Bart simpson promises what do you already know about the English Language Arts section of the cahsee?

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ELA CAHSEE Preparation

  • We will work together and you will
  • pass that test!


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; 380 for
  • Proficiency
  • Go for 450!
  • 70 multiple
  • choice questions
  • ELA section of the

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% (380) to be marked “Proficient” on the test.

English CAHSEE

  • Includes approximately:
  • 7 Vocabulary Questions
  • 18 Reading Comprehension Questions (read a passage and answer questions)
  • 20 Literary Response Questions (read literature and answer questions
  • One 5 Paragraph Essay: It may be one of the following
      • Biographical Narrative
      • Response to Literature
      • Expository Essay
      • Persuasive Essay
      • Business Letter

Test-Taking Tips for Multiple-Choice Questions

  • see page xiii
  • 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!

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

Using Context Clues

  • see pg. 23
  • 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?

Now it is time to practice….

  • Find the clues to deduce the meaning of the underlined word.
  • 1.) What does onerous mean as used in the following sentence?
  • Learning should be a joyful task, but many students make it onerous.
  • A. intricate
  • B. enlightening
  • C. troublesome
  • D. ongoing

Use the context clues to find the meaning

  • In this line from the poem, the word lashed suggests that the ocean is being––
  • I’ve watched the ocean lashed by wind,
  • A) soothed.
  • B) troubled.
  • C) sailed.
  • D) whipped.

More Practice…

  • What does delicate mean as used in the following sentence?
  • Now more than 100 years old, many of Andersen’s delicate paper cuttings still exist in a museum in Denmark devoted to his work.
  • A) thin
  • B) fragile
  • C) creative
  • D) old

Context Clues

  • see p. 23
  • You may find different types of context clues within the sentence or paragraph that the difficult word is in:
    • Synonym/restatement
    • Antonym/contradiction
    • Definition or description
    • Example
    • Comparison and contrast
    • Cause and effect
  • See page 23 for examples of each

Literal Language

  • see pgs. 2 & 10
  • The literal meaning of a word is its dictionary definition.
  • For example:
  • The dog died vs The dog went to the big farm in the sky
  • Read and TtT on page 2 of MU, Early Preparation

Figurative Language

  • see p. 10
  • 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:

Let’s look at an example…


  • see p. 10
  • 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?


  • see p. 10
  • Making a comparison between unlike things without the use “like” or “as.”
  • Examples :
  • You are my sunshine.
  • He has a heart of stone.
  • Love is a lemon - either bitter or sweet.
  • What two unlike things are being compared in this quote?


  • see p. 10
  • Giving human qualities to an animal, thing or idea.
  • The telephone screamed to be answered.
  • The swimming pool invited me to jump
  • The rain danced in the roof.
  • The birds shouted their songs.


  • see p. 10
  • 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”


  • See p. 125
  • The use of words to create vivid mental images or pictures in the reader’s head. Imagery uses the 5 senses to describe what is going on
  • Ex. Respiration by Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Common Click for Mos Def Lyrics
  • Highlight the imagery in the lyrics
  • We will be taking turns going on the internet and finding your favorite song and highlighting the Imager of the song
  • Irony
  • see p. 131
      • 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.”

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: Examples on next slide
  • 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.

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).
  • Let’s Practice!
  • Remember to read the sentences carefully.
  • 1.) What is the denotative meaning of the word wild?
  • The wild behavior and skills of the falcon are treasured by the falconer.
  • A. crazy
  • B. untamed
  • C. out there
  • D. ruthless
  • I’ve watched the ocean lashed by wind,
  • 2.) In this line from a poem, the word lashed suggests that the ocean is being––
  • A soothed.
  • B troubled.
  • C sailed.
  • D whipped.
      • Life is filled with situational 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.

Homework for Next Session

  • From Measuring Up (talk to the text on all reading assignments)
    • pp 6-9 “One Alaskan Night”
    • pp 12-14 “The Baroque Marble”
    • pp 19-22 “Around the world…”
    • pp 31-34 “At War with Grandma”
    • pp 35-38 “The Birth of Big Business
  • Simile Homework
  • Metaphor Homework
  • Vocabulary Flashcards

Complete vs. Incomplete Sentence

  • A real sentence expresses a complete thought. It must contain a subject and a verb.
  • Examples of complete sentences:
  • Subject Verb
  • - Joseph skateboarded.
  • Lily went shopping.
  • The campers will hike to the waterfall.
  • What’s the subject? What’s the verb?
  • The students are going on a fieldtrip.
  • Erika is a helpful dietician.
  • /

Fragments are not complete sentences!

