Teaching the Stories of the Civil War

I recently had the good fortune of helping an 8th grader study for a test on the Civil War. Now I have spent many hours reading about the “actors” of the Civil War.  I guess I would call myself an amateur historian although I am more interested in learning about the people involved than war tactics.  This time in our history has always fascinated me.  How did we get there?  How were decisions made?  Why did our ancestors decide the only way out was war against ourselves.  I dive into personal journals, biographies, and autobiography trying to uncover an inkling of insight.  Of course, I have been accused of romanticizing history and I suppose I do, but I love to let my imagination follow the stories.

When asked by my student if I knew anything about the civil war, I of course beamed with excitement.  I love talking about Gettysburg even though it was a horrific three days.  Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led a famous bayonet charge and took Confederate prisoners with no ammunition.  James Longstreet argued relentlessly with General Lee claiming there was no way that their soldiers could march a mile on open ground without being slaughtered.  Lee did not listen.  Then there was Pickett’s charge across the cornfield.  I’ve read that General George Pickett never recovered from losing all his men.  These are the stories I love to tell and think about.

When I finally ended my heroic storytelling, I noticed that my i-hate-history-student was listening intently.  On my cell phone, I pulled up a video clip of the movie Gettysbury so she could witness an reenactment of Little Round Top and the final march. She was captured just as I was.

Efforts grow to help students evaluate what they see online — Fox17

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Alarmed by the proliferation of false content online, state lawmakers around the country are pushing schools to put more emphasis on teaching students how to tell fact from fiction. Lawmakers in several states have introduced or passed bills calling on public school systems to do more to teach media literacy skills that they say are critical to democracy. The effort has been bipartisan but has received little attention despite successful legislation in Washington state, Connecticut, […]

via Efforts grow to help students evaluate what they see online — Fox17

Reading for the SAT

Elaine Hays

Ah, one of my favorite subjects.  Why?  Because many of our high school sophomores and juniors are lacking strong literacy skills, especially the type of skills needed for college and beyond.   Our students need to be well-read in multiple subject areas.  When working with high school students, I often recommend they read both print and digital media, e.g., Science Digest, Science Today, The New Yorker Magazine, The Atlantic, Technology, Business, and a variety of print newspapers.  I encourage then to visit their school and town libraries for more than video games (although games have their own set of skills) and to find books and novels that hold their interest.  But all of this is only the beginning. Students who want to do well on the Reading section of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) will want to learn the needed reading skills as well as the reliable test-taking strategies.

For this reason, I think the focus of most SAT and ACT prep courses is lacking.  Students will not be successful at the strategy of Process of Elimination if they do not comprehend, contain, and quickly analyze what they are reading.  A focused test prep is beneficial only if your student has acquired advanced reading skills prior to test prep.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does your daughter or son read for pleasure?  Read over the summer?
  • Talk to friends about what he/she is reading?
  • Is your teenager aware of current events?  Does she ask questions about what is going on in the world?

Academic Reading is an acquired skill and one that does not come naturally for many students (and adults).  Possibly, your son or daughter has not quite acquired this skill during English class and could use a bit of 1:1 tutoring.  A few private reading sessions could be well worth the expense.

Call Elaine today to set up a free consultation.










The Power of Tutoring

When working with students at the college level, I am always amazed at how many talented students do not have healthy study habits—from note-taking to knowing the simple rule of reading with a pencil in their hand.  Helping students to learn that their academic success depends on productive study habits is a significant reason why I believe in the power of tutoring.

When working with a tutor, students become adept at reading textbooks strategically, e.g., learning to pay attention to headings, subheadings, visuals, and context clues like bold and italics. With a tutor, high school students learn how to read and annotate articles from academic journals, pose questions, and write college papers, which, by the way, are miles away from the high school five-paragraph essay. For students preparing for college, tutors become guides and mentors by teaching teens how to improve their skills.

While the cost of tutoring may, in some cases, be beyond a parent’s financial means, working with a tutor for even a short time can make a difference.  At Broad Star Tutoring,  we design each session according to the student’s needs.

Working Together is What We Do!

The Power of Tutoring!

Dr. Elaine Hays

Broad Star Tutoring