Multi-Subject Cst Written Assignment Outline

CST Review Secondary ELA
Justice Project


Teacher Certification Exam

New York State Content Specialty Test (CST)

English Language Arts CST (03)


The CST-English Language Arts (03) is designed to determine how well prepared teacher candidates in secondary English are to teach English Language Arts. Teaching candidates taking the CST in English will, most likely be expected to show that they are aware of the New York State Teaching Standards and the Common Core State Standards. They will, especially, be asked to demonstrate that they understand how these standards will affect their instructional decisions. In particular, they will probably be expected to show that they are aware of the six shifts in instructional emphases that the CCSS have ushered into ELA 7-12 instruction.   See the box below for a list of these shifts.


Source:   Engage


Beach, Thein, and Webb (2012) remind us that even though the Common Core Standards address respective English Language Arts activities like reading, writing, and oral language use (i.e., speaking and listening) as individual entities, exemplary ELA teachers find ways to integrate them "in mutually supportive ways" (p. 116). Thus, though we will look at the various language processes individually in the following sections, keep in mind that effective English Language Arts teachers will design integrated literacy activities as often as possible in which skills and strategies necessary for reading, writing, speaking and listening will often be used in various combinations to accomplish specific purposes. It is likely that the New York State Content Specialty Test (CST) in Secondary English will require teaching candidates to know this and to demonstrate in many ways that they know how to teach English Language Arts competently in this integrated, strategic manner.








General Information about Teaching Reading:

1. One of the key requirements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Reading is that all students must be able to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school. It is the stated purpose of the standards to ensure that by the time students complete high school, they are able to read and comprehend independently and proficiently the kinds of complex texts commonly found in college and careers. Therefore, as Calkins, Ehrenworth, and Lehman (2012) point out, the Common Core State Standards appear to emphasize textual analysis through close reading and evidence-based analysis while deemphasizing personal responses to text or text-to-self connections (p. 25)*.

Because of this, it is likely that the two Reading sections of the CST will focus much more upon what candidates know about how to teach reading comprehension and literary analysis than upon how they might elicit reading responses from their students, though it is possible that teacher candidates may need to know at least some strategies for text-to-self connections.

*Source: Calkins, L.. Ehrenwoth, M., & Lehman, C. (2012). Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating achievement. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.

2. Gerald Duffy (2014)* points out that since the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are based upon the most current reading research, it makes sense that  What do you already know about Teaching Reading? they should drive instruction and assessment of reading in all grades.

Duffy suggests that the CCSS provide the following, specific insights for improving reading instruction:


  • Emphasis should be on building knowledge throughout the grades
  • Reading comprehension should be emphasized
  • Informational texts should be emphasized as much as or even more than narrative texts (especially in upper grade content areas)
  • Close reading of complex texts, with the focus on analysis and evaluation should be emphasized
  • A major instructional goal should be reading for purpose and understanding--that is, reading for meaning
  • As much as possible, students should be given reading tasks that are embeded in authentic literacy tasks so that students can experience reading as worthwhile and useful

Source: Adapted from Duffy, G. (2014). Explaining reading: A resource for explicit teaching of the Common Core Standards (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford.


Both the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English offer excellent resources for understanding how to teach reading to adolescents. Click on this link for a brief explanation of myths and recommendations for teaching literacy skills to adolescents, including students from multicultural backgrounds.





 Teaching Reading Skills


Another important element to note in the CCSS is that, with a few variations to accommodate differences in fictional vs. informational genres, the standards call for the same skills for reading literature and for reading informational texts. The emphasis in both cases is upon reading for meaning; readers must read to discover how people, problems and ideas are introduced and connected.

Teaching students to do this means that they must be taught to analyze texts for structure and authors purposes as well as how words are used to elicit specific feelings and moods and to convey specific ideas and concepts.

Though these processes may look slightly different depending on the genre represented in the reading task, students must do similar kinds of tasks as they read; that is, they must know the denotative and connotative meanings of words, read closely for details in the text, find evidence to support inferences and conclusions, apply knowledge of literary techniques such as irony or metaphor, and recognize main ideas or themes and the details that support them. To see both similarities and variations in reading processes, see in the chart, below, the kinds of questions that students must learn to ask as they read both literary and informational texts.

Note the emphases upon text-based questions and evidence-based answers.



To meet the demands of the CCSS for using complex texts and teaching close reading, a teacher's pedagogical knowledge and methods must center primarily upon breaking down reading comprehension and textual analysis processes into specific, strategic steps. While these will vary slightly depending upon whether students are reading literature or informational texts, many of the same methods—such as the use of discussion in varying groupings of students, students' use of active strategies for identifying key ideas and themes in texts, or the use of multimedia for helping students to receive knowledge and express what they have learned—can be used for teaching reading of both literary and informational texts.


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Close Analytic Reading incorporates:

Academic Language: Close attention to words, sentences and language use within the context of the texts unfolding ideas initiates students into the academic language essential to becoming an educated person. This close attention is vital for ensuring success of EL and struggling readers.

 Word Study: Careful attention to word choice provides teachers the opportunity to highlight not only the semantic but the grammatical, structural and orthographic components essential to successful word study. Students will develop the habit of noticing words and seeing how and why they work together.

Fluency: Rereading and hearing rich text read aloud develops fluency. At the same time, it brings struggling readers and EL students into the discussion on an equal footing rather than segregating them with simpler and too often, lesser, texts.

Learning from Text Independently: Close analytic reading integrates support and teacher guidance with tasks and culminating assignments done by students in small groups and independently. Analytic reading cultivates the habits of mind that develop students into strong independent readers.

 Note on Volume of Student Reading: Close reading itself cannot provide the volume of reading needed to acquire the lexicon of academic words and the background knowledge essential for all students to achieve academic success. What it does is change the way students read by providing the tools and developing the habits of mind that will allow all students to learn independently from the texts they read. This will allow all students to successfully read the quantity of text needed to become fully college and career ready

Evidence BasedSpeaking and Writing: In addition to listening and reading: analytic reading lessons consistently integrate discussion of the text under consideration as well as multiple opportunities for writing using text evidence. The lesson always culminates in a writing assignment that calls on the students to demonstrate understanding of the text under consideration.


