Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"I explained to the student that she might have up to two pages in which to write the Hunter essay. I encouraged her to make use of the space available to fully flesh out her ideas. I emphasized the importance of storytelling in personal essays (like Hunter's). I explained to her the old writing adage "show, don't tell," using examples from her prepared essay. For instance, instead of writing that a favorite teacher was "encouraging" and "supportive," I told her I want her to share an anecdote that shows her teacher exhibiting these traits through her actions, and preferably through a personal anecdote. Showing vs. telling will also naturally lengthen her essays in an organic way, without having to rely on rephrasing and repetition. I encouraged her, when brainstorming, to come up with not just facts about the topic, but stories and anecdotes as well. The Hunter essay is very much a personal, autobiographical essay, so she should not shy away from sharing something unique and personal to herself. I gave her a sample essay that I felt exemplified 'showing vs. telling' quite well. For homework, I gave her a choice of two prompts (as will probably be the case on test day). I would like her to write this as a two page essay, with three full body paragraphs, plus and introduction and conclusion, the emphasis being on personal storytelling and showing vs. telling."
"During this session, the student and I worked on writing a letter to his teacher. He now has to write a letter to his teacher each week. In each letter, he has to respond to a list of writing prompts about a book he is reading in his free time. For this letter, he chose to write about a book about a video game that he is reading and respond to a prompt which asked him why or why not the book was just right for him and whether or not it challenged him. We began the writing process with a brainstorming session. He decided that the book was just right for him because the language is easy for him to understand, he enjoys playing the video game, and he likes the characters' adventurous spirits. He also decided that in the future, it would be a good idea to choose a book that is a bit more challenging, so he can grow as a reader. We then made an outline and organized his ideas into an introductory paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. He then typed his letter on his computer, and I taught him the proper formal letter format. He was able to type up his letter with ease because his ideas were well organized in his outline. Although he was writing a letter to his teacher, we took the 5-paragraph essay approach, so it was easier for him to write with a narrow focus. He did an excellent job formulating a thesis and providing strong examples from the text for his topic sentences in his body paragraphs. He even managed to incorporate his sense of humor into his letter."
"The student's mom showed me her report card, and she showed lots of improvement in her academic subjects overall. We discussed an opportunity for her to be pulled out of her regular class in order to be in a small group reading class. There is concern regarding what she'd miss during this time. We worked on her writing today - her favorite part so far. She was very excited, so it was easy for her to complete the graphic organizer (main idea, one/two/three details). We started with the details, and she figured out the main idea from her ideas. I then had her write a paragraph from her list of details. She did an outstanding job of sounding out all her letters to help with her spelling. I underlined the smaller words within the larger ones to show her how she can build on her vocabulary (sent in presents, fan in fancy, in in dinner etc.) Even though she used several of the words more than once, she used the same sounding out technique every time. I was very impressed with her disciplined approach to using her strategies. We worked on using periods or exclamations to convey excitement and word choice (delicious vs. good). She did a great job - she easily came up with her three details and, with a little guidance, created her sentences."
"The concepts we covered were main ideas and explicit and implied main ideas. The student did well. She worked hard at learning the difference. Her mom stated that the student was for sure advancing to the sixth grade. Excellent!"
"This session consisted mainly of helping the student prepare for her upcoming standardized test in math. Some of the concepts we worked on included geometry, word problems, rounding and other mathematical concepts that will be presented to her on her test. Towards the end, we read from a fiction text and practiced making predictions based on evidence presented in the text. All in all, she did very well with the concepts we worked on. We will continue to work on these concepts during our next session."
"The student read "Wow, it's Worm!" "Rick is Sick" and "What I See" by herself. She's a star reader, and is comfortable and confident. I left a few kindergarten lined papers with some practice words for her to write if she's interested (+ing verbs)."