Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today, I planned the student's lesson structure in advance, in order to accommodate both grammar lessons and writing practice. I've noticed that he tends to hesitate when he is asked to put his thoughts on paper, so I decided to have him do regular free-writing. I am of the opinion that when writing is intimidating, the best first step is to write more, in low-pressure situations. I like the way that no-restrictions/no-rules exercises can encourage a person to try taking risks, or, just as useful, give a writer the permission to write about "safe," or "low brow" subjects - it's good for clearing your head and helping you focus. We started with 2 5-minute free-writes. I did the free-writes with him, to help him relax, hopefully. For the 1st free-write, we described the room. He had trouble with this one, and I kept telling him he could write whatever he wanted. I gave him ideas, and he responded verbally, but had trouble developing the initiative to put those thoughts onto paper. For the 2nd free-write, I asked him what subject he knew a lot about and was comfortable talking about for long periods of time. So, he wrote about Halo. That was easier for him. He happened to have a Halo poster on the wall, which is where he got the idea, so I made the comment that it's easier to do a free-write if you can narrow down your options. After 15 minutes, we did a 30-minute grammar lesson, working out of a packet of print outs. We focused on different kinds of subjects and predicates. This worked as reinforcement for last week's lesson. We were also able to continue working on the concept that nouns can be ideas, too, which should ultimately help him not to write sentence fragments. For the final 15 minutes, I asked him to write a paragraph on another subject with which he is very comfortable - Pokemon. I gave him a paragraph structure map to follow, and a question to answer. He wrote 2 paragraphs! Next week, we'll continue with the initial 2 free-writes, a 30-minute grammar lesson, and then paragraph editing - where we'll work on revising the sentences he wrote last week, internalizing some of the grammar, and fleshing out his 2 paragraphs."
"We worked on editing the first draft of the student's paper, focusing on using sources effectively and making strong arguments."
"Reviewed start of draft for Writing I paper and substantially added to the draft. Emphasized answering the "why" and "so what" in an analytical essay, rather than just providing examples. Provided special attention to thesis and topic sentences and to transitions."
"The student and I started with reading a children's book out loud. He did very well. He can read a whole sentence very fast and very accurately. Overall, he did a great job!"
"The student and I talked about Thanksgiving and its cultural aspects and special words. I then showed him a variety of tools he could use to continue to improve his English, including a pronunciation plugin for his web browser, a number of ESL podcasts, and other podcasts that might help him improve his listening skills. Finally, we did a pronunciation exercise to help him improve his pronunciation. He enjoys researching American culture for our discussions. He will have the book for the next lesson."
"The student and I talked through his outline for his essay on The Handmaid's Tale, looking at relevant passages and working through the many different themes that his thesis touched on. We nailed down a more focused thesis and more centralized body paragraphs, and I gave him ideas for his introduction and conclusion. He will work on a draft for us to review together next week. I found him to be very thoughtful in connecting his reading to the present. I think the structure and thesis he landed on is sophisticated and won't be too difficult for him to write."