TIPS for Close Reading of All Texts

Source: Adapted from Fisher,D. & Frey, N. (Oct./Nov. 2013). Whats the secret to successful close reading? Reading Today, 31(2), pp. 16-17.


Watch this video of a teacher talking about her experiences choosing texts for her students' close reading and then answer the questions in the quiz that follows.





Students can be taught to self-regulate for close reading by using a checklist and strategic questioning like the one below.

 Source: Engage NY.



 Watch the two videos below and then test your knowledge of teaching for close reading by completing the quiz that follows each.

1. A Youtube video in which middle school English teacher tells how he creates questions for close reading:


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2. A Youtube video on notetaking


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General Strategies for Reading Comprehension: To be proficient readers, students must be guided to use specific strategies to help them understand what they are reading. These strategies must help them toindependentlycompare ideas across texts, write arguments for their interpretations of texts, explore ideas across genres and across time periods, delve into the human condition through literature, and connect their own knowledge of the world to the ideas in the texts they are reading.

Refer to the following chart to be sure that you are aware of how to specifically teach and model reading strategies. After explicitly teaching these strategies, gradually release responsibility to students and encourage their metacognition. Use formative assessments regularly to be sure that students are comprehending as proficient readers.



Characteristics and Examples

Skimming and scanning

  • for main ideas and supporting details, using graphic organizers to keep track of each
  • bold text, italics, etc. to note important concepts and main ideas
  • the text has no helpful features, quickly read the introduction and conclusion and skim the body of the text for important examples.
  • Read introductory sentences of paragraphs to get the gist of each
  • Annotate the text to keep track of main ideas, supporting details and clear evidence for any inferences or conclusions drawn


Access background knowledge

  • use K-W-L charts
  • use journaling to help students to access background knowledge
  • use popular culture and topics with which students have familiarity and that display themes and ideas parallel to those found in more challenging reading--that is, text sets


Build vocabulary

  • Try to group words with common meanings
  • Teach word parts and word families
  • Use word walls
  • Teach fewer word well rather than many words superficially


Make predictions

  • students to examine initial evidence found on book covers, tables of contents, chapter headings, illustrations, etc. to use for predicting.
  • reading, stop to check predictions.
  • predictions when necessary.

Monitor comprehension

  • talk to compare notes with other readers about what is read
  • vocabulary that seems to be impeding understanding and find meanings.
  • journaling to keep track of important ideas and responses to those ideas.
  • graphic organizers to keep track of important ideas and responses to them, especially analytical moves, like making comparisons/contrasts or seeing reasons/results.

Use text structures that authors often use to organize writing in order to prompt comprehension. Look for transition words, such as next, however, because, etc. which often signal the patterns.

For example,

  • Comparison/contrast
  • Reasons/results
  • Problem/solution
  • Enumeration


Ask text-related questions to help recognize important elements in the texts

Each text structure can prompt specific types of questions.   For example, once a student recognizes that he/she is reading a text organized as a Problem/Solution, the following questions can be used:

  • What is the problem? (Problem)
  • What happens because of the problem (Consequence)
  • What caused the problem (Cause)
  • What was the problem solved? (Solution)








Section 0001 requires teaching candidates taking the CST to demonstrate deep knowledge of a wide variety of American literature and world literature. This includes knowledge of many genres, such as works of fiction, drama, and poetry.

Performance Expectatins: The NYSTCE CST test framework guide provides the following list of competencies necessary to complete the Reading Literature section of the CST. Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can

  • Analyze the explicit meaning of a literary text
  • Draw logical inferences from a literary text 
  • Cite textual evidence from a literary text to support conclusions drawn from the text
  • Determine the theme(s) or central idea(s) of a literary text
  • Analyze the impact of an author
  • Analyze the impact of an author's choices regarding the development and relationship of elements in a drama or story
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a literary text, including figurative and connotative meanings 
  • Analyze the impact of specific word choices on the meaning, tone, and mood of a literary text
  • Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to frame specific parts of a literary text contribute to its overall structure, meaning, and aesthetic impact
  • Analyze how an author uses techniques such as satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement to convey point of view
  • Demonstrates knowledge of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of genres (e.g., myths, traditional stories, poetry, drama, short stories, novels) and a wide spectrum of literature from American and world cultures from ancient to modern times
  • Analyzes a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States
  • Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare)
  • Analyze how a modern work of fictions draws on ancient myths, traditional stories, or religious works, and describe how the material is reinterpreted



Elements of Literary Analysis

Teachers can prepare to demonstrate the skills listed above by making sure that they know how to teach:


1. The plot elements of a story.

It is important, moreover, to be able to explain how each of the elements contribute to the overall effect of the story.






Source for both diagrams:




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2. Plot elements like foreshadowing, flashbacks, and conflict that move the plot along and make it interesting.


3. Character development, especially how to recognize flat and round characters.


4. How authors use sensory details to create setting and mood in a variety of ways.


5. Elements like ambiguity,connotation, and symbolism to convey irony, sensory impressions, and emotions.


6. Symbols and images that authors use to evoke emotional as well as cognitive responses.


 7. Metaphors and similes and other literary tropes that authors use to enrich their texts and elicit enjoyment and emotional responses from their readers.


 8. Elements like rhythm, rhyme, tone and mood, style, and diction (word choice) that authors use to create images and evoke enjoyment and emotional response from their readers. 


9. Special language features like assonance and alliteration which can evoke enjoyment of language and a sense of play in the reader.





Strategies for Teaching Literary Analysis

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) emphasize more complexity in reading literature at all grade levels, and this means that when teaching literary analysis, teachers must teach not only close reading, but also complex analysis of literature with a great deal of attention upon text-based questions to which students must respond with evidence-based answers.

It is likely that this type of pedagogy will be emphasized on the CST.

Therefore, it is likely that teaching candidates will be asked to demonstrate that they have a facility with complex analysis, including comparisons and contrasts between works and/or characters of different authors, time periods, genres, etc. or between works and/or characters of the same author, time periods, genres, etc. If teachers have a strong ability to analyze literature themselves, then they can model the process for their students and teach them to emulate their analysis through guided practice.

Use tools, especially graphic organizers like the one below, that can help readers to keep track of each of texts that can be compared and contrasted. Teach students to use these tools as well by modeling how you use them.


