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My Site: The Freelance Teacher

My students have been asking where I’ve been all these months.  The answer is my new site: thefreelanceteacher.com

Do you want to be able to write clearly, with words that get attention and make others think? Don’t you want your college essay to register with the adminssions department at your desired school? Do you want to get your SAT or ACT scores higher, and learn a few things that you never get in school? You have come to the right site.

Here is what members get:

College Essay / Supplemental / and General Essay Writing Help

I will go through your college application writing materials and proofread and improve them. How badly do you want to get into the school of your choice? The college essay can be intimidating. I will see to it that your THREE (Your main essay and 2 supplementals) essays have a good tone, contain well-written English and show off your writing skills. I’ve proofread hundreds of these things and am well aware of what the universities are looking for. The supplemental compositions are shorter, more vague pieces of writing, and I can work you through those as well. I can also help you get started, with large amounts of help on the first paragraph. The universities look for indivuality and leadership qualities. I will go through your list of attributes and build a template for you to use – much of your introductory paragraph. Again, how badly do you want to get into the college of your choice?

Exam Prep

$140 a year for exam prep on the English sections of the examsis a steal. The verbal sections of the two exams (SAT and ACT) should be unintimidating and familiar to you after you’ve studied the screencasts, tutorials and connected with me for online individualized help. There are sound files available where I explain the exam basics and give you the layout of the test. All that stuff in the beginning of the prep book — I’ve read it and will explain it to you in an easily understood manner so you don’t have to. You also get access to me via the Internet and I can work with you on questions or points you may not understand well.

Daily Entries

Every day I write something — a tip, an insight, a fact — something that you could use for school in order to get better grades. This site represents my view of the public school system: hostile. School and schoolteachers rarely get it right, and the institution wasn’t created to make you smarter. My mission is to fill in the large blanks in your education, get your grades up and get you out. My 18 years in the system have allowed me to give you the tools needed to do well and graduate. You have a teacher with nearly two decades of experience at your disposal.

Forums

The hidden value is the information sharing in the forums. Students all over the world have knowledge, that when we share it, it becomes part of your knowledge arsenal. Asking questions gets you not just me, but the crowd looking at your need and fulfilling it. Here we work together. The free sites are useless in this regard. The membership cost keeps out the trolls. You get questions answered. This site is for shedding light on things, not trolling and creating an online food fight.

Go to www.thefreelanceteacher.com and subscribe today!

EXPERT: MOST US COLLEGE FRESHMEN READ AT 7TH GRADE LEVEL

It used to be one of the major arguments I would get into on Facebook. I would talk about how people don’t think, don’t read, don’t pay attention, don’t ask questions, don’t recognize logical fallacies… – inevitably someone would come after me and tell me that literacy rates are the highest they have ever been. The only way that is possible is if what what passes for literacy is at a lower level now than in the old days.

How do I know this? Where is the evidence?

  • Look at Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies”. Do you see ‘soporific’ on the first page? That’s a children’s story. From a hundred years ago. What children’s book did you read that had SAT vocabulary? I didn’t think so.
  • Go to google and type in “Kenny Hignite” and look at his junior high school civics exam. Not only couldn’t you do as well as he did, they don’t teach civics anymore. It might hurt someone’s feelings.
  • Look at McGuffey’s sixth reader. That is a book intended for the 10th grader – of 1880. Graduate students at today’s universities would curl up in the fetal position and soil themselves. Don’t believe me? Look it up – it’s easy to find in pdf form. I have a copy on my laptop in case I’m in the mood to have my literacy level placed on HGH and steroids.

Those examples come from memory – it wouldn’t take much to find others.

The article referenced in the title talks about something that is going on today, and seems to be true. What it talks about that’s important is twofold. The first is that the expert quoted is the only academic on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) committee. She now tours the country speaking out against common core. She quit the committee, as did the mathematic professor, in disgust and refused to sign off on what was produced. This was the legislation that was eagerly signed by your state legislators via bribe and is touted by your ‘school leaders’ as the thing that will save the flagging academic performances at your school. I had no idea about this back story to common core, it wasn’t shared with us in the teacher meetings. Our ‘leaders’ followed it because they were told to by the Big Shots in State Gov’t.

