Ela cahsee preparation



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ELA CAHSEE Preparation

  • We will work together and you will
  • pass that test!
  • Source: Opportunities for Learning

Bart Simpson Promises….

Session 1: Vocabulary

  • CAHSEE 411
  • Test-Taking Tips
  • Literal Language/Figurative Language
  • Vocabulary in Context
  • Word Origins
  • Denotation/Connotation
  • Talking to the Text

What do you already know about the English Language Arts section of the CAHSEE?

  • You must pass
  • to graduate, but you
  • get many chances
  • No time limit
  • Vocabulary, Reading
  • Comprehension, Writing
  • Conventions,
  • And an essay
  • 350 to Pass;
  • Go for 370!
  • 70 multiple
  • choice questions
  • ELA section of the
  • CAHSEE

What Exactly is on the CAHSEE?

  • Approximately 72 multiple choice questions about reading and writing strategies
  • One essay response question
  • The nitty-gritty: You have to be correct on a little more than half of the questions (including a passing essay score) in order to pass. You a have to have about a 70% to be marked “Proficient” on the test.

Reading on the CAHSEE

  • 7 Vocabulary Questions
  • 18 Reading Comprehension Questions (read a passage and answer questions)
  • 20 Literary Response Questions
  • (read literature and answer questions)

Test-Taking Tips for Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Process of elimination: you improve your chances of getting the right answer every time you can eliminate an obvious wrong choice. If you can get it down to two choices, you have a 50/50 chance of being correct!
  • Go back and reread: many questions refer to a specific paragraph in a text. Go back and reread the section before answering the question.
  • Treat Right There and Between the Line questions differently: Once in a while, the answer can be found right there on the test, in black and white. More often, you have to use your higher order thinking skills to infer (make an educated guess) the correct answer. Don’t assume all the answers on the CAHSEE will be found in the pages of the CAHSEE. Some of them are in your brain!

Literal Language

  • The literal meaning of a word is its dictionary definition.
  • For example:
  • A biography is the life story of a real person.

Using Context Clues

  • On the CAHSEE, you may run into a word you have never seen. How can you figure it out? In context (using the clues of the words surrounding it).
  • Exp:
  • The tree oozed with a sticky resin.
    • What are the clues? Circle them on your paper.
    • If the word resin was just a blank line, what word could you substitute for it?

Context Clues

  • You may find different types of context clues within the sentence or paragraph that the difficult world is in:
    • Synonym/restatement
    • Antonym/contradiction
    • Definition or description
    • Example
    • Comparison and contrast
    • Cause and effect

Tips to Remember Literal Definitions

  • Mnemonic devices- memory tricks to remember the meaning of a word.
    • Rhymes, silly sentences, or letter clues
    • Personal: The mnemonic needs to be something you will remember.
    • Exp:
    • Mnemonic for remembering spelling: I before E except after C, and when sounding like "ay" as in Neighbor or Weigh

Tips to Remember Literal Definitions

  • Mental Images-create a picture or cartoon in your mind to help you remember the word.
  • Exp: Imagine the letters in the word frigid (“extremely cold”) shaking because they are freezing cold, and are in an icy place.
  • Frigid
  • Possible mental image:

Figurative Language

  • Also called figures of speech
  • It changes the literal meaning of words
  • • to express complexity, • to capture a physical or sensory effect,
  • or • to extend meaning.
  • There are a number of figures of speech. Some of the more common ones are:

Simile

  • Making a comparison between unlike things, using like or as.”
  • Exp: Forrest Gump’s famous simile is
  • “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”
  • What two things are being compared in this simile?

Metaphor

  • Making a comparison between unlike things without the use “like” or “as.”
  • An example is, “You are my sunshine.” –
  • What two unlike things are being compared in this quote?

Personification

  • Giving human qualities to an animal, thing or idea.
  • The telephone screamed to be answered.
  • The door flew open.
  • The birds shouted their songs.

