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Danielle

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I graduated from Brown University in 2015 with honors, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. I have a B.A. in Education and I am currently working on my Masters in Teaching degree back at Brown, with a focus on secondary social studies/history. In between, I taught 8th grade American Studies full-time at a private school in California, tutoring students on the side in both writing and math. I also ran an afterschool support program for students with learning differences who needed help with planning, organization, and structuring their work time.

Throughout my undergraduate career, I worked with students from age six to age eighteen, usually with a focus on reading and writing, but with occasional forays into social studies, science, and Taekwondo.

My favorite subjects to tutor are middle and high school writing and math through Algebra I. I also tutor in the elementary grades, in Spanish, and in history.

I am willing to meet each student where they are and go from there. I encourage students to embrace a growth mindset, believing that they are capable of great success with hard work and determination. I am extremely patient and willing to try multiple avenues to reach your student in the most effective way.

I have loved working with kids since I was one myself--I've babysat since I was eleven, and I've been "tutoring" my younger brother and sister and my friends since I was in middle school. Working with students one-on-one is something I missed as a teacher last year, and the reason why I chose to take on tutoring in addition to my teaching responsibilities. There is nothing better than seeing the pride and confidence of a student grow along with their academic skills.

Danielle’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Brown University - Bachelors, Education Studies

Graduate Degree: Brown University - Current Grad Student, Masters in Teaching, Secondary Social Studies

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 166

Hobbies

Taekwondo, swimming, drawing, painting, reading, writing, hiking, playing with animals

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

History

College English

Conversational Spanish

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing

Languages

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Writing

Pre-Algebra

SAT Prep

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I work to get to know each student so that I can best tailor my instruction to individual strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. I am always willing to try multiple avenues to reach a student on a given concept or skill--the same methods do not work for everyone. My ultimate goal is to help each student I tutor improve in the academic areas of their choice, gain confidence in their academic abilities, and feel a sense of pride in what they are able to accomplish.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In the first session with a student, I would strive to get to know that student on a basic level. What is their preferred learning style? What are they good at? Where do they feel least confident? What trips them up or stresses them out? What makes them feel successful? I would also seek to understand the level at which the student currently was working and to assess the areas in which the student could use the most improvement. I would speak with the student about their goals in the subject and how they themselves wanted to improve.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students can benefit from a variety of self-regulation and metacognitive strategies. For example, encouraging students to plan out when they will get their work done in writing or electronically can go a long way to ensuring all work actually does get done. In addition, when students have larger assignments or projects to complete, working with students to chunk their work into manageable pieces can preempt the overwhelming feeling that can inhibit students from finishing their work. I also encourage students to always check back with the instructions for an assignment upon completion, as many students skim or skip instructions to start, missing key components of the assigned work. I also work with students on a variety of strategies to check for their own understanding and successful completion as they work through school assignments.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

It is important to make learning relevant for students. The number one question I have received from middle and high school students (and the question I asked most often at that age) is, "When am I ever going to use this?" While few school assignments have immediate and obvious relevance to students' lives, most have embedded within them some valuable skill that will benefit a student inside and outside of school. Being explicit about the point of a given activity can go a long way for motivation.

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

First, I would try to determine what specific aspect of the skill or concept they were struggling with so as not to unnecessarily repeat information. I would work with the student to assess the source of the confusion, figuring out if the problem is legitimate with the skill or concept or with restlessness or lack of confidence. Then, I would try multiple means of addressing the problem -- there is more than one way to teach and learn everything.

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

First, I would assess what was causing a student's struggle with reading comprehension. Can they effectively decode words? Do they know the sight words for their grade level? Do they focus so much on decoding that meaning is lost? Does this struggle persist for reading materials focused on subjects the student finds interesting? Do they rush through their reading? There are many strategies for struggling readers to improve their comprehension. For example, readers should be encouraged to look at signals such as the title and subheadings to get a sense of what a reading is about. Readers should pause after a paragraph or a section to check their own understanding--sticky notes with brief summaries of what they read can help. If students get hung up on unknown vocabulary, I would work with them on determining when vocab is essential to understanding, using context clues, and looking up words when necessary. Students should know that speed of reading completion is not an indication of successful reading, but that reading speed should vary depending on text difficulty, density, and length. Essentially, I would work with the individual student to determine the source of the struggle, then work with them to find effective strategies to address the problem.

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

This really depends on the student. I worked with a prealgebra student whose only real problem was confidence. For her, I was endlessly encouraging and celebrated every success. I also worked with a student in writing who believed he did not need to edit anything, so I had to get him to notice his own mistakes right away so that he would realize editing was a worthwhile pursuit (that he would continue even without me present). Another writing student would refuse to write down anything unless she thought it was worded properly, which meant she forgot her ideas frequently. Everything depends on an initial individual assessment of a student's abilities and preferences.

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

That depends on the student, the subject, and the source of the struggle. All subjects have value to students' lives in the skills they offer, if not the content the skills are taught through. I would seek to find a connection between a student's interests and goals and what the subject had to offer. I would also try to find materials that were of interest to a student to serve as a bridge to materials that a student might otherwise dismiss. For example, in history, which students often find dry, there are a multitude of primary source documents that are undeniably engaging. For instance, there are a number of declassified CIA documents that make you feel like you are in a spy movie while reading them--that's pretty exciting!

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

I would use a variety of formative assessment techniques to determine whether a student was grasping the material. For example, informal conversations with the student, observing the student while they complete tasks, providing the student with activities that require skill integration or transfer, and seeing to what level a student can achieve with minor assistance are all valuable means of determining a student's level of understanding.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

First, it is critical to build a student's growth mindset -- that is, believing that they are capable of getting better in a given subject, rather than believing they are stuck with their current (perceived) ability level. Intelligence is malleable, and with hard work, anyone can improve in any area. I am extremely encouraging and patient, and I never blame misunderstanding on a student. If they do not understand, I have not yet taught it in a way that is understandable for this particular student. By demonstrating that there are always multiple means of access to a subject, a student can find the way that works best for them, and gain confidence in those strategies that are most effective.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs by speaking with them and their parents/guardians, observing them while they work, and evaluating their thought processes while working with them to complete tasks. With more time and assignments, students' individual needs become clearer. I have found that speaking with the student I am tutoring is the most effective means of determining what they need -- even if they won't reveal their difficulties directly, either because they don't want to or because they don't know that they are, themselves, communicating with the student consistently during sessions is incredibly revealing.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I am happy to use a variety of methods to reach a student, depending on their needs. For example, for a student who learns best by doing, I would incorporate movement into our activities. For a student who struggles with confidence, I would work to build their belief in their own ability to improve and succeed. There are different approaches to every problem, and it is my job to find the one that works best for the student with whom I am working.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

The types of materials I use depend on the subject and the student. Typically, students and I work through school assignments together, and, depending on an individual student's needs, I may bring additional materials such as readings, games, or other supplies. For example, for an elementary-age kinesthetic learner working on spelling, I might bring sidewalk chalk to write out a large alphabet to have the student move from letter to letter to spell. For a middle school visual learner, I might bring images or diagrams. For a high school student who struggles with maintaining focus while reading, I might bring sticky notes to mark progress and check for understanding or their favorite candy to place at the end of each paragraph or section as a motivator for completion (contingent on understanding, of course!).