Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"For our first session, I needed to get to know the student and his study habits. His main study obstacle is losing concentration. I want to work with him on a few techniques for keeping focused and trying to stay interested. Tonight we focused on "super studying" intervals, recall and reviewing/studying even when there is no test. It is important to accept and realize that studying is not about cramming and memorization-- the more we train ourselves to review, concentrate and recall, the more studying will become a natural (and hopefully enjoyable!) experience. Studying habits and spaces are also unique to people and the student needs to find what works for him. The first strategy we discussed is a 10-minute (preferably timed) "super study session" where he focuses all he has for 10 solid minutes on one of his subjects, assignments, etc. Then he can take a break and relax for an interval (check his phone, get a snack, do something athletic-- whatever he needs to refresh/reset) and then repeat another 10-minute block and so on. This is an important study strategy and gradually he can work his way up to longer "super" sessions. The other two things we focused on were recall and review (even when there is no test). Recalling lectures, chapters, notes and classroom assignments may seem like it is too easy or "doesn't count" but it keeps main ideas, vocabulary and overall course goals always processing in a student's mind. It also makes studying for quizzes and exams easier because the student remembers all the important topics over time. Again, this is part of creating casual, simple study habits that are easy and so important. Studying and reviewing is difficult but rewarding work-- and it is work. From what I could tell tonight, the student is a bright, determined student who just has a few obstacles to overcome in the study department-- as soon as he finds the strategies and spaces that work for him, he will continue to succeed in school. The strategies and habits he carves out now can set him up for strong, positive study experiences in college."
"First the good news: the student got an 80% on his quiz last Friday! I asked him if he saw a connection between the studying he did and his good grade. He said, "maybe." In this case, "maybe" is code for "yes." I could tell by the smile on his face. We went over progress on this week's assignments in history and reviewed his history grade. His in-class participation grade is very good. He chose to work on the homework assignment that is due tomorrow rather than one of his late assignments, which was fine with me, as long as he completes something for this class. The chapter we read covered the events leading to the American Revolutionary War up through 1787. I had printed the chapter out in advance to see if using a different study method would not feel so tedious to him. With a highlighter and colored pencil, we highlighted key items, events, names, and dates.Then as we read, we used the colored pencil to underline the important details that described what we highlighted. As he plowed through his study questions, he could see how the highlights allowed him to speed straight to the answer he needed. I think this method thus far has proved successful, at least for getting the homework done. He finished this assignment on time. He has 2 other reading assignments with study guides to complete this week, which I'd also printed, so I gave him the highlighter and colored pencil and tasked him to similarly highlight and underline the reading and try to complete the study guides, by Thursday.He was pleased to be given a gift. There's a unit 1 performance assessment assignment looming in his near future, which involves writing an essay. It was calendared to be assigned today, but his teacher didn't do that. Today, they reviewed requirements for citations he'll be required to use in his essay, but the actual assignment remains to be seen. I'll probably know more about that on Thursday. The due date for this assessment is currently calendared for February 10th. I expect the actual due date to be moved to a later date."
"7:00pm-8:30pm The student summarized her end of first semester and start to the new semester. She met most of her end of semester goals by bringing up almost all of her grades to B's and performing well on her final exams. She performed much better on her exams than she has in the past, but not only wants to do better than she did, she wants to improve more for May's exams. The semester project for Environmental Science that her class completed but didn't expect to be spectacular actually won the prize! This not only beat out many other schools, but also beat out the "better" Environmental class at her school. Great confidence booster. Plus, she and her classmates each get a portion of the prize money, and she wants to buy a tablet to use as an eReader - which I think is an awesome idea because it will help her intellectually and academically, and it's not frivolous or just for fun - a very mature choice. She is already into two research papers - one for English, one for History. She will likely need little help with the English paper, and I will help her as much (or as little) as necessary with the History paper. I will also continue to provide her with reading guides for her History class (which she has used and says do help). The student's progress in such a short time has been remarkable. She was willing to follow suggestions, and they paid off quickly. This early success greatly fed her confidence which then led to more success. She is starting Semester 2 fresh, rather than behind the 8-ball, and I can see her having all As and Bs (with more As than just Religion) this semester. She is already evolving and adapting her organization and is now using an app on her phone to create task lists (and commented how it feels good to mark off tasks!). She and her roommate for her DC trip set time aside to work on English research paper notecards, motivating each other rather than encouraging poor habits. She is so proud of her improvement, and I am glad to see her so happy for herself. NEXT SESSION: February 10, 7pm (but she can email or call to set up Research Paper appointments as necessary as long as I'm free)"
"The student was awesome once again! I am so proud of how he is evolving into this mature student! He was focused and on task and completed 7 pages of his homework packet."
"In order to assess the student's level and strengths and weaknesses in English, he and I started by going progressively through 1st- and 2nd-grade level game-style worksheets on phonetics, vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension. His work was quite impressive given that English is his second language. He was able to solve most of the problems, although he struggled with spelling exceptions, as well as a few vocabulary items and some pronunciation distinctions (b and p, v and w), all of which he was able to correct. He picked up the material very quickly, and his attitude was enthusiastic and cheerful. We then tried to do some prose writing, and he explained to me what he has learned in school about the structure of essays. We talked through a possible story he might write about a tennis game. In future sessions, we will work through more prose writing in a game-style format, helping him to write more complex sentences which express a coherent progression of ideas. He was assigned homework to write 7 sentences on a Rubik's Cube today and to email me when he has finished. He also provided me with some other essays that he has written, which I will evaluate and we will go over in the next session."
"We read for 20 minutes from a science book from school called "The Moon." This book was a great book for her to read, as it contained a bevy of words that were new and difficult for her to pronounce, further expanding her vocabulary. We also worked on a fun geometric shapes worksheet, requiring her to search all over for items of various shapes, such as spherical and cylindrical shaped objects. I then created some complex multiplication problems, which she did a great job on. And as I'd been provided with a stack of the student's recently graded schoolwork, I had her re-do one of the assignments that she'd received a very low grade on. It actually related to the book we'd read from today, and was a reading comprehension worksheet about the book "The Moon." With my guidance and assistance, she did very well on the assignment this go-round. We will continue to re-work the various assignments that received low scores with any extra time during our sessions, so that when presented with similar class assignments, she will perform much better the second time taking them."