Useful Web sites for single subject English/history

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by TeacherGroupie, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 1, 2007

    The up side of acquiring the less explicitly test-oriented resources is that one then has them for one's classroom... but of course there's no one right way for everyone to study and learn.
     
  2. zenith

    zenith Rookie

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    OCDE Study guides

    Considering your suggestion I got study guides for subtest 1 n 3. the study guide for test 1 is really very helpful as compared to test3. Anyway thanks for your suggestions.
     
  3. worksalot2

    worksalot2 Rookie

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    Subtest III is Uniquely Challenging to Prepare For

    I probably should have made this clearer in my original post: I think that -- since subtest III really seeks to evaluate your critical thinking skills and your skill with rhetorical prose, you can't really prepare for it by cramming a bunch of facts into your head, as you can -- at least to a substantially larger degree -- for the other three subtests. So there just aren't any "study guides" that can quickly prepare you for that exam in the same way as the other three. Still, I found the OCDE study guide for this exam somewhat helpful, but not nearly to the degree that I did the others.

    The dominant strategy that I used to prepare for subtest III was to write and rewrite responses to the practice test "questions" that are available via the CSET Web site. Then, I would analyze my responses against the sample response characterized as "best" that this practice test provided, trying each time to integrate the same fundamental elements into my response. After awhile, I could consistently write a response that met or exceeded all the scoring criteria for each practice "question" without too much effort. Once I got to that point, I felt confident that I could create a response (to any new "question" that I might confront on the actual exam) that was structured similarly enough to my practice responses to pass the exam without too much difficulty, which I did.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sounds like a good strategy, worksalot2. I notice you're already in the classroom: is this refine-and-repeat something you do with your students?
     
  5. worksalot2

    worksalot2 Rookie

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    Yes, indeed!
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 21, 2007

    Bravissima!

    I'm guessing you'll have noticed some things in the process that will inform your future teaching.
     
  7. zenith

    zenith Rookie

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    "questions" that are available via the CSET Web site.

    Would you please guide how to get to the practice test questions via CSET web site. I'm only able to get to the test guide, the one has only a sample to each question.
    Thanks
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 23, 2007

    Those are the questions to which worksalot was referring.
     
  9. worksalot2

    worksalot2 Rookie

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    That is really all there is. However, what I did was wrote and re-wrote responses to those same prompts repeatedly, attempting each time to create a response that closely "replicated" the most highly scored sample response in structure, etc., for each of the two sample prompts.

    When I finished each attempt, I compared it with the sample responses to see how close I came to that goal, then figured out how to tweak it a little each time until I got as close as I possibly could and could also consistently produce those results.

    It may sound like a strange approach, but -- especially based on my understanding of how they score these responses -- it seemed like the most prudent strategy that I could apply to preparing for this exam. (And it worked very well for me.) They -- I think -- are looking more for you to demonstrate your skills as a critical thinker, your ability to reason, and then to effectively communicate the ideas that you develop from those processes in this exam than they are looking for you to, say, demonstrate your encyclopedic knowledge of literary history. So I recommend that you invest most of your effort toward preparing for this exam in refining your ability to produce rhetorical and analytical prose that matches as closely as possible the models they have provided for the "ideal responses" in those test guides.

    It might also be helpful for you to know that the prompts that you will get are likely to be very similar to those that appear in the test guides. At least that was true in my case.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck!
     
  10. zenith

    zenith Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2007

    Thanks

    :thanks:
    Really grateful to your explanation for the "ideal responses".
     
  11. worksalot2

    worksalot2 Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2007

    You're welcome, Zenith. Glad I could be of some help. Good luck to you and Happy Holidays!
     
  12. jen1371

    jen1371 Rookie

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    Thank you Worksalot!
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  14. newtoit

    newtoit New Member

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    FTCE help

    What is the best resource for the FTCE english 5-9 exam?
    I am taking the exam next month but there seems to be no real set of guidelines as to the content of the test.

    I have just been reading about the competencies and getting updated on new classroom techniques and developmental approaches from teacher forums.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    As nearly as I can tell from the other coast, the Competencies would be the guidelines as to test content.

