All posts by David Jacobs

Reading tips

Read. Read More. Repeat.

—It can’t be said enough: Reading to your child during these formative years is perhaps the most important learning activity you’ll ever share with them. So do it often!

  • Reading expands your child’s vocabulary… ignites your child’s imagination… teaches proper grammar and syntax… and helps your child excel in every subject.

Tips to improve reading and enhance comprehension 

—Teach your child the letters of the alphabet from pre-school.
—Read out loud to your child ? or have your child read out loud to you – for 15 minutes every night.
—As your child reaches kindergarten, continue reading aloud and play rhyming games to enhance his or her awareness of phonics.

  • You can also help your toddler and pre-K child develop motor skills – which will make learning to write later on much easier – by having them play with clay, paint and scissors, etc.

—For Kindergarteners and up, be sure to check their comprehension after they’ve finished reading.

  • Some children are able to “read” the words very well, but don’t truly understand what they’re reading.
  • Asking “Why” questions is a good starting point, i.e., ‘Why was the girl happy? Why was the boy embarrassed?’

—Don’t be afraid to let your child “guess” about what’s going on in the story.

  • While your child should sound out, and not simply guess at, any unknown words, don’t discourage him or her from guessing where the story’s going. Let them look at the pictures and think about what’s happening. That’s a natural part of reading and comprehension – and shows a healthy and active imagination.

Bottom line: Everybody loves a good story. If your child is refusing or struggling to read, visit the library, bookstore, or Internet to find a book or story about a topic of interest to him or her. And if you can’t find one, why not make one up together? You can even print it out and have your child draw pictures to make their first published work!

Over all, the parent should teach these skills:
1. Increase child’s vocabulary
2. Teach him/her using pictures
3. Do it through repetitions
4. Use phonemics: develop their reading skill through rhymes
5. Utilize imagination and intrigue their curiosity
All this will better your child’s reading performance in school.

Study tips for kids

Studying tips to improve Math skill and enhance numbers operations: count how many dolls (or bottle caps or baseball cards, etc.) your child has in his/her collection; count the number of jellybeans in a bowl – then subtract the number your child eats! Practice basic math skills using games such as Dominos, dice and playing cards – games your child associates with fun, rather than study.

Studying tips to do homework more productively: have a well-lit, organized desk for doing homework; as much as possible, try to stick to a set routine; if your child knows that homework time is from 3pm to 5pm everyday, there will be less resistance to doing the work; set aside extra time for big projects and term papers, like weekends; try to create a quiet environment with few or no distractions: no television, no little brothers or sisters coming and going, etc.; make sure the desk contains only the material being worked on – nothing else! Prepare all needed material for the specific subject in advance. If possible, try to do the same type of task as your child: Write when they write; read while they read.

Studying tips for preparing and taking tests: Conversation–Talk to your child about the importance of tests. Studies have shown that younger children are not always aware of their significance – but do better once they understand it; explain that tests measure students’ progress in class by grading their knowledge of the subject; let them know that standardized tests are the same for all children, and measure student performance across the state or even the entire country. To read more about Studying Tips, click Tips for the Student on the left. You can also do a search for a tutor, if you need to, by clicking Locate a Tutor.

Control The Kids: A Few Teaching Ideas

It is really important when you are teaching kids to take control of the classroom. This isn’t some over-authoritarian, strict or domineering thing. You don’t need to be stern and serious with them. But, YOU should be the focus of their attention, and keep the class moving.

With groups of kids it is all too easy for a few to start running around, and pretty soon they aren’t listening to anything you say. Next thing you know, it’s Climb On Sensei Game or Throw Fruit Maracas At Sensei’s Privates Game, and the lesson is DONE.

We don’t want that to happen, do we?

What you have to do is take control and keep it throughout the lesson. Here are some ways to do this:

-First off, always let them know that “Now we are starting the lesson.” You can do this a variety of ways. Music and songs are good for little kids. You might do some kind of mini-game that’s fun for them and gets their attention, or a simple warm up routine.

The important thing is to have a routine. At first, the kids may not know what it means, but they need a routine, so they know when class is starting.

-Throughout the lesson, keep an eye on the kids. Monitor them, and watch for signs that you might be losing them. Kids have tiny little attention spans and you have to know the warning signs when they’re starting to drift away.

When the kids start drifting off, you have to pull them back. You might change to another activity. It might be good to change position, or get them on their feet.

It’s good to have a repertoire of fillers and songs for when this happens. Another thing you can do is to pull the kid back by including them in whatever’s going on, like by singing a funny song with their name or something.

-One thing that works well is counting down “3, 2, 1.” You never have to actually DO anything when you get to one, just the counting down works like magic to get them where you want them to go.

