Tuesday, October 25, 2016

National Bullying Prevention Month: How to Stop Bullying

How to Stop Bullying

In observance of National Bullying Prevention Month, we are taking the opportunity to highlight the seriousness of bullying and some strategies to prevent and stop it.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. (stopbullying.gov)

“You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user,” Facebook requires people to pledge when they sign up. Users also agree not to fake their identities or to post content that is hateful or pornographic (The Atlantic)

Most of us have been a victim of bullying at some time in our lives.  As we have seen by news reports of suicides that resulted from being bullied, bullying is a serious matter.  I hope these strategies will help some of you find ways to prevent and stop bullying.

Types of Bullying

Physical: Hitting, punching, kicking, picking a fight
Verbal: name calling, insults, teasing, mean jokes, gossip
Emotional: Purposely leaving someone out or embarrassing them
Cyber-bullying: spreading rumors online or receiving insulting texts by phone, text, or email

Strategies for Children and Teens

Physical: Do not engage.  Assertively tell the person to stop and walk away.  If there is a fight, you will get hurt and also get in trouble.
1.      Look the bully in the eye and firmly tell him to stop.  Be assertive and use confident body language.  Example:  “Cut it out, Jim!”  Stand up tall.  Think to yourself, he is acting like a jerk and won’t get away with putting me down.
2.      Stay calm.  Even if you feel upset, don’t let your emotions show.
3.      If the bullying persists, tell an adult you trust who can make an impact.  Telling is not the same as tattling.
4.      If you see someone being bullied, stand up for him or her, and try to get some friends to join you.  Offer friendship to a victim.
5.      If you are tempted to tease someone in a mean way, think about what it would be like if someone were doing this to you.  Look for your better side.
Emotional:  This kind of bullying can often be found inside your social group.  You can tell the perpetrators to stop, and you can seek other friends who treat you with respect.
Cyber-bullying: You can report this to the service provider, which can block the person from trying to contact you.

Strategies for Parents

1.      Pay attention.  If you notice something is wrong with your child, talk about it. Converse with your child on a daily basis and be open to hearing things you don’t like without being critical, so your child will confide in you.
2.      If you find out your child is being bullied, take it seriously and take action.  Suggest the strategies above.
3.      If you find out your child is a bully, it is time to have a serious discussion about the implications.

No one deserves to be bullied.  Do not tolerate it for yourself or others.  Together, we can make the world a kinder place.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Top 5 Grammar Mistakes

Top 5 Grammar Mistakes

If you want to look smart, it is best to reduce your grammar mistakes.  Here are five of the most common mistakes made even by excellent writers!

1.       Using an apostrophe for a plural word – example: The class will meet on Wednesday’s.  This is plural, so it should by Wednesdays.  If you aren’t sure about adding an apostrophe, ask yourself if the word is plural or possessive.  A possessive word gets an apostrophe, like “the bike’s tire is flat.”

The most common misuse of the apostrophe that I’ve seen refers to a family – you should write “the Johnsons,” not “the Johnson’s”.

2.       Using an apostrophe for its when it isn’t possessive– example: “The tree lost it’s leaves” is incorrect because “its” is not a contraction for “it is.”  The correct sentence is, “The tree lost its leaves.”  Also correct is “It’s time to go” because in this case, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

3.       Capitalization Remember that you only capitalize proper nouns, which are the names of people or places.  For example, “our school’s principal” is not capitalized, while “Principal Heller” is, since it is a name.

For a title, you capitalize each word except the small words like is, for, and, about.  A sample title is “All about Eve.”

4.       The use of I – “Henry and I went to the store” is correct because without Henry, it would be “I went to the store.”  In this case, I is the subject.  “They gave Jane and I a big thank you” is not correct because in this case, I is the object, which should be me.  “They gave Jane and me a big thank you” is correct because without Jane, it would be, “They gave me a big thank you,” not “They gave I a big thank you.”  To get this right, just remove the other person and see how it sounds.

5.       Less vs. fewer - Less refers to amount, such as “less water.”  Fewer refers to something that can be measured by number, like “fewer apples.”  About ten years ago, Bob Green, a columnist from The Washington Post, convinced the Giant Supermarket to change the fast line sign from “10 items or less” to “10 items or fewer” so that they could be grammatically correct.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Countdown to the First Day of School

We all know about brain drain that can come from our much needed summer breaks.  Most students can benefit from transitioning back into academics before the first day of school.  Here are some transitions that can pay off next month:

1. Everyone should be reading for pleasure.  It doesn’t matter what you read.  Any kind of reading improves comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing.  Always read something enjoyable, and take your book wherever you go.

2. Review math.  You can order review books online or get a tutor to help review last year’s math to get the brain ready for this year.

