Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) on Twitter

Yesterday, I learned something new.  I was on Twitter, posting links to my latest blog posts and I came across a tweet by Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby), one of the creators of #edchat.  His post said that a discussion on giving feedback to students would begin in a few minutes.  After messaging Tom, I figured out how to become a part of the discussion.

The chat feature on Twitter is amazing.  I used tweetchat to participate in the discussion on giving feedback to students.  The discussion lasted an hour and when all was said and done, I became part of a large community of educators who were all seeking to improve education for their students.  The educators shared a variety of great ideas and comments.  Through the process, I met a variety of new connecti0ns and now we are following each other.

One such colleague is Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1).  Cybraryman1 has a website, http://www.cybraryman.com/ devoted to similar types of twitter chats which happen every day.  It’s fascinating to me that anyone can take part in these discussions and it helps promote new ideas.  One tweet that I found fascinating was by Marc Seigel (@Daretochem) who made reference to Mastery Learning and I really like the concept of it.  I am going to talk more about Mastery Learning in a later post, but I believe that it is the ideal way to conduct education to promote creativity and to inspire.

Twitter has proven yet again to be a valuable resource.  For those of you that are interested, the chat I participated in was called #edchat.  And the discussion focuses on different topics every week.  One discussion goes on at 9 AM PST and the other begins at 5 PM PST.   Want to know what’s going on in education?  Get involved in the discussion.  Join #edchat.

Wisconsin Teachers are not to Blame for Our Economy

In an article in The Washington Post, by Valerie Strauss, titled “The Irony of Obama’s ‘Help’ for Wisconsin’s Teachers, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/race-to-the-top/the-irony-of-obamas-help-for-w.html?wprss=answer-sheet, she expresses the contradictory nature of Obama’s policies on education to his support for the teachers of Wisconsin.

The Governor of Wisconsin has attempted to issue new policies designed to drastically cut collective bargaining rights for teachers.  Obama has instituted policies that have undermined public education in the minds of many by supporting the establishment of Charter Schools which are typically non-union and providing cash support for traditional non-union teacher training programs.

We need to understand where our economical problems are coming from and address those concerns and not attack the things which will benefit us most.  While I am not so much an advocate of unions, I am an advocate of teachers.  Let’s fix the real problem, our faultering economy is not because of education.  Strauss makes reference to an article written by Ezra Klein in which she says, “Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don’t blame the unions. Not for this recession.”

President’s Day Special: Who Was the Smartest President?

In honor of President’s Day, I have taken the time to look for information about who the smartest president was.  Surprisingly, their is actually a lot of information on the topic.  One of the biggest indicators of intelligence that we use in today’s society are IQ scores.   Here a just some IQ scores, from some of our smartest and not so smart President’s:

  • George Washington (118)
  • John Adams (137)
  • Thomas Jefferson (138)
  • John Q. Adams (165)
  • Abraham Lincoln (128)
  • Ulysses S. Grant (110)
  • Warren Harding (107)
  • John F. Kennedy (117)
  • Richard Nixon (143)
  • Ronald Reagan (118), (105)
  • Bill Clinton (135), (137)
  • George W. Bush (111), (125)
  • Barack Obama (129 or higher)

Honorable Mention:

  • Hillary Clinton (140)
  • John McCain (133)

Obviously, these scores are estimations and there was a lot of discrepancy in IQ scores, so in the instances where I found more than one IQ score for an individual, I noted that by adding all the IQ scores I found. 

Who is the smartest president is a subjective question, but there is no doubt that in order to become president you need to be smarter than the average American.  The lowest estimated IQ for a president was 107, higher than the average person, who would be listed in the 95 to 100 range. 

According to my findings, the smartest president in history was John Q. Adams and the dumbest president was Warren G. Harding.

For more information about Who Was the Smartest President, click on the following link:  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_was_the_smartest_US_President

The History of Valentine’s Day

The origin of Valentine’s Day is for the most part unknown, but there are several stories associated with the day that represents love.

Ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia.  Lupercalia signified the beginning of spring and a time for purification.  People celebrated Lupercalia by cleaning their houses.  It was also considered a holiday meant to signify fertility.  To begin the festival, which began on February 15, Roman priests would sacrifice a goat (for fertility) and a dog (for purification).  They would then cut the goat’s hide into strips and gently slap women with the goat hides.  Women looked forward to this activity as the ritual was believed to make them more fertile.  Later that day, women’s names would be placed in a large urn and the males of the city would take turns choosing names from the urn and these men and women would be paired for the year, often times resulting in marriage.  Many people contend that Christians found this festival un-Christian and encouraged a day that promoted love and fertility.

