Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We worked on the student's Mark Twain homework, and then we moved on to the tough Inference skills building exercise I wrote over the weekend. I had him first write me the story of his afternoon, without stating any feelings directly. Then we looked at it, and I told him the feelings I could extract from the writing. That was the model for our next activity, which was to read four passages from literature and then rewrite them, stating the feelings overtly. He had a bit of trouble with two of the four. I coached him along and, he has a few problems seeing the feeling under the writing. I will continue to work on this with him, and look for more outside help on this. I asked him to finish his essay for Friday."
"In today's session the student was asked to work on a compare/contrast essay on characters' conflict and tension in a story. This was based on a practice test and I was pretty impressed with his response. We also talked about different strategies for improving his study and organizational skills. He was assigned a persuasive letter writing prompt in a letter form as homework. Along with that he was introduced with the techniques of formal/informal writing."
"The student and I worked on the "King of Shadows" book for about an hour tonight. His homework from last week - to read, and then write one summary and reaction paragraph, was in need of improvement, so spent some time embellishing and fixing it. I also tried a new verbal cue where each time I said "summary," he would say "Who/What/When/Why/Where/How." This was supposed to link these six questions any time he wrote a summary, and I'm looking forward to how much he remembers for next week (a summary is part of his homework). He was a bit confused by the "King of Shadows" plot, where a boy goes back in time to perform with Shakespeare. The author skips through time, and we talked through how different scenarios are playing at the same time in the book - he didn't know if it was a dream sequence or if the boy teleported, and I'm letting him find this out on his own (the answer is near the end of the book). I gave him clues as to when the author is talking about the different timeline - for example, she'll use really short chapters with italicized text to narrate when Nat (the protagonist) is traveling. Grammatically, we also spent some time talking through the similarities and differences of possible vs. probable vs. plausible. Then we switched gears. The student is just starting a new unit in school that covers interviewing and argumentative essays, and we talked over the formatting of an argumentative essay. I used the example of food - ice cream (frozen yogurt) vs. hamburgers (Five Guys)- and we discussed which food is more popular, using different tactics - citations, location per person, availability, and wrong tactics- bullying, putting the other idea down with no rationale behind it, etc. Finally, I assigned homework. The student needs to read "King of Shadows" and summarize what he's read using the "Who/What/When/Where/How/Why" tactics of writing in the margins, and I also want him to read John Keats's poem "Bright Star" and analyze it using the tactics from Tennyson last week."