Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I had a very productive session yesterday. We began by studying for his vocab test and I was very pleased to see that he knew all the words, demonstrating the time he spent studying them over the weekend. He then suggested that we both review the past week's words and also looked at the next week's words, in preparation. Wonderful initiative shown by him! Was very proud. We then reviewed for his map quiz on Ancient Egypt for his World History course, which went well. I told him I will give him a practice quiz on Wednesday. After, we began to study for his next biology exam. He said his last test was extremely difficult, but he is absorbing the material much more readily. We went through chapter one in depth, taking notes and reviewing all diagrams thoroughly, and I encouraged him to do the same with the rest of the sections. I asked him to do the next three so we can do the last two together on Wednesday."
"The student worked on his math homework. He wrote down a list of steps for the problems so he could easily refer to it as he does homework and practice problems for studying."
"This week I shifted the focus slightly from the editing portion of the writing process to study skills/organization and how this can positively contribute to both the writing process and test preparation (across subjects). I kicked off this session by asking the student a number of questions about her study habits: from how she organizes her week, approaches tests, takes notes in class, how frequently she reviews her notes, etc. It was interesting to hear that while she is consistent about taking notes in class and deems them thorough, she rarely looks at them following class or regularly. She only relies on them when studying for tests, and even this is not consistent. In light of this, we explored the rationale for how she takes notes and how she might be able to turn this practice to her advantage (e.g., taking notes in a nontraditional way -- in a more visual, meaningful way -- that allows for making connections). I asked her if she had experience utilizing graphic organizers; she has minimal exposure. I talked to her about the graphic organizers individuals will use to add personal relevance and meaning to new and/or complicated content. I then walked her through how to develop a mind map, step by step. Following this, I asked her to show me the notes and work she has done on "Lord of the Flies" in English class. Her teacher has had her and her classmates study the setting, characters, symbols, and so on separately. To help her see the value in bringing all these pieces together in a visual representation of Golding's work, I had her design a mind map displaying all she knew about "Lord of the Flies" and additional connections and links she could make from this. She did an excellent job using color coding and visuals to add meaning to concepts in the literature that had originally been presented to her as independent of other areas in the book or Golding's broader message. I asked her to talk me through her mind map. Not only was she able to tie characters' behaviors and personalities to specific symbols and talk about how setting also supported these as well as parallels to greater themes -- societal messages -- she was able to bring in biblical references when discussing the overall picture being painted. When I asked her what she thought of the exercise, she said she was pleasantly surprised by how much she absorbed in class (the robustness of her mind map) and felt mapping was a powerful tool in helping her see relationships and make connections she had struggled with prior because of the segregated way she had been asked to approach the book. She has two options for her assignment next week: If she has an opportunity to develop another mind map, in another subject, that she feels will aid her in gaining better clarity in the subject matter, she can do this. If not, her task is to develop an outline for a first draft in response to the essay question, "Explore the use of symbols in Lord of the Flies." This outline should include aspects of the mind map."
"The student and I spent some time reviewing her last science quiz. We'll be sure to review magnetic domains, electromagnets, and calculating voltage. We did a lot of work on Thermal Energy, the new unit. She mentioned that she only needed to read section 2, but wanted to review section 1 because she was having trouble with the concepts. We spent a lot of time reading about and discussing kinetic energy, temperature, heat, and thermal energy. She was able to explain the relationships between concepts and use the images as prompts for explaining different ideas. We briefly went over conduction and convection, which we key concepts in section 2 of the reading. I encouraged her to take more time when she reads the chapters and to take notes in her own words rather than copying down the definitions only. We will continue working on these concepts in the coming weeks!"
"The study guide for the student's history final was extensive. He had already completed a lot of it, and we worked for the whole time to finish it up. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much he already remembered from earlier in the year. It was also a great opportunity to help him practice test-taking strategies we have been talking about, like thinking about what kind of answers make sense with fill-in-the-blank questions; think about if what you are looking for is a proper or common noun, if it is a person, etc., and skip ones you aren't sure of until you complete the ones you are."
"The student had a couple of math packets of makeup work from missing class. She said it was easy. We found a couple of issues this way and cleared up a few questions about circles for her. At the end she seemed to have a pretty good understanding of circumference, diameter, and radius, but review would be good. We will continue to work on this."