Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"I gave the student an assignment sheet for his homework that is full of detail. First, we discussed the story of Tom Sawyer, which he is reading in school. Then we worked on the conclusion of War of the Worlds and went over the meaning of bacteria's victory over the Martians. He was able to determine the pragmatic message of the text. We then moved on to discussing the poem I am using to help build his inferential skills. I read the Dickinson poem aloud to him while he read it, and we talked about the possible meanings of the poem. We discussed basic discoveries that required belief in Baconian principles. He was able to develop a claim about the need to be rational and practical in the face of trouble. I encouraged him to spend five minutes addressing the poem in whichever way he felt was appropriate and he wrote some thoughts. We discussed a strategy for fairly looking at the practical approach to problems and I connected it to Wells's figure of the mad clergyman in the War of the Worlds. This helped. Finally, we resumed our work with the vocabulary words."
"The student had an English assignment to write an essay on the movie Swing Kids that he watched in class. He wrote the essay during our session. We discussed organization of the essay, transitions, and integrating examples. As always, his attitude was excellent, and he did a very good job."
"We had a few things to cover, so I segmented the session, using about 45 minutes to talk about 'King of Shadows,' 15 minutes to talk about Tennyson, and another 30 to talk about 'The Outsiders.' Starting with King of Shadows, we talked about each character and their development. The student had read the first chapter, which introduces each of the characters - while he was good with primary analysis "Arby (the director of the plays) is too strict; Nat (the protagonist) lives with his aunt because his parents died," we worked on delving deeper into each character. I had him write a quick summary of what he's read so far after we had talked about the main events, and 'King of Shadows' provided a good warm-up, though it was still a little long- I'll need to watch the time better next week. We then went into Tennyson - his homework was to write an essay on why he agreed or disagreed with Tennyson's quote "Tis better to have loved and lost/ than to have never loved at all." We had some computer issues, so I had him rewrite the essay, timing him (8 minutes). He took the middle road, saying it depended on the person, but I pushed him on what his opinion would be. We then went through examples of his life where he's loved and lost. Once he got it in context, he was able to understand more. I need to remind him more to put things that he reads into personal context, so that he can be a little more attached to reading/writing. With my eye on the time, I assigned him the essay - I want him to write a structured essay with the examples we had talked about and time himself. I don't want to rush him, but I want to see how long it takes him to write a well thought-out essay. I'm more comfortable assigning this again, because we had already talked about it in length during the session, but now he needs to do what he's been struggling with - put his spoken words into sentences, paragraphs, and essays. We finished with 'The Outsiders.' I'm fairly confident his class will finish the book this week, and we worked on summaries. I first had him summarize the book thus far verbally, but noticed he was getting some of the characters mixed up (there are quite a bit of characters). We mapped everyone out, drawing lines between friends, who killed who, etc.- this seemed to help him out quite a bit. I then had him do a timed summary - he went over time and it was very colloquial. He also repeated pronouns a lot (he/his/him), which he realized and fixed after I read it out loud. His homework from this is to answer a few of the questions I had after reading the summary. I also saw some schoolwork, mostly essays that we've already gone over, so I didn't delve too deeply into it. His teacher seems to grade more on the technical side versus on more idealistic development, such as writing to your audience, character development, sentence variation, and redundancy (we have been mostly focusing on the idealistic development). His grades were B's, but I think with careful proofreading and some thought and motivation, he can get an A."
"The student is still working on his persuasive essay. He was able to get the entire paper done today! (3-4 pages) He covered all the topics necessary now I am having him find supportive facts to include and create a works cited. On Sunday we are going to thoroughly proofread it and make any necessary edits."
"The student and I first started with a story on Thurgood Marshall. We answered multiple choice questions, defined words, and wrote complete sentence answers to questions. Then, I helped him study for a vocabulary test he had coming up with long vowel sounds. He was able to give me definitions, use words in sentences, and spell them correctly. In addition to him working with his vocabulary words, I introduce him to worksheets I had on the short "a" and "i" sounds."
"We worked on APA formatting and proofreading/revisions. Some of the formatting details were a little tricky. The student had a positive attitude and is making progress on the paper. We discussed what is required of critical analyses a bit, working on supporting rather than simple reporting. The student is close to having a final draft."