Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student brought her improved and expanded personal statement for me to read. It was very good and we read through it very carefully, discussing arrangement and vocabulary and wordiness. She has done a wonderful job of building it out. I pointed out places in the essay where a dash of further originality may be optimal. We reviewed subordinating conjunctions and I introduced her to her exercises. She will also be identifying the subject and main verb in sentences. They are due tomorrow. She gave me the highlights of the articles she has read so far. We have a month to develop a good repertoire of facts for themed essays in her "mind palace." With each story, we practiced identifying which category the story could be assigned. If we keep reviewing and building, I think she will have a dynamic range of scenarios and facts to use in the testing situation."
"During this session, I worked with the student on her "Of Mice and Men" essay. She did a nice job gathering quotes to support her thesis statement. Her thesis statement was clear and well-focused. Through close reading the text, we found that there was a lot of overlap between the employment of gender, race, and intellect to gain power. I helped her narrow her focus by selecting quotes which were most relevant to her argument and demonstrated that the power struggle within the novel in terms of gender, race, and intellect was not black and white. The main focus of our session was getting to the heart of her argument. We asked questions about why there is a power struggle on the ranch to begin with. Why do certain characters feel the need to gain power via gender, race, and/or intellect and why are some made powerless by their gender, race, and/or intellect? She astutely identified the fact that most of the characters on the ranch live in an extreme state of solitude. Their sense of alienation is the driving force behind their actions. She concluded that, ironically, instead of seeking connection through celebrating one another's gender, race, and intellectual differences, the majority of the characters within the text use gender, race, and/or intellect to belittle the other characters in order to make themselves temporarily feel better all the while only pushing themselves deeper into a state of isolation. Her close reading abilities continue to improve. This session was primarily devoted to planning and working out her argument."
"The student and I first started discussing his project by developing both a thesis and an outline. He didn't have much practice doing either, so I took him step-by-step through the process. This involved a lot of revising and rewriting of his thesis, but eventually we came out with a product that concisely summarizes his ideas. Then, we planned out what his essay would say. To do this, I asked him to speak out loud, guiding him through the process with questions and taking notes on his answers. His answers, of course, corresponded perfectly to an outline. For him, it's much easier to talk through an essay than to write anything down, because that eliminates the "translation" step; what he was saying out loud was extremely useful and productive. After the outline was complete, I had him verbally tell me his essay, using the outline as a guide -- he was able to do this almost instinctively! We shifted to science during the last 30 minutes, reviewing for the Assessment Exam using some online materials. We're going to review some more tomorrow."