Source: Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2013). Reading and reasoning: Fostering comparisons across multiple texts. [IRA E-ssentials series]. doi: 10.1598/e-ssentials.8026


To give you an idea of the kinds of questions that the CST has presented in the past to test a candidate's facility with complex analysis, try the questions in the following quiz group:



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 Teaching Literature with Text Sets

Besides modeling and providing guided practice, another important pedagogical tool that teachers can use to encourage and nurture close reading and complex analysis of literature in their students is the introduction of thematic units and text sets for the study of literature.


1. A multi-genre text set is a grouping of various texts around a central concept or theme that is particularly applicable to adolescents (e.g., identity, body image, a drive to

fit in or for social acceptance, etc. or themes derived from these concepts). The text set often revolves around a central novel (though other genres could be considered as the central text). The central text should be regarded as a major piece of literature for adolescents because of its enduring theme(s), colorful and skillful use of language, and ability to move adolescents forward in their cognitive and emotional growth. The central novel may or may not be regarded as canonical.


After selecting a central text, the next step in creating a text set is to gather resources of different reading levels, genres, and media that offer perspectives on one theme from the central text. By collecting materials ranging from fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to maps, charts, historical documents, photographs, songs, and paintings, teachers can add voices and perspectives to the study of any complex issue. This is especially important in classrooms where the whole class is using a single textbook or novel. Putting together a text set also provides all students -- regardless of reading level or learning style -- with a "way in" to a subject. Even competent adult learners seek out "easy books" to learn about a new or complex topic, so providing children's books, popular music, or videos/films in a text set can be regarded as a way for students to connect to or understand some aspect of the central theme. In addition, alternative media effectively present important content in a short period of time, and they can be revisited to serve as a mediator for ideas and concepts presented in the more challenging texts in the text set.

Source: Adapted from See this website for more ideas about constructing text sets and for examples of text sets.


Teachers can take the following steps when creating and using text sets (Source: :



Source: Adapted from See this website for more ideas about constructing text sets and for examples of text sets.








Section 0002 requires those taking the CST to demonstrate a proficiency in reading informational text as well as the pedagogical knowledge necessary to teach students strategies for understanding, summarizing, and analyzing seminal U.S.documents as well as texts that provide information about diverse cultures and viewpoints.

This includes knowledge of how to determine main ideas, supporting details, effectiveness of text structure, an author's point of view, purpose, and persuasive claims.

Most important, teachers will be able to model and teach students how to accurately evaluate arguments by thoroughly assessing an author's claims and the relevance and sufficiency of evidence given to support the argument. The NYSTCE CST guide and test framework provides the following list of competencies necessary to complete the Reading Informational Text section of the CST:

Performance Expectations:Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can:


  • Analyze the explicit meaning of informational texts using strong and thorough textual evidence
  • Draw inferences based on strong textual evidence
  • Determine the central idea(s) of an informational text
  • Analyze the development and interaction of ideas and events in an informational text
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to summarize an informational text
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in an informational text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings
  • Analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms
  • Analyze the effectiveness of the structure an author uses to explanin information or to develop an argument
  • Determine an author's point of view and purpose
  • Analyze how style and content contribute to the power of persuasiveness of an informational text




Strategies for Teaching Students to Read Informational Text

Students must be strategic readers of informational text in order to master each of the steps in the reading pyramid above. Teachers can model and encourage independent close reading of informational text through the use of graphic organizers that call for specific kinds of searching, noting, and organizing of what has been read, after which students can make inferences, draw significant conclusions, evaluate the ideas of others, and synthesize information in order to create new knowledge.



See this link for many suggestions for teaching strategies that can be used to encourage close reading of informational texts:

Also, go to for examples of graphic organizers that can be used to prompt close reading of informational texts and higher order thinking that should follow. In order to teach strategies for close reading of informational texts, teachers must be proficient with those strategies. Here is a chance to practice by using some questiions from CST preparation materials to test yourself. Go to the Quiz Group that follows to answer questions that might be like those on the CST.






Strategies for Teaching Students to Read Arguments

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Because the Common Core Standards (CCSS) emphasize the reading and writing of arguments, it is likely that the CST will also. This form of reading of informational text requires close reading and the skills and strategies discussed in previous pages for reading actively and closely. Reading arguments, however, also requires specific kinds of moves and understandings. One of these is knowing the differences between argument and persuasion. Another is an emphasis upon critical evaluation of the argument in question, that is, what the author says and how he says it. The information that follows will outline the reading moves and thinking that will help readers to proficiently read arguments.



Lapp, D., Thayre, M., Wolsey, T.D., & Fisher, D. (2014). Arguments are only as credible as their sources: Teaching students to choose wisely. IRA Essentials. Doi: 10.1598/essentials.8056

Critical Reading: Asking questions to discover the validity of an argument.

  • What do you mean by that phrase?
  • Can you support that statement?
  • How do you define that term?
  • How is this observation important?
  • How did you arrive at this conclusion?
  • Do other experts agree with you?
  • Is this evidence up-to-date?


  • Who is the author? (Age, education, current profession, professional background will influence his/her opinions.)
  • Where was the article originally published? (Popular magazines are written to a general audience; scholarly journals are usually written to professionals.)
  • When was the article originally published? (Is it historical or current? Is it still relevant?)
  • What does the title reveal about the subject and the author's attitude toward it? (Is it negative or positive? Is there a comparison?)

Skim (a quick read):

  • Find the topic and the claim.
  • Read the first one or two paragraphs and the conclusion paragraphs.
  • Read the first sentence or two of each paragraph.

Consider your own Experience:

  • What do I know about this subject?
  • What have I read or heard about it recently?
  • What attitudes or opinions do I have about the subject?

Annotate the reading:

  • Highlight or underline key words or ideas.
  • Write questions in the margins.
  • Circle words or phrases that need to be defined.
  • Add comments of your own that support or challenge the writer's.
  • Draw lines between related ideas.
  • Note the writer's use of transitions/qualifiers that subtly shade the meaning.
  • Point out with arrows or asterisks particularly persuasive passages.
  • Mark difficult to understand passages that need a closer look.  