Another theory, is that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome.  The emperor at the time believed that military men should not be married because he believed that it decreased their performance on the battlefield.  The priest refused to go along with the decree and began to secretly wed couples.  When his treachery was discovered, he was put to death.

Another story claims that while in jail, he fell in love with a daughter of one of the prison guards and wrote the first Valentine’s Day letter in which he signed the letter, “From your Valentine.”

Yet another story claims that he was killed for attempting to help Christians escape punishment from jails where prisoners were tortured and beaten.

All information for this post was found on the following websites:

Get to Know Us – Lacey Welborn

Hello Everyone,

My name is Lacey Welborn (Chino Hills), I am the Creative Engineer and Web Designer for The Tutoring Solution. I created the logo, the website, t-shirts and flyer designs, and have been instrumental in the development of the philosophy and goals of The Tutoring Solution.

One of my most favorite things in the world is being creative. I like getting an idea and then creating something from that idea. It almost always leads to more ideas, that means more creating and more ideas until the thing I’m working on turns into something that I really love. When I was little I wanted to grow up to be an artist. I even had an art sale once, where I set up my drawings on a little table outside like a lemonade stand and sold them for 50 cents a piece.

While growing up, I lost my desire to be an artist, but I’ve always wanted to have a career that involved creativity. In college, I finished all my general education classes and was unsure what I wanted to major in. I talked to an adviser who suggested Communications, because as she put it, “You can do anything with a communications degree.” Now that may have been true when the economy was rockin’ but now it seems to me, you can’t do a single thing with just a communications degree. Luckily, I also majored in Radio-TV-Film, which was neat and super creative. In school, I wrote scripts, drew storyboards, mixed audio, shot film, edited shorts and created digital effects. After graduation I got a great opportunity to be one of two video editors for a local morning news show, Day Break OC on KDOC.

I worked extremely hard. The show lasted around 13 months. When it ended I was able to look back on that job and although I was proud of the work did, I missed out on too much. I was working way too many hours and it didn’t help that I was working night shifts and was entirely nocturnal. I missed my friends that year. I missed my life.

Since then I’ve been on a journey trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I keep finding more things that I’m interested in, including photography, graphic design and web design, all of which I get to do here at The Tutoring Solution. I really enjoy working for a nice small company where I get to use all my skills and be creative. It’s also very cool watching my brother, Zeb get all this up and running. It really is very impressive. I hope I can follow in his footsteps and turn what I love doing most into a career.

For more information about me, feel free to check outWelbornSocialMedia.com.

What do Martin Luther King and The Tutoring Solution Have in Common?

Martin Luther King is one of the men I admire most throughout history.  The man was undeniably passionate.  It seems to me, that our generation has no prominent figures that stand for something, that are passionate and have the conviction to stand firm in their beliefs.

The man faced such adversity, made bold decisions, and acted selflessly.  He had a goal and would not stop until his “Dream” became a reality.  I believe that he understood what life was really about, about being passionate and having conviction. 

It is our goal, at The Tutoring Solution, to inspire passion and encourage integrity.  Martin Luther King did this for 100’s of 1,000’s of his followers.  For the students that sign up with us, we aim to inspire passion, because we are passionate.  As Martin Luther King was passionate about Civil Rights, our tutors are passionate about education. 

Today is a celebration of the life of an amazing man.  It is a day to reflect upon his life and take those values and beliefs which he held and apply those beliefs that we admire to our own lives.  So, today, take a minute to think about Martin Luther King, what values did he have that you admire?  How will you incorporate those values into your own life?

Get to Know Us – Zeb Welborn

Hello Everyone, 
Education is my passion.  I started this company in February of 2010, when I began tutoring my first student.  Since that first interview in February up until today, my business has continued to grow as parents, teachers and friends have expressed their excitement and happiness for the services that we provide.  I wanted to give all of you an inside look into who we are and what we are all about, starting with myself.

I started teaching High School History full time in 2005.  As a teacher, I was consistently singled out as a leader and someone who worked hard to achieve results for students.  I was sent to numerous in-service trainings, as one of my vice-principals had said because I was “a leader.”  I coached soccer for seven years, golf for three seasons and baseball for a season.  I was the head of the Model United Nations and Snowboarding Clubs.  I even substituted at the Adult School in the district to help adults who were struggling to learn English.

As a teacher, I was a perfectionist, or at least I tried to be.  Throughout the school year I was consistently working until 9 O’Clock at night preparing lessons for the next day, designing tests, developing game plans, maybe planning for a meeting.  During the weekends, you would frequently see me catching a football game or watching a production put on by the school’s drama department.

