Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"To start this lesson, I read the student a brief story by Dr. Seuss; the story was based on the word "niche."ù While the word was spelled as "Nitch"ù in the story, Dr. Seuss preserved the sound, and after reading the story, the reader could infer the meaning of "Nitch."ù I asked Stella to research the meaning of "laissez faire,"ù a term she will cover in social studies this year, and write a story similar to the Dr. Seuss story. The purpose of this exercise is to help the student recognize the importance of context clues; the word "Nitch"ù was spelled incorrectly but placed in a context that made its meaning intelligible. I read her ecosystems passage aloud to her, stopping at the end of each paragraph to ask a comprehension question. She answered all my comprehension questions correctly. I taught the student a strategy for answering multiple-choice questions. The strategy involves: 1. Reading the item (question) 2. Reading every answer choice 3. Considering why each answer choice may or may not be the answer 4. Making the best choice based on the evaluation I modeled the procedure for the student with a sample question. She helped me select the correct answer choice. We completed the next question together. I asked the student to answer the next two questions independently. She answered the first question incorrectly, the second question correctly. I reread the question the student missed; I verbally thought aloud as I evaluated each answer choice, asking for the student's feedback. She selected the correct answer choice after hearing my think-aloud. All the multiple-choice questions were based on the ecosystems reading passage. Next, the student wrote answers to three "Yes/No/Why"ù questions. The student must answer a question with yes or no, then explain his or her answer; each question is answered verbally, then written down in grammatical sentences. Her verbal answers were all correct. When she wrote her answers, she attempted to take shortcuts commonly used in writing notes (e.g. using an & instead of "and"ù). I reminded the student that such shorthand is acceptable for taking notes, but writing answers to questions should always be in grammatical sentences. She answered three "Yes/No/Why"ù questions; she read her answers aloud to me. We worked together to correct her grammar. Her answers were all correct. Next, the student and I reviewed a strategy for writing multiple-paragraph answers to questions. She read a sample prompt question based on the reading passage aloud. I then introduced the student to the "Planning Box"ù; a student lists topics for each paragraph, supporting details for each paragraph, crosses out details irrelevant to the topics, connects topics that can be combined into a single, longer sentence with a vertical bracket, and then numbers the details in logical order. I discussed each of these steps with the student, using a model planning box. The model had a detail from the first paragraph crossed-out and two details connected with bracket. I asked the student to explain why the student crossed-out a specific detail; she seemed slightly stalled by this question, so I followed it up by asking her to restate the topic of the paragraph, and then I asked if the detail was relevant to the topic. She correctly answered "no."ù We also discussed how two details were connected with the bracket; the student correctly observed that the ideas were similar but slightly different; both ideas talked about ecosystems being made up of living and nonliving things interacting. I hoped to review the model three-paragraph essay based on the planning box with the student, but the time ran out. I asked the student to complete the vocabulary decoding exercise for the next reading passage. If the student finishes the vocabulary, we can review it quickly at the start of the next lesson and begin reading right away."
"We started with a reading comprehension article on chewing gum. He did well. Next, we worked on spelling. He did an exercise on "vowels with 'r.'" That went all right. He took some time but only had one wrong in the end. Then I let him choose something to do for a short break. He chose a challenging maze. He stalled at one point but rebounded with some encouragement and finished it accurately. Moving on, he did a proofreading exercise. He continues to like these and, as usual, did a good job. To end, we read in the A-Z book. Per his mom's and my agreement, I will plan to give him a bit of homework starting with our next session, Thursday."
"Student 1 reads very quickly. It signaled both a comfort and, more importantly, an engagement/interest in reading. However, he made mispronunciation mistakes and ignored certain punctuation because of glancing over of the passage too quickly. His retention level also reflected this, as he failed to catch some details when he read. There are many ways to work on this, but I think reading his books (Pie in the Sky, Percy Jackson) and establishing comprehension questions is a first step to ensuring he keeps reading and that his retention is tested. We will also work on reading methodically, and pausing periodically to test comprehension. Overall, though, Student 1's enthusiasm and willingness was very impressive. Student 2 on the other hand was very measured in his reading. His mistakes, understandably for a second grader, came from just not knowing how certain things were pronounced or said (e.g., the soft gh in cough, laugh, and though tripped him up). This will improve as he expands his knowledge of spelling and exceptional word sounds. I will compile a list of these to begin working on with him, and I will search for books that focus on such words. I was very impressed with both his level and his willingness."
"We focused again on letter sounds and writing today. The student practiced writing uppercase O, T, S and P. We then practiced letter sound cards in which he was able to successfully give letter sounds for 90% of the flashcards. Today, he was able for the first time to successfully identify all letters of the alphabet."
"We focused on building words that were at least four letters long, as well as secondary adjacent words. We also discussed letter blends and sounding out proposed words to make sure that they make sense or are valid words. We then talked about the definition of words to make sure that they not only understood how to read the words that they spelled, but that they knew what those words actually meant. All of these skills were practiced in an interactive competitive format."
"We focused on English today. I introduced gerunds and how they work, as it is likely this will be the next grammar topic. I gave the student a broad overview of Night, then we read the first chapter together. I stopped to define some key terms as well as to highlight key passages. We went through study guide questions."