Math Tutoring by Kayla Vo

I got the chance to volunteer as a 1-on-1 math tutor at Gigi’s Playhouse New Orleans, and I had a great time doing so. The sign-up process was quick and simple. On GiGi’s website there is a form for math and literacy tutoring, and there you are able to pick your preference of math or literacy and indicate the days and times you are available. GiGi’s responds if there is a learner you will be matched with. Then you will attend one of the general volunteer orientation sessions that GiGi’s offers (in person or virtual).  There is also tutoring program training through GiGi’s Learning Management System (LMS).  The training was very simple to do; with your online account the training is assigned to you and can all be done on your own time. After training, I met with the volunteer tutoring program coordinator at GiGi’s to go over the math materials and how to fill out the online evaluations.  Lastly, I had a background check.  Then I was able to start tutoring! 

I met with my learner, a 4-year-old boy with Down syndrome, once a week on Fridays at 2:00pm for 10 weeks. I arrived around thirty minutes earlier to create the lesson plan for that day and set up the materials that I would be using. My favorite math item was the Numicon boards because they are so versatile. We used them to create images with templates, and for creating patterns. Even though I did math tutoring, I soon found out my learner loved to read, so I picked out books for us to read either at the start or end of every session. My learner also liked to work with the Numicon boards, and I noticed that each session we used the boards he got better at it.

Keeping track of progress was very easy. GiGi’s uses Microsoft Teams to house the Progress Tracker (and other tutoring resources) and there are different tabs on the excel spreadsheet you can track the data with. I like that GiGi’s progress tracking is not based on A/B letter grades, but more of “you watch me do it,” “we do it together” or “you do it” either with assistance or on their own. If the learners can do it on their own without assistance, tutors would simply put the number 4 next to that lesson and write a short note about the activity they did. 

I did not have any prior experience tutoring, so I was nervous at first. However, GiGi’s provided me with everything I needed, and it made tutoring very fun and easy. I looked forward to going to GiGi’s every Friday to create mini lesson plans, interact with the learner, and track his progress. It was very fun and not overbearing since GiGi’s has unique lessons and various equipment for you to experiment with and it helps you determine what your learner enjoys doing. It was an experience like no other! 

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