Case Study #3 - How to help my 1st grader with math

Geeky little boy studying and wearing glasses - isolated over a white backgroundMany students struggle with confidence in their schoolwork. And distance learning has only increased those difficulties. Without having the positive, in-person feedback of teachers and peers, students may doubt their abilities more than ever. This was true of first grader Anthony Canalez. Like many students, he struggled to focus during online classes, and didn’t feel like he was learning anything.


Math had never come easy for Anthony, and he lacked confidence. But he was not lacking in enthusiasm or curiosity. He wanted to learn, but struggled to stay focused during online school. When he started tutoring, his tutor noticed right away that focus was a big hindrance. When he was able to concentrate, he was very bright. But he would get frustrated with himself when he was taking a long time to complete something, and would start to guess at answers. This led to persistent confidence issues.

Case Study #3

Plan of Action:

His tutor started by using engaging techniques, specific to Anthony’s interests. He loves cars, so when his tutor was teaching him math, she told him to count cars. Using Anthony’s special interests started to improve his ability to pay attention in lessons. And as his focus improved, so did his work.

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Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. His tutor was very patient and supportive with him. She used various tools to keep him on task, and suggested practical solutions for things that frustrated him or tripped him up. Over time, his focus improved greatly, and he was having fun with his lessons. He stopped guessing on questions, and began taking the time to think through his answers. His confidence and focus soared.


Going forward, Anthony’s private tutor will continue to help him develop his knowledge and skills, and support his growing confidence. He still has difficulty focusing sometimes, and those are the days when his tutor is instrumental in bringing his attention back to learning. But he is improving every day, both in knowledge and confidence, and with the right support, that positive trajectory will continue!

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