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Kristen

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I look forward to assisting you with my breadth of subject area experience and 22 years as a classroom teacher. I bring joy and humor to our lessons, while challenging and raising my students' level of expectation as well. I encourage character, integrity, and working for what we want in this life.
I am licensed in Oregon in Secondary Language Arts (English), K-12 Spanish, and English as a Second Language all levels. I have taught high school English all years, AP Composition, AP Literature, Study Skills, Acting 1/2/3, Theater Production, Spanish 1/2/3/4/AP and ESL grades 9-12 and elementary. I have also had the joy of teaching PE: tennis, cross-country running, volleyball, and racquetball. I teach adult Spanish and Hebrew classes in my local community.
I also enjoy all things musical, artistic, photographic, poetic, and having to do with resourceful and healthful living. I am an experienced horsewoman, gardener and homesteader, and a non-current private pilot, single-engine land.
I am currently working in Equine therapy, completing certification as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and retiring from my traditional classroom to pursue these new directions.
I feel like I've been in school forever:
El Camino College: Audio-Visual Communications;
Rogue Community College: Basic Education, English and Social Studies focus;
Umpqua Community College: English, AA/Block Transfer degree;
University of Oregon: English, Art and Education focus, BA.
Southern Oregon University: Secondary Education, Language Arts, MTLA (Master's in Teaching Language Arts).
As a former non-traditional college student with two children in tow, and a gifted student as a child and challenged by life circumstances, I have a heart for helping students find their personal keys to unlock the desire and ability to learn. It doesn't have to be unpleasant or done a certain way to be beneficial.
I truly believe learning is an adventure... one that I've been on for over half a century. I can tell you it's worth the effort. :)

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Kristen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Oregon - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: Southern Oregon University - Masters, Education: Secondary Language Arts

Hobbies

Horsemanship, Poetry, Gardening, Homesteading, Equine Therapy, Poetry, Writing, History, Tennis, Hiking, Surfing, Bodysurfing, Racquetball, Photography, Art, Travel, basic Hebrew, Guitar, Keyboard, Singing, Drawing, Painting, Dance

Tutoring Subjects

ACCUPLACER ESL Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Listening Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning Prep

ACCUPLACER Language Use Prep

ACCUPLACER WritePlacer Prep

ACT English

Adult ESL/ELL

Adult Literacy

Algebra

American Literature

AP Human Geography

AP Spanish Language & Culture

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

Art

Audition Prep

Biology

College Application Essays

College English

College Level American Literature

Composition

Conversational Spanish

Earth Science

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

Hebrew

High School Biology

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Physics

High School World History

High School Writing

IB Dance

IB Extended Essay

IB Geography

IB Global Politics

IB Music

IB Philosophy

IB Social and Cultural Anthropology

IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science

IB Theatre

IB Visual Arts

IB World Religions

Languages

LSAT Essay Section

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing

Nutrition

OAT Reading Comprehension

OAT Survey of Natural Sciences

Other

PCAT Verbal Ability

PCAT Writing

Philosophical Ethics

Phonics

Physics

Pre-Algebra

Public Speaking

SAT Reading

SAT Subject Test in Literature

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2

SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening

SAT Subject Tests Prep

SAT Writing and Language

Science

Social Sciences

Social studies

Songwriting

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

Spelling Bee

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

TOEFL Prep

Vocal Training

World History

World Religions

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The most important thing about learning anything is "owning" your learning process...making it "yours." If we can find ways to take required subjects and content and make them come alive for you by fitting it with your needs, goals, gifts, and project ideas, then the learning will be real and the knowledge put to practical use. Students do not all learn in the same ways, nor do they all have the same gifts, strengths, goals, motivations, or preferred approach to learning. It is MY goal to assist in putting those elements together for my students.

