Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Welcome to Savoy!

This school year at FLOC has been the start of a new partnership with Savoy Elementary in Anacostia. While this is a smaller program it allows us to work in a school to help kids who may not otherwise be able to make it to the FLOC office. With FLOC being during Savoy’s after school program, the kids are already out of class by the time we get there and there are always a couple kids waiting excited. There are very few things better in tutoring than seeing kids excited for tutoring.

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One student in particular is not the biggest fan of reading but her tutor decided that one way to get her more interested in reading was to have her create her own story. Each week they spend time working on the story making sure she has proper grammar and that the story is making sense. This has allowed her to grow her own sense of creative thinking and help the tutor discover more about what she is interested in. Seeing all of the different ways to get these kids to learn without them necessarily feeling like they are in standard classroom  has been a lot of fun.  Not only are these kids enjoying the one on one contact but the tutors are having a lot of fun getting to know the kids and learning what works and doesn’t work.

There are four months left in the school year and it will be interesting to see how much these students improve in this time and how that directly affect their grades and progress in school.

(Nicole Morgenstern is an NTP site coordinator, working with FLOC’s tutoring programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Wednesday afternoons at Savoy Elementary.)

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Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Spring Successes in Saturday Reading

Spring is definitely a busy time here at FLOC. Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve had several new students and tutors start during our Saturday PM Reading Program. Students are starting and finishing new chapter books each week. This past week, Maniyah and her tutor finished reading The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Additionally, I’ve been impressed by how much our students have been testing. Testing is one of the ways FLOC sees that a student understands the material and can move onto more challenging concepts. Our last two reading sessions, our testing list has been two solid pages. During our last tutoring session, our testers gave a total of 31 tests!

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We had a friendly competition start between two of our middle school students, Gabriel and Nata, in the reading program. Gabriel and Nata (6th and 8th graders, respectively) were working together on their Wilson lessons, until we could find a sub for Nata. Gabriel passed his test with flying colors and so Nata and Gabriel parted ways. In the true spirit of competition, Nata wanted to test and be on the same lesson as Gabriel. Nata passed the test and wanted to test again in order to be farther in the curriculum. Nata passed a total of 3 Wilson tests in one day, while Gabriel found a new way to practice using his vocabulary words—by writing a letter trash-talking Nata. This playful competition challenged Gabriel to think about the multiple meanings of his vocabulary words and how to use them most effectively.

(Tamarae Hildebrandt is an NTP site coordinator for the Saturday Afternoon Reading program.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Staff Perspectives

The Language of Mathematics

Bianca NTP

As anyone that works with students will tell you, it’s not always about what you teach them, but the things that they teach you. This spring, FLOC staff has been working hard enrolling and placing more students and tutors into our programs for the spring semester.

One of our new students, Bianca, attends a French immersion school. While reading through her application and gathering some pertinent information to include for her tutor, I noted her school on her student placement. In Washington DC, I am very used to seeing bilingual schools that our students attend, but this was a first for me.

During her first tutoring session, while getting to know each other, she and her tutor discussed her school. Bianca, one of our new 7th graders, has been at this school since first grade, and every subject is taught in French. When they transitioned into the curriculum, her tutor, Ben, wanted to see how well she knew unit 5, which is multiplication and division facts.

Example of a long division exercise using the French style.
Example of a long division exercise using the French style.

During the session, he asked her to switch roles with him and explain him the concept of division. After a little pause, she explained that she can only describe it in French. Bianca then illustrated the box for the long division symbol, which looks completely different from the way most schools teach it. In case you are wondering, the word division in French is répartition. Math may be a concept that is universal but, as her tutor realized, some of the explanations can still be lost in translation.

(Catherine Brenner is an NTP Site Coordinator at FLOC).