101 TExES Generalist EC - 4 Exam:
- English Language Arts and Reading (40 questions)
- Mathematics (15 questions)
- Social Studies (15 questions)
- Science (15 questions)
- Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education (15 questions)
Sample Study Notes
1. Discuss general standards that should be present in all language arts programs.
Students do not live in a vacuum. School is just one part of their lives. Home, church, community, and culture all play vital roles in their lives and learning experiences. Recognizing these influences and working with them by incorporating a wide range of print and non-print media across many countries and cultures should be the cornerstone of every language arts program. Learning is most effective when students acquire the skills they need, retain that knowledge, and are able to apply the information outside the language arts classroom. Teaching grammar and syntax rules as students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts helps them learn about the complex world they live in, and prepares them to function as productive citizens in that world. Learning to understand, evaluate, integrate and share information gleaned from the literature of many eras and genres helps students appreciate diversity and enhances their knowledge of the world beyond their backyard. The ability to read, write, analyze and communicate ideas and concepts effectively should be the ultimate goal of every language arts program.
2. Discuss the necessity of ensuring that the English curriculum is relevant to the students.
Students don't learn if they are not engaged in the process. They won't engage in the process if they are not motivated. A great way to motivate students is to offer material that is interesting to them, on topics that help them understand their world better. To prevent boredom and help students retain key concepts, teachers need to build on previously acquired knowledge and link new data with old information. Teachers should create lesson plans and hands-on activities that relate to the students' lives. They should encourage student discussion; as students share ideas and ask questions, alternate perspectives are presented, considered and integrated. Many schools consistently produce highly literate students using the separated-simulated-integrated method. Students study a single item (separate), memorize its meaning and record the data. They use the information (simulate) within a limited subject area; then, they use the new knowledge to complete a task that extends beyond the original item (integrate). This teaches critical thinking and enhances the ability to apply concepts instead of just memorizing isolated bits of data.
3. Discuss the difference between high literacy and low literacy home environments.
High literacy students (i.e., those who live in homes surrounded by books, magazines and other reading material, and who were read to when they were young) learn to read earlier, more easily and with better comprehension. They start school knowing the alphabet and have relatively large vocabularies; some may already be reading. Fluent readers recognize words and expressions and understand their meaning automatically. They don't focus on the words, they concentrate on the meaning. The make connections between knowledge they already have and ideas and concepts discovered in the new information. Low literacy students come from homes where little reading material is available. These students were probably not read to very often and usually have limited vocabularies. Their parents may use broken English, speak with a pronounced accent, or use a dialect filled with non-standard vernacular. Readers who are not fluent read word by word, because they have to sound out each word. Because less-fluent readers must concentrate on decoding the words, they usually don't understand the information in the text and have difficulty processing and integrating the new data.
4. Define phonics and the whole language approach to reading.
Phonics is an analytical approach to reading. Students take words apart to study individual letters and how they come together to make sounds. Learning to decode or "sound out" letter combinations enables students to visually recognize words they already hear and speak in every day conversation. It gives them tools to sound out unfamiliar words. It helps expand students' vocabulary by giving them a way to pronounce new words. Phonics helps them learn to spell, because most words are spelled like they sound. The whole language approach to reading instructs by building on knowledge previously acquired, encourages active learning, and emphasizes working in groups to develop social and communication skills. It brings together speaking, listening, reading and writing experiences to create a rich literary environment that emphasizes quality literature and cultural diversity. When students connect new data with information they already know in a meaningful manner, they understand the new material better and are able to use it more effectively. They integrate new information with the old information more quickly, retain it for a longer time, and are able to retrieve it more easily.
5. List some ways to combine phonics and the whole language approach to teach reading.
There are pro and cons to both phonics and the whole language approach to reading. Phonics provides a dependable way for students to sound out unfamiliar words, but often requires monotonous memorization. The whole language approach emphasizes learning the meaning of words in context but doesn't provide students with a method to figure out new words. Reading teachers usually end up using a combination of both approaches even if they aren't aware of it, so students get the benefit of the positives and avoid some of the negatives of each one. Teachers help stumbling students take words apart and sound out each syllable (phonics); they also ask probing, open-ended questions about the context in which the new word appears in order to help students figure out what the word means (whole language). It is important for teachers who use both approaches to balance phonetic instruction with other activities like reading from a variety of fiction and non-fiction literary works, encouraging lively discussions of stories or dividing the class into groups and assigning a written report on a story everyone reads together.
