Saturday, July 26, 2014

SEI MTEL awesomeness

Teachers in Massachusetts have to become certified in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs, students whose native language is not English). The state set up a course (RETELL) to cover this, but by all accounts it's a nightmare and a lot of work. So one workaround is to pass a teacher test on Sheltered English Immersion (SEI). And if the choice is to give up my Mondays all fall or spend half a summer half-studying in my hammock... well, yesterday, I took the SEI MTEL exam, and it stunk. The post from here is really only of interest to teachers contemplating taking it themselves, so read on at your own risk of mortal boredom.

I didn't know how to study. When I took the English MTEL, there was a list of hundreds of authors to be familiar with, and without years to read a book by everyone, I just Wikipedia-ed a couple of facts to get me through. The SEI's test objectives had terms to memorize, but most of the test was more about knowing how to react to classroom situations: "If you're trying to teach this, what's the best strategy for ELLs?" That means if you know best practices for ELLs, most questions can be reasoned through. There were a few really specific questions about laws -- "What does Title III of No Child Left Behind say?" -- but most of my studying on morphemes and rhetorical registers and the pragmatic approach to language acquisition was possibly not helpful to my test-taking.

The huge surprise was the open response. The sample open response online discusses a five-part open response that should total around 1500 words. Then they give you a sample question with five parts. I assumed this was it, and with no description or mention of Parts 2-5, I studied hard for Part 1. Mid-test, I discovered four more parts, each with 5-7 parts. I exceeded my allotted 1500 words.

First you choose a mentor text to analyze. In Part 1 you identify tiered vocab, analyze the text at the word/sentence and discourse levels, and set content and language objectives. Hard, but I'd prepared. For the parts I did not know were coming, you design and describe two vocab lessons, a reading lesson, a writing lesson, and assessment of everything. For each, you justify your choices, and you connect it all to the objectives and the other lessons. And you differentiate each for various English Language Development (ELD) levels.

What I wrote was all good teaching, but not necessarily good ELL-specific teaching. But I think I BS-ed my way to a 3 out of a possible 4, and I feel semi-confident enough about the multiple choice parts that I don't think I'll have retake it. But if I do, and you're contemplating it, here's my advice:
  • Learn the associated laws. There were two hyper-specific questions about NLCB and a Massachusetts ballot measure. I took a good guess at both, but it was a prime "you know it or you don't" question.
  • Have a sense of two ways to teach vocab, and what you might do for a reading and writing lesson on a provided text, and know how you'd assess it all.
  • Learn the ELD levels and how to differentiate for each, enough that you can write about adapting a lesson for an emerging or bridging student.
  • Be able to identify the Tier 1, 2, and 3 vocab, and look at how they do it on the sample. Theirs is a great, if intimidating, study guide.
  • Just know the general gist of what SEI is all about, how they believe it's best to educate ELLs. Most questions were like, "How do you handle this situation?" and they were easy to me, but I took my grad school SEI course relatively recently and I incorporate a lot of best practices for ELL into my teaching anyway. So make sure you get what it's all bout.
  • Read the questions carefully and figure out what they're really asking; most have 50 words with only five that really matter. Take your time, you can reason a lot of them through.
I'm a good test-taker -- I breezed through Communication & Literacy, worked hard but passed English and Social Studies, all on the first try. You have four hours for SEI, and I assumed I'd be done in two or so; instead I finished with just 10 minutes to spare. Unquestionably the hardest MTEL I've taken. But I'm optimistic. And hopefully my guinea piggery will help you, too. Anything to avoid RETELL!

UPDATE: I passed! By the skin of my teeth, but I'll take it. So that gives my advice added juice, no? Also, I heard RETELL is still terrible. It ain't fun, but I definitely prefer my way.

204 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this! I am also trying to pass this test to avoid the course and appreciate the feedback. I am super nervous, especially after reading the sample strong response to the open response question! I do not think I can be so clear and knowledgable as that writer. May I ask what you meant by "their study guide"? Is that just the info they posted about the SEI test? In any case thanks so much for posting this!