Idioms

  • An idiom is a figurative, sometimes strange, expression that cannot be understood if taken literally.
  • Exp:
  • “It is raining cats and dogs
  • “This test will be a piece of cake
  • “She decided to quit cold turkey”

Word Origins

  • Where do words come from? In other words, what makes up the parts of a word?
    • Root: The base from which a word is built by adding word parts, such as suffixes and prefixes. Many come from Latin and Greek.
    • Prefix: Letters or groups of letters added at the front of the word base/root to change its meaning
    • Suffix: Letters or groups of letters added to the end of a base word or root to change its meaning or part of speech.

Prefix

  • A letter or group of letters added to a base word or root to change its meaning.
  • Example: perhaps, impress

Prefix Chart

  • a-, an-
  • Not, without
  • col-, com-, con-,cor-
  • Together
  • de-
  • From, down
  • Em-, en-, im-, in-
  • In, into
  • il-, im-, in, ir-
  • Not
  • per-
  • By, completely
  • pro-
  • Forward
  • re-
  • again
  • sub-
  • under
  • Trans-
  • Across, through

Root

  • see p. 16
  • A root is the base from which a word is built by adding parts such as prefixes and suffixes. Many roots come from Latin and Greek.
  • Example: popular the root pop=people

Suffix

  • see p. 15
  • A suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a base word or root changes its meaning or part of speech.
  • Example: constellation, disgustingly

Grammar Review

  • The test will not ask you directly about the “parts of speech”, but they are important in order to understand how suffixes change them.
  • Noun: person, place, or thing (dog, New York, OFL)
  • Verb: action word (talk, study, run)
  • Adjective: word that describes (happy, bright, fast)
  • Adverb: a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb; usually ends in ‘-ly’ (happily, consciously, slowly)

Suffixes Change Parts of Speech

  • Adjectives
  • -al, -ial, -ual=
  • relating to
  • -cian=having
  • a certain skill or art
  • -ful=full of

Suffixes…

  • Noun
  • -ant
  • One who
  • Noun
  • -ion, -sion, -tion
  • State of, result of
  • Noun
  • -ity, -ty
  • Condition of, quality of
  • Adverb
  • -ly
  • Like, manner of

Example

  • Root=Act
  • The suffix “-tion” makes it a noun meaning “state of”
  • Therefore action is a noun meaning “the state of acting”
  • But “-or” means “one who”, so actor means “one who acts”

Don’t forget the prefix!

  • If act is still our root, and we add “re-”, a prefix meaning “again”, we have
  • React, meaning “act in response”, in other words, act again

Put it all together…

  • Since prefixes, suffixes, and roots all work together, many words have all 3, and knowing them can help you figure out the meaning and way to use a new word.
  • Pro (forward) +
  • act (do something) +
  • ive (makes the word an adjective)=
  • Proactive (adjective)
  • (def.=taking the initiative by acting rather than reacting to events)
  • exp. “My coworker is very proactive; she always gets her work done before being asked”
  • It’s not just the acne soap, but you are being proactive when you use Proactiv, taking steps to clear your skin before it gets too bad….

Denotation vs. Connotation

  • see p. 28
  • Denotation is the same as the literal meaning of a word.
  • A Connotation is like figurative meaning, or the feelings and associations a word brings to mind.

An example…

  • Stubborn vs. determined
  • Both denote (literally mean) persistence and determination,
  • but while determined connotes (brings to mind) positive feelings abut someone who is focused on a goal and strong-minded,
  • stubborn connotes negative associations, and you may think of someone who is bull-headed and unable to listen to reason or advice.

stubborn and determined…

  • mean the same thing in the dictionary (have the same denotation), but have very different connotations (feelings/attitudes they bring to mind).
  • What other words can you think of that have specific connotations for you?
  • exp. cheap, scrawny, slow

A pneumonic devise…

  • This may not work for you, but the person who wrote this slide remembers the difference between denotation and connotation using the following pneumonic device:
    • A connotation “cons” you to feel a certain way about a word.
    • A denotation starts with a “d” like dictionary.
    • If this doesn’t work for you, make up your own pneumonic!

Reading Strategy: Talking to the Text

  • Talking to the Text (TttT) means “talking” with your pencil on a text.
  • You can write down whatever helps you, including
    • underline important phrases or sentences
    • write your questions, clarifications, summaries, connections, predictions, or visualizations in the margins
    • even mark places you are confused or don't understand something.

Talking to the Text

How does homework work in this class?

