Broward Tutor


Elementary Math Strategies by The Broward Tutor

Are your kids staying up late, filled with frustration over math problems? Are you both ready to pull your hair out? Here are a few math strategies that will help your child gain confidence.

Word problems seem to be trickier than ever these days. While reading them, your child can circle all numbers/data, underline keywords that tell which operation to use, and then underline the question being asked. Pretending they are in the given situation will help them think of the separate parts involved.  These ‘chunks’ of information can be plugged into the order given in the problem.

Goal setting can be beneficial. For instance, if your child does just the easiest problems first, he or she will feel an immediate sense of achievement. Hopefully, this will lead to a determination to complete the harder ones. Of course you can help with a few problems. Perhaps you can show your son/daughter a different way to solve them. Once your child gets the idea, try to back off. The idea is to get them to become self-reliant. THEY CAN AND WILL FIGURE IT OUT!

If your child is a student in a Broward County school, he or she can use for tutorials and explanations of each lesson. The Reteach workbook shows each lesson (coordinated with the regular workbook pages) broken into small easy-to-understand steps. Have your child do the homework problem using the same steps.

One of my students stops and takes a deep breath before tackling a difficult problem. Then she says to herself, “I can do this.” This simple mantra gets her focused and in the zone. I’ve seen for myself how this short bit of mental preparation helps her complete a challenge. Is is very satisfying for a child to figure out a math problem on their own!

Remember, your child must be able to complete math problems independently to pass the test. Good luck and GO MATH!

Mathematically yours,
Randi Gelfond, a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

FCAT Test Anxiety 2014 – The Sequel by The Broward Tutor

Third grader taken to emergency room for chest pains.
Thankfully, the cause only appeared to be FCAT test anxiety.

4th grade gifted student breaks down in tears of frustration while trying to write his umpteenth expository of the year in preparation for the FCAT Writing exam.
5th grader hysterical after a failing grade on an FCAT practice test – right after receiving an honor roll award.

These stories are absolutely true, and the sad thing is these are perfectly wonderful, bright, and motivated children. They are being crushed by FCAT stress!

It’s crunch time for Broward public schoolers – the dreaded FCAT test is looming!
FCAT test anxiety is a problem that’s running rampant in 3rd through 5th graders, where, for the first time, children are faced with the issue of being held back.

Reassure your child about this test. Kids only know the FCAT carries such weight because of the attitudes of parents and teachers. Tell them that if they pay attention in school, complete their homework, review their schoolwork, and use the strategies they have been taught, THEY WILL PASS THE FCAT! Tell them you just want them to do their personal best!

If you are truly worried . . .
1. Sign your child up for my FCAT Blast classes. I am offering a series of classes on the 4 Saturdays before the FCAT. The dates are March 29, and April 5, 12, and 19, so if you are interested, call me right away to make a reservation (954-850-0964). I will be happy to email you a schedule.

2. Schools are offering extra help IF YOUR CHILD FITS THE REQUIREMENTS. Call your school’s office to see what FREE after-school FCAT classes are being offered.

3. Go to Ace Educational University Dr. between Griffin & Stirling. The staff there is outstanding, and they will steer you toward just the right materials.

4. Hire a tutor. Whether it is me, a family member, or an older child in the neighborhood, it will give your child an extra boost of confidence and self-esteem. He or she will feel more prepared to handle the exam.

Your child has made it through tough situations before with flying colors. Ask them what helped to alleviate their stress during those difficult times. Kids must find ways to cope with anxiety, just like adults do!

Best of Luck,
Randi Gelfond

FCAT Test Anxiety Causes Stress by The Broward Tutor

FCAT  2.0 testing begins in April, and already parents and teachers are getting the heebie jeebies! At a recent visit to my favorite educational store, parents were lined up with FCAT materials like a line in Toys R Us before Christmas! Unfortunately, though, they were not smiling with excitement.

FCAT Test anxiety causes stress – not only for elementary school students, but for teachers and parents as well. These days, a percentage of a teacher’s salary is directly related to their students FCAT scores. Parents are worried their children won’t pass, and will be held back and ostracized by their peers. For success on the FCAT, children need to know the curriculum, but utilizing test taking skills on standardized tests will put stress and test anxiety to rest.

