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Session Summaries by SSAT Tutors

Geneva, IL SSAT tutoring
The student and I completed his vocab unit assessment; he scored 16/20 on the assessment. All errors were reviewed and corrected. The words missed on this unit assessment will be included on future assessments. Despite his errors, the student was very focused during the assessment, and he did take his time to methodically cross out answer choices he deemed incorrect. As his score reflects, many of his omissions were correct. He answered 4 short-answer questions correctly; his answers were brief, sometimes one word, but correct. He also self-corrected two of his errors after taking a closer look at some questions. The student then completed six metric conversion problems. He was given a measurement in certain units and asked to convert that measurement to its equivalent amount in smaller or larger units. We reviewed writing whole numbers with decimal points followed by zero, and then shifting the decimal to do the conversion. He used the visual aid I designed in a previous lesson, and he wrote down the key phrase "King Henry Drinks Ucky Dark Chocolate Milk,"ù to remember the sequence of metric units. He made one error when converting from meters to hectometers; he moved the decimal the right number of places, but he moved it in the wrong direction. I reminded him to look at the chart, and to remember which direction increases the size of the units, and which direction lessens the value of the units. He solved the five remaining problems correctly. Next, he and I worked on adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers. I gave him the visual aid of a number line with the numbers from -10 to 10. I also taught him a brief little phrase to help him remember a crucial point: When the signs are different, subtract the smaller number from the larger, and take sign of the larger number. He then answered four questions independently and correctly. The student had completed two reading passages for homework; he answered 3/5 questions correctly. One question he missed asked him to identify the phrase that best described the main idea of the passage; the other asked him to identify an inference that could be made from specific lines in a paragraph. We reviewed both errors, and he independently chose the correct answer. I verbally reminded him to make inferences based on the evidence in the text and what he knows in his head, but he must examine the text closely before making any kind of inference. He also answered 3/5 questions correctly on the second passage. He missed two "implication"ù questions. I instructed him to focus on specific evidence for the implications he draws. One of his answers is supported by no evidence from the text; he mapped the first two paragraphs of the passage, but did not map the third. I reminded him that mapping inconsistently can be ineffective; I will make sure that he explains his answers in detail during the next lesson. We will review problems involving inferences and implications again in our next session. I asked the student to read a poem titled "The Children's Hour"ù aloud. At the end of each verse, I asked him to stop, and then I asked him comprehension questions. He had difficulty comprehending some of the more figurative style language ("The dungeon of my heart"ù). Whenever he was stumped, I encouraged him to go back and read the previous lines, and I also told him that he was welcome to map poems; that is, he could make notes about the poem: how the character changes, what certain words mean, etc. In the next lesson, I will have him read a narrative poem, so that he can see how poetry can be used to tell a story, instead of merely expound on emotions. With look-backs, his comprehension of the poem improved. I asked him about the author's tone, and he cited several words and phrases in the poem to justify his answer. His comprehension of tone seems to be improving, and we will focus on understanding the meaning of the poems as well. We will review figurative language in poetry to help him understand that not all the words in poems are to be interpreted literally. I had him read a poem on his own; another poem about George Washington. He read the poem silently and answered three multiple-choice comprehension questions. He answered 2/3 questions correctly. He missed one question that asked him how George Washington felt about America. He answered that Washington only loved the American army. We reread the last two lines of the poem together which said that he loved America in "peace or strife;"ù the student admitted to not knowing what "strife"ù means; I reminded him that "or"ù is used to often connect two opposite ideas. So, because he knows the meaning of peace, he can infer that strife means the opposite: war. After this discussion he was able to identify the correct answer. I left him with a short poem about the American flag. I asked him to answer two-short answer questions based on the poem. Last, the student and I worked on math word problems. In one problem, he was asked to translate a verbal description into an equation in which potential numbers were represented by letters. He identified the correct operation for the problem based on the keywords and phrases. He selected the right answer from the multiple-choice options. In a second type of word problem, he was asked to write a story for a short word problem for a given division equation. He wrote an equation with the appropriate key words, and his equation did involve dividing a group into smaller pieces, so it was also conceptually correct. Lastly, he had to match an equation to a phrase that included "times"ù and "more than;"ù he identified the correct operation signaled by both key terms, and he used this knowledge to select the correct equation from his multiple-choice options.
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Geneva, IL SSAT tutoring
We completed the reading passage for the Lower Level exam that I sent her and went over all the answers. We completed most of the math section 2 and 4. Overall she is building an extensive vocabulary list and she should do well on the exam. She continues to read books every day which helps her reading speed.
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Geneva, IL SSAT tutoring
I had him do some reading comprehension questions in a slightly higher level book to get extra practice with specific inference questions. Then I had him grab a book he is reading for school, and we worked on summarizing tone and mood from a passage and main idea as practice for reading comprehension. Then he did a short expansion on an essay he wrote with his mom, and a set of analogies.
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