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    1. Yes, by "their study guide" I meant the samples they posted online. Figure that what they posted is a 4 and unless you're an SEI pro, you're probably shooting for a 3. It's a good guideline for the kind of thinking they want you to do. Just be aware that there are four more parts to that open response they don't warn you about -- designing a lesson and explaining how it's aligned to your objectives with sound SEI grounding. Not easy, but hopefully better than RETELL! Good luck!

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    2. Yeah, I heard from one other person who took it and she said I should consider practicing designing a lesson and aligning it so I am doing that. Thanks for sharing what you know!

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  2. Oh and thank you for the comment about rhetorical registers. I saw that in the SEI objectives and thought, ?? what in the world is that and do I need to look it up?!

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  3. Just curious...Did you pass?

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  4. Thank you so much for posting this--It is so helpful. I am coming from out of state and have to take SEI to gain licensure. I was just wondering, I saw you mentioned that if you're familiar with best ELL practices, then the test can be reasoned through. As someone who is not very familiar with best practices, do you have any recommendations for good ELL materials to study and review?

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  5. I am taking the test in a week. I am nervous about the open response especially answering it all in 1500 words. Do they give you scratch paper to take notes? What is the best advice you have about the necessary detail for the open response to earn a 3. I saw somewhere that the passing score is 284 (though I cannot find where now.) Do you know how the score is generated and how long after taking it you are notified of pass of fail.

    Thank you.

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  6. I think there was scratch paper.

    My advice would be to familiarize yourself with what it means to be the various WIDA levels, 1-5. You'll pick your content area and use your content knowledge, but the key is customizing it per WIDA level.

    I believe it's 280, which is equivalent to 80%. I found out about 2 months after. And oh yeah, I totally passed! I was As and Bs on the multiple choice, Cs and Ds on open response, somehow scraped by.

    Cheers!

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  7. I am taking the test in less than 2 weeks...hoping to avoid the class as well. I am a math teacher and I can't fins any sample math lessons to read. Any suggestions?

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    1. I am also a math teacher (high school) and am taking the test next week. Did you find any sample math lessons to read? I'm struggling to imagine how I would create a reading and writing lesson given that I generally don't teach reading or writing as part of the high school math curriculum. One colleague suggested that I pick a science text so it would be easier to generate the kinds of responses they're looking for. Is that good advice? Any other suggestions?

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    2. how did it go for the math portion? I am taking it Thursday and have the same question!

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    3. Does anyone have any study guides beyond what the state provides? I'm pretty nervous about the open response, but any kind of study guide would help :) Also, all the links posted are giving me errors - is that happening to anyone else?

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    4. Does anyone have any study guides beyond what the state provides? I'm pretty nervous about the open response, but any kind of study guide would help :) Also, all the links posted are giving me errors - is that happening to anyone else?

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  8. Hi!
    I am taking the test tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up about the open response. Quick question: Is the open response all related to the one mentor text you pick at first? Also, do you remember how they worded it?

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    1. I was wondering how it went for you? I hope you did well!

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  9. Hello ALL, I looking for some assistance with the SEI MTEL. I found this site very helpful, however I found some info that I think that may be useful. I need some feedback from you all to see if this info is helpful when preparing for the test. The site is quizlet . Here is the link for the MTEL SEI that were created for test prep: https://quizlet.com/subject/MTEL-SEI/ Please share your feedback to see if this is helpful when studying for the MTEL SEI. Thanks in advance PLEASE HELP

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  10. Thank you for posting this -- so helpful! Can you see the all the mentor texts before choosing one? I might go in the math direction, or the K-6 text, but it would depend on the level of difficulty of the actual math concept...

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this. Reading it really made studying for the test manageable. I just found out that I passed, and it's the best feeling in the world. Your blog is the most useful resource for this exam available online or in print. I have already directed several other teachers to read it. Thank you again.

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  12. I would just like to offer some additional thanks for this post; it saved my bacon in terms of preparing for that godawful test.

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  13. Yes, thanks for this post--only place I got an idea what to study for a test I was motivated to study for...I will say, the multiple choice seemed to be overwhelmingly non-specific--no buzz words you could memorize, nothing about phonemes, syntax, language theory...in a way this is good--will save you lots of time memorizing stuff that isn't on there. In a way it is bad, because almost every question was situational, and therefore could often come down to two common sense answers that no amount of studying (I thought anyway) would help.