  • Complete all assigned homework from the Measuring Up book, using the Talk to the Text (TtT) . Each session, you will tear your homework out of the book and turn it in to your teacher.
  • You will be making flash cards for all the terms we go over in class. These will have more than just definitions in them (see pg. 3 of your packet)

Homework for Next Session

  • Page 3-9, 11-14, 17-22, 25-34, Measuring Up
    • Talk to the Text on all reading assignments
  • Vocabulary Flashcards for all bolded words p. 1-28
    • Use definitions from glossary, but follow page numbers for what terms are included

Session 2: Reading Comprehension and Literary Response

  • Test-Taking Tips #2
  • Talk to the Text Review: Owning What You Read
  • Reading Comprehension Strategies
  • Reading Informational Texts
  • Reading and Analyzing Literature

Test-Taking Tips 2

  • Read all directions carefully before answering any questions.
  • Breath! Relax! The test is untimed, so there is no reason to rush.
  • Believe that you will pass the test. See yourself opening up the envelope of test results and receiving a passing score. You will pass if you believe you can.

Reading on the CAHSEE

  • 7 Vocabulary Questions
  • 18 Reading Comprehension Questions (read a passage and answer questions)
  • today
  • 20 Literary Response Questions
  • (read literature and answer questions)
  • today

Talking to the Text (TtT) Review

  • Talking to the Text (TttT) means “talking” with your pencil on a text. It helps you “own” what you read!
  • You can write down whatever helps you, including
    • underline important phrases or sentences
    • write your questions, clarifications, summaries, connections, predictions, or visualizations in the margins
    • even mark places you are confused or don't understand something.

Other reading strategies to use:

  • See p. 65
  • Analyze- break down the information to examine the individual ideas
  • Infer- make educated guesses based on the evidence in the text and what you already know
  • Predict- guess what will happen based on what you know.
  • Main ideas/Details- analyze how the author organizes information using main ideas and details.

A new reading strategy: Chunking

Chunking

  • Chunking is exactly what it sounds like.
  • You break down a tough word, sentence, or paragraph into easier-to-read chunks.
  • Chunk in a way that is clear to you, either by circling pieces of text or using dashes (/) to separate chunks.
  • You wouldn’t eat a whole cake in one meal, so why try to digest an entire text at once?

Chunking Example

Distinguishing Between Different types of Texts on the CAHSEE

  • Question to ask: What type (genre) of text is this?
      • Literary Text (something you may see in an English class)
        • Poem
        • Play
        • Short Story
      • Informational Text (something you would see in the real world)
        • Job Application?
        • Brochure?
        • Business Letter?
        • History/science/biographical text?
        • Etc.

Reading Informational Texts

  • These types of texts are ones you read to find out information, not for pleasure
  • Usually, they are laid out so that you find information fast
  • The structural features like headings, bullets, graphics, and numbers are there to help you find the information you need.
  • Most times, they have already chunked the text for you with these features. Use them!

Reading Consumer Documents

  • What type of text is a consumer document?
    • Informational document
  • Consumer Document-document made for a consumer (person who buys products), and include:
    • Warranties
    • Contracts
    • Product Information
    • Instructional Manuals

Features of Consumer Documents

  • Some of these features are found in other instructional/nonfiction documents
  • Headings
  • Numbers
  • Bullets
  • Graphics
  • Special Type Treatment: boldface, italic, underlined, colored

(More) features of consumer documents

  • Table of contents
  • Indexes
  • Glossaries
  • Works Cited
  • Bibliographies

Workplace Documents

  • see p. 45
  • Include texts you may see on the job..
  • Procedure manuals
  • Job applications
  • Memos
  • Guides to health benefits
  • Email messages
  • Organizational charts
  • Instructions for operating machinery

Literary Response and Analysis

  • 20 Multiple Choice Questions
  • These types of texts include
    • Poetry
    • Plays
    • Fiction
    • Essays
  • The Literary Response and Analysis section of the CAHSEE asks you to read literature and answer questions about it.
  • Genre
  • Genre is a French word meaning “kind” or “type”.
  • The major genres in literature are
  • poetry
  • fiction
  • drama
  • essays
  • It can also refer to more specific types of literature such as comedy, drama, tragedy, epic poetry or science fiction.
  • Character
  • There are 2 main types of characters:
  • Protagonist - Main character; usually the “good guy”
  • Antagonist – The character who opposes the main character in some way; the “opponent”
  • Characters: The different people in the story

Protagonist/Antagonist Example

  • On The Simpsons, Bart Simpson is the protagonist and Principal Skinner is one of the antagonists.

