Don’t Panic! Here are three simple sentences which I have found to have positive impact on a child’s mind-set
Sometimes when a child reads a question in a SAT test or 11+ entrance exam, they panic. Then their brain starts to close down. Then they start to guess, which is just about the worst possible thing to do.
It is hugely important to not panic and the first thing to remember to help stay cool in an exam is to not guess.
Break it Down
Often on first reading, a question is difficult to understand. That’s why it is very important to break it down. That’s exactly what the examiners want the child to do – to extract the numbers and relationships from the text of the question. If there are ten red apples and fifteen green, the child should write down 10R and 15G – in part to engage their brains in breaking down the question.
Often there’s an “Ah-ha!” moment, when after breaking the question down, a child suddenly realises what the question is asking. By the “Ah-ha!” often doesn’t happen unless the break-down comes first.
Work it Out
Once a child has all the required information they can begin to work out the answer. But this short sentence isn’t just about working it out, it’s about SHOWING that you’re working it out.
Remember that if a question in a paper is worth 3 marks, you can bet that at least one of those and possibly two is for showing your working out.
When possible, a child should practice their maths every day, feeding back to parents and the tutor any questions which they found difficult
Think of getting better at maths as getting better at playing an instrument.
If a child misses a day or so here and there it shouldn’t matter too much. But to not practice for a week (even through long holidays) is a mistake and will move a child’s abilities in the wrong direction.
Tutoring is a great way to target any questions which a child finds difficult – in a way that teachers simply can’t because they’re looking after so many children at school.
A child should try to practice maths every day, make a list of any questions they found difficult (e.g. from school homework or from home study workbooks). It is VITALLY IMPORTANT to let your tutor what your child found to be difficult so they can focus on that subject in a tutorial, practice more, understand it, and deliver results in the exams.
Please contact the Tutor Dragon if you need any help especially using homework to target weaknesses to fix:
A child can learn to tell the time on a clock fairly easily but mastering time calculations is a whole other ball game
It is very important to acknowledge that there is a HUGE difference between telling time, and working out what the time was 45 minutes ago.
Telling Time Ages 5 to 6
A child should be able to read the hour and half-hour marks on an analogue clock and be able to draw in the hands for example if you say “Draw three o’clock.”
Telling Time Ages 6 to 7
A child should know the number of seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, hours in a day and days in a week. A child should also be able to understand quarter-to and quarter-past when read a clock or drawing the hands on a clock.
Telling Time Ages 7 to 8
A child should be able to also read digital clocks, understand AM and PM as well as the 24-hour clock (e.g. that 1PM = 13:00), and be able to use the associated vocabulary such as morning, afternoon, AM, PM, noon, midday and midnight etc.
Time Calculations for Ages 8+
Children age 8+ should be able to perform time calculations starting with simple sums such as “It is 8AM now, what will the time be one hour from now?” – continuing on to more complex questions for 9+ into years 5 and 6 using train timetables and working out how long it takes a train to go from one city to another.
AM / PM Time Calculations
More complex questions involve AM and PM – e.g. where the answer to a train timetable question overlaps from AM into PM and vice-versa.
24 Hour Calculations
This is the final level in KS2 which a lot of children struggle with, including into Secondary School (and including a lot of adults!).
Such questions involve adding and subtracting hours and minutes even across midnight into the next day, where answers must be expressed in 24hr clock notation.
For example a plane leaving London at 8:05PM which takes seven and a half hours to fly to New York. What time will it arrive in London time and New York time, expressing both answers in 24hr notation including the day.
This is not easy and requires a better method than just using clock faces.
A fantastic by-product of the online tutorial is the child gaining confidence to ask valuable questions as they learn
I have noticed over the years that when a child first starts being tutored, they are very reserved and often hesitant about either saying they don’t understand, or asking any further questions.
This is understandable and is a challenge for the online tutor.
This generally improves over time, but one excellent way to bring this forward asap is to get a child to ask ME a questions.
For example, I might ask a child to work out a percentage or a fraction division relating to money. After I think they’ve got the hang of it I ask them to ask me a question.
On the iPad they might write something like 1/4 divided by 3/7. I tell them in advance that I might get it wrong (on purpose hopefully) and they have to check my working out and let me know how many marks I deserve.
This is a great way to up the dialog and to make sure they can answer their own question. It is often a bit of fun and very engaging for the child.
Sometimes I like to make an obvious error to make sure they’re fully engaged.
The by-product of this is increased questioning from the child which anecdotally also transfers into the classroom which I see as a huge win for the child.