3. Practice writing.  Send emails or cards to friends and relatives or keep a summer journal.

4. Review for PSAT, SAT, or ACT.  Summer is the best time to practice without having school homework to do as well.

5. Assess your potential needs for the school year.  Working with a tutor or academic coach at the beginning of the school year improves focus and prevents the workload from becoming overwhelming.

6. Start off strong! Contact Tutoring for Success to create your personalized tutoring plan for the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Surviving through the Last Month of Summer

Surviving through the Last Month of Summer

Most of us have spent plenty of time traveling, relaxing, swimming, and hanging out this summer.  Don’t forget to balance summer fun with a bit of reading and review for school in order to start the new school year well prepared.

·         Establish Routines – If your kids are like some kids I know, a day without structure equals a day lounging and playing phone games.  Add some structure to your days with schedules, allowing time for exercise (hopefully swimming in this heat wave), life skills like cooking, trips to local attractions, and time for reading and academics.           

·         Don’t  over-plan – Many children don’t get enough down time during the school year.  Allowing time to pursue interests like art and music, hang with friends, and just chill, is important and necessary.

·         Go Outside – Don’t let TV be an all day baby-sitter.  Summer weather is fabulous, and even on hot days, you can enjoy an evening bike ride, swim, or walk.

·         Create Bored Jar – Have your children write down all the fun things they’d like to do on slips of paper. Fold up those things and put them in empty jar. When you find yourselves with a free day, have your child pull out of the jar randomly to see what slip suggestion you get.

·         Take Occasional Trips – Trips can range from museums, Mount Vernon, and Arlington Cemetery to water parks and beaches.  Take some time off to explore on a regular basis to create fabulous summer memories.

·         Remember to Read – As an avid reader, I was always in the middle of a gripping novel and still am.  Summer allows the time to read even more, preferably page turners.  Everyone should pick out their own books of choice.  It doesn’t matter if the books are junky, silly, or too easy.  Any kind of reading will improve vocabulary, spelling, fluency, and writing skills.

·         Get Ready for the School Year – Three months is a long time to ignore academics altogether.  It is a great time to review math, practice writing, and spend time to prepare for the SAT and ACT.  And don’t forget those summer assignments! 

·         Get a Summer Tutor – To help focus on a plan of action, get a tutor this summer to help build up weak areas, review for standardized tests, and give an extra push to maximize readiness to learn this Fall.  Call us any time for free phone consultation and to match you with a tutor – 703-390-9220

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Making the Most of Summer Break

Summers start off like,

Our idea of summer plans are all,

And then the reality of summer break boredom hits,

We have a few suggestions to cure your families from summer boredom:

Make sure your kids are eating well. Find healthy fun recipes you can make as a family!

Help your kids get enthusiastic about going to the library and signing up for the summer reading program. Have them make lists of must read books for the summer.

Make sure your kids are getting plenty of exercise. Taking them to the pool and enrolling them in fun active summer camps can make the summer fly by.

Make sure your kids are relaxing and resting up from the long school year they just had, and most importantly getting rested up for next year.

Make sure that once in awhile, they remember to review for next year. Who knows? Maybe they will even go into the next year all like,

And don't forget to call Tutoring for Success to check out our special summer rates to help catch up, keep up, or get ahead.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finishing the school year strong!

With summer break just around the corner, many of us find it difficult to keep our focus strong while approaching the end of the school year. Motivation is dwindling as the thought of school free days get closer and closer. It is possible to regain focus and motivation to achieve the desired success in school we all hope for. Here is a guide to finish the school year out strong!

Get organized!
Make a Schedule of Important Dates for the remainder of the school year including test days, project due dates, and end of the year social functions.

Spend time outside!
Take advantage of the sunny 70 degree days by completing homework assignments and studying for tests outside.

Avoid Cramming
Study in Intervals. Research shows that studying in intervals provides better long-term retention, ultimately leading to higher test results. Study in 30 and 50 minute segments with breaks of 5-10 minutes in between.

Communicate With Teachers
Teachers are most effective when they have the full support and backing of parents, and this time of year is even more critical to have that cooperation. Keep the lines of communication open and be involved whenever you can as a parent.

Diminish Distractions
Put your cell phone in “Do not Disturb Mode”. Study in different locations. Eat snacks to stay energized. Take frequent breaks.

Start planning your summer
If you have something to look forward to upon completion of the school year, by starting to plan your summer you are giving yourself something to work towards.

Use your resources
One of the best ways to prepare for final exams is to work with a tutor to prepare. Tutors can help you identify areas you need help with and create a personalized plan based of your academic ability to prepare.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hoda Kotb's 10 life lessons for grads

Last weekend there were college graduations and celebrations all over the country.  I was at my niece’s graduation at Tulane University, where I was fortunate to experience one of my favorite speeches ever, by Hoda Kotb from the Today Show.  Her inspiring speech gave us ten valuable pieces of advice for college grads or anybody…

You don’t want to miss this.  Click here to see the speech for yourself.