Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"I began by asking the student what he wanted to improve on in his writing; he explained that he's not very confident in his writing abilities, and that he wants to be able to organize his thoughts better when he writes. We started looking at some essays that he's already written this year. One was a short history essay, while another was a more formal document for student council. While I read over those, I gave him a short writing prompt. On both of the sample pieces, I gave him tips on how to improve his clarity, as well as editing his writing to make it stronger and more concise. Then I went over the writing prompt, pointing out some habits that he has as a writer, some of which help him and some of which hurt him. We moved on to a couple English assignments he's had, which I again used to give him tips on strengthening his writing. The main tip I gave him for his English assignments was to try to interpret the author's point of view as the focus of his analysis, since the samples showed a tendency to avoid doing so. Lastly, I showed him a university's list of application essay questions as a source of interesting writing prompts that he can pick from to practice his writing. I asked him to pick one and write a page or so for our next session."
"The student's schoolwork is starting to pick up a bit but she still seems to be on top of it. It seems that math might prove to be a challenge this year but if she keeps working hard she will be fine."
"The student and I did the second reaction paper for her philosophy class and discussed the paper for her sociology class."
"The student practiced rewriting some old thesis statements. We then moved on to constructing body paragraphs. We discussed a formula for writing topic sentences (or "mini-theses"), and tactics for condensing lengthy chunks of illustration. Her homework assignment was to write a thesis and one body paragraph from a provided prompt."
"The student provided a text of a timed practice test he took in advance. We analyzed that text and discussed developing a more time-efficient plan for reading and writing an SAT essay. We first practiced reading and writing an outline with the sample text he was already familiar with, and then we practiced writing a timed essay based on that outline. The resulting essay was better than the one done in preparation. For homework, I have given him a sample text about the same length as his and asked him to practice reading and writing on a timed clock of 12 minutes to read and write an outline, 35 minutes to write an essay, and 3 minutes for editing and revision."
"The student provided some materials from this past school year, which we went through to see what it might have taken to get a perfect score - he had scored 90 on both his history and English projects. His work is generally strong. To further assess, I gave him a short inference reading with a picture. He did perfectly on the multiple choice. He did a double SSAT/MCAS reading with multiple-choice comprehension questions and one open response. I am also assigning fifteen-minute writing exercises. As we get a better idea of where he is, it seems that we will likely move pretty quickly to 8th grade level."