In 2008, my world came crashing down.  My wife, who I had been with for over seven years told me that our marriage wasn’t working.  It caught me by surprise. I’m not sure, but in my mind I have attributed it to numerous things. I think mainly because during the school year I was unavailable to her.  My mind, my thoughts, everything revolved around the 165 students that came through my classroom doors every day and she thought that nothing was left over for her.

Every year students would come into my classroom, I could always tell who would be my exceptional students and who would struggle.  If I focused on helping my struggling students, those exceptional students would lose interest.  If I focused on just the exceptional students, those that were struggling would fall behind even more.  If I tried to establish a middle ground, I found that I was doing a disservice to both sides of the spectrum.  I learned that it was impossible to be an amazing teacher without making sacrifices.

One of my colleagues, whom as a teacher I looked up to the most was loved by the entire school, parents, teachers, administrators, and myself.  Everyone loved this guy and the way he taught. He worked hard too.  During the school year, he was never away from his classroom.  The janitors closed up the school at around 10 PM each night and he was there Monday through Sunday from who knows when in the morning, (I was never much of a morning person, but I never got to school before he did) until 10 O’Clock at night.  As a teacher, I looked up to him and admired him, but a teacher was all he was.  If I were to remain a teacher and teach the way that I wanted to, I could not lead the life that I had always invisioned for myself . . . raising a happy family.

In 2009, I went through what I’d like to call a journey of self-discovery.  I hopped in my 2007 Toyota Tacoma and traveled the United States for three months, hoping to find myself.  I wound up in Southern California with a clearer idea and vision of what I wanted my life to become.   After tutoring my first student, I knew that this was the career for me.

By being able to help individual students I can see the impact that I am making. It is clear and undeniable; it is entirely rewarding. I never have the feeling that I am letting people down, whether it’s my students, or friends, or family. I can focus my full efforts to helping students achieve their goals and there is absolutely no feeling greater than watching a student who is struggling succeed.

Since I began this company, we have only gotten bigger.  Through word of mouth and the positive reviews we receive we continue to expand. I love it, plus as a tutor, I feel I can be perfect without making sacrifices.  Whatever your tutoring needs are, I can assure you that I will do my best to attain educational goals that you have set and will give my full and complete effort until those goals are met.

Should Schools Be the “Fat” Police?

Obesity is a large problem for American youths.  Merry Gordon confronts the issue on educate.com.  Here is a link to that article, http://www.education.com/magazine/article/schools-fat-police/?cid=90.

Schools shouldn’t  be held responsible for dealing with obesity; however, they do need to educate students on the importance of a healthy life-style.

Letters sent home reporting each student’s BMI is a great start.  It would be great to see letters sent home to parents giving results and suggestions to improve the fitness level of each student.

Launch Day

As promised, The Tutoring Solution’s Blog will launch today, January 1, 2011.  I’m excited to begin this new year and can’t wait to see what the year has in store for The Tutoring Solution. 

The blogs will focus on a wide array of topics, including:  Financial Tips, Motivational Tips, Test Taking Tips, Writing Tips, History Lesson Plans, Tips for Tutors, Tips for Parents, Tips for Teachers, Tips for Students, Current Events, Guest Blogs and Interviews. 

With new material posted every day, I encourage you to check back frequently. 

Follow us on twitter at TutorSolutions.  Every time we add a new post, you will be sent a link, along with the title of the new post which allows you to pick and choose the topics that are of interest to you. 

I can’t wait to share the knowledge I have to improve student’s lives.  Thank you for becoming a member of The Tutoring Solution.  Check back frequently for news and events.

An Interview with Eric Sheninger – Principal at New Milford High School

Posted by admin at 6:22 pm

Jan 282011

Eric Sheninger is the principal at New Milford High School and is extremely active in using social media to improve education for his students.  I have been following his twitter account for sometime now and he has always posted meaningful and insightful posts used to improve education.

For that reason, I decided to interview Mr. Sheninger and due to his great responses, I have decided to break up his interview into several different blog posts.  If you are interested in learning more about Mr. Sheninger or New Milford High School, check out his website, www.ericsheninger.com/

And stay tuned for more blog posts about Mr. Sheninger.

The Official SAT Question of the Day

Posted by admin at 4:28 pm

Jan 272011

Are you looking for more help in preparing for the SAT test.  The College Board offers a slew of online resources that are designed to help in your preparation.  One such resource is the SAT Question of the Day.  Each day, the College Board posts a question designed to help in your preparation for the SAT’s.  Here is the website:  http://sat.collegeboard.com/practice/sat-question-of-the-day.

I recommend answering one question a day as early as Junior High School.  The idea may not always to be to get the right answer, but to familiarize yourself with what types of questions will be on the test.