The first time, you might try this: When things are going well, when the kids are laughing and having the most fun, suddenly stand up and count down, “3, 2, 1.” As you count down, walk to another part of the room.

It’s like magic! It’s like Pavlov’s dogs! They’ll be right behind you and they’ll be ready for whatever you’re going to do next!

At first, do it slowly. Then, once you establish this routine, you can always count down quickly and strongly. Do this when things get out of hand, and the kids will fall right into line.

Once you get a routine and you see how the kids follow it, you’ll be amazed at what you can do.

The important thing to remember is that you should keep the kids’ attention. Kids live for one thing: FUN. And, if you don’t give them the fun they need, they’ll look somewhere else for it!

7 Reasons to Study in the UK

As the world’s 2nd largest destination for international student enrolment (1st is the USA), the UK has a lot to offer. The British pride themselves on their multiculturalism, and the cities are melting pots of different cultures and nationalities, who all contribute to the unique flavour of each district. Aside from the weather (which isn’t really that bad), there are some excellent colleges and universities in the UK and you will never be at a loss for new things to do.

1. Cost effective

It may not be the most obvious point (indeed, on paper the costs may look quite high), but the courses in the UK are shorter and more intense than in a lot of other countries, which means you can save money by studying for a shorter period of time for the same level of qualification. Most bachelor’s degrees in the UK take 3 years, and many master’s programs are only 1-2 years long.

2. Health care

Many international students can be treated on the NHS while in the UK. While it shouldn’t be the basis for a decision about where to study, it is a definite perk to living in the UK.

3. Working part-time

While studying on your (cost-effective) course, you should be able to work part-time to further help with your finances. Many visas allow students to work up to 20 hours per week while studying, and some even allow full-time work during holidays. This can both help with the costs of studying in the UK, and help you build up valuable experience and contacts in the UK to help you get a job once you have finished studying.

4. Standard of education

The UK is home to some of the finest universities in the world, with Oxford and Cambridge always in the international top 10, and other institutions such as Imperial College London and University College London appearing high up on the listings as well. Even if you do not study in these universities, the standard of education across the board is extremely high, and is valued by employers in the UK and across the world.

5. Improve your English

If you want to improve your English, where better to do it than the home of the language? While you need a degree of fluency to be admitted to many of the courses, your English will improve considerably once you are immersed in the language and have to speak it every day. Courses are excellent ways to help you to get a foundation in the language, but to achieve true fluency and understand jokes and accents it is best to speak English every day. Employers will also look very favourably at the fact that you can speak English well enough to live and study in the country.

6. Contacts and further opportunities

While you are studying and possibly working part-time, you will have the opportunity to make contacts and impress employers. This can be an important step in securing sponsorships for work visas, and helping you to settle in the UK on a permanent basis. If you would like to live in the UK, studying in the UK is an excellent place to start.

7. Gateway to Europe

While there is a lot of discover in the UK alone, it is very well positioned to explore Europe. Studying in London, for example, means you are just a few hours from Paris on the train, or Amsterdam, or Berlin, or many other beautiful cities throughout Europe. Living in the UK is truly an international experience, and even if you do not choose to go and explore the rest of Europe yourself.

Quantum of Solace

Starting a franchise such as James Bond over was not an easy task. Yet Casino Royale was such a success that following it with a direct sequel, the first in the history of 007, seemed like an even bigger, and more delicate, bet.

Quantum of Solace starts almost exactly where Casino Royale left off. Following Vesper Lynd’s death, 007 captured the mysterious Mr. White, and hands him over to M to ask him a few questions. That is how the MI6 discovers the existence of a large, unknown organization that looks to “have people everywhere”. Following a lead in Haiti, Bond encounters a man who seems to be highly-ranked in that shadowy organization: one Dominic Greene, a classy Frenchman interested in South American natural resources.

Offering the job of helming the new Bond movie to Marc Forster, who up until then had only directed heavy dramas or quirky dramedies, was audacious.

Especially since Quantum of Solace’s screenplay hosts more action sequences than in Casino Royale. Iт fact the first 15-20 minutes of the film are all about action, so much so that at one point, I wondered if the film’s adrenaline was ever going to subside. It may sound exciting on paper, but there comes a point when you want the film to take a breath, the characters to develop, the plot to grow. Fortunately, after those first 20 minutes, Quantum of Solace finds its pace. A pace that does not exclude action (on the contrary), but a pace that also, and foremost, continues defining the character of Bond.

After so many films when 007 was just a super spy who made his charm act shagging and killing without any real deep interest in the human being behind the number, the diptych that is Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace manages to draw the spy and make him more alive and fascinating than ever. Quantum may have a more simplistic screenplay, with secondary characters less developed than in Casino, but the dynamic of the film is a natural echo to the previous installment, making it as gripping as it can be.