The Privileged Poor, once the blog site of a now defunct clothing store, is now the site of the Alive Juice Bar tutoring service.   We’ll be posting daily lesson plans to help students get through indefinite school closures.

Multiplication Trick

(The progression to this trick is mastery of our basic addition and multiplication drills).

Anytime you see a two digit times two digit problem, if the first digits of both numbers add up to 10 AND the second digits of both numbers are the same, you can use this trick to solve the problem faster than if you use traditional method.  Example:

47×67= 6×4=24+7=31, the first two digits of the answer.  The last two digits of the answer is 7×7=49.  So the answer is 3149

27×87=2×8=16+7=23.  The last two digits of the answer is 7×7=49.  So the answer is 2349.






Write ten more problems and solve them.  Double check your work by doing the problems the school taught way.

A drill like this is like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It prepares you for when the elevator is broken.

Reading Comprehension Drill
The best way to improve reading comprehension isn’t to answer reading comprehension questions, it’s to read a passage and then ask three questions about it.  Example:

Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige; sadism thinly disguised as necessary discipline; a constant ‘paying off of old scores’; and insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances.
― Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War


  • Is “chickenshit” used as a metaphor or as an analogy?
  • Is military life, as described in passage, any different from civilian life?
  • Can discipline ever not be sadistic?

Find a passage you want to read. Write three questions after you’ve read it.  Find four more and repeat process.

This drill trains your mind to be more curious and engaged instead of merely knowledgeable and usually disengaged.

Why Drills are Important
They make a lot of work routine and effortless so you can focus on creative problem solving.  Is there an NFL player who doesn’t do drills, from weight training to yoga to sprints?  Do we let someone who is out of shape play an NFL game?

Then why do we let students who’ve rarely been drilled in fundamentals learn geometry and read Chaucer? And then educators complain that most hate geometry and few do their reading. Well, lack of drilling is like sending the football team out to play without helmets, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

Drilling also helps students develop patience (aka delay of gratification) and discipline, arguably the two most important traits to have to do well in life.