part of them, that they can create, instead of something arbitrary that comes from a textbook.

Practicing this can be empowering and fun at the same time.

Does your son or daughter struggle with word problems? Do you wish your kid had enough in their toolkit to be a confident, creative math problem-solver? Do you dream of your kid being inspired to see math as an ongoing source of inspiration?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

I’m excited to connect!

Sending you love,

Related posts:
Case Study: a 7th grader goes from “I don’t get it” to getting 100 percents
When in doubt, talk it out
Case Study: a 5th grader emerges as a confident student and enthusiastic mathematician