"I read through the student's practice essay. I critiqued the grammar, organization, and style. His writing is improving in terms of content. His story did include a description of the visual prompt, and the main activity he described was appropriate for the setting of the visual prompt. However, he tends to follow a fixed pattern or template. To assist him with his rewrite, I helped him make an Editor's Checklist, which he wrote on the back of his practice draft. He suggested the first step for himself: "Add more detail about one event before moving to the next."ù I suggested two other steps: Check my Commas; Begin sentences with a capital letter and them with a period. I suggested, to Hudson, that he read his story aloud to himself when he is finished writing it. This way, he can learn to correct some of his own mistakes by ear. This "by ear"ù rule can be vague on its own, but he and I reviewed using commas during the previous lesson as well. Lastly, I suggested that he add some additional details to the end of his story to make it more complete.
To build on his knowledge and ability to distinguish homophonic words and contractions, he completed a worksheet of "Troublesome Words."ù I assigned him a worksheet on "there"ù vs "their"ù vs "they're"ù for homework.
I left the student with two sample reading passages from a lower level placement exam. I asked him to complete the reading for homework. We reviewed the questions for each passage; I wanted to be sure that he really understands what is being asked of him. The test makers tend to repeat the same question types for different passages. In addition, I discussed an important preview test taking strategy with him--read the first sentence of each passage, decide if you know a little or a lot about the topic, then read the passages you are less familiar with first, because they will take longer to read than the passages about something you are familiar with. He read the first sentence of each passage, and then ranked the passages based on his familiarity with their content.
He and I reviewed the two questions he answered incorrectly on the reading passage assigned during the previous lesson. One question asked him to identify the "primary"ù reason for a major event in a story. I asked him to define "primary"ù and explain what the question was asking him to do; he was able to define primary and explain the task of the question. With these precedents clear, we discussed why his initial answer was incorrect; he then circled the correct answer. I suggested a strategy for tackling this type of question if he is unsure of the answer: plug each suggested reason into the question, and see if the reason is really the cause of the event, or just a detail. We practiced this method with the question he corrected. For the other question he answered incorrectly, he was asked to identify a question that could be answered based on the information in the passage. We used process of elimination to find the correct answer; I also pointed out that he would have answered the question much faster had he used mapping, because he would know where to find specific information in each paragraph. He could have quickly eliminated two wrong answers had he used mapping. I demonstrated this to him, and he agreed to use mapping for the reading assigned during this lesson; and all future readings as well.
He answered all drawing conclusions questions assigned in the previous lesson correctly. He also answered all his inference questions correctly.
The student answered 8/9 analogies correctly; all the analogies were based on part-to-whole relationships. He recognized this commonality and explained it to me verbally when I asked him. He quickly corrected his one error when he reread the analogy. I cautioned him to always carefully select his answers. I asked him to complete bridge sentences for each analogy, just so he can practice the technique. I will show him other techniques for solving analogies in future lessons.
He and I reviewed his verbal flashcards. He recalled all definitions correctly and was able to identify a synonym for each word. We worked together to make two of his sentences more contextually revealing. He knew the meaning of a common suffix, "less,"ù shared by two synonyms.
Lastly, he and I reviewed a vocabulary packet. In the packet, twenty words were presented; he knew the meanings of many words on the list and checked the words he was unfamiliar with. We discussed two roots "pro"ù and "dis"ù shared by some of the words in the list. He knew the meaning of "dis"ù and that it has a negative connotation; he also knew that "pro"ù had a positive connotation. He completed a group of synonym multiple choice questions based on the list; he answered all of the synonyms correctly. I asked him to answer the remaining questions in the packet for homework. The remaining questions focus on building knowledge of word use, through fill-in-the-blank sentences, in context, and make the student examine subtle differences between similar words: e.g. "What is the difference between the word blunt and the word frank?"ù