"Tutoring Session Log #1: 3.11.14
Subject Matter Covered: Reading (The Red Badge of Courage) and Writing (Quote Essay)
Yesterday afternoon was my first tutoring session with the student. After speaking with his mother, she had noted that although he does not necessarily struggle in school in the traditional sense (poor grades), he does not perform up to his potential in Reading/Writing courses. She was nice enough to send me his ACT scores, which indicated that he struggled specifically in identifying specific parts of a fiction/non-fiction piece (i.e. theme, major characters, main ideas, etc.). In addition to the academic angle, his mother also informed me that he has work avoidance issues that surface when he believes something is too difficult OR if he is not interested in the subject matter.
Before I arrived, I developed a couple of options for him as far as using Graphic Organizers to guide his reading and to develop his deeper ideas or higher order questioning skills. We dove right in, taking a look at a couple of chapters from his book and I modelled how he would go about filling out the graphic organizer during in-class OR outside-of-class reading of his book. He was able to develop very clear higher order questions and used the text to come up with answers to his own questions. It is important for him to hone this skill to draw more from a chapter than simple facts when teachers are leading a class discussion. The categories on the graphic organizer were: Initial Impressions, Major Characters, Action (Beginning, Middle, End), Questions for Further Thought, and Final Impressions). He was able to see the difference in his Initial Impressions to Final Impressions. He went from documenting facts to drawing more abstract thoughts from the chapters.
The next task we worked on was a "Quote Essay" that they had just started in class. The directions were to select a quote from a list, identify one word that stood out to them, and to develop a meaning from the quote based on their own feelings or experiences. I thought it would be critical to use the skills from the graphic organizer activity to critique his own work. We worked on looking at the introductory paragraph he wrote from the reader's perspective and how he could answer questions as he develops his writing to make his argument stronger. These strategies included justifying WHY he chose a certain word, acknowledging differing perspectives, and using anecdotal evidence from his own life to justify his feelings about the quote. He was able to use these strategies to expand his work from 4-5 sentences to a more substantial introductory paragraph. We delved into how he could begin exploring ideas for his first supporting paragraph, and used the graphic organizer method to examine his own writing from a different perspective.
Overall, I believe the first meeting was successful, and more importantly, it familiarized him with the strategies I would employ to improve his Reading, Writing and Study skills."