Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"In this session we examined the writing process, beginning with brainstorming, and moving from brainstorming to a first draft. We started by reading a selection from the book Writing Tools, which discussed the need to silence the inner critic during the idea-gathering process. I then explained a few brainstorming techniques including free writing, clustering, and listing. To practice the writing process, I assigned the student a persuasive essay, taking the opportunity to cover logos, ethos, and pathos--the elements of persuasion. We looked at the recent State of the Union address for examples of each element. I gave him five minutes to free write, and thirty minutes to write a first draft. In the meantime I marked a previous essay he had written, and summarized the essay's strengths and weaknesses. We concluded our session by reviewing comma usage in compound and complex sentences, and by practicing with comma placement in ordered lists, appositives, and nouns of direct address. He will complete his persuasive essay and send it to me before next session so I have time to comment on it."
"We established a solid rapport and are looking forward to working on her chosen genre: horror fiction. She's enthusiastic about her paper on Dracula, but seems a little anxious about the feedback she received on it. She's going to email me that feedback so we can formulate a plan for revision. I read a draft of her paper and found her writing to be strong and clear, with good references. I'm looking forward to our next session."
"Today's session covered three areas. We began the session with grammar, focusing on the use of prepositions in writing. I had the students write creative sentences using prepositions. I then moved on to the process of revising and editing. For revising, I introduced this concept by writing a sentence and asking the students to both use parts of speech to make my sentence more descriptive and interesting. One student does a great job of adding adjectives. I would like to work with him more on adding more than one word to a sentence. The other student adds many words, but sometimes the sentences don't make sense, so I will work with her more on sentence coherency. We then went into editing. I made a list of high frequency words, introducing 5 that I have seen them spell incorrectly. Using past writing work they spent some time editing their work for spelling errors. After that, we did a brainstorm for a new writing project where they will be explaining how to do something. Great session today!"
"We went over his readings on Emerson and Transcendentalism, really hammering the link between the quiz questions and his understanding of the material as a whole. We also covered the style of the exam as it will pertain to the Dickinson poems they covered in class, making sure that he could give a thorough summary of the poem as a whole from the first line alone. After Dickinson and the Transcendentalists, we went on to review the Poe stories he had trouble with last session, double-checking his distinctions between "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Tell-Tale Heart," and the fine details hidden in the lugubrious repetition of "The Raven.""
"We went over how to come up with a theme sentence from a story or a topic that you are writing about. We also went over some of the student's homework from school to make sure she understood her assignments."
"We went over how to use commas. The student completed an exercise targeting using commas. We also went over the revisions of the paragraphs that he had written during the last session. In addition, he wrote a portrait which we revised. He is good with sequencing events when writing. Punctuation is going to be one of the main targets for each lesson. He has to rewrite two revised paragraphs."