Saturday, December 12, 2009

Volunteering News

I heard from the classroom teacher today and I will be volunteering Thursdays from 10:00-10:45. It is a first grade classroom. I'm so excited to be volunteering. I really enjoy working with kids and helping them learn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Good news! (crossing fingers, knocking on wood)

I heard from one of the elementary schools and they are VERY interested in having me volunteer. I spoke with a woman named Vicky and she seemed thrilled.

She has a teacher in mind that is trying new things in her classroom. I'm hoping she will welcome the help. This could be a great way for me to meet students and families to tutor and to build relationships with the teachers.

I also heard from one family through my craigslist ad about tutoring. It was for a 5th grade student in math. We shall see if this pans out.

I'm re-listing my ad on craigslist every few days. I'm hoping to find some great families that are looking for a great tutor!



I posted an ad today...

I put this out just to see what kind of feedback I get. It would be nice if I can make some money while tutoring, but will entertain the idea of tutoring kids for free if they agree to commit to the tutoring sessions. We shall see...

Hi, I'm an experienced 1st and 2nd grade teacher. I have taught for seven years. I have my California and Virginia teaching credentials. I have tutored for children about to enter kindergarten through 6th grades.

I am currently in graduate school at Pepperdine University. I am majoring in Learning Technologies. Part of this program is to implement an action research project. My project is on being the better tutor. I am looking for families with children in primary grades that are in need of a great tutor. I will meet with your child 1-2 times a week depending on their needs. I want to have ongoing communication with the parents, teachers, babysitters, nannies, basically anyone that is a part of your child's educational life.

I know this is a busy time of year, I'm hoping to start this project in January. I would like to meet with you, your child, and if possible the teacher to discuss your child's needs.

I need families that can commit to tutoring sessions from January-May. I am a reliable, honest person. I'm hoping that this is a wonderful experience for us all.

Thank you!

Please contact me for more information. I have numerous references.

Letter to schools


I've been working on a letter to give to schools to state my intentions. Paul has also volunteered to write me a letter to give to schools.

Mary E. Diehl
Pepperdine University
Masters of Arts, Learning Technologies 2009-2010
My name is Mary Diehl. I have my B.A. from the State University of New York at Potsdam in psychology and elementary education. I have taught first and second grades for seven years in Florida and Virginia. I moved to California a little over a year ago and have earned my teaching credentials.
I am currently a full time graduate student at Pepperdine University. As part of the curriculum I am conducting an action research project. My focus is on tutoring to improve students’ learning. I would love to work with your school as a volunteer and build a relationship with you school community. Beginning in January I will work with the teachers, students and families tutoring primary grade level students. I am willing to tutor at no cost.
Thank you for your time!
I look forward to hearing from you,
Mary Diehl

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lit Review

This is a work in progress. I am currently working on revisions.

Being the Better Tutor by Using Twenty-First Century Learning Skills

Mary Diehl
Pepperdine University
Graduate School of Education and Psychology Department, 2009-10

Author’s Note
This action research project was conducted by Mary Diehl under the instruction of Dr. Paul Sparks in the course Participatory Action Research, EDC 638 A-D. This class is one of the major components of the Masters of Arts, Learning Technologies program at Pepperdine University.
My passion has been to educate primary grade level students and to get them excited about learning new ideas and concepts. I believe that primary grade level students are capable of using technology to aid in their education. This is one of the reasons that I chose to implement 21st century skills throughout my tutoring sessions.

