Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"During this session, I primarily worked with the student on contractions and the difference between past and present tense in writing. I presented him with a list of the most commonly used contractions and asked him to separate each contraction into two words. He misunderstood the contraction "aren't" and wanted to change it to "is not." I showed him how contractions with "n't" are simply missing an "o," and that he should not change the first part of the word in a contraction. He completely understood this concept, and after I explained this to him, he correctly broke down each contraction I presented. We then worked on defining the difference between past and present tense, identifying past and present tense in writing, and writing sentences in past and present tense. I introduced the simple form of each tense and will eventually progress to teaching him about future perfect tense and so on. He seemed to grasp the definition of past and present tense; but initially, he struggled with identifying the difference between past and present tense when I gave him example sentences. We then emphasized that past tense has to do with the "past." I asked him what he thinks about when he thinks of the past, and he told me that he thinks about old memories. We also discussed the saying, "Don't live in the past." I asked him to tell me what that saying means, and he said it's important to not get hung up on things that happened before and to move forward. We then identified present tense as living in the moment and what is happening right now. These associations helped him grasp the difference between past and present tense, and he then began correctly identifying past and present tense in the sentences I showed him. Once it came time to write, he mixed up past and present tense on his first attempts. We then focused on the definition of each tense again, and I wrote more example sentences for him. On his third set of sentences, he did an excellent job. He did write some complex sentences where his tense changed, so we discussed the importance of staying in the same tense throughout an entire sentence. We also discussed that when he writes about literature, he must always write in the present tense. If he is writing a personal narrative paper, it needs to be in the past tense. If he is writing a work of fiction, it can be in either tense, but it must consistently stick to one tense. The student also struggled with subject-verb agreement initially. We discussed how a singular noun needs a singular verb and vice versa. He quickly understood this grammar rule. To conclude the session, we reviewed the student's vocabulary assignment. For his assignment, he had to write his vocabulary words in a sentence. He kept wanting to change his vocabulary words to a different part of speech in his writing. Next session, we are going to work more on parts of speech and subject verb agreement. We will also review present and past tense. The student's attitude towards improving his understanding of grammar continues to be positive! He displayed great endurance and focus during our session even when he struggled with writing in past and present tense."
"The student is reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in his English class and recently learned that he will have to write an essay about how the "course of love never did run smooth" for one of the characters. The student let me know that he has already chosen to write about Lysander and then showed me some of the relevant quotations that he has already picked from the play. We used this session to continue practicing how to appropriately outline an essay, write a strong thesis statement, and then use the thesis statement to form the three body paragraphs. Once we finished the outline, the student worked on his introductory paragraph and first body paragraph. We spent a lot of time on each of these things, constantly re-writing to add more detail and description so as to add interest and variety to the sentences. The majority of the time, though, was spent on the first body paragraph. In the past, the student has written essays in which he quotes a large block of text and then summarizes the plot. I used this body paragraph to show him how to analyze a block of text and describe meaning instead. We talked about the literary devices (repetition, imagery) in the first quotation he had chosen and how this conveyed meaning. For example, we talked about how the quotation compares two characters to a raven and a dove, bringing up ideas of dark and light, good an evil, so that a reader is made to like one character over the other."
"The student and I began the session working on his writing homework from school. He was struggling in particular with a short answer response to a reading assignment. He shared that his teacher taught him the SEE method (Statement, Evidence, Explanation) for each paragraph. This dovetailed nicely with the writing work we had done last session, and I changed my terms to match those he was using in school. We worked through the short answer and then returned to his essay. We discussed where in his essay he made a statement (the topic sentence of each paragraph) and then identified his evidence and explanation sentences (what I had called supporting details). He is still struggling with structure, but does understand when we work through it together."
"First we looked at her professor's comments on her paper and discussed what her professor meant when she said that she wanted her to analyze her ideas more. We talked about how in order to analyze something in a paper, you needed to be able to tie it back to a thesis argument, which she did not have in her paper. We talked about the necessity of a thesis and how it should answer the prompt. We reviewed her assignment for her writing response paper this week and created a schedule where she could watch the news programs to which she needs to respond. We then talked through her prompt for her research question outline and how she needed to have a specific research question that approached a topic about family in a new way. Once she had her question, we elaborated on its importance and what she thought the answer to her question should be."
"The student has begun to work on her final paper - she chose the topic "marketing and ethics as it relates to children" and it's focusing on the food/beverage industry. Today I assisted her with writing her proposal, which involved identifying two sources + two course texts and writing out her research questions. We discussed how she is going to lay out the paper and what side of the argument she is taking/how she will counter it."
"The student needs to pass three "exit paragraph" assignments in order to pass the class. Since we are getting towards the end of the semester, we decided we would focus primarily on this. I came up with a sample question (should the voting age be lowered to 16) and she and I worked through how we would construct a paragraph for it."