Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Last (for the time being) wonderful session with my favorite and well-read, very interesting student. We will begin lessons again closer to her first taking of the ACT exam."
"Today, we worked on a plot summary and some vocabulary. I brought him a notebook and asked him to have it with him every time I see him. We're calling it a vocabulary journal -- I will add words to it each week, and I've asked him to add words to it himself, every time he reads or plays a vocabulary game (he has one for his DS) and finds a word he doesn't know. I wrote instructions in the front cover: for each word, he should include a sentence or phrase that uses the word, any etymology details he has on the word, and a definition in his own words. We also picked up where we left off 2 weeks ago, with his Adventure Time dream episode plot summary. I asked him to answer questions about each plot point he'd written on his plot line diagram. We got to the point where I could ask him, what question do you think I'm going to ask you about this plot point, and he would have pretty good guesses. When we were done with that, we talked a little bit about the process of selection, and how it's good to have practice writing summaries of all different lengths, because choosing what to include is a skill in and of itself. I had him translate into full sentences, his plot line diagram. I asked him to write a page-long summary. He did a really good job filling up the page in a reasonable amount of time. When he described the plot of the episode verbally, I had to ask him lots of clarifying questions, but when he wrote his plot summary in full sentences, he filled in transitions that provided useful background information for a reader with no prior knowledge of the episode. Next week, we will practice editing -- I'll have him rewrite the summary with sentence corrections (I'd like to work with him on writing clearer sentences), and then we'll write progressively shorter summaries of the same plot, so that he can practice differentiating between primary plot points and secondary details."
"We reviewed edits to the outline that the student made over the past week, and then went through and finished writing the outline. We made sure that all the supporting paragraphs related back to the thesis, and discussed transitions and topic sentences. We also discussed strategies for improving vocabulary and minimizing distractions when writing. By the end of the session he felt comfortable turning his outline into a first draft of an essay before our next session. He also agreed to choose a book to begin reading for pleasure in order to build vocabulary and proficiency."