Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We started the session by switching homework and new essay papers. While I was looking over the student's essay and synonyms/analogies homework, I tasked him with writing a creative essay that describes a feeling without listing the feeling (time limit: 25 minutes). He did really well with this, describing how he felt at his band concert the night prior when he forgot his music. He wasn't scrambling at the end, and 25 minutes felt like plenty of time to write a well-written essay. We spent the majority of the session doing the vocabulary portion - I asked him to tell me which words out of the 60 synonyms/analogies questions he didn't know, and wrote down each one. I explained each one, and wrote the definitions for some of them. He is taking the SSAT later, so I didn't want to bog him down with a lot of homework upfront. I only left him with the task of completing the rest of the vocabulary words, writing them down (word/definition) on each of the flashcards I had made in-the-moment, and going through the entire stack 3 times. I'm confident that he will do well with the writing portion of the SSAT, including the time limit, prompt type, and (hopefully) vocabulary as well."
"The student further developed her outline for her essay. Today, we searched for quotes from the book that she could use to support her argument. I was pleased that she had several parts in mind already, so we found them in the book and I helped her to decide where in the essay they would be most appropriate. She had also bought the post-it flags I had mentioned to her, and begun marking portions in the book she could use. She also wrote her thesis statement. Over the weekend, she will begin to write a rough draft of her essay so that next week we can edit and refine. She also has one more chapter to read in the book, which we agreed she will finish by Monday. I am confident that she has a strong argument and will write an equally strong essay. Next, we studied for her science vocab quiz. She seems to have all the words memorized already, but I've asked her to spend another 15 minutes studying Thursday evening. The second student and I studied again for his spelling test. We then read a passage about customs and traditions and he did very well answering the questions. Finally, he wrote a short paragraph about a custom he participates in, and whether or not it has changed over the years. He did a good job of including details and explaining why he believed the custom has not changed since its inception."
"This was my first session with this student. Because I was assessing his skills, I proceeded with a short lesson and writing, then reading a short passage from H.G. Wells together. What I taught was the structure of a paragraph. I then went over a good example with him and discussed the way the front and the back connected. I then set him the task of writing a unified paragraph about the Greek god, Zeus. He did very well with this task and surprised me with his resourcefulness. We then read the Wells passage, and he asked me about the less familiar words as we went along. He asked me about "tentacular" and "fungoid," and wanted to know how the story runs, and was curious about the history of the movies of the story. He showed curiosity, and asked if he could read that book, and I offered to read the first paragraph for him. He still seemed interested after, so I said that I would continue using passages from the book for vocabulary as we moved along. We then worked on synonyms for a short list of words. He performed very well. I asked him to write a note to me about how well he liked the lesson, what he thought about The War of the Worlds, and whether he thought the lesson was too hard, too easy, or just right. I will send him an essay prompt in reply, and ask him to complete a brief essay before Tuesday."
"The student is preparing for an in-class essay on The Pearl. He has a great understanding of the book's themes, so once he develops the introduction, I am sure he will have no problem writing the essay. Developing the thesis statement is the challenge to him now. He will work on that for next time and begin writing his draft."
"The student is required to do a reading response free write every week. Today we dissected several of his past reading responses. We practiced nonessential adjective clauses, and I asked him to insert one into his writing. I also asked him to insert a semicolon to combine two short sentences. He did really well with this exercise. I had him read through his writing out loud several times, which is very helpful for him to catch mistakes and determine areas that require clarity. We spent some time analyzing his writing for word choice, pointing out words that were overused or not colorful enough. I'm going to start implementing a "word of the day" each session to expand his vocabulary. Today's word was transpire. He seems very eager to include a wider vocabulary in his writing."
"The student is still working on her gardening book report project (due Monday), 3 short paragraphs based on her 5-facts were complete when I arrived today. Her mom had me help her work on her last 2-3 paragraphs and sentence structure. She's doing very well with her spelling, and her sentences are improving. I have been having her form them aloud and then write them and directing her on correct punctuation usage."