Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student has a 5 paragraph essay due tomorrow on the subject of why summer is the best time of the year. I gave him advice with his introduction and how to structure three reasons why summer is so great. The entire time was spent on rephrasing sentences and changing diction of the intro and first body paragraph. He was to finish the remainder of the essay on his own, but he at least had all the tools to work with."
"Today we worked on a PowerPoint presentation about the impact of technology in culture. I helped the student to gather her thoughts and ideas so that we could present it on the slides accurately and grammatically correct. We also worked on citations."
"Today, the student and I began by discussing a short writing assignment she completed over the weekend in which she briefly summarized a text. We discussed some grammatical and style issues in her summary, such as agreement issues between subjects and verbs and incorrect use of noun and verb forms of words. We also talked about strategies for outlining a summary this short, such as focusing on the abstract, introduction and conclusion of the text to get an understanding of the author's purpose and argument in order to create an outline and only using the body text to flesh out how the author examines the thesis. We then discussed her upcoming paper on a text that could be described as a biography or an autobiography, or both. We discussed how to go about creating a thesis that is defensible and refutable. We discussed what the first paragraph of her essay might look like, including the common introductory paragraph structure that first describes a commonly belief, then points to evidence challenging that belief and then reconciles the two beliefs in a thesis statement that offers an argument. In writing her thesis statement and early drafts, she is going to try reading sentences out loud to check that her ideas are translating into the words on the page. She's also going to focus on keeping the language simple. We concluded by going over her first paper from this class which needed significant improvement in both content and writing style. We talked about how the paper needed a stronger and more clearly defined thesis statement and the paper needed to be more clearly rooted in the text. We then focused in depth on rewriting the opening paragraph so that it built up to the thesis statement. We particularly focused again on setting up the tension between two views that could be resolved by the argument in the thesis statement. We also talked about simplifying the language and avoiding "filler" words."
"The student worked on a homework assignment in which he had to respond to some short answer questions about historical figures, their relevance to black history month, and to write a two-paragraph essay about five of the figures and their contributions to American society. I had him write out topic sentences, and, since each paragraph had to be at least five sentences long, I asked him to aim to write seven for each. He ended up writing eight for each paragraph, and was able to explain each invention and his thoughts about them with prowess. I then assigned him some homework, including to continue reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and to do some written research on the importance of literary themes."
"The student completed his homework which was easy for him. He then played some online games where he had to locate specific items, and we read stories together that emphasized phonetic sounds. Some words were challenging, but he could press the button and sound it out with the computer and speak the word in those cases."
"Today we spent most of the session learning and practicing writing and speaking in simple present tense. The student is a quick learner but also forgets things quickly too, so the important thing is repetition. We went over many different types of sentence structures for the present tense, using various examples in his daily life. We also learned and practiced comparing things, like older vs younger, more vs. less, and practiced with real-life examples as well. I continue to emphasize to him that he needs to practice every day so he can remember what he learned."