The student simplified 5/6 fractions correctly. He wrote the factors for the numerator and the denominator correctly for each problem; he identified a trick fraction that was already written in simplest terms and used factoring to prove his answer. The fraction he missed, he initially simplified to 2/16. I reminded him that two even numbers is a signal to simplify further. He took my cue and correctly simplified the fraction to 1/8. He is working through problems more accurately. He is writing the factors correctly and taking the time to select the correct greatest common factor (GCF), and we will continue to hone this math skill.
The student completed 6/7 probability word problems correctly. The one problem he missed required him to recognize the word "and"ù to solve the word problem. He and I discussed the meaning of the word "and"ù when it appears in a probability problem. I reviewed a sample problem with him and explained a sample circle chart that showed the formula for solving probability problems with the word "and"ù. After this impromptu lesson, I alerted him to the word "and"ù in the problem he missed, and he was able to follow the formula correctly and solve the problem. The next session, I will introduce him to probability problems that use "or,"ù and we will continue building his familiarity with "and."
The student read through five paragraph length passages and circled the answer choice that best described the main idea of the passage. He answered 4/5 questions correctly. For the question he missed, he identified a prominent detail in the passage as the main idea. I reviewed the passage with him, and asked "What is really being described in this story?"ù He scanned the answer choices again and chose the correct answer. I further explained how his original answer choice, though discussed in detail, was more explanatory than substantive: that is, it explained why something was done, but the main idea of the paragraph was how something was done "and the details describing why actually reinforced the larger idea of "how"ù it was done. He understood this explanation and recognized his initial error. I will administer more passages like these that blur the lines between a prominent detail and the main idea in future sessions so that the student can get further practice to distinguish well-laid details from the main point of a story.
He also read two reading comprehension passages from a sample ISEE test. He answered the multiple choice questions that followed each passage. I showed him a mapping technique"writing short phrases or symbols in the margin to mark the location of important story points "with the first part of the passage. I restated the idea that any symbols or notes should mark the location of information that answers questions about the who, what, where, when, why, and how details of the story. He read the passage to himself, underlining important information as he read; his total score for both passages was 9/12; he missed two questions for the first passage, one for the second passage. Overall, he performed well on these passages; he answered all context-clue vocab questions correctly and his understanding of the themes was clearly demonstrated in his explanation of his answer choices. He is improving. In the next sessions, I will have him continue practice using shorthand abbreviations and concise questions when he maps.
The student answered 10 synonym questions from a sample ISEE. He answered 9/10 questions correctly. He missed the word "revere;"ù when I gave the word to him in a contextual sentence, he chose the correct synonym. He has always done well with synonyms. In future sessions, given his ability to decode meaning from contextual sentences, I will have him write vocab cards with the definition of a word, followed by a contextual sentence of his own writing.
The student and I reviewed his new summary. He did a good job combining details from our two summaries. Building upon that lesson, I demonstrated how many of the details in the story could be linked together by a common cause, and the cause and details could be made into a separate, complete paragraph. I drew a small chart to demonstrate the causal idea and the details surrounding it. I will write a model paragraph for our next session and teach the student an essay dissection technique that will allow him to visually link supporting details to a common idea; he will be able to use this technique in either drafting or editing. I will demonstrate how to use it in future sessions.