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

I would spend some time getting to know the student in terms of his/her needs and learning style with respect to the tutoring request. I have some survey tools and questions that can help me get to know the student's skill level in the subject area, personality and learning style, concerns, fears, goals, motivations, and areas of difficulty or struggle. I would allow for some questions from the student, of course, pertinent to our needs. I also typically insist that we DO something within the subject area. I like my students to come away from EVERY session with something new and some growth.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I know it's an overused clichŽ, but I truly do believe in the educational concept that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish. When my students ask me, "How do I ___ ?" or "How do you say ____?" or "What is the answer to ____?" such and such, my most common reply is, "What do YOU think right now?" Most of the time, they are actually correct, or very close to it. If they aren't, we ask questions to find out why we don't know and what we might be able to do to find out. I almost NEVER just "give" the answer, but rather build my students' abilities to find the answers for themselves. I strongly encourage the idea of independent discovery and brainstorming on learning approaches and project ideas for themselves, from the youngest age, to apply their learning to their own actual lives and needs.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

First of all, by directly asking and brainstorming with the student about why and how they are losing their motivation, and what we could do to boost it. It's got to be relevant and engaging to hold student's motivation. I enjoy engaging students in discovering real-world applications of the subject matter at hand, and with the world at our fingertips and engaging technology, it can be quite a fun adventure. It is also important to allow students to own when they are truly just NOT interested in certain subjects. Perhaps then we admit it, do what we can with it, and just say, "Okay, then let's just get through this together and celebrate at the end!"

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

Guided reading out loud, with fingers following on the page, is so important for early learners and can be also modified for older ones. The human brain is a language machine, with oral language and audial comprehension coming before reading and writing decoding skills. So, the eye-ear-hand-brain imagery connection is a valuable tool. I can also help students with linguistic, etymological, and mnemonic tricks to help know and understand vocabulary, spelling, and common errors. There are also wonderful questioning strategies, reader response journals, and metacognitive strategies to bring up comprehension and personal connection to the reading. I have been told that my theatrical skills definitely come into play when reading aloud, and students greatly enjoy when we read stories together.

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

Using humor and fun from the first day has always worked for me, while at the same time communicating that we are here together for a serious purpose. By listening to them, their concerns, and engaging them with fun and positivity, I am building their trust that I really do care about their learning and am willing to work WITH them to make it work for them and, at the same time, challenge them to work for growth from every session.

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

We might first begin with just admitting to ourselves that there are things in which we ALL struggle. We can share examples of situations where struggling through something we may not enjoy is simply a means of getting to the thing on the other side that we DO enjoy. Specific to the subject, we can explore interesting facts and fascinating concepts within it, or we can explore connections, applications, and project ideas that will actually dovetail with the student's interests and needs.

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

Depending on the subject matter and the learning style or approach at hand, there are numerous methods of formative and summative assessment. I am skilled in interactive questioning strategies and checking for understanding, as well as creating relevant and proficiency-based assessments in all kinds of formats and methods of presentation.

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

Constant and positive feedback is essential, as well as reviewing learning and revisiting and celebrating accomplishments. My lessons are FULL of "good job," "high five," and such comments. However, it's not enough just to say those things...we must be specific: "That's awesome! You didn't even have to think about it this time!" And in some subjects, it's just okay to agree that it is difficult, and we're doing better than we were before!

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I am constantly evaluating my student's needs with respect to our learning goals, and this evaluation comes from every direction. We are looking at what they produce, asking them about their own strategies and struggles, and observing them in the process.

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

I might also add that it is so important to consult with parents/guardians about the student's needs as an essential component to getting the big picture. This is probably the hardest question to pin down. HOW we adapt will vary depending on the need. A visual or bodily-kinesthetic learner might need more physical action, hands-on contact, or images to attach to the content, while a more interpersonal or verbal-linguistic learning may benefit more from discussion, listening to stories, or reading about it. I could go on, but no need. I have MANY tools, materials, and strategies for adapting to student needs.

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

I will use whatever "materials" fit the bill...books, workbooks, videos, online lesson activities, music, art, writing, physical projects, print and electronic reference resources, and realia.

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

I would first explore WITH the STUDENT what he/she feels is the source of the difficulty. Often just by doing this, we somehow "unlock" the problematic thing and bring the barrier down. Identifying the struggle honestly and even with some humor and acceptance has a way of making it easier to confront for us humans. Other than that, it's a matter of staying positive, rewarding small successes, and looking for alternate approaches that fit better for the student.


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