Summarize the reading:

  • A summary is considerably shorter than the original (only the main ideas).
  • A summary is written in your own words (don't copy the author's words).
  • A summary is objective (no comments or personal opinions).
  • A summary is accurate (don't change the author's meaning).
  • A summary is thorough (don't leave out any main ideas).

Analyze and Evaluate the reading: break the argument down into its separate parts, examine those parts closely, and evaluate their significance and how they work together as a whole.

  • What are the writer's assumptions? (What does the writer take for granted about the reader's values, beliefs, or knowledge? What does the writer assume about the subject?)
  • What kind of audience is the writer addressing?
  • What are the writer's purpose and intentions?
  • How does the writer accomplish those intentions?
  • What kinds of evidence has the writer used--personal experience, scientific data, outside authorities?
  • How convincing is the evidence presented? Is it relevant?

Is it reliable? Is it specific enough? Is it sufficient? Is it slanted or dated?

  • Does the writer's logic seem reasonable?
  • Did the writer address opposing views?
  • Is the writer persuasive?

Argue with the reading:

  • Note any points that contradict your own experience or opinion.
  • Note anything you are skeptical about.
  • Write down questions you have about the claim, reasons, or evidence.
  • If something seems forced or unfounded, note why.
  • Look for logical fallacies (accidental or intentional) that exaggerate the evidence or use faulty logic.
  • Also note powerful points, interesting wording, original insights, clever or amusing phrases or allusions, well-chosen references, or general structure.

Create a Debate/Dialogue:

  • One article provides only one perspective. The more perspectives you read, the better your understanding of the subject.
  • Compare various readings/points of view.
  • How do the facts relate to one another? How are they alike? Different?

Deliberate about the reading: reach your own conclusion.

  • Consider each of the writers' claims and main points.
  • Define your own position on the issue.  


Look for Logical Fallacies: errors in logic.

  • Ad hominem: a personal attack on the opponent rather than his/her views: name-calling, character assassination.
  • How could Tom accuse her of being careless? He's such a slob.
  • If course Helen claimed that O. J. Simpson was innocent. She is black, after all.
  • We cannot expect Ms. Lucas to know what it means to feel oppressed; she is the president of a large bank.
  • Ad misericordium: an appeal to pity.
  • It makes no difference if he was guilty of Nazi war crimes. The man is eighty years old and in ill health, so he should not be made to stand trial.
  • Paula is fourteen years old and lives on welfare with her mother; she suffers serious depression and functions like a child half her age. She should not be sent to adult court, where she will be tried for armed robbery, so she can spend her formative years behind bars.
  • Ad populum: an appeal to the prejudice and emotion of the masses.
  • High school students don't learn anything these days. Today's teachers are academically unprepared.
  • If you want to see the crime rate drop, tell Hollywood to stop making movies that glorify violence.
  • Doctors oppose health reform because it will reduce their large incomes.
  • Bandwagon: appeal to fear of being different, left out.
  • Everybody's going to the Smashing Pumpkins concert.
  • Nobody will go along with that proposal.
  • The majority of the American people want a constitutional amendment outlawing flag burning.
  • Begging the question: pretending that an assumption (which is not yet proven) is a fact.
  • That foolish law should be repealed.
  • She is compassionate because she is a woman.
  • If you haven't written short stories, you shouldn't be criticizing them.
  • Circular reasoning: the conclusion of a deductive argument is hidden in the premise of that argument (circular).
  • People who are happy with their work are cheerful because they enjoy what they're doing.
  • Only a welfare mother can appreciate the plight of a welfare mother.
  • Bank robbers should be punished because they broke the law.


  • False analogies: when two things being compared do not match feature for feature.
  • The Ship of State is about to wreck on the rocks of recession; we need a new pilot.
  • This whole gun control issue is polarizing the nation the way slavery did people living above and below the Mason-Dixon Line. Do we want another civil war?
  • Letting emerging nations have nuclear weapons is like giving loaded guns to children.
  • False dilemma: simplifying a complex issue into an either/or choice.
  • English should be the official language of the United States, and anybody who doesn't like it can leave.
  • Movies today are full of either violence or sex.
  • Either we put warning labels on records and compact discs, or we'll see more and more teenage girls having babies.
  • Faulty use of authority: an expert in one area is used as an authority in an unrelated area.
  • You should buy these vitamins because Cindy Crawford recommended them on television last night.
  • The American Bar Association states that second-hand smoke is a serious cancer threat to non-smokers.
  • Americans shouldn't find hunting objectionable because one of our most popular presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, was an avid hunter.
  • Hasty generalization: arriving at a conclusion based on too little evidence.
  • That shopping mall is unsafe because there was a robbery there two weeks ago.
  • I'm failing organic chemistry because the teaching assistant doesn't speak English well.
  • This book was written by a Harvard professor, so it must be good.
  • Non sequitor: drawing a conclusion that does not follow from the premise.
  • Mr. Thompson has such bad breath that it's a wonder he sings so well.
  • She's so pretty; she must not be smart.
  • I supported his candidacy for president because his campaign was so efficiently run.
  • Post hoc, ergo propter hoc (faulty cause/effect): "after this, therefore because of this," calling a coincidence a cause/effect relationship (58).
  • Just two weeks after they raised the speed limit, three people were killed on that road.
  • I saw Ralf in the courthouse; he must have been arrested.
  • It's no wonder the crime rate has shot up. The state legislature voted to lower the drinking age.


  • Red herring: information used to distract the reader from the real issue.
  • Even though that hockey player was convicted of vehicular homicide, he shouldn't go to jail because he is such a great athlete.
  • Susan didn't hire John for the job because his wife is always late for meetings.
  • The teacher gave me an F in the course because she doesn't like me.
  • Slippery slope: claiming that one event will inevitably lead to a chain of other events.
  • Legalized abortion is a step toward creating an anti-life society.
  • A ban on ethnic slurs will mean no more freedom of speech.
  • If we let them build those condos, the lake will end up polluted, the wildlife will die off, and the landscape will be scarred forever.  
  • Stacking the deck: providing only evidence that supports a claim while withholding contrary evidence.
  • Parents should realize that private schools simply encourage elitism in young people.
  • We cannot take four more years of her in office, given the way she voted against the death penalty.

