Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student answered all the questions from The Main Idea and Facts passages I gave him in the previous lesson; he also answered all context clues questions correctly when he was asked to fill in a missing word. When asked to use the context clues to define the meaning of a bold-type word in a sentence, he answered 75% of the questions correctly. He and I briefly discussed the meaning of conclusions in reading and writing. His verbal definition of a conclusion was adequate. I reinforced his definition by repeating a key point: a conclusion is a decision you make after examining all the evidence in a story. A conclusion is not always plainly stated, but you use the evidence to figure it out. To warm him up for the passage readings I assigned for homework, I read a brief verbal description of a place or holiday and asked him either where I was when describing a location or what holiday I was celebrating when describing a holiday. He answered 5/5 questions correctly. I always followed his answer with "What evidence did you use?"ù The details he referenced were always revealing, and he did not omit a single important detail in giving evidence for his answers. I asked him to complete a conclusion passage for homework. I also instructed him to use mapping while answering the questions for a model placement exam passage I assigned as well. To begin our writing lesson, the student and I reviewed the features of a grammatical sentence; we decided that a sentence is "a complete thought...with a subject and verb."ù He verbally defined the role of a subject and the role of a verb in a sentence. I asked him to read through eight groups of words that were either phrases or sentences. He identified phrases and sentences correctly. When he encountered a phrase, I asked him "How could we make it a sentence?"ù He always added an appropriate subject or subject and verb to transform a phrase to a complete sentence. All his answers were verbal. Next, he and I discussed embedded sentences; that is, how to write two simple sentences like "I picked a rose. It was red,"ù as one descriptive sentence: I picked a red rose. He read through six sentences, each missing a descriptive word. He filled in the missing words correctly (this was an open-ended activity). I asked him to do this because he will need to know how to embed simple details in his sentences to add value to his writing. He will not have much time to write on the exam, so the faster he can add little details to his story, the better. Next, we reviewed a new draft of his story based on the same image from the previous lesson. This draft was an improvement. He added some nice sensory details ( and even referenced them as such when I asked) like "the foul stench of garbage."ù His story ended on a cliffhanger, and it felt appropriate, realistic, for his story. I suggested that he shorten some of his sentences using the embedding technique we discussed earlier in the lesson. In addition, his story had a beginning, but he did not adequately describe the setting. After I finished reading he said, "I should add some details about the sidewalk."ù I agreed and encouraged him to do so in his next rewrite. We rewrote many of his sentences together, using the embedding technique, and I asked him to write up a final draft for review during our next lesson. The student correctly converted three improper fractions to mixed numbers; he also converted three mixed numbers to improper fractions correctly. I asked him to complete four word problems. The hardest one asked him to translate the information in the word problem into an algebraic equation (he had to select the correct multiple-choice option that displayed the equation) and he answered it correctly. I read him a word problem that required him to multiply 1/2 x 1/2. He answered correctly. I left him with a math sheet of improper fractions to convert into mixed numbers."
"We began the session working on the essay. The student practiced pre-planning by writing a hook, a thesis sentence, and 2 specific examples. I gave her 3 separate prompts, and timed her for 5 minutes. She got good at the hooks and the theses (with practice), but struggled with finding examples that were specific. We discussed and worked on this. Then I allowed her to choose one of the 3 prompts and write an essay. She finished in less than half the time, so we looked at what she had written. I emphasized that she needs 3-7 sentences in each of the 4 or 5 paragraphs. We worked on format of intro and conclusion and using specifics for examples. We spent the remaining time on both sentence completions and math."
"We worked through lots of new math concepts - volume of cones, cylinders, area of a circle, as well as other new things. The student enjoys math and took to the new concepts well. She will be covering some of them soon in class, which will give her a nice boost over her classmates and also a good review of materials she'll see on the SSAT. We also worked on reading comprehension again. She continues to improve her comprehension skills."
"The student is a bright girl and seems comfortable with many of the topics we touched. She completed a number of questions in each of the sections. We focused primarily on Verbal and discussed the strategies in completing synonym and analogy questions. She has started a vocabulary list that she will add to each time she sees an unfamiliar word; she will then learn these words to build her vocabulary base. For homework, the student should complete the writing prompt and Section One of Math."
"The student is a math wizard! I am super impressed with her. There were a couple math things we went over, but mostly she knew what to do and got the right answer. Since I think doing more math in our sessions might be a waste of time since we could be doing other things, I told her to look at another math diagnostic test on the website and look through the questions to make sure she was comfortable with everything, then to write down the numbers she had questions on and email them to me. She doesn't need to do them, just look at them to make sure she's comfortable with the problem and the words used."
"The student is improving her ability to do analogies. I brought her harder ones (with vocabulary closer to her level) and she did very well on them. She is also doing better on her vocabulary homework, including remembering to think about second or third meanings for words and writing better sentences in response to reading questions. I am really pleased with how hard she is working on her vocabulary and her desire to improve."