Math Tutoring FAQs

“The Stellar Math Tutoring program is designed to help any child who wishes to advance their math skills.”

FAQs:

Who is the tutoring intended to help? The Stellar Math Tutoring program is designed to help any child who wishes to advance their math skills. It is especially appropriate for advanced learners who wish to accelerate their mathematical edge or for students with a suspected or known weakness or instructional gap that is interfering with their mathematical skill development. Schools have a difficult time addressing the needs of advanced learners as well as students are not on pace with most students in their class.

How do I know what my child needs from the tutoring? Our Compass Rose Educational Assessment, which is highly recommended for all, helps our highly skilled tutors to accurately address the unique talents of each child. The research based set of assessments, which take approximately two hours to conduct, identify cognitive, achievement and social and emotional strengths or possible learning gaps. We employ a team of licensed educational psychologists to administer the assessments. A detailed report of findings with recommendations for home and school is provided to families.

What is the content of the tutoring session? The content of the math tutoring program focuses on explicit criteria for what math concepts are important to learn, influenced by years of educational research that shifted attention of educators from focusing on what they were teaching toward focusing on what the students were learning. Our approach follows this shift by emphasizing issues that both enhance and inhibit learning math. Hence, our focus for successfully helping children succeed in math is centered on how students learn math and our tutors are trained in facilitating ways to make math learning more enjoyable.

 What is algebraic thinking? Our tutorial lessons are based upon the algebraic thinking habits of mind that are the building blocks for high school and college math success. There are three habits of mind that facilitate algebraic thinking (Driscol, 1999):

 

Doing and Undoing: Comfort with the reversibility of mathematic processes.

Building rules to Represent Functions: Capability of recognizing patterns and organizing data to represent situations which an input is related to an output by well-defined functional rules.

Abstracting from Computation: Ability to think about computations independently of particular numbers that are used.

 

Children begin to engage with algebraic thinking in the early grades simultaneously with the process of learning to count. Many schools acknowledge this important developmental aspect of children’s math learning and provide ways for students to begin to develop algebraic skills. However, just as in so many other areas of development, children do not all develop these skills at the same age. This often leads to frustration and boredom for advanced learners as well as anxiety and feelings of failure for learners who are not yet ready to advance.

What is geometric thinking? Geometry is the part of mathematics for which visual thought is dominant. There are four habits of mind that facilitate geometric thinking (Driscoll, 2007):

 

Reasoning with spatial relationships: recognizing how objects in one two and three dimensions can be related to each other based upon geometric properties

Generalizing geometric ideas: shifting attention from a given set of objects to a larger set containing the given one

Investigating invariants: looking for what does not change under geometric transformation (e.g., through translations, reflections rotations, dilations, dissections, combinations, or controlled distortions)

Balancing exploration and reflection: taking stock of productivity of exploring geometric problem solving

 

Will my child learn basic math skills too? We know that all children can develop fluency in numeracy skills with enough practice. For faster and better results, we encourage regular and consistent practice on math numeracy skills so that students are fluent in making calculations and feel confident in finding errors in their own work and in the places where they encounter math in everyday life. We supplement our math tutoring with a free subscription to IXL Math, an online math skills practice application.

Does my child have one-on-one access to a tutor? Tutors may be assigned to more than one student at a time, but never more than three. This provides an opportunity for students to work independently for some of the tutoring time and can ask a question at any time. Tutors follow a routine during the session to ensure that students are on track and making progress at a rate that matches their ability.

Where does the tutoring take place? Our tutoring takes place in the new Stellar Tutoring Arena, an open space that provides both an invitation to expand and grow and at the same time engage in personalized support from our talented and caring tutors. Each student is assigned a tutor to accompany them during their learning session.

Does my child need a computer? During the tutoring session, we provide a device for your child to use if necessary. We encourage regular and consistent practice on math numeracy skills so that students are fluent in making calculations and feel confident in finding errors in their own work and in places they encounter math in everyday life. We supplement our math tutoring with a free subscription to IXL Math, an online skills practice site that our tutors monitor to ensure that students are advancing in both mathematical thinking habits and rudimentary math skills. IXL can be used with any device that has an internet connection (e.g., laptop, iPad, mobile device, etc.

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