With that in mind, I am writing to inform you of my 2nd annual FCAT Blast 2.0 for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students!
Seminars will be held between 9 and 12:30 on March 23 & 30, and April 6 & 13.
Topics for Math: Math Test Taking Strategies, Word Problems & Fractions, Geometry & Measurement, and Algebra & Data Analysis.
Topics for Reading: Reading Test Taking Strategies, Vocabulary & Comprehension, Literary Text (fiction), and Informative Text (nonfiction).

I will be happy to send you the schedule if you are interested. Just shoot me an email, or call me at 954-850-0964. Please call in the morning or evening, as I do not answer my phone when I am working with students.
I hope your child can participate!
Randi Gelfond


Accept Help When You Need It!

After being slightly incapacitated by some broken bones in my foot, I realized that in order to heal properly, I needed to accept help when it was offered. Those of you who know me well, see that I rarely stop  moving. Being told to stay off my feet is like a jail sentence for me! Thankfully, my husband and friends have cooked, driven, vacuumed, picked up for me, and cheered me up!

One of my closest friends mentioned how good it felt to be helping me. I understood what she meant right away. That’s how I always feel when volunteering, doing a good deed, or even picking out just the right present.

I already knew how good it felt to help others, but now I have seen first hand that taking help from others is also a blessing. In high school, I had terrible math anxiety. I was completely lost. I had no problem with other subjects, but in math, BIG PROBLEMS! My parents sprang for a tutor and he taught me strategies to use that would help me succeed.

That is why I love teaching and tutoring today. It gives me great pleasure providing my students with learning tools that lead them to improved grades and test scores. If I hadn’t taken the help when it was offered, I might never have been accepted to college, passed the teacher’s certification exam, . . .
Randi Gelfond
The Broward Tutor


Study Tips from The Broward Tutor

You may be surprised to learn that often, children are unsure of how to study. If your child has poor study habits, this may lead to low or failing grades, and feelings of frustration for your child (and sometimes the rest of your family)!

In order to develop independent study habits, children can begin even before the school bell rings. The following back to school tips and study strategies are written for your child. If you like them, call your son or daughter over to read this blog. You may also consider copying and taping them into your child’s planner/agenda.

Skills for Success:
Before Class

  • arrive on time
  • sharpen pencils
  • organize yourself & prepare for the day (put away what you don’t need)
  • turn in homework

During Class

  • write a heading on every paper
  • look at the teacher and think about what he or she is saying
  • record homework assignments
  • read directions carefully
  • when using workbooks, underline or highlight the keywords that tell you what to do
  • take materials out immediately when asked
  • ask for help when needed
  • use class time to work on assignments
  • check or proofread your work
  • erase mistakes neatly

Before Leaving School

  • make sure that you are taking home textbooks, notebooks, and workbooks (whatever is required for completing your homework and studying)
  • check that your agenda/planner is filled out

Whew, I’m tired from just writing about this school day!
Okay, you’re finally home. Kids have snacked, relaxed for a few minutes, and . . . you guessed it, time for homework and studying!

Study Strategy:
Preparing for Homework

  • find a place that is free of distractions (not near your little sister, brother, or a TV)
  • set aside an area in the kitchen or family room that has a table or desk
  • have materials ready BEFORE you begin. Examples: paper, pencils, highlighter, dictionary, thesaurus, math tools

Studying and Completing Homework

  • study and do your homework at the same time each day
  • don’t start too late, because you don’t want to fall asleep doing it!
  • work for 20 minutes before taking a break
  • take a 5 – 10 minute break to reward yourself (pet your dog, grab an apple)
    then . . . get back to work!

I hope these back to school tips help your child/children get off to a strong start in the new school year! Let me know what you think.
Until next time,

Randi Gelfond,
The Broward Tutor

Summer Math Tip from The Broward Tutor

Summer is a stress-free time to work on measurement skills with your child. While in the pool, hand out empty plastic measurement containers of different sizes (gallons, half gallons, quarts, cups, pints, etc.). Have your child estimate how many quarts are in a gallon, how many cups are in a quart, and so on. Then have them measure with pool water to see how close they came to their estimates.

You’ll never be able to measure the amount
of fun you’ll have with your child!

Randi Gelfond,
The Broward Tutor

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Broward tutor sessions One-on-one and small group tutoring sessions in all content areas of curriculum, aligned with current Common Core State Standards.
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