Tutor profile: Sydney H.
What are some key strategies for getting over writer's block?
There are a few ways students can work through writers block: 1)Try a "brain-dump." Open up a blank document or fresh piece of paper and just write what ever comes to mind. Try and fill up at least a page. It can start off pertaining to the assignment or not, but try and work it that way. Sometimes, just writing random thoughts will help get the juices flowing! Don't worry about organization or getting things exactly right: just write! 2) Make a plan! Outlining the structure of your essay or writing piece can help give some much-needed direction. Start off by giving yourself a basic, working thesis (what are you going to be arguing?). Then, give yourself some basic body paragraphs by thinking about what points you will use to support this argument. Focus on intro and conclusion last, and also consider if you'll need to mention any counter arguments. 3) Set a timer! It's easy to waste a lot of time when you're struggling to write, so set a limit for yourself. You can start off with even 15 minutes if you want or go for a full hour. When you hit start, just give it your best and try and produce as much as you can. When time is up, give yourself a little break. Stretch, get some water, whatever you need! If you need to set another timer, go for it. Or else be proud of what you were able to accomplish in the time you did give yourself 4)Take a break. This is why procrastinating is so important to avoid. Sometimes what we need most of all is just some time away from our assignment. If you've been working hard on a paper and feel you just can't go on, it may be time to step away for a minute. Give yourself a day off (if you don't have a looming deadline that is), and come back to your assignment the next day. Read over what you have so far, and also reread your assignment prompt. What do you notice? Have you stayed on task? Can you think of anything new to add? Get writing and editing!
Subject: Study Skills
What are some ways students can improve time management?
In order to improve time management, I suggest that students keep a weekly planner. A weekly planner allows students to map out their time, and ensure that they are taking care of both personal obligations and study obligations--they won't fit school work in unless they ensure they are making the time for it! By writing down and examining their schedule for the week, students will know on which days they need to prioritize time for studying, and on which days they may be too overwhelmed by other activities or responsibilities.
What are key close reading strategies to help students improve reading comprehension?
The single most important habit a reader can develop is that of asking questions! Good readers lean into their curiosity and have a constant inner monologue of questions. The question can be as simple as "what does that word mean?" and as complex as "why did the author chose to use second-person point-of-view in this moment?" Questioning is a way of interacting with the text, but it is a habit that must be developed! Annotating is a great close reading strategy that can develop a reader's questioning abilities. Students can annotate in many different ways, and tutors should work with students to develop individual styles and symbols. Students should ideally combine some form of highlighting key moments, writing questions in the margins, and note-taking on the side. Another key skill is summarization. Students should practice stating the "gist" of a reading at various points. One way to practice this: have the student write the most important part of every paragraph. Then of every section of the reading. Then they should summarize a few key take aways from an entire reading. This will ensure that they think about the purpose behind the text--they will not be able to do this without comprehending it fully! Finally, readers should be encouraged to re-read sections. A simple practice to encourage this: have a student read a paragraph and write down something that stood out to them the most. Then, have them read it a second time: what is something new they noticed? Finally, have them read it a third time and write down another new observation. This practice will get them in the habit of recognizing the value and necessity of re-reading: there is always more to notice if we push ourselves!
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