Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Student Routine

You Got it! Yay! That new parent you have been talking to over the last couple days has decided to hire you as their child's new tutor.

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Now what?

How do you go about setting up your new student? Do you create a file for each student? Do you have an assessment system for getting the student on track? Do you have a system in place to keep track of each student's goals and progress? How about the financial side of things?

What works for one doesn't always work for another. But here's what I do.

1.Set up a new folder. I always use regular office folders (used to be the manilla ones, but I kept getting them confused so I went to the dollar store and picked up the bright colored ones. SO much easier!)
    • I staple an index card to the top inside cover with pertinent information about the student. Including phone number, address, and email. The student's grade level and area of difficulty, and the school they attend. I also include brief notes from the parent on what skills need to be our focus; such as are we just completing homework, are we trying to get ahead, are we stepping back to gain more understanding, etc..).  

    • I staple a small stack of lined filler paper to the inside of the front cover. Three staples along the left side make a nice little notebook for session notes that all stay in place and in order!  

    • I also include some essentials: A print out of the student's school standards for their grade level (sometimes the grade before and after as well), my goal tracking sheets (see this post for more info on these), a learning style questionnaire for the parent to complete with the student,  and some math jokes or something to break the ice with the student.

2. Gather manipulatives. Most of my students are math students, and they typically range from 3rd to 5th grade. But once in a while I get a reading student, or a high school math students. In this case, I need to make sure I have what I need at my fingertips to help each student. What are some that I always have on hand?
    • Place value manipulatives are a must! I use the old fashioned ones that don't break apart.

    • I have a little jar with change in it. The real stuff, not plastic or paper. Tactile learners love to see these and I think it helps to have a blend of older coins and neer ones so the student can see the different faces, backs, and what-not. 
    • My cards! I have several set I keep on hand. UNO cards are an absolute must for me (see a post about ways I use them). I also made a set so I could have numbers 10 and higher, gave them a quite Rock Star theme special for one of my students. And then an integer pack a friend of mine made (a post is coming soon about these). 
    • Dice! I have several dice, the regular dot type, ones with number, and I'm working on locating some ten sided and fraction dice too (have any great buys you'd like to share? Please leave a comment!).
    • My wipe off boards (dry erase boards). These are an ABSOLUTE must for me, and sometimes I make an extra one for each student to keep at their home. I will grab some re-usable worksheets/printables that I think will work nicely for the new student, and then adjust a our time continues together. 

3. Add the student's information to my database. I just set up an excel workbook, and I keep important info in there. If I don't set this up BEFORE I start the first session, it might take me a week or more to get it in there, so I have to get it done right away. I include extra phone numbers, and special needs information, anything that helps me keep track of the student, their needs, and our lessons together. Sometimes my new students come from a referral service (check out the WyzAnt System). In this case, all that goes into the database is contact info, since WyzAnt keeps track of lesson details, financials, and even mileage!).

4. Add the student to my calendar. I just put the info into my smart phone and set the reminder that will give me time to get there on time. I always like to arrive at least 5 minutes early for the first session, so we can get the introductions out of the way without charging for that time. When putting a session into my calendar, I always extend the time at least 15 minutes in each direction (depending on drive time to the next session). That way if the student isn't ready when I get there we can wait a couple minutes, or if we are right in the middle of a thought when the hour is up we don't have to rush past it. Sometimes this works out well, and I end up with 20 minutes in between a long stretch of students. Nice so I can stop and use the restroom or fill up the gas tank, swing through Arby's for a Jamocha Shake (mmm).
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And that's about it. How about you? I'd love to read about your routine!

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