Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The central focus of this session was a fill-in-the-blank story. Because the student's focus and motivation wavers when faced with writing freely (writing more than a sentence or two), I thought trying something with more structure and room for creativity could be advantageous. Thus, I brought a fill-in-the blank scary Halloween story, which allowed her to play with word choice, create a story with a sillier edge, and attack writing as less of a formal exercise and more of an artistic, fun endeavor. While she completed the exercise at a slower pace, she took fewer breaks and spent less time sharing stories as a stalling tactic than normal. The one exception to her slow, even approach to the exercise was when she struggled to understand how to fill in three blanks, which, when taken together, made a simile. I had to reassure her that it was okay that completing the sentence was a bit of a struggle -- that this meant it was something for her to strive to and something she could accomplish with my support. In addition, I stressed the fact that she does not need to be perfect or write perfectly in my presence, as my concern is her effort and growth, not perfection. I also said that she need to take "can't" out of her vocabulary. It took a few minutes to convince her to focus on the good, the great progress she had made with the rest of the story. To help shift her focus, I said that I'd really like to hear her story thus far and gave her the option of reading it to me. As she began reading, she quickly and excitedly talked me through her word choices and the picture she was trying to paint with the characters involved. Interestingly, when she got to the end of the story, the section that had earlier led to an outburst somehow seemed less intimidating and she was able to fill in the final blank with ease. I used this as an opportunity to commend her writing abilities and the power of taking a step back when something seems difficult and returning it to it later for a fresh perspective. She agreed to add at least five more bullet points (events) to her graphic organizer for the story she is (we are) working on long term."
"We worked mostly with spelling today. We reviewed words that we worked on two weeks ago and he had learned the words that were troubling him last time. We worked together on creating mnemonic devices and memorization tricks for particular words and categories of words. We also played a word game that involved throwing free association words back and forth, where the last letter of each word had to begin the next word, which strengthens spelling skills. He came up with some fantastic words, such as rebel, claustrophobic, and rigid. We ended our session with a short free-write, engaging all five senses, on the subject of his participation in a soccer tournament last week."
"The student did a quick write at the beginning of our session, and we continued to do our story writing exercise. We alternated back and forth writing two sentences of a story until it was complete. This is helping her come up with ideas and transform them into writing without overthinking it. I gave her a short writing assignment to complete by next week. She will be writing about leading an expedition into a cave. I am excited to see what she comes up with!"
"The student is a fantastic writer! I was very impressed with his writing abilities. He worked on more fully developing the body paragraphs of his essay, writing a three-part thesis statement, writing a conclusion, adding appositives to his work, and replacing passive voice with active voice. Nice work!"
"The student and I went over his recent assignments and grade in both English and Science (the two classes we're trying to pull up his average in) and confirmed that he hasn't lost any easy points in the last week. He and I then read through two NYT articles together, and I had him ask questions, use context clues, and summarize the point as we went along, and then incorporate those thoughts into two readings logs he wrote and submitted. We then went over a practice short answer question I left for him to do over the weekend, and he showed good progress in writing structure. We did a practice ELA multiple choice set (which he breezed through), and did a little of his science homework together."
"This morning the student continued polishing his research paper from the previous day. Today we focused more on editing and formatting. I sent him a document with highly detailed notes on the session. Like the previous day, he was engaged and willing to learn. Overall it went great and the paper is 99% complete."