Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We discussed the student's current readings: "The Breadwinner" by Deborah Ellis and "The Watsons Go To Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis. We read Chapter 13 of Curtis' book about events in Birmingham in the summer of 1963. The student isn't sure the book has a plot and is wondering what will happen in the final chapters. We discussed the author's narrative technique and use of interior monologue as the protagonist tells the story. We talked about the question raised by the student's teacher, who asked her students what they thought the author meant with the phrase "meanness and fun." We had extensive discussion about plot elements, characters (motives, personalities, and development), and the use of simile and metaphor. I gave the student vocabulary and assigned her essay topic: "If you could spend an afternoon with a famous person, with whom would you spend it, and what would you talk about?" I gave her three "Daily Writing Tips" selections and asked her to answer the exercise questions."
"We studied for the student's Spanish test and he worked on his assigned outline for his English advice essay. I tested him on the vocabulary in addition to the conjugations for the irregular stem changing verbs. He is a very talented linguist and did not struggle through any of this material. He knows the information but only lacks the discipline to sit and study by himself when no one is present to force him to do so. In regards to the outline, he had a little trouble choosing a topic. The student at times displays a lack of confidence which makes it difficult for him to make decisions and be sure about them. I explained to him that a topic which he was interested in would be best to write about. When it comes to subjective assignments, he needs some guidance and encouragement in order to be decisive. After discussing the topics about which he is knowledgeable, he settled on the topic of spirituality."
"The student has started reading "Romeo and Juliet" in school. So far, he has read the prologue. We spoke about this and how it hints at what will happen in the play. With some prompting, he remembered that the term for this hint is called "foreshadowing." I introduced a new vocabulary list to him. About 80% of the time, he was able to use a word appropriately within context and to associate it with scenarios and images that alluded to the word. We also spent some more time reviewing adverbs, specifically how they answer questions such as "where," "when," "how," and "to what extent." His dad suggested using "Schoolhouse Rock" as a resource for grammar rules. I thought that was a great idea! I will also introduce him to "Horrible Histories," which helps to explain world history events and concepts through audio-visual productions."