Conflict

  • A main problem in the story that the main character faces.
  • Can be internal or external.
  • Internal Conflict: A character “at war” with him or herself (exp: Ariel has to decide whether she should leave the ocean)
  • External Conflict: One character versus society, nature, or another character (exp: protagonist vs. antagonist)

Types of External Conflict

  • Man Vs. Nature- Main character fights against nature.
  • exp: A story of a man caught in a snowstorm trying to fight his way out.
  • Man Vs. Man-Main character fights against another character.
  • exp: In The Little Mermaid, the main conflict was between Ariel and the Sea Witch.
  • Man Vs. Society-Character fights against the rules of his/her society.
  • exp: In The Little Mermaid, Ariel must fight against the rules of her family and underwater society in order to marry the prince.

Plot

  • Plot: The pattern of action of a story; the series of linked events that make up the story
  • Usually starts with a problem or conflict that has to be resolved.
  • Exp: In Little Mermaid, the plot begins with the conflict between Ariel and her protective father.

Plot Structure

  • A. Exposition: Introduces characters and setting
  • Introduction of conflict: The major problem/conflict of the story is introduced.
  • (Rising Action: Builds the conflict and helps develop characters)
  • Climax: Highest or most exciting point in the action
  • (Falling Action: After the climax, plot slows and moves towards resolution)
  • D. Resolution: The conclusion to the story in which the major conflicts are solved.

Flashback

  • A look at a past event. The author stops the action of the story to go back to an event that happened at an earlier time.
  • What movies or books have flashbacks in them?
  • Irony
      • is a literary device for conveying meaning by saying the exact opposite of what is really meant.
      • Sarcasm is one kind of irony. It is praise which is really an insult. Sarcasm generally involves cruelty, the desire to put someone down, for example “This is my brilliant son who failed out of college.”
      • Life is filled with ironies. Here are a few examples…
        • All you want is an Escalade. You work hard for years to buy one. The first day you buy it, you park it at the supermarket and go inside. While you are inside, someone steals your Escalade. When you come out with your groceries, the thief runs you over with your own car, breaking both your legs, and takes off in your brand new Escalade.
        • 2. A girl lies to her boyfriend and says she has to baby-sit, but really goes to the movies with her friends. While buying popcorn, she sees her boyfriend there with another date.

Types of Irony

  • Verbal Irony: occurs when someone says the opposite of what the person means.
  • Exp: A person is having a horrible day and says, “I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
  • Situational Irony: occurs when what happens is the opposite of what you expect to happen.
  • Exp: Escalade story, boyfriend at the movies story
  • Dramatic Irony: occurs when you, the reader or the viewer, knows something crucial that the main character does not know. This is the most important type for the CAHSEE
  • Exp: In Romeo and Juliet, the audience knows Juliet is not really dead and has faked her death, but Romeo does not.

Dramatic Irony

  • Dramatic Irony: occurs when you, the reader or the viewer, knows something crucial that the main character does not know. This is the most important type for the CAHSEE
  • With your class, brainstorm examples of dramatic irony in books, stories, movies, or television shows.
  • Literary Terms
  • Theme
  • Tone
  • Mood
  • Drama
  • Symbolism
  • Theme
  • A theme is the lesson learned in the story. Also described as observation about life or human nature.
  • A universal theme can be found in the literature of m any different cultures and from many different times.
  • Exp: The theme of Cinderella is “the best things come to those who wait”
  • Tone
  • Tone is way words are used to convey a writer’s attitude towards a subject.
  • Think of when someone says, “Don’t use that tone with me, young lady!” The tone of writing shows the writer’s attitude, and can change the meaning of what is being said or written.
  • Mood
  • Mood is the feeling created by a piece of literature. Another way to think about it is the way you feel when you read it.
  • Some literature makes you feel sad, others joyful or anxious.
  • Drama
  • Drama, or dramatic literature is another word for play.
  • Plays/dramas are when characters tell a story in a theater performance.
  • Characters in a play speak in dialogue, the words characters speak on stage.
  • Stage directions are directions in play scripts that tell actors what to do and how to say their lines (Usually in parentheses and italics)
  • Dramatic Monologue
      • Dramatic says that it could be acted out on a stage, and is a form of drama (theater)
      • Monologue is a long speech that one person makes, either to themselves or to another character.
      • • A dramatic monologue is written to reveal both the situation in the play and the character’s thoughts.
      • A soliloquy is just like a dramatic monologue, but it is spoken to the audience and is part of a longer play.

