Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We began by discussing the details of the student's assigned reading. In this discussion, she was able to articulate the main ideas and the reasons for the use of specific language, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of certain details. These are typical SAT questions, so her ability to answer them correctly for a difficult reading is a good sign. After this, we created a detailed outline that explains what each sentence of an SAT essay should accomplish. She was able to come up with most of the sentence functions from prior knowledge, as well as examples using a sample prompt. I was able to tweak some aspects of the outline to make it realistic for the 25 minutes she will have on the exam, as well as to reflect some of the writing preferences she has shared with me. Then, we practiced outlining two different essays, using past SAT prompts. She seemed comforted that she had the outline template to work from as she was creating her own essay. She struggled a bit with forming thesis statements, and I gave her one of many thought exercises to stimulate some new ideas when she faces this block. Also, I explained to her the realistic expectations essay graders have of these 25-minute essays, particularly in terms of the originality of ideas. This comforted her. Next, we dissected what makes a strong thesis statement and she was able to practice writing several theses using the formula we created. By her third one, she was very comfortable with this skill. This is quite an accomplishment as the prompts to which her theses responded became increasingly more difficult. We ended by recapping the parts of the SAT essay. The student seems comfortable with our outline and has been asked to review it and use it as often as possible. This should be easy, as her English class at school is beginning instruction on the writing process. For Tuesday, she is going to read the introduction of Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. She is reading the introduction for an indication of the book's main arguments. This is one of many sophisticated readings she will be exposed to as an exercise in reading comprehension and as options for literary examples in her essay."
"We reviewed homework from reading class 1 and science class 1. We went through English class 2 and the essay."
"We started the session by reviewing the science passages that the student had completed this past week. She does well on passages that she fully understands, and has more difficulty with passages where the content is new or presented in a complicated format. To that end, we worked on how to read different types of graphs, as well as understanding the relationship between graphs/tables in passages where multiple tables/graphs are used. We also talked about making sure to use context to support answer choices for unfamiliar passages. She overall seems to grasp passage topics and general purpose. She has two reading passages to work through for next session. With the English section, we reviewed the passage she completed for homework. Although there were some grammar topics that she was unfamiliar with, she has enough literature background that going with the answer that "sounds best" usually works for her. We talked about a couple of specific grammar rules that support her answer choices and will continue to do so in the upcoming sessions (specifically commas, prepositional phrases, semicolons). She has 2 English passages to work through for Wednesday."