Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We continued reviewing Latin basics, including verb formation and pronouns of all sorts. The student's understanding seems to be improving, though much more practice and study is needed."
"During today's session, the students continued to work hard towards understanding the Latin language and asked thoughtful questions throughout. I was able to clarify the third declension endings for both students, placing special emphasis on comparing and contrasting case endings from all three declensions with the aim of making the 3rd declension endings easier to memorize. I also took this time to reinforce why we have case endings and what parts of speech in English, Latin cases refer to. To accomplish this, I presented short sentences in English, had the students identify the parts of speech (and explain why they thought it was a given part of speech) and then had them tell me what case the Latin word would be in based on how it was used in the sentence. For example, "Caesar showed the plan to his generals" - Caesar is the subject (he is the person doing the action of the verb) and therefore would be in the nominative case because the nominative case is used to point out that a word is the subject. I finished this exercise by translating the sentence into Latin and shuffling the word order in order to prove the point that only by recognizing our case endings (which I had the students do) and NOT by word order, can we figure out how a Latin word is being used - this is why those cases are so important! This was one of the breakthrough moments of the night and the students quickly caught on to the exercise. We moved on from this lesson to going over the student's most recent quiz which was in a format commonly used by their teacher where he presents the class with an adjective and a noun and they must give all case forms for the pair. It turned out that there were a number of elements involved in these quizzes that proved confusing. For one, the adjectives were presented in abbreviated form (for example - sinister, -stra, -strum) and neither had realized that the "dash" was simply a shorthand way of not having to rewrite the whole word three times over. Once this had been clarified, it was much easier for them to see that the three forms correlated to the three genders - masculine, feminine and neuter and that the gender of the noun and adjective should match. I proceeded to give them a step-by-step strategy for completing these quizzes (which they receive weekly): 1) identify the noun's declension and gender then determine the stem of the noun by removing the genitive case ending, 2) write the stem down for all 10 forms, 3) add the appropriate case endings for the noun's declension, 4) choose the appropriate gender of the adjective for the noun, 5) determine the stem by removing the case ending and write the stem down for all 10 forms, 6) add the appropriate case endings for the appropriate adjective declension (1st and 2nd declension or 3rd declension adjectives). The students did very well with this concept and we practiced with this strategy with different adjective/noun combinations to make sure they understood how to apply these steps. The last topic we covered was 3rd-io conjugation verbs. At this point, there are far too many forms for them to continue to use memorization as a sole strategy for mastering the language. To this end, I explained 3rd-io verbs as being very closely related to 3rd conjugation verbs and showed each tense for both conjugations, side-by-side to illustrate this point. Additionally, I went over the principal parts of the verb again and how each part served as a "starting point" for certain tenses and voices. This was another breakthrough moment for them as they realized that the 4th principal part would only be used for three forms: the perfect, pluperfect and future perfect passives and that each of these tenses matched with a different tense of the verb "to be." I was thrilled to see that these concepts are beginning to not only make sense, but to have greater meaning for the students - I think this comprehension will make retention of the material much easier going forward!"
"We reviewed the most important concepts from this chapter and the ones before it, including the noun chart (as usual), prepositions with ablative and accusative, and forming present tense and imperfect tense verbs. He was really quick and on top of pretty much all the concepts, even when we introduced a few unfamiliar aspects of verb conjugation. It was a really productive lesson and he did a great job."
"The student has a Spanish test and he needed to go over his study guide. We practiced the conjugation of both regular and irregular verbs in several tenses: present, preterit, and imperfect."
"The student and I spent the first half of the session reviewing life before birth and the reproductive systems. She explained the different time lines of the embryo/fetus. Also, she explained what fertilization is, when it occurs, and where it occurs. Lastly, we reviewed for her Spanish final by going over -are, -ire, and -ere verbs as well as irregular verbs. I would read a sentence in English to the student and have her translate it to Spanish, conjugating the verb accordingly."
"We covered a broad range of grammar concepts this evening. We reviewed all of the grammar topics that will be covered on the student's exam next week, using a study guide his teacher made. The student did great on most parts of the guide, but needs some refreshers on the futur simple, discerning when to use imparfait and when to use passe compose, and using etre and avoir with the passe compose. We reviewed the use of etre and avoir with the passe compose after finishing the study guide and the student did great. We still need to review the difference between passe compose and imparfait, and look at conjugations for futur simple. We didn't get to cover any vocabulary during this session, and I am hoping to meet with the student again once or twice before his test."