Symbolism

  • A symbol is a person, place, or thing that stands for an idea or concept.
  • Exps:
  • Object
  • Idea
  • Rose
  • Love
  • Sunshine
  • Happiness
  • Dove
  • Peace
  • Hawk
  • War
  • Sometimes the symbols are not as clear as the examples above, because sometimes authors create their own symbolism within a story.

Session 3: Writing Conventions and Writing Strategies

  • Test-Taking Tips # 3
  • Writing on the CAHSEE
  • Writing Strategies
  • Writing Conventions
  • Writing Applications (CAHSEE Essay Writing)
  • Structure of a 5-Paragraph Essay

Test-Taking Tips #3

  • Make a plan when you first get your test.
    • Some people like to do the easy questions first, some like to get the hard ones out of the way. You have to stay within the section, but you can do the questions in the section in any order you wish.
  • Come to the test prepared by studying this guide, and be confident that you can pass!
  • On Writing Conventions questions (grammar and usage), trust your ear.
    • Read the sentence choices aloud in your head to decide which one sounds correct.
    • Try not to second-guess yourself. Unless you’re sure you made a mistake, don’t over think and change a lot of questions.

What is the purpose of writing?

  • To communicate an idea
  • To express emotions
  • To entertain
  • To explain
  • To persuade (convince)
  • To describe
  • To respond to literature
  • Any others??

CAHSEE Writing

  • 27 Multiple-Choice writing questions total
  • 1 Essay Questions
  • There are three strands:
  • Writing Strategies
  • Writing Conventions
  • Writing Applications
  • CAHSEE Writing
  • Writing Strategies
  • 12 test questions that ask you to find and correct errors and choose better words and phrases. They are based on a rough draft of an essay or article. .
  • In this section, you do not have to write any essays, but you have to answer multiple choice questions about editing and revising essays.
  • Questions may begin, “which sentence would best begin this essay” or “which of the following sentences do not fit well in the paragraph”

Writing Strategies Tips

  • Read the questions CAREFULLY. The test will often have the important word in ALL CAPITALS.
    • Exp: “Which of the following word is the BEST substitution for the word “employees” in sentence 1?”
  • Study the rules of grammar provided here, and think of what a teacher with a red pen may choose. The test is looking for standard English grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.
  • Study the following information on combining sentences carefully. There are typically a few questions about combining sentences.
  • Combining Sentences
  • Sentences can be combined by using three punctuation marks:
  • the hyphen (-), the colon (:), the semi-colon (;).
  • (You can also use coordinating conjunctions
  • (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so—F.A.N.B.O.Y.S.!!!)
  • to combine clauses that are
  • grammatically parallel
  • (the same order of word types).
  • Combining Sentences
  • A colon (:)
  • is also used to add more information and especially to list things after the colon.
  • What follows a colon may be a clause (She is a great dancer: she practices ballet, salsa and hip-hop.) or a group of words that cannot stand by themselves (She practices many types of dance: ballet, salsa and hip-hop.)
  • Combining Sentences
  • A semi-colon (;)
  • is used to connect clauses and is the
  • most important punctuation mark for combining sentences.
  • It can be used alone to connect clauses
  • (She is beautiful; her eyes shine like diamonds.)
  • It can also be used to connect clauses together with special linking words such as however, moreover, therefore.
  • Combining Sentences
  • Sample Question: Choose the answer that is the most effective substitute for each underlined part of the sentence. If no substitution is necessary, choose “Leave as is.”
  • I expect you to finish the work by three, however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (A) three however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (B) three: however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (C) three; however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (D) Leave as is.
  • Combining Sentences
  • Solution: What punctuation mark joins the two thoughts into one sentence?
  • A semicolon joins them, since they are both independent clauses that stand on their own but are related.
  • The semi-colon prevents run-ons if used correctly.
  • The correct answer is (C).
  • (A) three however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (B) three: however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (C) three; however, if it takes longer, call me.
  • (D) Leave as is.

