Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040 Reflection Report #2
Date(s) and Time(s) of Session(s): - Saturday, June 16th from 10 AM – 1 PM - Thursday, June 21st from 6 PM – 8 PM - Saturday, June 23rd from 10 AM – 1 PM Background Information: All of my tutoring sessions have taken place at Huntington Learning Center where I am a tutor. I work with students of all different ages and levels. I have broken down the section below into the different activities that I focused on with individual students. Please note that some students covered more than one activity and therefore the activities are listed together. Description of Activities Conducted: - Sounds: This is a core part of the Huntington Learning Center curriculum. While the name of the curriculum may sound trivial, it gets increasingly harder as the students’ progress. For the student I was working with, his program is on grade level. As an incoming 8th grader, this portion of the curriculum tends to focus on teaching students to dissect words, with an emphasis on understanding how a prefix or suffix affects meaning. This helps to reinforce the student’s understanding of root words and how you can make educated guesses based on the prefix/suffix combined with meaning of the root word and the context of the question. For this lesson, we focused on the prefix “ex” and the suffix “est”. - Stanford Vocab: If a student is in middle school and is on grade level, Huntington Learning Center will typically add the curriculum component of Stanford Vocabulary into their individualized program. Each week, the student is introduced to two new words. They are given the definitions of the words, synonyms, antonyms, and examples using the words. They then answer a series of questions where they are instructed to select the most appropriate word from a list of options or fill in the blank with the appropriate word (and tense of the word). The program is cumulative and students are asked questions about past words as they progress through the book. o Student Description: This student will be an 8th grader in the fall at a local middle school. His academic skills are on grade level. He is enrolled at the center to help keep his skills up to date so he doesn’t experience “brain drain” over the summer. He is very shy and it has taken a while to get him to come out of his shell. I’ve tried to encourage him to ask me questions instead of simply guessing if he is confused. When he first came to the center, he wasn’t receiving good scores. Since he has started asking questions, his scores are going up which is very encouraging. He tends to struggle with long reading passages. To help make this process easier, I’ve been printing the passages out and encouraging him to
Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040
make notes as he goes. He seems to like this approach and he zones out less frequently. o Student Goals: ▪ The student will expand his vocabulary knowledge base and demonstrate retention by successfully completing two Stanford Vocab units during each tutoring session. ▪ The student will continue to keep his reading skillset up-to-date throughout the summer by progressing through his individualized program and demonstrate understanding through successful curriculum component completion. ▪ The student will improve his understanding of root words, prefixes, and suffixes by answering the questions provided in the Sounds curriculum component. Facts: A key close reading skill for students is the ability to pinpoint information (aka facts) within a passage or excerpt. Huntington helps students develop and expand this skill set through their Facts curriculum component. Students are given a short excerpt that is typically a few paragraphs long. For this student, he is going into 8 th grade so the passage and questions are moderately complex. This passage focused on the first trip to the moon. The questions are phrased so that the student is required to find the fact that would answer this question. The answers are usually not explicitly stated and require a degree of inference ability. For students who are younger, the answers are usually more straightforward. This student was lacking motivation during this session and was rushing through his work. He only received a 5/10 when he typically receives a 9 or 10/10. I asked him to walk me through his answers and why he selected them. It became clear that he rushed through and this was the cause of his confusion. I reminded him of the importance to take our time…even if we aren’t necessarily feeling it that day. Comprehension Connections: For this portion of our tutoring session, the student was required to read a short passage. He was then asked to answer a series of questions regarding the passage. The questions were primarily multiple choice or short answer. A number of the questions focused on having the student make context connections and interpret the author’s word choices and connotations. The passage for this week’s session was on birds and analyzing when they sing and why the sing. o Student Description: This student is going into 8th grade. He is extremely smart…however, he seems to lack motivation. He makes it very clear that he doesn’t want to be at the center nor does he feel like he should have to be. His parents are very involved and often check-in with his tutor at the end of the session. We are mainly focusing on reading with him to help prepare him for AP courses that his parents anticipate him taking in high school. o Student Goals: ▪ The student will continue to improve his overall reading skills and demonstrate this through successful completion of his individualized program.
Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040 The student will enhance his critical thinking skills and ability to pinpoint facts within the text. He will demonstrate this by completing the activity and verbally explaining his reasoning to the teacher. Main Idea: Being able to read a passage and summarize the author’s main point is one of the most important (if not the foundation for active reading) close reading skills. The Huntington Curriculum incorporates a component called “Main Idea.” In this portion of the lesson, students are given 5 different short paragraphs to read. Each paragraph has a corresponding multiple choice question. The student I was working with (who just finished 3rd grade), struggles with this portion of her curriculum. While she excels at pinpointing specific facts, she is still refining her ability to summarize and synthesize information. She is below level when it comes to reading so she struggles to practice active reading. We walked through each question together. She first read the question and then I had her read the paragraph aloud. I would then request that she describe in her own words what each sentence meant. We then pieced all of the sentences together to create a summary. After we completed the summary paragraph, she would reconsider the question being asked and the answers. I kept prodding her to think of the big picture and not just specific points within the text. Word Problems: This student is very good at math and typically up to grade level. However, she struggles with word problems as a result of her current reading level. I modeled how to look at a word problem that featured addition and how to look at a word problem that featured subtraction. We identified common phrases that would indicate subtraction or addition. I stressed the importance of taking our time to review each question before trying to solve it. By the end of the session she had grasped the initial concept and will be moving onto more complex/larger word problems during her next session. o Student Description: This student is about two grade levels behind in her reading ability. She also has ADHD and gets distracted extremely easily. She requires very careful observation and works best when she is 1-on-1 with a teacher. She thrives on personal attention and praise. She is very eager to learn. She does lack some social skills when it comes to interaction with others. She often tries to peek at other students’ work and asks questions that are not considered appropriate. In addition, she doesn’t quite understand personal space so we have to gently remind her to stay in her own bubble and always ask permission before she touches someone else. Her mom is also extremely involved. This student is an only child and was adopted from Russia. o Student Goals: ▪ The student will improve her overall reading ability by completing her individualized program. She will demonstrate this improvement by gradually moving towards a more independent approach and less direct teacher involvement. ▪ The student will improve her ability to summarize and synthesize by successfully identifying the main idea in multiple paragraphs. ▪
Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040 ▪
The student will demonstrate basic understanding of word problems and terminology by continuing to successfully progress through her planned math unit and the accompanying worksheets.
