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Study Guide

Field 241: Multi-Subject: Secondary Teachers 
(Grade 7–Grade 12) 
Part One: Literacy and English Language Arts

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Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Knowledge of Literacy and Language Arts

1. A student is developing an analytical essay on the use of setting in Alice Munro's short story "Boys and Girls." As part of the essay, the student plans to make the claim that the narrator's descriptions of exterior and interior spaces reveal the narrator's ambivalence about entering adulthood. Which excerpt from the story would best support the student's claim?

  1. We were not afraid of outside though this was the time of year when snowdrifts curled around our house like sleeping whales and the wind harassed us all night, coming up from the buried fields, the frozen swamp, with its old bugbear chorus of threats and misery.acknowledgments 1
  2. When the light was on, we were safe as long as we did not step off the square of worn carpet which defined our bedroom-space; when the light was off no place was safe but the beds themselves.acknowledgments 1
  3. These days our back porch was piled with baskets of peaches and grapes and pears, bought in town, and onions and tomatoes and cucumbers grown at home, all waiting to be made into jelly and jam and preserves, pickles and chili sauce.acknowledgments 1
  4. In the kitchen there was a fire in the stove all day, jars clinked in boiling water, sometimes a cheesecloth bag was strung on a pole between two chairs straining blue-black grape pulp for jelly.acknowledgments 1
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Correct Response: B. This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of effective writing to analyze and evaluate a written response to literature. The narrator's description of the "bedroom-space" defined by a "square of worn carpet" reveals the narrator's belief that the familiar world that is visible "when the light was on" is safe. At the same time, the narrator reveals an awareness that the familiar, known world can be limiting, even constricting. The narrator's assertion that "when the light was off no place was safe but the beds themselves" supports the writer's claim that the narrator is frightened by the prospect of entering the unknown, unpredictable future that is adulthood.

2.  start bold Use the paragraph below from a textbook to answer the question that follows. end bold 

During a criminal trial, the prosecuting attorney must provide evidence that the person accused of a crime is guilty of committing the crime. If the attorney cannot provide enough proof, the defense attorney may ask the judge to dismiss the charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Which strategy would best help a reader determine the meaning of the word  start italics insufficient end italics ?

  1. recognizing that the word modifies a noun
  2. analyzing the sentences' syntactic structure
  3. finding the word's antonym in the paragraph
  4. verifying the definition by asking a classmate
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Correct Response: C. This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of language structures important to comprehending words and sentences, including semantic word relationships. The use of context clues—hints found within text—is a strategy that can aid a reader in determining the meaning of unknown vocabulary words found within the text. One way of using context clues is to find a word's antonym—a word that is opposite in meaning—and use knowledge of that antonym's meaning to determine the meaning of the unknown word. In this paragraph, the word  start italics enough end italics  is the antonym of  start italics insufficient end italics . A reader can conclude that "if the attorney cannot provide enough proof," the charges may be dismissed due to not enough (i.e.,  start italics insufficient end italics ) proof.

Competency 0002 
Instruction in Foundational Literacy Skills

3. A teacher reviews a section of a science textbook and selects words for direct vocabulary instruction prior to assigning students the passage to read independently. Which selection criterion would be most effective for the teacher to use for this purpose?

  1. The words are multisyllabic and contain Greek or Latin roots likely to be unfamiliar to students.
  2. The words occur with high frequency in the passage and throughout the text.
  3. The words have both literal and figurative meanings, depending on sentence context.
  4. The words are used to convey or clarify important concepts in the passage.
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Correct Response: D. This question requires the examinee to apply developmentally appropriate, research- and evidence-based instructional practices in word study, including building vocabulary knowledge related to specific texts. The primary purpose for preteaching some words related to a specific reading assignment is supporting students' comprehension and learning as they read. Providing instruction in those words used to convey important concepts in the passage before students begin reading directly supports their comprehension of main ideas and key details in the text and may further provide students with sufficient background knowledge to learn in context the meaning of other new words they encounter in the passage.

