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I believe that learning should be fun and that test preparation should not only be stress free, but allow the student to build a relaxed confidence. My students look forward to their time with me because they leave every session with an increased confidence in their academic independence. My goal is to get students to not only be able to do well on their tests or grades, but also to know that they will do well. I create a relaxed, stress free environment that still pushes students to do their best and to work independently toward their own success. As I teach both math and language arts skills, I can connect with most any type of student, from the poetry and literature lover to the next Steve Jobs to the student who is afraid of testing and is a somewhat unwilling student. I believe in communicating with parents so that they can help to celebrate their child's successes. I have been teaching in the classroom and in test preparation since 1994 and I am ready for all of the changes to the new SAT revision for 2016.

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Ellen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: The College of New Jersey - Masters, Secondary Education: English

Test Scores

SAT Math: 690

SAT Verbal: 690


Drama, high level math puzzels, logic problems, building lego models with my son, gardening

Q & A

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Usually when students have difficulty learning a skill or concept I take a step back to make should that the supporting skills are in place. If the prerequisite skills are in place, then I will try to tap into my student's learning style. If he is a visual learner, I will try to find a quick video or draw a diagram. If he is a hands on learner, I will try to use manipulatives or a movement based activity. Usually I will try two or three different ways to approach the skill. If those don't work, I'll move on to a different topic before frustration sets in.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I have a very specific way of having students address fiction and nonfiction passages that tends to get great results. After teaching the students the new way in which to read the passages, I examine the types of comprehension questions that the students are getting wrong and address those specific skills. I have main idea games, context clue activities, among many others that can address the needed skills. Also, I can evaluate the student's reading level to see if the student is reading below grade level. If so, we can work on fluency.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I first like to know exactly with whom I am working! I spend time getting to know my student's strengths and weaknesses so that I can make the best use of our time going forward. I tutor students for both math and English based skills, and what is most successful is very different in these two areas, but both come down to spending time where it is most needed.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Students get excited when they can see that they are getting better at a particular skill, and when they are working with a teacher who is excited about the subject and the student's success. Most of my students are surprised when the hour is up because the time goes by so fast!

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Students will be constantly working to restate and rephrase what we discuss. They will demonstrate their understanding by completing questions both independently and with support. They will demonstrate their retention of the material by working on related questions during the days following the sessions.

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