How to Win an Argument with Your Parents: Part #2

Posted by admin at 1:30 pm

Jan 262011

In How to Win an Argument with Your Parents:  Part #1, http://thecatutoringsolution.com/66/how-to-win-an-argument-against-your-parents-part-1/, I wrote about writing an essay to your parents to better explain your side of the story.  In Part #2, I have a more advanced technique to really get on your parents good side. 

Instead of writing an essay to your parents explaining the reasons why you are not at fault, this time, try writing an essay pretending to be your parents. 

The reason why parents often get upset is due to fears that they have about you and your well-being.  By putting yourself in your parents shoes, you can get a better understanding of why they are upset with you. 

Try writing to your parents, pretending that you are them and write an essay like the one mentioned in How to Win an Argument with Your Parents: Part #1, http://thecatutoringsolution.com/66/how-to-win-an-argument-against-your-parents-part-1/, only this time, write it from your parents perspective.  Be sure to include an introduction and provide three reasons why your parents might be upset with you. 

By writing this essay, you can get into the mindset of your parents, and maybe you will have a better understanding of what their fears are and you will be able to communicate your ideas with them better.  Plus, when you give them this essay, it will show them that you have put a lot of thought into the situation and they will be relieved that you have thought about their feelings in the process.

Duolog Math – Ask Your Tutor to Use This Process and Improve Your Child’s Mathematical Ability

Posted by admin at 2:52 am

Jan 252011

Duolog Math is similar to the Duolog Reading post that I added earlier, http://thecatutoringsolution.com/234/duolog-reading-ask-your-tutor-to-use-this-process-and-improve-your-childs-reading-ability/, only it deals with Math.  The process has been proven to be succesful and I use the theory described when dealing with improving my students mathematical abilities.

This process is broken down into several steps:

  • Step 1 – Listen – Give the student time to explain what they think that their difficulty is.  Do not interrupt.  Let them fully explain the problems they are having with the material.
  • Step 2 – Read – If the problem is a word problem, be sure to read the problem together and check for understanding.
  • Step 3 – Question – Ask questions that help to guide student thinking.  Here are some examples:  What kind of problem is it?  What are we trying to discover?  Can you restate the problem in another way?  Can you break it down into steps?  How did you get your answer?  Does that make sense?  Where was the last place that you knew you were right?  What kind of mistakes do you think you might have made?  Do not say, “You are wrong.”  Try to avoid yes or no questions and give students time to fully construct their responses.
  • Step #4 – Pause – Encourage students to think out loud and encourage them to do it all the time.  That way it is easy to find out where they are going wrong and allows the tutor time to think of questions that will encourage self-correction. 
  • Step #5 – Make it Real – When the opportunity presents itself, use real world situations that the student may find themselves in in the future or have experienced in the past.  By using real-life scenarios students are more likely to understand it’s importance and have a better idea of how to go about solving the problem.
  • Step #6 – Check – Always check to see that the answers are correct, when answers are incorrect, encourage students to retry the problem and use guiding questions to see if they can self correct the problems they encountered.
  • Step #7 – Praise – Give praise and encouragement whenever you get the chance.  Even for small successes as it will help students from feeling frustrated.
  • Step #8 – Summarize – At the end of each session, have the student summarize what they have learned.  Point out where the student did well and where the student still needs improvement.

Duolog math works extremely well and I have personally witnessed it’s success in student achievement.  One student had failed all previous math courses and when this program was implemented he received a B in Algebra 1A, which he had previously failed and a B in Algebra 1B, which he had previously received a D.

*All information about the Duolog writing process comes from Tutoring.  Educational Practices Series — 5 by Keith Topping

Introductory Tutoring Video

Posted by admin at 12:12 am

Jan 242011

 

The Tutoring Solution provides tutoring for the Inland Empire, Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley.  We serve students in Alta Loma, Chino, Chino Hills, Corona, Diamond Bar, Eastvale, Fontana, Monrovia, Norco, Ontario, Pasadena, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside and San Bernardino.

Happy New Years everyone, let’s make 2011 a year to remember.

Welcome to Mr. Welborn’s Classroom!

Welcome to Mr. Welborn’s Classroom.  In this class, we will discuss topics important to the development of educators, parents and students.  Children in the United States have fallen far below the academic levels of many foreign countries.  In order to insure the success of American children, something in our system needs to be changed.  To me, that change is where we need to focus our time, money, effort and energy.

This classroom will demonstrate useful tips and give people an opportunity to express their ideas about education and how it can be improved.  This page will be updated frequently with new tips and information about education.  In order for any classroom to succeed, it is important to participate; therefore, I highly encourage you to post your comments and leave feedback.