Source: (from






Competencies 003-005



General Information about Teaching Writing:

To help their students to meet Common Core Standards that call for writing that is complex and insightful, teachers must model and teach strategies that will make their students competent and confident writers. In doing this, they will

  • help students to internalize the idea that writing is a process that makes use of social interaction and recursive moves to prepare, create, revise and share multiple drafts.
  • teach students to write for many audiences and purposes. This includes developing the ability to write quickly and cogently for testing purposes as well as the ability to make full use of the writing process, creating and revising multiple drafts over time.
  • show students how to use many tools and strategies for writing, but rather than calling for isolated use of these skills and strategies, encourage integrated approaches.   For example, students might be asked to use narrative strategies to develop reasons for their positions in arguments or use clear expository writing to explain and describe when writing narratives.
  • teach students to gather information, evaluate and analyze sources, cite material accurately, and report findings from their analysis and research in complex, clear and organized ways.
  • show students how to use technology to create, refine, respond, and collaborate in their writing.


The Process Approach

Most research in writing pedagogy today concludes that the most effective way to teach writing is through a process approach. This approach assumes that a writer needs to be writing for authentic purposes in an extended process that includes prewriting, writing, revising, and editing--though these are done in a recursive manner rather than in discrete steps. As writers work through the writing process, they move through recursive steps that first emphasize fluency (i.e., activities for determining audience and generating ideas), then form (i.e., writing strategies   for organizing and revising ideas) and then correctness (i.e., editing for proper grammar, spelling, diction, etc.).   The last step in the process is publishing, sharing one's finished draft, after which some of the steps of the process may once again be revisited. 


In process-oriented classrooms, students enjoy:

  1. Teachers who understand and appreciate the basic linguistic competence that students bring with them to school, and who therefore have positive expectations for students' achievements in writing
  2. Regular and substantial practice at writing.
  3. Instruction in the process of writing—learning how to work at a given writing task in appropriate phases, including prewriting, drafting, and revising.
  4. The opportunity to write for real, personally significant puposes.
  5. Experience in writing for a wide range of audiences, both inside and outside of school.
  6. Rich and continuous reading experience, including both published writing and the work of peers and teachers.
  7. Exposure to models of writing in process and writers at work, including both classmates and skilled adult writers.
  8. Collaborative activities that provide ideas for writing and guidance in revising drafts in progress.
  9. One-to-one writing conferences with the teacher.
  10. Inquiry-oriented classroom activities that involve students with rich sets of data and social interaction, and that focus on specific modes of elements of writing.
  11. Increased use of sentence-combining exercises which replaces instruction in grammatical terminology.
  12. Mechanics of writing taught in the context of students' own compositions, rather than in separate exercises and drills.
  13. Moderate marking of the surface structure errors in student papers, focusing on sets or patterns of related errors.
  14. Flexible and cumulative evaluation of writing that stresses revision.   The teacher's written comments include a mixture of praise and criticism, with praise predominating.
  15. Writing as a tool of learning in all subjects across the curriculum.


The process approach differs from traditional methods of teaching writing in significant ways, as is seen in the following chart.


Traditional Approaches vs. the Process/Workshop Approach


Traditional Approaches to Teaching Writing

Process/Workshop Approach to Teaching Writing

Writing is a product to be evaluated

Writing is a process to be experienced and, whenever possible, shared

There is one correct procedure for writing

There are many processes for different situations, subjects, audiences, authors

Writing is taught rather than learned through experience

The writing experience is coached and predominantly learned through guided practice and shared experience

The process of writing is essentially linear: planning precedes writing and revisions follows drafting, etc.

Writing processes are varied and recursive.   One might start at different points in the process

Writers must be taught in small, incremental parts.   That is, small parts and subskills must be mastered before attempting whole pieces of writing

Writers learn best from attempting whole texts and learning about the parts of those texts while in the recursive process of writing/revising/writing, etc.

Writing can be done swiftly and on command

The rhythms and pace of writing can be quite slow, since the writer's actual task is to create meaning

Writing   is a silent and solitary activity

Writing is essentially social and collaborative



Adapted from Emig (1982), in Zemmelman, S., & Daniels, H. (1988). A community of writers. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann. 


Updating the process approach:

In this Common Core era, many teachers and district writing coordinators view the writing process as changed somewhat to reflect the demands that assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards will make.   As can be seen by the diagram below, the teacher provides more direction and support as students work through the process. See Benko's model of scaffolding that follows for more information about what teachers can do to help to motivate students to engage fully with the writing process.


Source: Milner, J.O., Milner, L.M., & Mitchell, J.F. (2012).   Bridging English (5th ed.).   Boston: Pearson.



Scaffolding Students' Writing

Scaffolding is a useful metaphor for thinking about all types of instruction. In this part of your learning module, we will consider how good teachers scaffold students' learning about how to be competent and effective writers.   The work of Langer and Applebee (1986) demonstrates that scaffolding of learning about writing is a complex process which includes specific types of moves and decision-making that teachers perform, based upon formative assessments of their students.   The goal is to push students to accomplish complex and challenging writing tasks, giving them just enough support to aid achievement of proximal goals.

Though Vygotsky (1978) did not use the term, scaffolding, his concept of the zone of proximal development calls for an extensive use of scaffolding to take a student from the point at which he/she can solve problems and use cognitive tools independently to a level of problem solving and thinking that he/she can do only with the help of a more knowledgeable other, who can be either teacher or more experienced peer—or both.   An important element of scaffolding is a gradual release of responsibility to the students who are expected to internalize skills and thinking modeled and prompted by the more knowledgeable other so that they need fewer or, ideally, none of the supports they previously used in their performance and learning.   As Benko (2012/2013) reminds us, this gradual release of responsibility "is a critical—and often forgotten—aspect of scaffolding" (p. 293).  

Benko (2012/2013) cites recent research about writing instruction in advising teachers that instructional scaffolding must be varied and specific depending on the teacher's purpose for prompting students.   In particular, she suggests that scaffolding before, during, and at the end of the writing process will take on different characteristics and structures. Below is a brief summary of the scaffolding she suggests for each of these stages, followed by a diagram that she uses for an even more concise summary of what she calls the "scaffolding process" in writing instruction.