Main Ideas and Supporting Details

  • In the Writing Strategies questions, you may have to identify main ideas and supporting details.
  • Topic-Subject of a piece of writing
  • Main Idea- The most important idea the writer expresses about this topic
  • Supporting Details-The facts, examples, statistics, or concepts that back up the main idea.

Thesis Statement

  • A topic sentence, usually at the end of the first paragraph, that controls the entire essay. In other words, the thesis statement is the point you are trying to prove in your essay.
  • Example thesis statement: “Most students dislike writing essays because they would rather be doing exciting science experiments, reading poetry, or playing sports.”

Writing Conventions

  • 15 test questions that test your
  • understanding of grammar
  • and your knowledge in the
  • mechanics of punctuation
  • (e.g. semicolons, colons, ellipses, hyphens).
  • You will also have to identify and use clauses and understand sentence construction (parallel structure, proper placement of modifiers, etc.).

Grammar Review

  • The test will not ask you directly about the “parts of speech”, but they are important in order to understand
  • Noun: person, place, or thing (dog, New York, OFL)
  • Verb: action word (talk, study, run)
  • Adjective: word that describes (happy, bright, fast)
  • Adverb: a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb; usually ends in ‘-ly’ (happily, very, slowly)
  • Subject: the subject is the part of the sentence (usually a noun) that performs the action. (she gave me the book; the dog slept)
  • Predicate: the part of the sentence that is not the subject (she gave me the book; the dog slept)
  • Subject+ Predicate=complete sentence

Grammar Review: Clauses

  • A clause is a group of words that has a verb and a subject. Some are complete sentences, but others need to be linked to another clause to make sense.
    • Independent (Main) Clause: a complete thought, and can stand alone as a sentence or be linked to another clause.
      • Exp: People had to keep a fire going all the time.
    • Dependent (Subordinate) Clause: does not express a complete idea, so it has to be linked to the independent clause.
      • Exp: Before matches made it easy to start a fire
      • Complete sentence using both types of clauses:
      • Before matches made it easy to start a fire, people had to keep a fire going all the time.

Grammar Review: Punctuation

  • Semicolon: used between independent clauses without conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so—F.A.N.B.O.Y.S.!!!)
  • Exp: Fire is our good friend; fire is our deadly enemy.
  • Colon: used between independent clauses when the second clause explains the first or provides a list.
  • Exp: Fire is important: it heats our home and our food.
  • Ellipses: three spaced dots, show that something has been omitted (left out)
  • Exp: The firefighter said, “It’s really dangerous…but we have the blaze under control.”
  • Hyphen: Used in some compound adjectives, numbers, and prefixes.
  • Exp: The well-organized squad of twenty-four firefighters are pro-American.

**Reminder: Consistency of tenses**

  • This is a common CAHSEE subject
  • For questions about sentence construction, they will commonly put something like the example: “he rushed into the house and closes the door in my face”
  • What is wrong with that sentence?

**Consistency of tenses (cont.)**

  • All verbs in a sentence must be in one tense. It is incorrect to go back and forth between past, present, and future.
  • The example could be changed to either:
    • “he rushed into the house and closed the door in my face” (past) OR
    • “he rushes into the house and closes the door in my face” (present)
  • Don’t forget: the tense needs to be consistent (the same) throughout a sentence.

**Reminder: Noun/Verb Agreement**

  • Subjects and verbs must always “agree” in a sentence.
  • For example, the following sentence has an agreement issue:
    • Frank and Sabrina is the two students who have books.
    • What is wrong with this sentence? What does not “agree”?