6. Explain what math is and why the basics are important.
Math explains the logic of and relationship between numbers. It is used everyday in countless ways and in order to minimize potential math phobia, teachers need to make the subject relevant to the students' lives and use examples with which they are familiar and that make sense to them. In order to do that, learning the basics is critical, because all math concepts are built on addition, division, fractions and shapes; all mathematical relationships flow from these concepts. It is imperative students understand one concept before moving on to the next. If they fail to grasp the basics, students become confused as they progress to higher levels, because they are unable to apply appropriate background knowledge when introduced to geometry, algebra, probability and statistics. Making math fun by injecting a sense of wonder and excitement into learning how to use numbers in everyday life goes a long way in preventing a fear of math from developing. Some fun activities: play cards, checkers or backgammon; build a tower with interlocking blocks; or count the legs on a centipede.
7. Discuss the importance of making social studies activities relevant to today's world.
Social studies is composed of history and the social sciences (government, citizenship, sociology, economics, cultural influences and the effects of technology). It is a broad subject, indeed. Imparting the values and mores of society to impressionable young people and teaching them how to be involved, engaged, active members of the world is a huge responsibility. It is critical for teachers to use real problems appropriate to the students' age, and prod them to use their creativity to dissect problems and devise solutions. Part of the process is to challenge students' thinking by offering stimulating subjects from which to select their reading, writing, discussion and debate topics. The projects need to combine independent study with group responsibilities, because this is the way the real world works: people bring their unique perspective to the group and the group reaches a consensus on the best way to tackle a problem. Social studies is a class that can and should be realistic preparation for participation as an adult member of society.
8. Discuss science in elementary school.
Children come to school with background knowledge and rudimentary understanding of how things work. They have reached conclusions based on their perception of the physical world. It is a wise teacher who recognizes that fact and uses it to his advantage when introducing and explaining scientific concepts. He builds on ideas already known and corrects any misconceptions. Teachers need to explain that science has a history. Students need to be familiar with the socio-economic environment in which a theory was introduced in order to truly understand why something did or did not work, why it may have been proven wrong, or why a better way was discovered with later experimentation. In a science classroom, safety must always be a priority. Since it is an interactive area, it needs to be ventilated and appropriate safety equipment (i.e. water, fire extinguisher, protective gear, etc.) must be available. The students need to understand how to operate the instruments in a safe manner, so instructions should be provided in writing as well as given verbally. Questions should be asked and answered before any activity is started.
9. Discuss creative expression and the use of themes in art.
Being creative is the ability to bring into existence an original and imaginative work of art (music, painting, sculpture, comedy, drama, literature) by conveying an idea, emotion or opinion in a direct or indirect representation using words, pictures, gestures, signs and symbols. A person with creative expression has the burning need to bring forth a unique manifestation of his or her understanding and interpretation of mankind's primal desires. There are four themes (universal, timely, broad, and shared) used by the artist, musician, writer, sculptor and architect to organize ideas and concepts into a coherent whole. They present a perspective beyond the individual and his cultural experience to help him connect with people who have a different worldview. Since art's function is to communicate, themes help the reader, viewer, listener recognize and understand just how similar are the circumstances of the human family. They connect current events to historic happenings and enable readers, viewers, and listeners to relate to the past, and help communities apply lessons learned long ago to contemporary issues.
10. Explain some of the health benefits of regular physical activity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), daily participation in physical education classes has declined in the last twenty years and, even in communities and schools where physical activity is encouraged, participation drops dramatically as children age. Studies have shown that even moderate exercise is beneficial: it helps builds strong bones, muscles and joints; significantly reduces the risk of developing many diseases including diabetes, hypertension and colon cancer; helps control weight; reduces depression and anxiety; and promotes an overall feeling of well-being. Schools and communities can encourage physical activity by providing safe facilities for children to play baseball, basketball, tennis and engage in other active pursuits. Developing activities that bring young people together with friends, peers and parents and providing events that allow them to gain confidence in their physical abilities is a positive way to get them up, out, and moving. And finally, the best encouragement for children to be active is for the adults in their life to be leading healthy, active lives. Respected role models are very effective motivators for young people.
Last Updated: 03/13/2013