  DidYouKnow Activity 

Benko's Stages of Scaffolding

  1. Scaffolding through Initial Task Selection :   To help students to, first of all, engage in writing tasks, teachers must
    1. Ensure that the writing task is appropriately challenging for students
    2. Consider ways to make the task relevant to students, thus providing ownership of the task by students (for example, when students are to learn to write a literary analysis, teach the process using a favorite film or video game).   Whenever possible, allow students to write about what is important to them.
    3. Use more familiar and popular formats (to students) in initial assignments and then move them from these initial writing tasks to more conventional, and less familiar, essays or literary analyses that need to be learned.
  2. Scaffolding during the Writing Process : Teachers can
    1. Structure tasks in ways that students can learn skills and strategies that apply both to the writing task they are completing and to parallel tasks that they will later encounter.
    2. Use less complex formats, like the five-paragraph essay, as a base on which students can build more complex and creative structures once they master the simpler format.
    3. In giving feedback, both written and in conferences, as students write, emphasize skills to be learned rather than products to be created.
    4. Provide models and examples for the type of writing that students are aiming to accomplish.   Whenever possible, model process as well as products and use student models.
    5. Use digital tools and spaces for engaging students in helpful thinking and development of ideas.   For example, use an online role-playing site to get students to take on different viewpoints and stances to develop ideas for writing arguments and persuasive essays.
    6.   Provide students with graphic organizers to keep track of ideas and organize them for writing.
    7. Avoid focusing on isolated skills (like grammar and usage skills) that seem disconnected from the writing task at hand.
    8. Teach "mini lessons" as Nancie Atwell (1998) describes them, to address issues interrupting good writing, as the information is needed, either by an individual student, by small groups, or by the whole class.
    9. Share their own writing with students and talk about obstacles to clear communication encountered and ways that these were addressed and overcome.
  3. Teacher's stance while scaffolding the writing process.   Teachers should
    1. Be collaborative, not evaluative.
    2. Minimize students' frustration whenever possible.

Source: Benko, S. (2012-13).   Scaffolding: An ongoing process to support adolescent writing development.   Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56 (4), 291-300.





The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) place a very heavy emphasis upon students' ability to read and to write strong arguments.   Candidates taking the NYS Content Specialty Test (CST) in Secondary English, moreover, must show their mastery of this writing genre by writing an argument themselves as part of the Content Specialty certification exam.   More about this will be discussed in the section below labeled Competency 00

As noted in many parts of the literature on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the new standards call for shifts in traditional instruction. One important shift is the ability to write from sources, particularly from published argumentative essays, both historical and contemporary.   The greatest emphasis in writing instruction must be placed on the use of evidence-based writing to inform and/or construct an argument (rather than the previously-emphasized personal narratives or forms of decontextualized prompts). While the narrative still has an important role, students' writing instruction must primarily develop skills through written arguments that respond to the ideas, events, facts, and arguments presented in the texts they read. Thus, evidence-based arguments will, no doubt, receive a good share of attention in the CST.

Performance Expectations:Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can:

  • demonstrate knowledge of how to introduce a precise, knowledgeable claim, establish its significance, and distinguish it from alternate or opposing claims
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to logically sequence claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence
  • apply knowledge of how to develop claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to anticipate the knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases of an audience
  • apply knowledge of how to create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence
  • apply knowledge of how to develop a conclusion that follows from and supports an argument
  • apply knowledge of how to develop and strenghten a written argument as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach

In thinking about how to teach skills of complex argumentation, the first thing that must be considered is the difference between argument and persuasion.   See the explanation of these related, but different genres that follows.



Source:   Davis, L. (2012).   5 things every teacher should be doing to meet the Common Core State Standards. Source:

Helpful Resource: Click here to see an example of both a persuasive essay and an argument on the same topic. 

Source: (accessed through




Part 1. Understanding the Nature of an Issue: Students apply their close reading skills to understand a societal issue as a context for various perspectives, positions, and arguments.

Part 2. Analyzing Arguments: Students delineate and analyze the position, premises, reasoning, evidence and perspective of arguments.

Part 3. Evaluating Arguments and Developing a Position: Students evaluate arguments, determine which arguments they find most compelling, and synthesize what they have learned so far to establish their own position.

Part 4. Organizing an Evidence-Based Argument: Students establish and sequence evidence-based claims as premises for a coherent, logical argument around a position related to the unit's issue.

Part 5. Developing and Strengthening Argumentative Writing: Students use a collaborative process to develop and strengthen their writing in which they use clear criteria and their close reading skills in text-centered discussions about their emerging drafts.

For a helpful handout that walks teachers and students through these steps with more explanation and self-questioning, see 


Here, again, is a reminder that, just as readers of arguments must be aware of how appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos can influence an argument, so too do writers.





Section 0004 requires those taking the CST to demonstrate a proficiency in writing informational text as well as the pedagogical knowledge necessary to teach students strategies for creating informtive and explanatory texts. The purpose of this kind of writing might be to examine a topic, to convey ideas, concepts, and other information, and to summarize and reflect upon specific texts, such as academic articles, seminal U.S.documents, or texts that provide information about specific cultures and points of view.

Teachers of writing must know how to use and also teach specific strategies for creating informative/explanatory essays. This includes knowledge of how to write clearly main ideas, supporting details, and effective text structure. At the same time, writers must also demonstrate a clear purpose and point of view.



Performance Expectations:Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can: 

  • apply knowledge of how to provide a clear introduction that indicates wht is to follow in an essay
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds onw hat precedes it
  • apply knowledge of how to develop a topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples
  • apply knowledge of how to use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link sectins of a text, create cohesion, and clarify relationships between ideas and concepts
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain a topic
  • apply knowledge of how to provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information and explanation presented
  • apply knowledge of how to develop and strengthen informative and explanatory writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach
  • apply knowledge of how to draw evidence from works of literature or literary nonfiction to support analysis, reflection, and research
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to use elements and techniques of various genres of literature (e.g., allegory, irony, ambiguity) to affect meaning
  • establishes and maintains a formal style and produces clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
  • demonstrate knowledge of how to use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others

Expository writing is to-the-point and factual. This category of writing includes definitions, instructions, explanations, clarifications, directions, comparisons/contrasts, and classifications. There are many types of explanatory and informative writing. The following chart explains the most common patterns that students will be asked to write.

