Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"For our last session together, the student and I primarily reviewed things we'd discussed in previous sections as I felt it wouldn't be the wisest decision to begin teaching her new things only two days prior to her ISEE. That being said, before we began, the student seemed to be feeling a little nervous, so I reminded her that she'd be taking this test with students who were older than her, that her scores would only be compared with students that were her own age, and that therefore she only had to do her best and aim to beat her classmates. In short, missing a few questions here or there is expected! At first, we spent about ten to fifteen minutes reminding ourselves of what some of the math vocab words meant. We also worked for a while with adding and subtracting decimals, adding negative numbers, exponents and what they mean, and how to utilize the Order of Operations. As we began to approach the end of our session, I could tell that the student's confidence was beginning to pick up. Overall, I think the student's abilities and confidence have improved tremendously, and all that she needs to succeed on the ISEE is the ability to maintain that confidence as she works through the test."
"The student's mother requested that the remaining tutoring sessions focus on preparing him for the two math sections on the exam: Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics Achievement. I will still prepare verbal units for him, but he will take the assessments at home and turn them into me. If there are any words that he clearly struggles with, then we will discuss mnemonic tricks and question strategies that may be helpful: prefix based analysis, think of a sentence, which word approximates your own definition. To begin this lesson, he and I continued our discussion of probability, ratios, and proportions. He can easily answer questions that ask him to write the shaded portion of a figure as a fraction, or to write the number of shapes from a group of shapes as a fraction. He is less confident with probability style questions that involve part to whole or part to part comparisons, especially questions that give him one part to total comparison and ask him to calculate another part to total comparison by inference and calculation. We reviewed a number of concepts before beginning probability word problems: • A ratio is a comparison of quantities • A proportion is the equating of two ratios • Using a quarter, we discussed how probability is the likelihood of a specific event from a total number of possible events. • The probability of a specific event has a value between 0 and 1; 0 means that the specific event has no chance of occurring, 1 means that the event will definitely occur. • In a probability problem, all part to total comparisons add up to 1. I read through a series of sample problems with him; many of the word problems began with a part to total comparison, gave a total number and asked him to calculate the corresponding part, or gave the part and asked him to calculate the corresponding total. He calculated many answers independently. He understood that the ratios representing the probabilities were being equated. I showed him how to write out a proportion and calculate the missing number using cross products, then setting up an algebra problem. He took to algebra remarkably well. He understood that a number times a variable (3x, for example) could be undone with division; that is, he understood how to calculate the value of a variable by performing the inverse operation to isolate the variable on one side of the equation. We completed seven problems together; at the end of the session, I asked him to solve a word problem that required him to calculate a part to whole comparison from a given part to part comparison, then calculate two parts from a given total. At the end of the lesson, he said he feels better about probability. I gave him a math review worksheet to work on at home. The review sheet included key terms and various word problems for him to solve at home. I asked his mother to mark the problems he completes independently and the problems his father assists him with. Such a distinction will help me determine how his skill is progressing. I will email his mother the vocab unit assessments for the week on Sunday."
"The student and I talked about what a standardized test is like, including format, time, and sections. We also talked about how it differs from a regular school test. She and I then worked through examples and practice questions for Sentence Completion questions. I discussed with her that there are several types of questions, including contrasts, cause and effect, and how to approach each question starting with identifying clue words, asking her why she thought they were important or helpful, developing our own prediction words for the blanks, and then going through each of the answer options to see whether the words given work or don't work. She began to be more interested as we worked through questions, and seemed to enjoy finding that her prediction words were in the answers or were similar."