Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We went on to begin studying a 385-word vocabulary list. We reviewed words for ten minutes, and then took turns writing sentences using them. The student has to go over those words and study them because I will test him on Wednesday. Finally, I asked him to get out his English homework for the evening. He was to re-write three sentences two different ways, introducing more detail. We then reviewed the homework to be done. I have recommended that he do a little of his homework each week, while we do supportive vocabulary and writing exercises. I believe this will keep his interest level up and his brain limber. My objective is to raise his vocabulary comprehension up as high as possible."
"This session I worked with two students individually on the pre-writing stages for a persuasive essay due in their English class next week. I coached both of them through a brainstorming activity to map out aspects of their arguments and questions for further research. I also walked them through completing a T chart to help them consider opposing views and how they might respond to them. I suggested websites for research and helped the first student navigate through a few internet searches (identifying less-than-credible sources, how to search a webpage for key words using control F, search term combinations that work well in search engines). I told them that their next step is to examine their graphic organizers and determine which angles/points/etc. would make the strongest argument. We discussed how sometimes the strongest persuasive essay doesn't quite match your own personal opinions. They will receive a specific outline format in class this week, so we held off on that step. Because I usually help them in the early stages of the writing process, I asked them to send me the final drafts of their papers once they have them so I can get a better sense of their skills, voice, etc. Next time we do this work, I will be more hands-off to see how they handle it."
"I started with the student writing a 2-paragraph summary of "The Outsiders." We spent about 45 minutes going over the summary, making it flow, and ensuring we had touched on the large details of the story so far. I want to keep working on summaries - it's hard sometimes to judge what to tell and what to leave out in the interest of time, and doing more of these will help. I had given the student about 7 minutes for the 2 paragraphs, but that would be the absolute minimum. He needed about 15 to do a good job. We then switched gears to Tennyson, going over his "The Charge of the Light Brigade" poem. I gave the student a few minutes to think about it, then we talked about a time in his life where he felt like he had to commit to something, even though he had made a bad decision. We went through each stanza and related it to the student's example (in this case, not studying for a test). I then brought more Tennyson out with his "In Memoriam, AHH" poem. I had the student highlight each word he didn't know. We then tried to infer the meaning, then looked up the definition. This was a smaller poem, about 4 stanzas, but somewhat convoluted. Tennyson uses some archaic words and phrases, and I wanted to see what the student would make of them. We had a good discussion on the last few lines "Tis better to have loved and lost/ than to have never loved at all". For homework, I asked the student to write a small essay about why he agrees or disagrees with Tennyson. I also gave him one of my personal books, "King of Shadows", which ties in with Shakespeare a bit more - a young boy goes to London in 1999 to act in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", then ends up being transported back in time. I read this book when I was in the 8th grade as well, and having more outside material to read, discuss, and assign short writing exercises will help the student to not get so burnt out on material. Next session, I aim on asking for written summaries, we'll discuss both books, and will work on the student's Tennyson essay."