Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Prior to this lesson, the student completed a practice SSAT with another tutor. I spent considerable time during this lesson reviewing some of his errors in that section; I also reviewed a prefix strategy for the synonyms section of the SSAT. In order to maintain the pace with vocabulary units, I started the lesson with a unit three vocab unit review test. He answered 14/17 questions correctly. Writing Review I reviewed his writing sample, but before I made any edits and corrections, I gave him the opportunity to make final corrections. He did make some edits, changing one "there"ù to "their"ù (and the change was correct), and adding a period to the end of a sentence. His story was well-organized, with a clear, beginning, middle, and end. He added details from the answers to questions I asked him during the last session. I reviewed several sentences with him that could be simplified and clarified. He and I collaborated on the sentence revision. I asked him to write up the final version of his essay, so he has a completed final draft as a model. Next, he and I reviewed three reading passages from his practice test. Before reading, I discussed the difference between general and specific questions. I told him to preview the questions for the passage before we reread it and write a "G"ù next to the general questions (based on the entire passage) and an "S"ù next to specific questions (about a word in a sentence, a specific paragraph, etc.) A student should always answer the specific questions first. He and I worked on the remaining questions. He and I worked through a new reading passage together. He wrote questions in the margin. I told him that he could underline the answers to his questions in the text (based on how he does with the questions, and if I think it will save him time later on, I may require him to underline the answers to his questions in the text.) His questions were appropriate and he answered 5/5 questions correctly; I allowed him to work on the second passage alone. He scored 3/5 initially, but corrected one answer before we reviewed it. He corrected his other wrong answer quickly, and was able to underline a specific line in the text to explain his answer. In our next session, to approximate the conditions of the SSAT, I will bring several reading passages (including a poem), ask him to preview the questions for each passage, label each question as general or specific, use the mapping questions as he reads (first passage can be done without underlining, but I will score the passage before he proceeds to the next. He completed one fraction addition problem, wrote his answer correctly as a mixed number. He also correctly answered a word problem that required him to multiply fractions. I left him with reading passages (with the instructions to map with questions), an analogy review sheet, and a math review sheet (that included translating a verbal description into a numerical equation), and instructions to study his vocab unit for his test next session."
"Today we began by preparing for the writing portion of the test. The writing piece is in response to a photo or picture. The student will have 15 minutes to write. I explained to the student that the writing piece is not scored; it is sent to the school directly to use as they please. Usually the school will read it to get a sense of: how the student thinks; how he expresses himself; his imagination; his organization skills; and his writing skills. I gave the student a picture prompt, and we worked together creating a web for the 5 w's. He didn't have any in-depth ideas, but he created the basics. Then I timed him. He used 3 minutes to plan and only needed 9 to write. I had him use the remaining time to proofread what he had written, looking for spelling, punctuation, and any changes in word choice he'd like to make. We talked about his ideas and about using as much description in his story as he can think of. We went through the process again with a second picture prompt, but this time we didn't talk about the pre-writing/planning. After five of the fifteen minutes, the student was done. I think the writing portion will be a challenge for the student, but it is only one of many criteria the school uses in their decision making. I suggested that the student use the opportunity to tell a story that interests him. We also spent time on two reading passages. Out of the 8 questions that followed, the student got 7 correct. And finally math, working on fractions, geometry (perimeter and area), and the basics of percentages."
"Today, we began the session by reviewing the reading comprehension assignment that I left the student at the end of our last session. We also reviewed two practice essays that he wrote in the time between our sessions. I then reviewed vocabulary with him and administered practice verbal placement exam sections in order to assess his progress thus far. Based on these practice sections, I can say that I am happy with his knowledge of vocabulary, but he needs to work on his timing. I find that he is either rushing or taking too long, and I want to work with him to find a "happy medium." I left him with three essay prompts that I would like him to complete over the course of this week. Although his writing samples are currently acceptable, I would like to see them improve (he tends to get off-topic and leaves grammatical errors). All in all, he is making great progress with this test prep."