Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student has a major English paper due after break, and he spent this session working on his draft. We talked about two main qualities to look for in writing and revising 1) Is the organization clear? What are the main ideas in each paragraph and how can they be developed? and 2) Is the writing clear? Do the sentences communicate what you want them to? We started with the first question, and I pushed him to articulate what he was trying to say in each paragraph. He came up with great points, and made note of them on his paper. It's challenging for him to see how to push his writing, so I've been working not just on helping him hone his ideas, but showing him how to push his own writing. He needs to make sure he always checks to see A) what a paragraph is about and B) what clear evidence and examples he can use to support it (and to flesh out his ideas). Using examples and details will also help him fill out his writing; he's having trouble writing enough at the moment, even though he has plenty of ideas to fill the space! Working on his writing style is a bit trickier because I can't smooth out his writing on the paper directly (evaluative assignments need to be his work), I can only teach him principles and help him practice applying them. He is having some grammatical problems (especially with run-on and fragment sentences), and some problems with overly complex sentences (his instinct is to merge many ideas into a single sentence). We worked on both, revising a prior assignment of his, going through grammatical rules and discussing the power of shorter sentences which lead the reader through your ideas. He is a very receptive student, and he seems to grasp the import of the concepts that I'm explaining to him even when he struggles to apply them himself. He's planning to finish his English paper over the weekend and turn it in early next week. His teacher will read and comment upon it, and next Friday, he and I will have a chance to look over the teacher's corrections before he turns it in for a final time. I'm pleased with the progress he is making -- looking forward to seeing where the paper is next time I see him!"
"The student read part of Exodus and summarized briefly; his summaries were concise and covered the reading well. We also went over a more extended vocabulary list and created sentences."
"Today, the student worked on her homework. One of the assigned sheets had a poem along with comprehension questions to be answered. She had already read the poem and answered all the questions. I reviewed her answers and then we went over one that she needed to change; the rest were fine. Next we tackled the poem that she was asked to write about her favorite insect (she chose the bee). This led her to pick out and discuss homonyms and then use them to compose sentences and for a good poem. She is quite the writer and she did really well on this as well. Next, she had core words to practice in cursive and also to use in composing a paragraph. We also tackled her math homework. The assigned sums were in two parts. The first involved the 2, 4, and 8 times tables and the second involved shapes with shaded portions. She had to determine what fraction of each shape was comprised of shaded portions. She showed a good understanding of these concepts as well. She will continue to practice her times tables and also do 20 minutes of reading before the next session."
"We worked on the relationship between formal and personal language in email and other correspondence and discussed the language usage that results from the desire - conscious or not - to provide the reader with a pithy, concise, insightful statement. It was an interesting discussion, and we will explore the implications in future sessions."
"We worked on the student's alphabet and phonics with materials provided by his mom, and via YouTube videos. He wrote and said all his letters and numbers and did a great job with handwriting. We then watched videos on kindergarten level learning topics and animal videos that he likes."
"We worked on the student's general college essay today. He is writing about his experience with guitar and how this relates to life in high school and college. He was able to write the first and second paragraphs of this essay, and we went over these two in great detail. Overall, I think he has a great start to the essay, and I'm excited to go over the last two paragraphs with him. For our next session, he will try to finish the essay, and we will go over it."