Source: (See this website for examples of each type):


Besides teaching students to write informative and explanatory paragraphs and essays for differing purposes, it is important to teach them to organize thier essays so that their points and supporting evidence are clearly presented. Graphic organizers such as the following can be used


Using evidence to support explanations: One of the shifts in the Common Core Standards is an emphasis upon providing evidence in all explanatory and informational writing. This is particularly necessary if students are using informational and explanatory text to analyze a piece of literature. See the quiz popper below to test yourself on this important skill.


 Source: (ncte/ira)






Watch this YouTube video to answer the Quiz Popper above:


The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at all grade levels state that students should be able to use narrative writing skills "to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences."   With each grade level the expectation is that students' narratives will become increasingly more complex and nuanced as they learn how tell stories, both real and imagined, using story structures and narrative language techniques.

Performance Expectations:Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can: 

  • Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters
  • Create a smooth progression of experiences and events
  • Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters
  • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole
  • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, learned, or resolved over the course of the narrative

To write a narrative essay, writers need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to him/her) in such a way that the audience learns a lesson or gains insight. The skills needed for successful story telling are the same across all age groups, and they are often easiest for writers because stories are often all around them from an early age, whether from listening to or telling the history of self or family, from listening to or telling about undertakings and adventures, or from experiencing stories on big and small screens in one form or another. Teachers can help by drawing out many of writers' own stories and helping them to expand upon them and tell them with vivid description and dialogue.

Much narrative writing is descriptive writing. To write a descriptive essay, you'll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.

Tips for writing effective narrative and descriptive essays*:

  • Tell a story about a moment or event that means a lot to you--it will make it easier for you to tell the story in an interesting way!
  • Get right to the action!  Avoid long introductions and lengthy descriptions--especially at the beginning of your narrative.
  • Make sure the story has a point! Describe what was learned from this experience.
  • Use all five senses to describe the setting, characters, and the plot of your story. Don't be afraid to tell the story in your own voice.  Nobody wants to read a story that sounds like a textbook!

This Youtube video will walk you through the steps of writing a strong narrative essay:

How to Write Vivid Descriptions

Having trouble describing a person, object, or event for your narrative or descriptive essay?  Try filling out this chart:

What do you smell?

What do you taste?

What do you see?

What do you hear?

What might you touch or feel?






Remember:  Avoid simply telling us what something looks like--tell us how it tastes, smells, sounds, or feels!

Consider this…

  • Virginia rain smells different from a California drizzle.
  • A mountain breeze feels different from a sea breeze.
  • We hear different things in one spot, depending on the time of day.
  • You can "taste" things you've never eaten: how would sunscreen taste?

Using Concrete Details for Narratives

Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds.  One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details. 

Concrete Language…

Abstract Language…

…makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to us.

...makes the story or image difficult to visualize.

…gives us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with.

…leaves your reader feeling empty, disconnected, and possibly confused.

The word "abstract" might remind you of modern art.  An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects.  In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit."  To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.
Avoid abstract language—it won't help the reader understand what you're trying to say!


Abstract:  It was a nice day. 
Concrete:  The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face. 

Abstract:  I liked writing poems, not essays. 
Concrete:  I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays. 

Abstract:  Mr. Smith was a great teacher.
Concrete:  Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.

 Show/hide comprehension question...



The introduction of this new section of the CST is aligned closely with the emphasis in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) upon skills associated with conducting research, especially student investigation inside of texts. The CCSS are asking students to develop the capacity to build knowledge by researching and responding analytically to literature and informational texts. When students research, they are reading challenging texts independently, identifying textual details related to their topic, and pulling information from multiple sources.

Performance Expectations: Specific information literacy skills identified in the CCSS that students should be able to:

  • Conduct short research and more sustained research projects
  • Generate a research question, with an understanding of how to narrow and broaden the question when necessary
  • Gather relevant information from multiple sources, including digital and print sources
  • Apply knowledge of how to assess the strengths and limitations of a source in terms of task, purpose, and audience
  • Assess credibility and accuracy of sources
  • Know when and how to format citation of sources
  • Integrate information while avoiding plagiarism
  • Draw evidence to support analysis, reflection, and research

*This information comes from

Research Strategies. More explanation of information literacy skills can be found at .   Here you will find effective ways to model and present researching skills to students and ways to avoid common challenges involved with teaching them.

Some English teachers have found that Eisenberg and Berkowitz's "Big Six" information literacy model ( ) to be useful for structuring their teaching of research skills.


Eisenberg and Berkowitz's Big Six Stages of Information Literacy



1. Task Definition

a. Define the information problem (identify a researchable question)

b. Identify information that is needed to solve your problem or answer your question

Information Seeking Strategies

a. Determine all possible sources.

b. Select the best sources

3. Location and Access

a. Locate sources

b. Find information within sources

4. Use of Information

a. Engage (read, hear, view, touch)

b. Extract relevant information

5. Synthesis

a. Integrate from multiple sources

b. Organize and present the information

6. Evaluation

a. Evaluate the product (Is it effective?)

b. Judge the process (Was it efficient?)








Teaching Web research. With the rise of easy access to the Internet in most schools, teaching online research skills is even more critical than it ever was. Today, information is readily available to students through smartphones, tablet computers, and other digital devices. This, of course, expands the number of skills that English teachers must know and teach to their students. Moran & Firth have developed "Ten Steps for Better Web Research (2011, found at   They divide the Web research process into three multi-stepped phases: Stage 1, Deciding Where to Search; Stage 2, Planning the Research; and Stage 3, Evaluating Search Results.




Source: Key skills support programme (2007). Teaching speaking and listening: A toolkit for practitioners. Bristol, England: Portishead Press.

