"The student had gotten the four essays done for homework, so I gave him a writing prompt while I read through his essays. They were overall pretty good; I can really see the improvement from a few months ago. While his introductions are a lot better, they can get a little dull - instead of being formulaic in his writing, I'm trying to get more character and personality into his essays, yet the overall technicalities are very satisfactory.
We still needed to work more on conclusions, part of it is his stamina and the other part is confidence I feel. All the conclusion needs- which I've been repeating- is "why is this (reasoning, argument, prompt) important for the reader?" I'm working on a pneumonic or way he can remember this for the end - to finish strong in his essays.
I gave him ample time to make good headway with the prompt, about 20 minutes, then I helped provide more 'meat' towards the end. We then were able to go through all 4 essays and talk through any grammatical errors and the conclusions. He's becoming more and more self-aware on the technicality of his writing, as far as redundancy and sentence choppiness. I will enforce the 2-minute rule for our session next week, as that will be the last session until his SSAT exam.
We did spend a few minutes passing the ball back and forth, while I read him sentences from one of the essays he was somewhat struggling with. We then passed the ball back and forth while talking through one of the essay prompts.
For homework, I gave him a bit more than usual, as next week's plan is to be a bit more light on the content and mostly review before his exam. I want him to rewrite his one essay from this week's homework on China that needed the most work, write the essay on "Out with the old, in with the new- agree or disagree" that we had talked about, and there are 60 synonym and analogy exercises in his SSAT book. I feel as though he's in a fairly stable place as far as writing goes, save for some vocabulary and reminders in his essays (giving examples, more details, more explanations)."