    Tests like these tend to exhibit certain family resemblances, however, so you're likely to find that materials and approaches for other states' tests can be helpful. There are some fine resources in this thread and on other threads and Web sites referred to here.
     
  16. newtoit

    newtoit New Member

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    Thanks.

    I have actually started looking at Learner.org which has many workshops that discuss the Language curriculum and student teacher interaction.

    In terms of samlpe tests, I have only come across a couple.

    I guess I will try to learn as much as I can from various resources.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    newtoit, I'm not trying to hold out on you, truly. There simply is no such thing as the one best resource for every taker of tests like these. Everyone comes in with a different set of strengths and weaknesses. I'm tolerably certain that the prep that one creates to a greater or lesser extent for oneself will bear the best fruit for one's future students (which is, ultimately, the real point of the exercise, in my view), but it's not even necessarily the case that that is true for everyone.

    It's true you won't find many free FTCE English 5-9 questions on the Web. Try casting your net a little wider and using the Competencies to help you figure out what of your catch you don't need to keep.
     
  18. Mr. V

    Mr. V Rookie

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    The Orange County Deparment of Education creates and sells study guides for almost all of the CSET subtests. I was not able to find ANYTHING else published that was specifically written for the Social Science Subtests. I studies their guides, and read US History for Dummies to pass all three subtests first try. (Much to my surprise)

    Orange County order form: webaddress: ite.ocde.us/Assets/ITE/pdf/Ordermaterials.pdf.pdf

    Sorry I cant post a live link, the forum wont let me yet.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 24, 2008

    An additional pitfall come to mind in using resources written specifically for any given teacher test (well, in addition to the possibility that it isn't necessarily true): if one is depending on the resource to prepare one explicitly for all and only the questions that will be on the test, one will be disappointed. For one thing, new versions of each subtest come out with some regularity, sporting new questions. For another, emphases differ from version to version. For a third, a book that really did prepare a test taker for EVERYthing on CSET Social Science would have to be about the size and shape of an undergraduate education, or at least a good-sized one-volume encyclopedia with rather small print.
     
  20. Italian805

    Italian805 New Member

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    Mar 27, 2008

    Hi Everybody,

    I am new to this whole forum deal but have found that much of the information is extremely helpful! Thank you for all your help so far.

    I am taking the English CSET in May and then again in July because I want to avoid cramming studying time for all four subtests.

    Are there any suggestions on which subtests to take in pairs or perhaps even three at a time? Maybe they are totally independent of each other but I thought it would be worth a shot to hone in on two or even three that might flow together. The only resources I have as of right now are Elmer's notes. Any advice is welcomed!
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Santa Maria! Nice country; I've always been fond of the Central Coast.

    Hm. Some people like to do all of the multiple choice at once - that would be Subtests I and II - and then do the constructed response Subtests III and IV. That's a lot of writing, though, and Subtests I and III cover similar ground (literary analysis plus composition & rhetoric), so I generally recommend combining them.

    Are you an English major?
     
  22. Italian805

    Italian805 New Member

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    Yes, i feel privileged to be living on the central coast!

    No, I graduated with a degree in Youth Ministry from Azusa Pacific University. I have had some recent interaction with some essay composition during my TESOL/TEFL program in Costa Rica last month. Thats about it with my English experience besides the general undergrad class a couple years back.

    Sounds like the smart thing to do would combine the similar content with I and III? Also, I suppose that would break up all the writing content from III and IV.

    Thanks for your help teacher groupie.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If you took any classes in hermeneutics or preaching of the sort that has you unpacking Biblical texts, look for connections between those tools and the tools of literary analysis.
     
  24. MaddieMommy

    MaddieMommy Rookie

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    Ugh! I took the FTCE 6-12 yesterday, and I don't think I passed. I was surprised at how many questions were based on methods of teaching English. Since I am a career changer, I have very limited knowledge of this. (most of the answers sounded like they would work to me). I studied Elmer's notes, SparksNotes on Lit and the AP Prep, and I used the XAM Test Prep. I feel like I wasted my time studying what was contained in these study guides.

