Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"I was very glad to hear that the student's grades improved so much since the first grading period this year and that his teachers have seen his note-taking skills improving as well. He's extremely motivated and excited to learn, so I am glad to see that his grades are reflecting that enthusiasm. In our session yesterday, we worked on an essay over Athens and Sparta that he was writing for his history class. In this essay, he has to choose a persona to be in Greek society and decide in which of the two cities he would prefer to live. He had already written a very thorough outline that was really more of an essay already, and we went through it together. I made some suggestions for content that he could expand on, and he made some good changes based on those to strengthen his essay. I also pointed out a few grammatical errors that were in his paper and discussed the rules behind those errors; however, they do not consistently show up in his writing, so I think they were probably just momentary lapses in his writing. We had some time after we finished going through his essay, so I asked him what books he had been reading outside of school, since he seems to read voraciously for a student his age. He then gave me a basic summary of the last book he had read, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Long Haul, and I noticed that the summary he gave me was much better organized as a narrative than when we had first begun tutoring. He was also able to anticipate any further explanations I might need on what was happening in the summary. This shows improvement in how he's thinking about what he's reading."
"When I arrived, the student and his father were watching a motivational speaker video that the student's father says the student enjoys because it has magic tricks. The student's father quickly set up a video he planned for us to watch about animals in Africa called "Animals Are Beautiful People" in order to help teach the student personification. He chose it because many of the animals in the video are shown and described as if they are people. As I watched with the student, I occasionally asked the student questions like "Do warthogs really get married?" or "Do clouds form armies?" in an effort to suggest the non-literal meanings of the movie's descriptions. Afterward, I wrote and explained a definition of personification on the whiteboard, invented a story personifying a "lonely" pencil who just "wanted to get home" to the pencil jar, and prompted the student to come up with his own personification. We talked about how his mini flashlight's "favorite" time of day was probably nighttime. I briefed the student's father before leaving and discussed with him the possibility of using some of the student's favorite and well-watched videos as a way to learn sequence of events. For example, he might stop the magic trick video at one point and ask the student what trick is going to happen next."
"One of the areas that we covered was the listening skills again, then his oral interpretation of the material. We then covered rephrasing and reorganizing his thoughts without looking at the material. I then had him read the material out loud, I proceeded to ask him to tell me if he knew the meaning of what I understood to be new words for him. We worked on the new words until I felt comfortable that he could use the words in a sentence. I then tested him on the material to insure retention of the material, he received 100%. I then proceeded to show him how to enter the site of the material used and how to take a test on the computer. He will be taking computerized English exams in April, I wanted to begin giving him the experience of that type of exam after going through his English lesson"
"For our first session, we focused on improving his creative writing skills. We started with him picking one of about 50 prompts, and I gave him 15 minutes to write something creative. I read over it afterward, and then we started our lesson. I went through the different aspects of figurative language, including assonance, alliteration, personification, similes and metaphors. We then looked at four examples of creative writing from students, and we discussed the various figurative language in each. Then I showed him various examples from professional poets including Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound and gave him some history on the time period and authors' lives. At the end, I gave him some time to finish the story prompt from the beginning. Each week, we'll focus on a different style of writing."
"We hammered out the remainder of her Document-Based Essay for History Class, and discussed methods of in-class essay writing. She was extremely dedicated, and I wanted to commend her for remaining admirably focused during the entire session!"
"On Friday, we prepared for the student's English test--which is part 2 of 3 of her large humanities exam. We crafted an outline for her exam question on "perfect women" in literature, from The Odyssey to The Ramayana. The student was very well-versed in each topic, but she needed some guidance on comparing and contrasting the female characters in each piece of literature, so we did a great brainstorming exercise before creating our outline."