4. After reading a play in class, tenth-grade students work in groups to select scenes from the play to perform for Readers Theater. They paraphrase the basic meaning of the dialogue with their teacher and then try various ways of reading the dialogue aloud in character. This activity will benefit student learning primarily by providing students with the opportunity to:

  1. expand their creative talents in the dramatic arts.
  2. develop a deeper knowledge of plot structure elements.
  3. practice skills that promote the development of fluency.
  4. use independent learning strategies to memorize their lines.
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Correct Response: C. This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate, research- and evidence-based instructional practices to promote students' development of reading fluency. Readers Theater is an engaging, collaborative activity in which students practice and perform short scripts, which are often adapted from literature. Since generally no props, costumes, or line memorization are included in the activity, students rely on expressive voices as they read from their scripts to convey meaning and emotion to the audience. Readers Theater is a tool that helps students develop fluency—accuracy, automaticity, and prosody (e.g., expression, inflection)—through repeated reading practice.

Competency 0003 
Instruction in English Language Arts

5. A teacher would like to promote students' understanding of Sinclair Lewis's 1920 novel  start italics Main Street end italics . During a class discussion, the teacher plans to ask students questions that progress from the lower to higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy. Which series of questions would be most appropriate for the teacher to use for this purpose?

    1. In what ways does the town of Gopher Prairie in  start italics Main Street end italics  resemble the town where we live?
    2. How do you think Sinclair Lewis would describe the town where we live?
    3. Why do you think Sinclair Lewis chose the title  start italics Main Street end italics  for the novel?
    1. How do historical events influence characters' lives in the novel?
    2. What do the main characters' professions reveal about their values?
    3. Why do the residents of the town of Gopher Prairie resist change?
    1. What is the setting of the novel?
    2. How does Sinclair Lewis depict small-town life in the early twentieth century?
    3. How does the depiction of small-town life in  start italics Main Street end italics  compare with the depiction of small-town life in Thornton Wilder's play  start italics Our Town end italics ?
    1. How are Carol and Will Kennicott similar to and different from each other?
    2. How does Carol's attitude toward Gopher Prairie change over the course of the novel?
    3. How does being the town doctor affect Will Kennicott's attitude toward Gopher Prairie?
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Correct Response: C. This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate instructional practices to promote students' comprehension and analysis of key ideas and details in literature. Bloom's taxonomy describes six levels of cognitive complexity: observation and recall of information; comprehension of information; application of information, methods, concepts, and theories; analysis of information; synthesis of information and ideas; and evaluation of ideas, theories, arguments, and evidence. When answering the three questions, students would move from the first to fifth levels of Bloom's taxonomy. Answering the teacher's first question ("What is the setting of the novel?") requires recall of basic information from the novel. To answer the teacher's second question ("How does Sinclair Lewis depict small-town life in the early twentieth century?"), students need to comprehend the explicit meaning of the text, and they might also interpret Lewis's language and tone to make inferences about the text's implicit meaning. To answer the teacher's third question ("How does the depiction of small-town life in  start italics Main Street end italics  compare with the depiction of small-town life in Thornton Wilder's play  start italics Our Town end italics ?"), students would need to analyze and synthesize information to draw conclusions based on textual evidence.

6. As part of a research project, a teacher asks students to develop and annotate a bibliography. The annotation component of the activity will promote the students' ability to conduct research primarily by:

  1. giving the students practice in evaluating information for relevance.
  2. helping the students paraphrase academic texts for future reference.
  3. reducing the students' dependence on a single type of source.
  4. teaching the students to use a specific source citation format.
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Correct Response: A. This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate assessment and data-driven instructional practices to develop students' skill in conducting research and presenting knowledge. In addition to appropriate source citations, an annotated bibliography would include a summary of each source's central theme and focus, as well as an explanation of how the source addresses the research topic. Creating an annotated bibliography would help the students determine the sources' relevance for the assigned research project.

Acknowledgments

1Munro, Alice. "Boys and Girls" DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES: AND OTHER STORIES. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1968. Copyright 1968 by Alice Munro.