Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We continued the 15-30-15 minute structure this week. I think I'll stick with this model since it ensures a good pace and it gives the student a rounded experience - I don't want him too bogged down in grammar details, but I do want him to better his understanding of the way sentences work. Our first 15 minutes consisted of free-writing. I asked him if he liked the free write exercise last week, and he said yes. I asked him to pick a couple of things in the room to write about, and he picked both game-oriented topics. He wanted to explain everything about the topic to me in person, which means he has a lot to say - so, I directed him toward his paper and asked him to write down what he told me. During the next 30 minutes, we went over simple and compound subjects and predicates and run on sentences. These were good topics for him, since he got the chance to rewrite some improper sentences completely. He was confused at first about how to distinguish between subjects and predicates in sentences involving "to be" verbs, so we talked about that quite a bit. By the end of the lesson, he had improved. We'll review that topic briefly next week. He did well, correcting run on sentences. For the last 15 minutes, we looked at the paragraphs he wrote last week, on Pokemon. We used a graphic organizer to map out the details in his paragraphs. We organized the (very good) details he had included, in a way that made them more consistent, and therefore clearer. We also talked about what was missing from his intro and conclusion sentences. Next week, he'll do a second draft, based on our plans for revision."
"The student's mother told me that he needed help with a specific assignment for his English class, as per his teacher's recommendation. He would definitely benefit from "crash-course" pointers in time management. It is clear to me, however, that he is very capable of completing quality work, if he has the motivation to do so. I referred him to an online article I have found helpful in my own studies. It comes from a college writing center, and guides writers through determining and then addressing the motivations that prompt one to procrastinate. Before launching into his assignment, I asked him to tell me about himself. He told me that even though he enjoys English, he prefers Math because it has only "one right answer." In English he feels the need to write more in order to "get the writing right." This led into a discussion where I questioned the idea that he should want to, let alone be able to, write perfectly. I asked him to simply consider the idea of examining his own priorities, and ask himself why it is so important that he "get the grades up." I was grateful that he told me that he strongly values knowing that he did his best. One of the reasons for his current lack of motivation is that he dislikes annotation, because it "detracts from his experience of the story." He loves stories and the craft of storytelling, so I could see his point. I recommended, therefore, that he skim through his assigned readings first for the sake of the narrative, and then go back and annotate key parts. After making sure that he was clear on the assignment directions, we began to work through the piece of writing that his teacher had returned with comments. He hadn't written his thesis according to his teacher's format, and needed to add a part about themes, or "the main point" of the book. We discussed the value of literature, how words convey meaning, and how human beings always write in order to communicate some sort of meaning. I challenged him to choose a specific theme or purpose that the author might have meant to communicate. Since the book was a modern rendition of "Les Miserables," I gave him a few examples of the themes from that classic, and he was able to recognize similar themes from the assigned novel. I was very pleased to see how ably he translated our discussion of the relationship between narrative and metanarrative into a revised thesis, in which his example clearly illustrated the literary theme he had chosen to describe. We then addressed more local issues, and he successfully made passive sentences active. He told me that he didn't quite understand how and when to use pronouns, and so we worked on a few examples so that he could pinpoint those areas in his writing where antecedents were unclear. We discussed the importance of writing with the reader in mind. He made revisions in tense and clarified some sentences after considering his audience. He has the capacity to grasp and work with complex ideas; he just needs the space to do so. I encouraged him to not rush, and suggested that he make freewriting lists in order to get his ideas out on paper. This seemed to alleviate his stress over not being able to craft complex sentences in his head. He seemed much more confident and told me that he felt ownership over his paper. Hearing this encouraged me greatly. I urged him to use his teachers as a resource, and not hesitate in asking for help."
"Great progress with the student today! I noticed that we have a more productive session if I am very careful to ease him into practicing reading and writing. I make sure that we do a variety of activities and exercises to keep him engaged and interested."
"Finished a workbook that we had begun work on during our session earlier. Last exercise included completing story using pictures and memory regarding some work in done in the same exercise. Also, included using past and present tense and matching tense with the proper subject . Finally, began working on new workbook, which focused on using certain words with consonant clusters."
"The student and I made an alphabet book of all letters in the alphabet represented by animals. The student traced letters in this book and put the letters in order to make this book. He has space in this book to continue tracing and practicing his letters. He wrote a short excerpt about what he would do if he was a superhero. He worked on spelling and sounds and filled in the missing letters in simple words. He also read a short story about the forest, summarized this story, and identified main concepts. He is making great progress and has a positive attitude."
"Our first session was to get an idea of the direction of how to have a session. We discussed that we will focus on comprehension by using novels that the student likes to read. I gathered data using assessments to also assist me with planning. Also, we will focus on prepping for the assessment test."