What were your strong points/successes? I believe one of my strengths throughout this experience has really been my ability to connect with my students and make them feel like individuals. I always try to make it a point to actually talk with the students, learn about them, and get to know them. As a result, I can see the students I’ve worked with become more willing to ask questions, look for help, and work harder. Even when I’m working 1-on-1 with a student, I still find that the other students look to me first with a question even if they have a different tutor available. I’m hoping I’ll be able to achieve this same culture of respect and approachability when I get my own classroom. Another strength that I’ve brought to the table is the experience and strategic knowledge that I’ve gained during this program. I’ve found myself employing a number of different techniques that I’ve learned in this program. One of the most successful techniques is encouraging students to pre-read the questions before they read a passage or excerpt (Jonathan). Not only does this get their schemas going, it also helps them read with and for a purpose. This has worked particularly well when helping students through the Facts portion of the curriculum. I have also been working to explain to the students how their programs at the tutoring center will help them in the classroom, as they progress through the education system, and in the real world. I think that by sharing the big picture with students has helped a number of them devote more energy and effort. One of my biggest successes in the past week or two was helping my student have a breakthrough in understanding how to approach addition and subtraction word problems. She was really struggling with this and we were able to hone in on the importance of analyzing the word selection in the problem. After we worked through a couple problems together, she was able to breeze through the rest. Seeing how proud she was of herself was a great feeling. At the end of the session she actually told her mom that she couldn’t wait to come back. What are your challenges and what do you want to work on? One of the biggest challenges that I’ve found myself recently faced with is motivating a student who is very vocal about not wanting to be there. Most of my other students have been fairly easy to motivate and respond well to praise and relating the material to real life and their future schooling. This student, however, feels the need to remind everyone just how much he doesn’t want to be there. I get the feeling that he is very grade motivated typically and since formal grades are not given at the center, that he is losing his motivation. I am going to work on
Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040 finding new ways to motivate him. One thing I am testing out is trying to give him as much as control over his program as possible (McDaniel). I do this by letting him choose the order he wants to do the curriculum components in so he can tackle what he would like to first or get something out of the way. Another challenge that I have been faced with is how to tactfully instruct my student who doesn’t quite understand personal space. I’ve been using the analogy of a “personal bubble” to help her visualize a boundary that we shouldn’t cross (Personal Space). Anytime I see her invade someone else’s bubble or gets too close to me, I gently say don’t forget our bubbles. While this does seem to be working, I may need to enlist the help of other people at the learning center to help reinforce it. This issue along with guiding students who are socially “awkward/inappropriate” are definitely issues that I need to explore so I can utilize the right strategies and get through to my students without making them feel self-conscious. While working at Huntington Learning Center is great, I am limited to teaching what is on the student’s program. I’ve found that some of the curriculum components really require a learning curve for students so they can get the hang of the questions and the wording. This can be challenging since I can find myself confused at the logic or question wording when I’m walking students through it. I believe this is something that will get better as I continue to work at Huntington. The last challenge I am facing is knowing when to let me students “fail.” I often wonder if I am helping them too much. I know this is a balance that I will learn in time, but it is something I am struggling with. I feel like my students ask me far more questions than they do the other teachers. It makes me wonder if this is because I am approachable or because the other teachers expect them to be more independent. What could you do next time to improve outcomes? Again, I have limited control over the long-term learning outcomes dictated by the center, so I’ll focus on the short-term outcomes which I have the most influence over. Prior to my next scheduled tutoring shift, I will be researching new motivation strategies and techniques to use with my student who is very outspoken about his lack of desire to be there. In particular, I need to figure out if there are specific descalation techniques that I can employ to help minimize his frustration. I need to strategize on how I can spark some intrinsic motivation. His overall performance is suffering due to his lack of motivation. When it comes to my elementary school student who is struggling with understanding personal space or appropriate social interaction, I may try one of two things. The first strategy would be to utilize the testing room (if it isn’t being used). This would allow her to be in a room with less distractions and away from other students. If the room is being used, I think it will be beneficial to review our objectives for the session and casually remind her of the expectations we have in
Debbi Patton EDTP 645 9040 place at the center. By setting the tone from the start, we could minimize issues throughout the session. The last thing I would like to do is review questioning strategies. I want to avoid asking my students leading questions and allow them to draw conclusions on their own. Sources: Jonathan, S. (2018, June 25). Tips for Answering Comprehension Tests. Retrieved from https://classroom.synonym.com/tips-answering-comprehension-tests-4179.html Mcdaniel, R. (2018, May 07). Motivating Students. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/motivating-students/ Personal Space. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sociallyskilledkids.com/personal-space/