Section 007 will test your understanding of principles and concepts related to speaking and listening, and, probably, will ask you to show your competence in teaching students to use speaking and listening for varied purposes.   Some of these purposes are speaking and listening for  

  • Acquiring information and showing understanding
  • Responding to literary works
  • Critiquing and evaluating text, both spoken and written
  • Persuading and responding to arguments
  • Informal and formal interaction with peers and adults

Performance Expectations: You may be asked to demonstrate that you know how to teach students to

  • Give oral presentations that are well organized and engaging
  • Determine audience and purpose for speeches
  • Provide sufficient evidence to support main points
  • Analyze language for tone, point of view, central ideas
  • Analyze and evaluate what they hear
  • Summarize and respond to what they hear
  • Recognize logical fallacies
  • Use oral language to inform, entertain, argue, debate, respond
  • Listen respectfully and actively to what others say
  • Use digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual) in presentations to enhance understanding and add interest

What you should know about teaching speaking and listening:

The standards of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the International Reading Association (IRA), and the Common Core emphasize the importance of teaching specific skills for oral language as well as the necessity of encouraging the use of both formal and informal oral language in the classroom. To meet the need for specifically and overtly teaching students good speaking and listening skills, it is recommended that teachers

  • Be aware of the distinction between "learning through talk" and "learning to use talk," and provide opportunities to increase fluency in both areas.
  • Consider students' own ways of talking as linguistic resources in the classroom. This means that teachers must be sensitive to the cultural variations in delivery of oral language, especially specific types of body language.   For example,
    • In many Asian cultures, making direct eye contact is very impolite. When assessing oral presentations, a teacher must be sensitive to the possible reluctance of an Asian student to make direct eye contact with audience members.   At the same time, teachers must help foreign students to understand that failing to meet the eyes of an intended American audience may lead those in the audience to be suspicious of the speaker or mistrust him or her.
    • In Iran and New Zealand, giving a "thumbs up" is a very impolite gesture and can be perceived by Americans in the same way that "giving the finger" is perceived.
    • In Bulgaria and Greece, a nod means "no" and a head shake means "yes."
  •   Help students to know that the use of regionalisms (colloquial speech) and slang can sometimes be used for specific audiences and purposes, but not for others.
  • Involve students in a variety of class formats that encourage small-group discussions, dramatic improvisations, and conversations in order to discover the potential power of talk.
  • Allow students to share their ideas with a variety of school audiences.
  • Assist students in discovering what is valuable, powerful, and enjoyable in the way they use talk to explore, express, and explain ideas.
  • Ensure that students regard listening as an active component of conversations and discussions and that participation does not mean monopolizing the floor.
  • Encouraging students to talk and to channel personal talk into more general concerns.

Source: Dillon & Hamilton, 1985, in Milner, J.O., Milner, L.M., & Mitchell, J.F. (2012).   Bridging English (5th ed.).   Boston: Pearson.


Source: Key skills support programme (2007). Teaching speaking and listening: A toolkit for practitioners. Bristol, England: Portishead Press.


Watch the two video at the following links and then answer the Quiz questions that follow.




Specific Pedagogical Moves for Teaching Speaking and Listening Skills:

The following are some activities that can be used to teach and enhance students' oral language skills.   Keep in mind, however, that the skills needed for these activities must be taught, not merely assigned. For example, students need to be specifically taught, perhaps in frequent minilessons, to articulate clearly with appropriate volume and eye contact, to listen respectfully, to use powerful and descriptive vocabulary, to demonstrate an understanding and awareness of tone, to organize ideas, etc. before they undertake any of these activities.

  • Oral reading and interpretation of poetry
  • Oral reading and interpretation of historical speeches and other prose works
  • Dramatic monologues or interactive scenes
  • Readers' Theatre presentations
  • Dramatic improvisations and role playing-e.g., acting out a scene involving a literary character or characters
  • Jigsaw discussions
  • Fishbowl discussions
  • Debates

When teaching students to debate or to analyze oral/visual media messages, it is important to teach specifically and overtly that this type of oral communication requires listeners and speakers to use critical thinking and sharp analytical skills. In particular, all claims made must be supported by true and appropriate evidence, and adhere to logical reasoning. Students should learn, moreover, about logical fallacies that distort this process, and they should not only avoid using them but also recognize them by carefully analyzing what they see and hear in oral communication presented to them.   See the chart below for some of the most common logical fallacies.



Ethos, Pathos and Logos

are all a means of persuading others to take a particular point of view. These rhetorical devices are as important in spoken language as they are in written arguments, and they work in similar ways in both genres.






English teachers must have a wide vocabulary as well as a good understanding of fundamental concepts that govern the structure, use, and analysis of language. Instruction in language skills must be intentional and intensive. The NYSTCE CST Test Framework guide provides the following list of competencies necessary to complete the Language section of the CST.  

Performance Expectations: You may be asked to demonstrate that you know how to teach students to 

  • Demonstrate understanding that standard English usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing
  • Determine the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues
  • Determine the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words by identifying patterns of word parts that indicate different meanings or parts of speech
  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings by interpreting figures of speech in context and analyzing denotative meanings of words
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the form and use of verbs in the active and passive voice; and in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood, including how to use voice and mood of verbs to achieve particular effects
  • Apply knowledge of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases at the college and career readiness level
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to gather vocabulary knowledge when determining that a word or phrase is important to comprehension or expression

What English teachers should know about teaching vocabulary

  • Vocabulary development does not exist in a vacuum, nor can we depend upon students to merely acquire the language they need to be successful in school and beyond.   Students need multiple exposure to words that build schema; teachers should integrate word study into as many other lessons as possible.
  • Many students, especially those from impoverished backgrounds, enter school with a limited ability to engage in "school talk."   It will be especially important for them to have systematic and frequent vocabulary instruction.
  • The CCSS stress students' use of context clues to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases.
  • The CCSS include a focus on learning word relationships and nuances of meaning.   When teachers introduce synonyms and antonyms, they help students to build word relationships and vocabulary networks.
  • Students need to explore new words, play with them, and connect them with concepts they already know.
  • Active practice is necessary for students to remember new words. Activities that incorporate art, movement, digital technology, music, drama, discussion and more will help students to remember more and to make associations between what they know and new words and concepts.
  • Teaching morphology , or word parts, can make students independent learners who can successfully determine the meanings of many unfamiliar words.




Source: Blachowicz, C.L., Buamann, J. F., Manyak, P.C., & Graves, M. F. (2013). Integrated vocabulary instruction in the classroom. IRA E-ssentials. doi: 10.1598/e-ssentials.8027. (see Sidebar to access this resource)



Эти числа отлично работают при создании шифров, потому что компьютеры не могут угадать их с помощью обычного числового дерева. Соши даже подпрыгнула. - Да. Совершенно верно.


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