    Are there any websites or books on methods? I live in a small community and the local colleges do not offer secondary methods classes.

    :help:
     
  25. bamagata

    bamagata Rookie

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    Same issue here. Anywhere we can look for method study? I talked to some teachers and that did help.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    State and national organizations for teachers of English are likely to have some useful leads.
     
  27. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Oh I just had a great idea and I haven't read all the pages here, so someone else may have said this already. If they haven't, try the national spelling bee pages. There is a column called Carolyn's Corner, which is extremely helpful for word study and origins, and a link to greek and latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. This link will take you to all of that: http://www.spellingbee.com/studyzone.asp
    I thought of it b/c I spent a lot of time this last winter prepping my 7th grade daughter for the bee, but I was a lot more motivated than she was, and she didn't get past regionals. These are great resources--I love the internet.
     
  28. GS37

    GS37 New Member

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    CSET Study Guides

    Hello, I have a set of CSET Study Guides from the Orange County Dept. of Education for all four subtests of the English test. I found these things to be really helpful (I used them in addition to Elmer's notes to pass all four) and I'm now looking to sell them to anyone trying to pass the tests. I'm willing to sell them separately if you need only certain subtests. Of course, the price will be far lower than what OCDE is asking...send me an e-mail if you're interested: preston.siemsen at gmail dot com.
     
  29. zenith

    zenith Rookie

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    I have CSET stugy guides from Orange county too but only for subtest 1 and 3. let me know too if anybody is interested in buying.
     
  30. Mr. V

    Mr. V Rookie

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    Those Orange County ones are great. That's what I used to pass the social science subtests. I'm suprised they don't sell more of them.
     
  31. Sem

    Sem Rookie

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    I discovered this forum in researching to prepare for the CSET English single subject. I am wondering if anybody seeing this might have the Orange County English test prep materials mentioned above that they are ready to work a deal to pass on?
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    When do you plan to take CSET English, Sem?
     
  33. donnaw

    donnaw Rookie

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    I have the OC test prep. materials you seek, but we've become close and I like having them around and even reference them fairly regularly :). I know that's not much help to you, but if it makes you feel any better you're on the right track to securing a very helpful study guide for the English CSET!
     
  34. Sem

    Sem Rookie

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    Glad to know how useful they are! I will just buy them from OCDE if I don't find them soon. I have already purchased the Cliff's Notes as well as a couple other recommendations, and I have also downloaded the help sheets from "Elmer".

    I will have my first attempt in November. I'm changing careers and have been out of school for a long time. I suppose I have a good academic mind and a broad liberal arts education, but I was NOT an English Major... so I have a lot ground to cover.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    A good academic mind and a broad liberal arts education will get you far, Sem. What by way of English coursework have you had?
     
  36. Sem

    Sem Rookie

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    Honestly - I had an excellent high school education that covered a lot of literary ground, but followed that with just a couple English courses in college. I still do a lot of reading though :-/
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You've got a lot to build on, then, and it's possible that you're getting more nervous than you need to be.

    Have you still got any anthologies?
     
  38. Sem

    Sem Rookie

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    I had some of the Norton anthologies a long time ago. At this point so far I am working with the "Elmer" notes posted here, Cliff's, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, and another recommended book I forget right now. It sounds like the OCDE materials are very helpful too...
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Furthuron, a very new member, helpfully contributes this:

    Thanks, Furthuron. That's a grand way to begin at A to Z!
     
  40. Sem

    Sem Rookie

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    OCDE Study Guides

    Well... I bought the OCDE Study Guides. I used them as my primary resource for studying. I passed Subsets 1-3 on my first go, and I am now waiting on results for subtest IV - but I feel pretty confident about that one too.

    So... if anybody wants to buy some marked up study guides at a deeply discounted price, I am in San Francisco... or I could mail them somewhere. Just let me know... with a personal message I guess? I haven't used that on this forum, but I assume it would work. I will check back.

    Thanks... and thanks to all who put their useful questions, comments, and other resources in these forums!
     

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