**Noun/Verb Agreement (cont.)**

  • There are two students (Frank and Sabrina), so the verb should be plural (are instead of is)
  • The correct sentence would be: “Frank and Sabrina are the two students who have books.”
  • When you see this on the CAHSEE, often there will be a trick to figuring out singular vs. plural. For example, the following words are singular even though they refer to a group:
  • class, group, team, etc.
  • CAHSEE Writing
      • Writing Application
      • On the writing portion of the
      • CAHSEE exam, you will be given a
      • “Writing Task” which is one essay question.
      • You may be asked to do one of the following:
      • Biographical Narrative
      • Response to Literature
      • Expository Essay
      • Persuasive Essay
      • Business Letter
  • Biographical Narrative
  • Tells the story from the life of a real person.
  • Often, this type of CAHSEE essay question will ask you to write about someone who is important in your life.
  • Response to Literature
  • You read a (literature) text and are asked to respond (write an essay) based on a question regarding that passage.
  • This type of question asks that you first comprehend the text, then write about it (use TtT and chunking!).
  • Expository Essay
  • Expository essays (also called compositions) are most often nonfiction, meaning that it deals with real people, things, events and places.
  • The question may ask you to write about an important moment in history or technology, or a question about school.
  • Persuasive Essay
  • A persuasive essay (or composition) asks you to
  • defend a position or argue for your side of an issue about which people disagree.
  • A sample question may ask you to write an essay for your school paper in which you convince the readers of the importance of volunteer hours as a graduation requirement or a convincing essay about whether or not there should be art and music in school.
  • The readers want you to think about the other side of the argument and keep that in mind as you defend your ideas
  • Business Letter
  • A Business Letter is a formal correspondence about a business related matter.
  • When you’re writing a business letter, your purpose may be
    • to apply for a job
    • to complain
    • to request information
    • Etc.

Business Letter (continued)

  • Besides the way it looks, treat the business letter pretty much the same way you would treat an essay. It should include:
    • Salutation
    • Introduction
    • Body
    • Conclusion
    • Signature
  • CAHSEE Essay Writing
      • #1. Remember
      • Make sure to answer all parts
      • of the writing task.
      • If the question is asking you to describe the main characters decisions and emotions,
      • make sure to address both.
  • CAHSEE Essay Writing
      • # 2. Remember
      • Make sure you have the correct five-paragraph essay structure with a strong introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion.
      • Use specific details and examples from the passage to demonstrate your understanding of the main idea’s and the author’s purpose.
      • Vary your sentences to make your writing more interesting.

CAHSEE Essay Writing

  • # 3. Remember
  • Real people (usually teachers) are hired by the testing company to grade essays.
  • They read a lot of essays, give it a score (1 through 4) quickly, and two grader’s scores are combined for your final score.
  • Make your essay easy to read both in terms of the structure, and in terms of handwriting. If the grader has to struggle to read your essay, they can’t pay attention to your great ideas!

Your CAHSE Essay Should Include

  • Five strong paragraphs (at least four sentences)
  • A thesis statement at the end of the introduction paragraph
  • Clear main ideas
  • Supporting evidence
  • Understandable writing
    • Clearly written (check your handwriting!)
    • Good (enough) spelling
    • Clear grammar

How should my essay look?

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1
  • Conclusion
  • Body paragraph 2
  • Body paragraph 3

Kind of like a hamburger….

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Conclusion

Session 4: Writing Applications (Writing Essays)

  • Test Taking Tips #4
  • Essay-Writing Tips
  • The 5-Paragraph Structure
  • Brainstorming, Drafting, and Revising

Test-Taking Tips #4

  • Sleep well the night before the test and eat breakfast on the morning of the test. You need energy to keep you going!
  • On the essay portion, read the prompt carefully. Think about what it asks you to do before starting to brainstorm
  • Use the planning page to brainstorm ideas before writing.
  • Revise and proofread your essay when you are done. You can always erase and rewrite what is messy or misspelled. The grader needs to be able to read what you write.

Which test-taking tip will help you most?

  • Look back at all four slides of test taking tips and decide your three favorite tips.
  • Turn to the person sitting next to you and share your responses. How will you use those tips on the test?

Essay Writing… it’s not as bad as you may think!

  • This is your chance on the test to share your own voice and ideas!
  • Make sure you “talk to the text” on the question itself, and underline exactly what the questions is asking.
  • Brainstorm first! Getting your ideas on paper will make you less nervous and help your essay become more clear and specific.
  • Break your thoughts into groups, called paragraphs! If you write one long paragraph, you will get one low score .

