Tutoring during Covid and Wildfires

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At the end of June, the Marin County Department of Health gave me permission to resume tutoring as long as I do it in outside with masks and distance. At that time, I started working with a new high school student to help him with his writing. I also started working with two adult caregivers, one from Zimbabwe and the other one from Haiti. I am helping them study to take the GED. Now that the fall semester has started, I am also working with 4 middle school students and one high school student.

With the nearby fires, working outside in the smoke has been worrisome. I almost cancelled some appointments. I have been using the website https://www.purpleair.com/ to see what the air quality is like at different locations. Fortunately, each day, at each time and location, the smoke was not too bad for us and we were able to have good sessions.

I am very happy working with all of my students. For me, as a Sir Francis Drake High School graduate, the most interesting thing that I did this week was help a student research and write an essay on Sir Francis Drake. The most exciting thing for me this week has been teaching math to a sixth grader whose school is not offering a math class to him this semester. One of my other students is in the same predicament. The schools have decided to teach half of the subjects this semester and the other half next semester. I believe that it is a mistake to not have math every semester. I believe it is the same for foreign language studies. Perhaps for other subjects, the every other semester approach is ok. The exciting thing has been discovering how smart at math the sixth grader that I am working with is. Since, he did not have any homework yet. I spent my two sessions with him on Science and math. For science, we have been learning about wildfires For math, I quickly checked his multiplication. He seemed to have his times tables memorized. So we went on to fractions. He needed a little bit of help and quickly was able to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. Since he was doing well with the fractions, I taught him how to solve simple equations with one variable. He mastered them quickly, so I added a second variable and gave its value. At the end of our first session, I felt I could teach him all of middle school math in one year, depending upon how much time we have after completing weekly homework assignments. In our second session, we reviewed fractions and the variable equations that I taught him on Monday. Then I taught him how to find the area of a triangle. We read a little bit about Pythagoras and I taught him the Pythagorean Theorem. He was able to use the theorem!

My schedule is almost full; I do still have time to help a few more students. If you know anyone that I can help at this time, please have them contact me. You can also tell them to visit my website www.marinhomeworkcoach.com



Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

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One of my students who goes to New Traditions Elementary School is doing a report on California Missions, specifically Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. I’ve been helping her learn about the mission. One thing that we read in Wikipedia today, I wish I had known about before:

Legend has it that the founding expedition was confronted by a large group of native Tongva peoples whose intention was to drive the strangers away. One of the priests laid a painting of “Our Lady of Sorrows” on the ground for all to see, whereupon the natives, designated by the settlers as the GabrieliƱos, immediately made peace with the missionaries, because they were so moved by the painting’s beauty.[1] Today the 300-year-old work hangs in front of and slightly to the left of the old high altar and reredos in the Mission’s sanctuary.

If I had known about this legend while I was going to U.C.L.A., I probably would have visited the mission.

Reading Animal Farm

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One of my students who is a freshman at Raoul Wallenberg High School is reading Animal Farm in her English class. Today, we read the first few pages of the book together. By reading out loud, I was able to identify the words in the text that she was not familiar with. Towards the end of our session, I had her look up the words and write down their definitions. At the end of the session, I asked to look up who Karl Marx was and tell me in our next tutoring session.

Reading Plato, The Republic, Book VII, The Cave Allegory

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This week, I’m helping a student read Book VII of the Republic. It was written by Plato in 360 B.C.E.. We are reading the translation by Benjamin Jowett. It is available online at the Internet Classics Archive.

My student’s project, for his Global Studies class at San Dominico School, is to create a video in which he explains the Allegory of the Cave and its moral.

Here is a good Wikipedia page on the Allegory of the Cave.