Author Archives: Caroline

About Caroline

Caroline graduated magna cum laude from The College of New Jersey with a degree in English and Secondary Education. She taught 8th grade language arts and has enjoyed tutoring in a number of different contexts, including through volunteer opportunities, tutoring centers, and one-on-one tutoring. In her free time she enjoys applying literary theories to non-literary topics, faking athleticism fairly well, and pondering philosophical, political, and sociological quandaries. Since she lives to help others, she is looking forward to utilizing her education and experiences in order to help PT continue to make a difference in students’ lives.

Studying Root Words: Your Favorite Works of Fiction are Rooted in Root Words

Use some of your favorite fictitious words to unlock real words' meanings.

Use some of your favorite fictitious words to unlock real words’ meanings.

Many of our favorite authors use their knowledge of root words, Old English, and Germanic and Romantic languages to create meaningful names for fictitious people, places, and things. An understanding of words parts is essential to developing a great vocabulary, so delve into some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy to practice finding and decoding meaningful word parts!

Read on to see how some of your favorite words from Harry Potter, Pokemon, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars can help you on your next vocabulary quiz!

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Studying Vocabulary: If It’s Not Fun, You’re Doing It Wrong

According to a review of vocabulary acquisition research, the three most effective methods of vocabulary acquisition requires students to:

  1. connect new vocabulary with what they already know
  2. experience repeated exposure to new words
  3. use new vocabulary in meaningful ways
The king had such great washboard abs that he abdicated the throne to pursue a career in modelling!

The king had such great washboard abs that he abdicated the throne to pursue a career in modelling!

While repeated exposure echoes the philosophy behind the most traditional methods, such as vocabulary flash cards, matching games, and crossword puzzle practice, the most common methods used by students today completely neglect two of the three most essential and most fun parts of vocabulary learning.

Read on below to find suggestions for making the study of vocabulary both fun and effective by bringing connection-making and the meaningful use of vocabulary back into the equation.

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NJ ASK Test Updates for the Transition to Core Curriculum Standards

The season for the NJ ASK standardized testing will soon be upon us– as will a few differences within the NJ ASK test.

New Jersey plans to fully align its assessments to the Core Curriculum Standards by 2015, and in the mean time, the NJ ASK is bridging the gap between the old and new standards with a hybrid test. Accordingly, the ELA section was altered last year for all grades, but for middle school students, in 2014 there are still changes to come to the content of the math section.

Standardized Testing

While the majority of schools have adjusted their instruction to prepare students for these changes and while many of the changes to the test will go without much notice and in fact, have had very little impact on the percentage of proficiency compared to previous years, there are a few modifications that makes the tests from last year and this year different than all previous NJ ASK tests.

Read on to learn about some of the most substantial changes you and your child can expect:

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Finding Purposeful and Specific Textual Evidence

Imagine presenting the court case of the century, a trial whose outcome will impact people for decades to come…. without any evidence. The big-wig judge calls on you –the prosecutor– to approach the bench and present your case, and you have no forensic data, no eye witness accounts, nothing. Sound ridiculous? So should writing an essay without textual evidence.

The truth? You can't handle writing the truth without textual evidence!

The truth? You can’t handle writing the truth without textual evidence!

No matter how eloquent, no matter how grammatically sound, no matter how organized, no matter how correct– without evidence, any and all argumentation will fall flat.

Textual evidence is evidence, gathered from the original source or other texts, that supports an argument or thesis. Such evidence can be found in the form of a quotation, paraphrased material, and descriptions of the text.

The paragraphs that follow provide all the information you need to locate relevant textual evidence and to use it in your writing as a direct quote. Throughout this post, you’ll find step-by-step instructions and an example from the start to finish of the process.

[Continue reading to learn how to find terrific textual evidence!]

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Introducing and Integrating Textual Evidence With Grace

Integrating textual evidence is one of the most challenging, and yet, one of the most rewarding aspects of an essay. A well presented quotation can truly make or break an essay, so merely finding the right evidence isn’t enough. Imagine the timing and finesse of great lawyers, and channel this. (See Finding Purposeful and Specific Textual Evidence for more information on choosing what textual evidence to use.)

Frosting, the final defense of the dying.

Textual evidence, the first defense of the writing.

Once you have some words to highlight you must determine how on earth to include them in your essay. As discussed earlier, Peeta using the word “sweetheart” in itself isn’t funny, so there is some explaining that must be done. And, as it turns out, carelessly plopping the word into your essay with quotation marks around in the spirit of abstraction won’t do either. At this step you must consider the following two questions:  How can I introduce the quote? And how can I integrate it into a sentence?

[Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to introduce and integrate your textual evidence into your essay!]

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