Tutoring, or one-on-one instruction, has been used around the world. In 2003, South Korea 83.1 % of elementary students received tutoring and in Bangladesh a 2005 study was conducted of 8,212 households and 43.2% of primary grade level students received private tutoring (Bray 2005). While that number may not be as great in the United States, tutoring is increasing in popularity.
Tutoring is losing the negative connotation that it may have had in the United States. Many teachers use peer tutoring in the classroom. Tutoring is now available on the internet. One can find numerous tutoring agencies as well as private tutors around the country. Private tutoring, when done properly and by a knowledgeable adult tutor, can give that student an advantage they may not otherwise have in the typical school setting (Schacter 2000).
The focus of my action research project is to provide primary grade level students with proper and progressive tutoring. I plan to incorporate twenty-first century skills in the tutoring process. I plan to incorporate one-on-one tutoring as well as computer-based tutoring. My focus will be on reading and writing skills but I will also help students with math, social studies, and science needs.
21st Century Literacy Skills
Twenty-first century literacy skills is a term used to explain the skills that an individual should poses in order to be a fully functioning and contributing citizen in the 21st century. One hundred years ago, knowing how to farm or sew would be a worthwhile skill. Times have changed and so has the focus on which skills our children should posses. The skills needed in the 21st century include‘academic skills, thinking, reasoning, teamwork skills, and proficiency in using technology’ (Metiri 2003).
I plan on using these 21st century skills in my tutoring sessions, focusing on academic basic, technological, and visual literacies, inventive thinking, and interactive communication by use of online means, and effective use of real-world tools. A quote from Bill Gates that I relate to is that we should ‘use digital tools to help customers solve problems for themselves’ (1999). This explains how we, as educators, should be using computers and other digital tools in the classroom (Metiri 2003).
Having a tutor that is the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) is important for the learning process (Vygotsky 1978). The tutor may not know all the answers. But knowing, and sharing with the tutee, how to problem solve is important.
By using the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) students are interacting with one another, their teacher, and the tutor to increase their skills and knowledge (Vygotsky 1978). Tutors and others will provide guidance for the tutee to complete the work they may otherwise have difficulty completing.
Having a Plan
Tutoring can be an important part of a student’s academic career if conducted properly. Tutors must be more knowledgeable than the tutee (Vygotsky 1978). Tutors must coordinate with the other educators in the tutee’s life; this includes teachers, both past and present, parents, and anyone else whom may be teaching the child (Deeney 2008). Knowing the students past will aid in the tutoring process. Tutors must know what skills the teacher, the tutee themselves, and the parents feel need to be worked upon. The tutor may decide to assess the tutee’s knowledge further in need be, but seeing the previous assessments will give the tutor a starting point. If the tutorial instruction in not in line with the classroom instruction it may lose value. The tutoring sessions need to be relevant to the tutee and be put into practice. According to Deeney (2008), there are six important steps in the tutoring process. In Deeney’s study, when the tutors followed these steps, the students benefited.
1) Gather information
2) Conduct instructional gap analysis
3) Develop an instructional plan
4) Implement, monitor, and communicate
5) Reflect and adjust
6) Assess Gains
Incorporating 21st Century Literacy Skills
21st century skills will be used throughout the tutoring process. As the cycles progress more skills will be introduced and put into use. Each tutoring session will be highly interactive, meaning the tutor will be interacting with the tutor (VanLehn et al 2005).
Incorporating interactive technology into the tutee’s instruction will occur in the cycles of the action research and as the student becomes more knowledgeable with technology usage this will increase. In a later cycle I plan to form an interactive community and provide synchronous and asynchronous communication among students and myself online (Metiri 2003). This will provide many students with social interaction while learning (Vygotsky 1978). By using technology the tutee’s visual and auditory systems will be engaged in the learning process (Mayer 2001). According to Mayer, by using these two sensory systems the tutee has a better chance of retaining the information. With the use of technology along with one-on-one tutoring the tutee will be learning by interacting with others. The greatest learning gains are found in an interactive tutoring experience (VanLehn et al 2005).
Going Forward
This year, I will be finding students that need help academically in language arts to tutor. I will meet with these students at a minimum of once a week for an hour. Prior to the first cycle I will discuss with the child, their parents and their teacher the skills they feel need to be the focus. I may decide to assess the child’s skills further.
I will help the child develop their skills and base our sessions on the classroom teacher’s lessons. It is important to keep in contact with the parents and the teacher for routine check-ups, so we are all on the same page (Deeney 2008).
In a later cycle, I plan on implementing a computer-based tutoring program. While we will continue to meet for one-on-one tutoring, students can also meet with me and each other synchronously and asynchronously online. This will be a safe place for students to ask questions and, in turn, to answer the questions of their fellow students.
At the end of this action research project, I hope to show that primary grade level students have increased their knowledge and reading skills by my tutoring services using 21st Century literacy skills.
Bray, Mark (2005). Private Supplementary Tutoring: Comparative Perspectives on Patterns and Implications. Oxford International Conference on Education and Development ‘Learning and Livelihood’
Deeney, Theresa A. (2008) Coordinating Supplemental Reading Instruction. Intervention in School and Clinic; March 2008; 43, 4 Educational Module p 218-225
Gates, William (1999) From Business @ The Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System, Warner Books, USA
Mayer, Richard E. (2001). Multimedia Learning. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, United Kingdom
Metiri Group (2003). EnGauge 21st Century Skills for 21st Century Learners
Schacter, John (2000). Does Individual Tutoring Produce Optimal Learning? American Educational Research Journal. Fall 2000, Vol.37, No. 3, p 801-829
VanLehn, K., Graesser, A., Jackson G.T., Jordan, P., Olney, A., Rose, C.P. (2005). When is Reading Just as Effective as One-on-One Interactive Human Tutoring? The Cognitive Science Journal Archive
Vygotsky, L.S.. (1978). Mind in Society. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