How do I start?

  • Step 1: Talk to the question and make sure you know what it is asking you to do (put it in your own words if that helps)
  • Exp: Write an essay discussing whether or not you would recommend your school to other teenagers.
  • On your paper, talk to this essay topic (TtT!)

Brainstorm

  • Choose the best method for brainstorming
    • Pro/Con Chart
    • Spider/bubble brainstorm
    • Check page 266-275 for other ideas
    • Anything else that works for you!
  • Now brainstorm about the topic: Write an essay discussing whether or not you would recommend your school to other teenagers.
  • For
  • Against

What belongs in the introduction paragraph?

  • A hook to draw the reader in
  • Background information about the topic
  • Thesis statement

What is a hook?

  • A hook is the attention-grabbing first sentence of your essay.
  • We call it a hook because you are trying to “hook” the reader in.
  • Hooks can include:
    • A question
    • An interesting statement, fact, or quote
    • A thought-provoking idea
    • Whatever you choose, it should be on-topic and appropriate for your audience!

Give us an example…

  • For an essay on whether or not to recommend OFL, a hook could include:
    • “Why do so many people leave high school before they graduate?”
    • “Many students interviewed at OFL say they prefer OFL to their previous school.”
    • “Independent study is not right for everyone, but many students do better working on their own.”

What is background information?

  • Background information is anything your reader needs in order to understand what you are talking about in your thesis and essay.
  • Assume the reader of your essay is a smart person who doesn’t know much about your topic.
  • Exp: “Opportunities for Learning is an independent study school that many students choose if the traditional school is not working for them.”

What is a Thesis Statement?

  • Book defines as “Clearly expressed main idea about a topic”
  • Put another way, the point you are trying to prove in your essay.
  • The most clear thesis statements include your three main arguments
  • Exp:Opportunities for Learning is a good alternative for students because the teachers are caring, the centers are safe and clean, and students can earn credits at a faster pace than at other high schools.

Where do I put my Thesis Statement?

  • The thesis statement is almost always at the very end of the first (introduction) paragraph.
  • Thesis Statement
  • The information in your introduction goes from general (hook) to specific (thesis)

Putting the introduction together…

  • Independent study is not right for everyone, but many students do better working on their own. Opportunities for Learning is an independent study school that many students choose if the traditional school is not working for them. Opportunities for Learning is a good alternative for students because the teachers are caring, the centers are safe and clean, and students can earn credits at a faster pace than at other high schools.

What goes in the body paragraphs?

  • In the most organized essays, the body paragraphs match the order of the thesis, explaining each with more information:
  • Exp: Opportunities for Learning is a good alternative for students because 1 the teachers are caring, 2 the centers are safe and clean, and 3 students can earn credits at a faster pace than at other high schools.

The Body Paragraphs

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1
  • Conclusion
  • Body paragraph 2
  • Body paragraph 3
  • Thesis: Opportunities for Learning is a good alternative for students because the teachers are caring, the centers are safe and clean, and students can earn credits at a faster pace than at other high schools.
  • The teachers are caring
  • Students can earn credits at a faster pace
  • The centers are safe and clean

The Body Paragraphs

  • Within the body paragraphs is where all your ideas and examples are used. You can brainstorm these first, and then bring them together within each body paragraph.
  • Example:
  • Body ¶ 2: The centers are safe and clean
  • Desks are clean and no one tags on them.
  • The bathroom is always clean and orderly
  • Students feel safe because there are never fights at the center

Conclusion

  • Wraps up your essay, restating your main ideas in new words
  • Adds up the evidence from your essay to make your final point.
  • Think back to the hamburger: The final bite (last sentence) of your essay should be delicious! It should leave your reader with a good understanding of your main point.

Shape of the Conclusion

  • The information in your conclusion goes from specific (restatement of your thesis in new words) to more general (bigger ideas about the topic)

Now fill in the information on the planning chart for the OFL essay…

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1
  • Conclusion
  • Body paragraph 2
  • Body paragraph 3

Choose a CAHSEE released essay question to answer.

  • Source: Opportunities for Learning


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