Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I prepared for his upcoming essay exam in his AP Language Class. He has to write an in-class essay on Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." I picked out a few poems from Book 1 and 4 that I believed would help him prepare for his analysis. He mentioned that his main concern was not having experience doing close readings with poetry. To help him prepare, we discussed some of the recurring themes in Whitman's poems, such as the body/self, nature and relationships, and democracy as well as the social climate of Whitman's time (post-Civil War and Reconstruction). I also covered very briefly how to cite lines of poetry in essays. In addition, I stressed the importance of articulating a thesis and using the text as evidence to support that thesis."
"We reviewed his DBQ prompt 'The Penny', taking into account his teacher's comments to improve his DBQ writing. We identified and practiced two ways to improve sentences: 1) Adding specifics and details to his language (this small circle of shiny copper is deemed useful by penny enthusiasts vs. the penny is not useful to American culture) 2) Using a modified version of the document's introductory paragraphs to write engaging first sentences for his own paragraphs. We next read posted versions of the same DBQ "Penny" essay, and reviewed what those essays included or lacked that varied from the student's own essay. We concluded that he needed to make his 'outside examples' (personal recollections/observations) more apparent and specific, and improve the flow of his own essays. To improve the flow of his own essays, he suggested leaving a space where a transition would be, and returning to the transition after he had written the content-oriented portions of a paragraph. The student struggled most with including sufficient details and supporting his topic throughout the paragraphs. To this end, we made up a simple formula to help him identify all the portions of an essay paragraph he needs to have present. The formula involves six sentences, outlined thusly: 1) Transition 2) Idea and supporting example 3) Rebuttal to idea 4) Idea demonstrating rebuttal is flawed 5) Secondary example supporting why rebuttal is flawed 6) Summary sentence (i.e., analysis/evaluation) for conclusion of paragraph. I left the student with notes on how to follow this formula, and direction to practice applying the formula to the second body paragraph of his Penny essay."
"We went online and ran through several sets of multiple choice practice problems. We discussed some different test taking strategies, and she did really quite well. Her extra practice from me was to read a student exemplar I found online for a US History FRQ. We will be discussing it on Sunday, as well as composing thesis statements using the online practices."
"Today we continued to practice nonfiction writing. I had the student free write for 15 minutes, and we then discussed it. I then discussed essay writing and planning with him, and we broke his nonfiction piece into an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. I then had him write additional sentences for each paragraph, with new details and points he could include if he were to elaborate on the story and write more. We discussed planning essays, and decided that next time we would focus on learning how to plan effectively. He seems to be enjoying writing more. He is learning to write faster and trust the unique value of his thoughts and opinions, which is great to see!"
"We discussed the student's book report. While it was just writing up a short report, I focused primarily on helping him develop editing and writing skills. After he wrote out his report, we went through and developed his ability to know when to apply capitals, periods, and proper sentences. He then worked on the rest of the spelling in his packet. We edited half of the packet together. He is an extremely polite boy who likes to tell stories and always greets me upon arrival and thanks me upon departing. I love working with this kind young man."
"We reviewed for the student's upcoming construction test. He was mostly struggling with how to organize and locate the information. The student got slightly less motivated towards the end, as we had a lot to cover, but he tried his best the entire time. I'd consider this session a win, as he was much more confident about taking his test."