Monday, October 26, 2009

AR Thoughts

I've been looking up tutoring agencies here in Santa Monica. I'm interested in thier policies and rates.

I have also contacted a local school to see if they were in need of volunteers. This would get my foot in the door, I would be able to meet teachers, parents, and kids. Plus, I would be able to help kids in the schools. I'm hopeful that the elementary school will contact me to volunteer. I think this will help me find tutorees.


New Action Research Ideas
Below is a list of things I’m interested in or could possibly work for my AR Project
Tutoring- Start up a tutoring business.
How to find new students to tutor
Business idea- Provide and connect families with prescreened tutors (know student needs match with appropriate tutor). Get qualified tutors (background checks, qualifications, credentials, etc.) and have them tutor students. Basically, I would do all of the grunt work for the families in need of tutors.
Explore other tutors.
TUTOR IN 21st century skills- 16-20 items deeper level learning. *GOOGLE IT* (I subscribed to site 10/21)
One on one learning benefits b/c,
Focus on: Content area, not really social learning (interaction between kids), look into what others are doing for tutoring (non traditional ways), learning disabilities adhd
Foa: Being a great tutor in some way (?) What is the factor (?)
Look for articles for AR

Church- Ask Megan if I can help out with her church (perhaps with children’s group).
I’m not sure what her church’s needs are at this point. One downside is that Is that it’s in Orange County and I’m not too familiar with her church community, but may work! I will be meeting with Megan on 10/24/09
Yoga – I love yoga, not sure what I could do with this, but it’s a big part of my life
Foster, walking, getting people interested in fostering/volunteering
Cooking – in the past year have become very interested in cooking
Start a cooking group, place to share recipes/altered recipes,
Would love to start a small restaurant. I have a few fun ideas that I would love to try at some point.
Healthy eating/living
I’m into taking recipes and making them healthier. I love goodies and I try to make them with a healthy twist (so you can’t tell the difference!). My boyfriend always asks ‘are you going to tell me this is a healthy brownie?’ (or whatever other goodie or meal I’ve made)
Melody’s brother’s private school in santa monica. Hopefully, I will be hearing from him this week. This would be ideal….if I’m able to continue/modify my previous AR project ideas.
I could try to contact another school in area. I don’t know people in the schools personally since I just moved to area. But, schools are usually up for free help (I am anxious because of what happened with 1st AR, I would prefer to have it more in my control)
Volunteer – I am interested in giving back. I have a lot of time and would love to
help others. Below are some Volunteer ideas.
School- getting more people to volunteer in schools. Become mentor, free tutors, teacher helpers, office helpers, etc.
Shelter/homeless-contact local shelters to see what needs they have
Animal shelter- help local shelters, have drives/fundraisers to benefit animal shelter, get more volunteers, more foster homes for pets