Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scatterbrained works.

So I began tutoring in the afternoons after work. Today I tutored a 5th grade boy. And I feel like I am writing this like a 5th grader, but I digress.

I really wasn't prepared for this student. His mother emailed me and told me he was having trouble with language and math skills. She mentioned that his teacher has begun assigning stories to write in narrative, expository, and persuasive forms; however, her son is having some problems writing anything. She also said that he rushes through his math problems, mainly multiplication problems and won't check his work afterwards.

I prepared some writing exercises and multiplication problems for him to work on at the start just to see where his skills lay. Although, we really didn't use much of any of the materials that I brought with me. The student brought both his English and math textbooks and we worked from there. He began by writing a story about his day. It took him 5 minutes just to write one sentence, so I figured that he has a lot on his mind and wants to commit it all to paper...very similar to myself, really. I guided him through his story by having him read what he had written so far and then talking out the rest. I asked him about his teachers and the story assignments from them and he recalled so many different assignments--he has excellent recall skills, which should benefit him if he focuses enough to concentrate on one subject at a time.

After we worked on stories, we shifted gears to math problems. He told me he was having the most trouble with fractions, so for about 20 minutes we worked on improper fractions, common denominators, and other ways to deal with those pesky numbers. It is a rare student indeed that does total mental math. He worked out only a few on the board without first trying to do the math in his head. That may be where some of his troubles lie...jumbled with everything else. We slowed down the process and he got every problem correct!

It is also a rare feeling to hear a child say that tutoring was "awesome". We greeted his dad after the first session and I promise you that this kid was bouncing all the way to his dad to tell about what we worked on in there. I didn't really think it was all that great...not to say that I didn't enjoy tutoring him, I really did....but I didn't see what made it all that fun. I guess because he got a chance to describe himself and his friends and have a little fun while learning some new things. Let me just say this... He was excited that he learned what a SIMILE was and he hoped that no one else in his class has learned that yet. Too funny. I will have to find some other words for him to learn for his writing so he can work on that as well.

On other news... I read The Wednesday Letters on Saturday morning while I worked at my other job. VERY GOOD book.

Set in Woodstock, Virginia, a B&B is run by an elderly couple that had been together for 40 years. The husband is dying of cancer and his wife is caring for him. While they are readying themselves for bed, she has a heart attack and dies. He gets up to get help, but soon realizes that he has only a limited amount of time as well before he also dies. He writes a letter and places it in their Bible on the nightstand, lies down beside his wife and wraps his arms around her and falls asleep for the last time.

Three siblings find their way back to their hometown and are reunited in the death of their parents. The eldest comes alone without his wife, who is career-focused, but also wants to adopt a child. The only daughter is a single mom who was once an actress on broadway (off-off-off broadway) and is now a police officer in Woodstock. The youngest son has been in South America bringing food, water, and clothing to children and their families. He is now back to mourn his parents and also face his past.

Rain, Noah's ex-girlfriend and TRUE LOVE, is the manager of his parent's B&B and practically a family member. You learn through the narrative that Noah ran away after hearing of Rain's engagement to another man. He comes back expecting her to be married yet she is not. Rain's fiance is trying his hardest to keep these two from rediscovering their love for each other and has done a fairly good job of it to say the least.

Lives are changed when boxes are found in the attic, containing letters that their dad wrote their mother each Wednesday for every week they were married. As they read each letter, they learn of their parents' intense love for each other and for their children. However, one letter reveals that one of the children may not be wholly theirs.

I can't give away too much or you won't read the story. You need to read it... especially the Epilogue in the very, very back of the is in an envelope, waiting to be opened.

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