The second main point is that this lack of literacy is easily overcome. You can get past it and be the best by NOT doing what the students in the article do. They read at a low level on their off time. Their down time is spent reading things at a junior high school level. If you constantly practice on an 8 foot rim, you’ll never be skilled on the real thing. You need to read at a level that will stretch your mind a bit – push your capabilities. I have always recommended Hawthorne, Dickens, Poe, Doyle and Melville. There are other authors who will give you an intellectual workout as well. Find them and read them. I can help you with this.

Quotes from the article that are noteworthy:

  • “Dr. Sandra Stotsky is best known for serving on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10 and refusing to approve standards she called ‘inferior’, along with colleague James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University.”
  • “We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according toRenaissance Learning’s latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen.”
  • Stotsky clarified, “The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning’s readability formula was rated 7.56.” That means, a large number of college freshman are basically reading on a level of grade 7 at the sixth month mark.

That means get YOUR reading level up, on your own, and read at a higher level than your peers, and do all the pre college exams and essays better than they do.

Full article here: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/01/03/expert-most-us-college-freshmen-read-at-7th-grade-level/

College Entrance Exam – SAT English Sections Explained

The Verbal sections of the SAT – the writing and the reading sections given a detailed overview by me.  General strategy and format laid out for you in under 20 minutes.

ACT English and Reading Introduction

 

Time: The exam will take just under 3 hours.

Rationale – what the test writers expect you to be able to do and will test you on the following: “Solve problems, draw conclusions, make inferences and think analytically.  “Remember, the ACT emphasizes thinking skills.”

————–

English section (Part 1): you are the editor of 5 passages, with 15 questions each for a total of 75 questions.  You have 45 minutes to do the entire section.  Each underlined portion is the place you will ‘edit’ to see if it should be changed or left the way the passage was written.  A varied type of editorial problem is presented in each case, but they can be divided into two kinds of questions:

  1. Usage / Mechanics questions: A) Punctuation – 10 questions.  B) Grammar and usage – 12 questions.  C) Sentence structure – 18 questions.  (40 total questions).
  • For the usage / mechanics section you need to know: Conventions of standard grammatical English, basic punctuation, how to write complete and organized sentences.
  1. Rhetorical Skills questions: A) Writing strategy – 12 questions. B) Organization – 11 questions. C) Style – 12 questions. (35 total questions).
  • For the rhetorical skills questions you need to know: basic understanding of rhetoric – is it unified, organized and consistent.

ð Each of the five passages has about 325 words.  You have about 30 seconds per question – you need to get 55 questions out of the 75 correct to have a shot at your standard, garden variety University.

———————————————-

Reading Section: (Part 4): This section is designed to test your ability to read and understand material you’ll see on the college level.

Rationale / Format: 4 passages – 750 words each, from 4 areas.  10 questions after each passage, for 40 questions total.  This gives you 3 – 4 minutes per passage and 4 minutes for the 10 questions, which works out to about 25 seconds per question.  To answer these questions you must be able to:

ð Infer

ð Find implications

ð Identify main ideas

ð See cause and effect

ð Understand vocabulary in context

ð Recognize author intent

ð Analyze the sequence of events

ð Identify the significance of selected details

ð Separate fact from fiction

ð Evaluate the validity of ideas.

 

Sub score 1) Arts and Literature (Prose Fiction and Humanities passages)

Sub score 2) Social Studies / Science (Social Science and Natural Science passages)

ð Use these two sub scores to identify your trouble spots or strengths.

 Passage Types and possible topics:

ð Prose Fiction: novels and short stories.

ð Humanities: architecture, art, dance, ethics, film, language and literature, criticism, music, philosophy, radio, TV, theater.

ð Social Studies: anthropology, archeology, business, economics, education, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology.

ð Natural Science: anatomy, astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, ecology, geology, medicine, meteorology, microbiology, natural history, psychology physics, technology, zoology.

 

An Introduction to the ACT Exam in 12 minutes

Here we will cover the basics of the English section of the ACT exam.  It is part one of the test (of 4 parts) and I cover the basic structure and tasks of the section.

Education Forensics Podcast #5 – Literacy Revisited

How does a person become literate?
What is literacy?
What is the difference between active literacy and passive literacy?
What is the trivium and how can you use it to become more literate?
How can a higher level of literacy help you succeed in various facets of your life?

Here I share some of my past explorations into literacy – especially during the last 5 years or so.

Error Identification 3

An error identification question / sentence that follows the common college entrance exam pattern. Learing the pattern and the style of the exam will raise your score.

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