  • Complete sentences expresses a complete thought.
  • A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence that cannot stand by itself, and you will need to identify these on the CAHSEE.
  • Let’s practice!! Copy and paste the URL below to your web browser

Word Origins

  • see p. 15
  • 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.


  • see p. 15
  • A letter or group of letters added to a base word or root to change its meaning.
  • Examples:
    • Hypersensitive (Hyper = over)
    • Impossible (im = not)
    • Monogamy (mono = one)
    • Postgraduate (post = after)


  • 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.
  • Examples
    • Anniversary (ann = year)
    • Dentist (dent = tooth)
    • Maternity (mater = mother)
    • Solar (sol = sun)


  • 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.
  • Examples
    • Actor (or = one who)
    • Goddess (ess = female)
    • Beautiful (ful = full of)
    • Disgustingly (ly = manner of)

Basic Essay Structure Review

  • We will be doing lots of essay writing practice in this class!
  • You will write all the possible types of CAHSEE essays you may be assigned.
  • This brief reminder of the 5-paragraph structure is just that—a reminder!
  • Let us know if you need more help with essay writing—we will be doing a lot of instruction and practice on this in the class!

The basics

  • When you are writing you need to be aware of writing rules. You need to have all complete sentences, you need to have proper punctuation and spelling. Each paragraph is indented, and it should all make sense.
  • Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and supporting detail.
  • Each introduction paragraph should have a thesis statement at the end of the paragraph.
  • Making an outline makes all of this much easier!

The Outline

  • There are endless possibilities on what type of outline you can make.
    • Thinking maps
    • Graphic organizer
    • Bullet point outline
    • But what is important is that you organize your thoughts. What do you want to write about and what are you going to include in the essay?


  • After you have the outline you should break down what you are going to write in each paragraph:
    • Intro paragraph should introduce the topic and have the thesis statement.
    • Body paragraphs should each have a subtopic of the essay and discuss that topic.
    • Conclusion paragraph should tie up any loose ends and bring the essay to a close by reiterating what was already said and/or offer a solution.


  • _____________ of the WHOLE ESSAY
  • Make sure your thesis statement answers the topic question (in your introduction – 1st paragraph)
  • The thesis is the most important sentence in your essay.
  • Main Point
  • ________ SENTENCE
  • Example:
  • Topic =
  • Opinion =
  • Thesis = topic + opinion
  • __________________________
  • LAST
  • Hook: to get the reader interested
  • Background: let the reader know what they need to understand your thesis
  • Thesis: main point of
  • essay
  • T = topic sentence
  • E= evidence
  • -quote or detail
  • Ex = explanation of evidence
  • -more opinion of fact
  • E= evidence
  • -quote or detail
  • Ex = explanation of evidence
  • -more opinion of fact
  • L= link back to main topic/thesis
  • ¶ 2 = BODY paragraph 1
  • ¶ 3 = BODY paragraph 2
  • ¶ 4 = BODY paragraph 3
  • TEEXL!!!
  • Sentence 1:
  • ___________ IN DIFFERENT WORDS
  • Sentences 2, 3, 4:
  • Sentence 5:

Your CAHSEE 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

CAHSEE Essay Writing

  • 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!

Persuasive Essay

  • Including art, dance, drama, and music in a student’s education is a topic of national debate. Some people believe that these subjects are not a necessary part of a student’s education. Others believe that these subjects are not only needed but are vital to a well-rounded education.
  • Write a persuasive essay explaining whether or not art, dance, drama, and music are an important part of a student’s education. Be sure to provide reasons and evidence for your position.

Peer Edit Step by Step

  • 1. Highlight the thesis
  • 2. Does the thesis make sense?
  • 3. Highlight Topic Sentences.
  • 4. Do they directly relate to the thesis?
  • 5. Read entire essay
  • 6. Does it make sense?
  • 7. Are there any grammar or spelling errors?
  • 8. Does the intro and conclusion have at least 3 sentences?
  • Does the Body paragraphs have at least 5 sentences?

For next class

  • You should have all workbook pages from the red measuring up book done and torn out of the book, and the rough draft of your essay finished. We will be meeting the week of Nov. 28th-Dec.1st. So please make sure you know what class you are assigned to and I will see you then.

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