Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today we worked on writing persuasively. With coaching, the student came up with three reasons to support his argument, and then elaborated on one of the reasons with supporting detail. This was the most exciting piece of our session: how his imagination took off as he dove into explaining what it would be like to not have wood for houses and furniture, and having to revert to stone. He was really proud of how much he'd written!"
"As a warm-up, I had the student complete a crossword puzzle with a supporting word bank (containing a lot of third grade sight words, commonly tested words). She was quick to mention that several of the words were previous spelling words and that one of the words was part of her vocab program this week. To ensure that the student had the foundation to tackle the puzzle independently, I asked her about her prior experience with crossword puzzles. She said while she had not done them in a while (not this school year), she had gotten a fair amount of practice in second grade. Other than drawing the distinction between the "Across" and the "Down" columns (the answer to one of the clues, across and down, was the same number of letters, which caught the student off guard momentarily), I did not need to provide the student with much assistance with this. It was good to see her writing in a less formal context and with greater ease (not writing as slowly or correcting letters as frequently), though still writing entirely in cursive. What I did find interesting and it is something I have seen the student do in previous settings (with her reading comprehension book from school), is the student constantly referred back to the words in the word back when spelling out the words. In other words, though a lot of these words were familiar and simple enough to sound out (e.g., "meal," "food," "Friday," "hold"), the student made a point to always look back at the word bank -- letter by letter -- when it came to physically write the words into the crossword puzzle. Once the student had completed this task, I let her know that our task would be to use at least five of the words in the word bank/puzzle, to create a story. Because, initially anyway, we took turns writing and I asked questions to help guide the flow of the story, the student did not distract from the task at hand or resist writing. In fact, as the blue lip gloss lady developed into a living, breathing character, the student got really excited about all the possibilities this character could bring, particularly fashion wise since the student really enjoys makeup, clothes, and shopping (she envisioned her in a blue dress with a matching blue headband, her earrings, boots, and so on. In fact, about halfway through the story, the student, after having me model it for her for several sentences, was able to intelligently fold words from the word bank into her own sentences (they didn't sound forced or disrupt the flow; in the past, the student would have plugged them in whenever or wherever possible, regardless of the story at hand, for the sake of being done with her goal or task). This was wonderful to see and I had her read the entire story out loud to me and her dad (who joined us at the end) so she could take pride in the totality of her work. She tried to differentiate between my sentences and her sentences as she read, but I chipped in to say while my handwriting could be spotted on the page on several occasions, it was her storytelling that brought the story to life."
"We did a worksheet on figurative writing and others on word choice, spelling, and antonyms. We also went over the writing assignment and used it as a rough draft to rewrite it with more information and better spelling/punctuation. I asked him to write me another paragraph for next week with two drafts and at least nine sentences. I also discussed this with his mother."