Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We used this session both practice writing with correct sentence structure and to edit work. We started by going over the student's English homework. He had to read and analyze a sonnet from Romeo and Juliet through a set of questions from his teacher. While he comprehended the text and had written down answers, we worked to transform his responses into complete sentences. One strategy we used was to restate the question in the answer. We then did several activities to help with writing and sentence structure. 1. Both for me to get to know him and to ease him into writing, I had him brainstorm a list of words to describe himself. We then orally crafted these words into sentences, which he wrote down. Next, we briefly touched on paragraph structure to be able to combine the sentences into a brief paragraph. 2. Next, we worked with sentence structure. We reviewed the parts of a sentence, and I gave him a list of both complete and incomplete sentences. After identifying which was which, he turned the fragments into sentences. 3. At this point in the lesson, we began editing for sentence structure, mostly for correct capitalization and punctuation. We started with the sentences in activities one and two. I also had him write a few more sentences about his interests which we worked on. 4. Goal setting. We took some time to talk about strengths and weaknesses, and the goals that he wanted to set for the tutoring sessions. After verbally expressing ideas, he wrote them down. He is strong in reading comprehension, generating ideas, and spelling. I also noticed that he has a well developed vocabulary. He would like to improve his English grade, and to do this has set goals to learn sentence structure and improve his handwriting. 4. Writing practice. He chose a few of his favorite books, and I read passages from them. After each passage, he would summarize what was read, and then write it down on paper. The purpose of this activity was to give him examples of strong sentence structure from authors he enjoys, in order for him to have a model for his own writing. After he wrote his summaries, we took some time to edit, mostly with capitalization and punctuation. 5. We ended with him summarizing strategies we worked with that he could use to improve his writing."
"The student planned out the next couple of weeks today. Where possible, he wrote in his planner when assignments were due, and he wrote out what time he would do them. We talked about which subjects that cost him the most time; he said history generally took the longest. We strategized about how he might finish his history assignments more efficiently, and he and I agreed that a more time-effect method might be to tackle a few history homework assignments at a time. French is similar, since he gets a few assignments at a time, and he could complete more of it in a sitting than generally required. He did get his History paper grade, a 92, about which he his happy, although he has not yet gotten a physical copy back."
"Today the student and I worked on outlining/ brainstorming for a 3-4 page essay on how the lessons Odysseus learned throughout his journey helped him to become a better king. She had some good general ideas, but I worked on trying to get her to narrow these ideas down so that her analysis will be more concise. She needs to reread part of the Odyssey tomorrow in class to help her with this. She also needs a minimum of one quote per body paragraph, and she should work on these quotes tomorrow during English class. We plan on meeting again tomorrow to continue to work on a rough draft, but the more work she can complete before that time, the better. I also looked over another essay she recently received back, and, while she continues to improve, commas continue to pose a problem for her. She can pinpoint the mistake when I prompt her to reread a sentence for a comma mistake, but she still struggles to spot it on her own. I plan on bringing her some additional worksheets separate from her school assignments so she can continue to work on this. She tends to create run-on sentences by using commas in place of periods or semicolons when the ideas or actions are related. This is a common mistake, and one that I do believe she can improve upon with continued practice. The other mistake she made several times in her last assignment had to do with paragraph formation. She did not realize in her first draft that after each sentence of dialogue there has to be a new paragraph. She fixed these prior to handing in the paper."
"We agreed that the student will have a note card / notebook for which he will add words that he can't pronounce and speak. This will help him progress and assist in decoding and breaking down words. He's also to read at least 20 min. a day and explain what he's read to his parents -- showing clear comprehension. WINS: He is really a hungry child! He has a zeal and excitement for knowledge and it's encouraging. Not only is he excited, but he has high expectations for himself and he was very excited to meet me and continue the sessions. His passion/ excitement is contagious and I have so many hopes for him and his studies! He also agreed to sign a "contract" that he would practice integrity when it came to his studies of writing down words that he can't pronounce or comprehend."
"I began the session by having the student work on some writing. I had him write about a strange dream, and I provided him with some feedback about his work. When asked whether it was more difficult for him to write about fiction or nonfiction, he stated that non-fiction was harder for him. Then I had him write about the state of Washington. I had him fix the wording in a couple of spots, but the flow of his writing did not have any problems. I presented him with questions that were more challenging than those from our previous session. He did very well. On a few questions, I asked him to be more specific, and he displayed an understanding of why he needed to do so. We also worked on passages in which he had to choose the correct conclusion. He expressed an interest in showing me one of his old essays from school and having me discuss possible revisions with him. He stated that he can have this ready for our next session."
"The student is doing very well in her sessions. We are able to get more done because she is concentrating better, and it could also have to do with the content. I have been approaching the concepts somewhat indirectly. It seemed previously that when she knew I was teaching her something, she would withdraw and not want to participate. I continued this session to teach through the medium of various books. I would ask her questions about what she sees, what she thinks of the story, why she finds thing funny, etc. The more that she communicates, the more opportunities I have to correct her sentences and request for her to clarify. Sometimes she will say a sentence that has an incorrect pronoun (like he instead of she, or him instead of her). I will repeat back to her the correct version of the sentence and ask her to repeat it back to me correctly. Oftentimes, she leaves out important articles and prepositions, specifically is, on, over, or through. We would go through the same process to teach these words. This session I taught more directly the importance of using the word "is," for example. I also explicitly taught about masculine and feminine pronouns, as well as difficult sounds like "th." She still struggles with "th" and "f" and other endings like -ing. The direct instruction went well this week, so we will delve into a few more specific sentence rules next week. I am so impressed with her attention span when we read together. Her interest in books will be very beneficial to her!"