Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today, as with previous sessions, my goal was to get the student to worry less about the structure and mechanics of her writing (being perfect/using the need to be perfect as way of wasting time) and get her pencil to the paper. I provided her with three brief "situations" (essentially mini-stories with accompanying illustrations). Her job was to read these and determine a story ending for each. What I liked about this exercise is that because all three stories and illustrations were on the same page, the student had less hesitation about her ability to come up with sentences to add to each and seemed more at ease in tackling the entire assignment. It is clear that providing her with small, focused writing activities is preferable to giving her a writing prompt and blank, lined piece of paper and saying "go!" In her mind these must seem more manageable or feel less overwhelming because throughout the session she was less inclined to pull out distraction tactics and never once said "I can't". It was good to see this. Her approach to the story endings was clever. Rather than take each separately, she decided she wanted to weave the storylines together so we had a discussion around how the characters might be related and the student did a good job of coming up with a final sentence for two of the stories that served as a transition sentence between the first and second and second and third stories. She did include dialogue in two out of the three stories, though she did not include proper quotation, which is fine. She is still writing everything in cursive. I spoke briefly with her dad about this, as I can't imagine the student's teacher is mandating that she write solely in cursive at this point in time. The student had about two sentences to go at the end of our hour (to finish up story #3). For next week I tasked her with completing this and reading all three stories out loud to one or both of her parents. When I asked her to read the fill-in-the-blank Halloween story to me last session, she had some trouble reading her own writing and caught errors in her writing she had not previously. I would like to gather more feedback by having her repeat the read-aloud practice, but in a different setting, with different text."
"We looked at an assignment from school, in which he was to interview someone, taking notes, and then turn those notes into an article. I worked with him to craft the article, focusing most of our time on revising and editing, especially in the areas of punctuation and spelling. We combed through his article slowly, and he was able to make his own edits with very little help from me. I would just prompt him to look for places where a period should go, etc., and he knew exactly what to do. It was just a matter of slowing down to really look at the writing. We talked about how the first draft can be a time to just get the story down, without worrying about grammar or spelling, but that revision was the stage to go back through and start making adjustments. I encouraged him to not worry too much about those things during drafting, but to let his imagination take hold with the writing. Without editing, his paragraph structure was already good, which I pointed out to him."
"I had the opportunity to review some of the student's assignments from school. She received great feedback on her personal narrative and letter to a field trip guide. She did a quick write, then we collaborated on a mystery. For homework, she will create a superhero and write a story in which the superhero saves the day."