    My biggest problem (and the reason I think I failed) was underestimating just how long the essay/ lesson plan would take. The time seemed at the start to be more than enough but I ran out before I could address the assessment part of the essay. Oh well, worth taking to know what to expect next time. Thanks for your help!

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  14. Can anyone comment on how they specifically approached the Eng 6-12 Mentor Text in regards to the essay? I failed by 4 points- but thought I nailed the essay lesson/plan portion. Need to know where my approach was off. I used the 7-steps for vocab/ Raft for writing/ and teacher think aloud questions for reading comp and tied them directly to examples from the text, yet my score was "weak" or "limited" Please help. Thanks

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  15. Almost the same situation here - and failed by 3 pts! I am really not sure how to approach studying again when I felt like my open response was good quality.

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  16. I am in the same boat. I failed by 9 points. Any advice for the essay would be greatly appreciated!

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  17. I am taking this in 2 weeks a little worried not sure what to study.

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  18. I'm taking it this weekend and I'm so nervous about the essay part. How did you all prepare for that?

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  19. took this test today. it was awful! i did not finish the essays, This is definitely the worst MTEL. So many parts to it.

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  20. It was very upsetting that the essay sample that I looked at prior to taking the test, did not include all 5 parts of the actual test. There was not adequate time to finish. Also the multiple choice was very difficult. The correct answer was not clear. Who is responsible for writing this test? Also why is there not proper prep material for this? I have taken several MTELS and passed and they were fair tests with preps available. Who can I talk to about this its not right?

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    1. I know the answer to the why... When I asked the very same question of a live person at DESE on a phone, she said - now verbatim - "we won't have better study materials available, because we want to promote our RETELL courses".

      Hannah

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    2. Hello. Everyone I know, me included feels this same way. I have been able to adequately prepare for 4 other MTEL's because study materials were available. I took a three hour "prep" course and will be taking the MTEL on Aug 10, 2016. The prep course was good but I did not feel it covered the essay very well and it has been hard to find samples or even basic information about the 5 parts. This blog has been very helpful in answering my questions about the essay. So...thank you to all who have shared their knowledge and experience with this test.

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    3. Best wishes for your success this Wednesday when you take the SEI MTEL! Was the 3-hour prep class you took the one given at BC on June 25th? I ask because I attended that one & took 5 pages of notes, have all the follow-on resource doc's he provided pointers to...but still feeling very unprepared.

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    4. Hi Russ. Thank you! Yes! I took the prep class on June 25th. I had 7 pages of notes! After looking at the recommended resources that this blog has offered, I'm feeling a little more prepared. However, I am concerned about the "assessment" part of the open response; and the open response in general. I wish that there were some sample mentor texts available to practice picking out the Tier 1,2 and 3 vocab words and the the other pieces of the essay. I fear the essay will be the worst part. I am just going to do my best but I honestly don't have high hopes of passing. I hate that I have spent so much time studying and that will likely be the outcome. Oh well. I've learned alot and hope that I pass but if I don't, then I will just retake it or take the course. Good luck to you. When do you take the test?

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  21. Just took the test yesterday and I have to say, this site was far and away the most helpful in preparing me. Another site that I wish I'd found a lot earlier is mrsjudyaraujo.com If you go to her drop-down on the left and click on RETELL, there is a 17 page document that includes a lot of the important information. Best of all, it lists in easy form a variety of the strategies that you can draw from for the open response. Hope this is helpful, and thanks again. If I didn't pass, more studying won't help. Fingers crossed!

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    1. BMHS- What was your subject. Need help with the ELA mentor text.
      Thanks

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  23. Does the open response/essay question give you those five headlines:
    part 1: mentor text selection and analysis
    part 2: Vocab and oracy
    etc....or are you supposed to remember these headlines in order to complete the lesson plan/open response/essay?

    I'm taking the test in mid-January.

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  25. So BMHS, to clarify, they will have on the test those type of questions you have listed in order to guide this ORQ response. Therefore, I can study this "formula" with the understanding that the text they give me will obviously drive the specific answers. Thank you!

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  27. What did anyone who passed use for part 5 of the essay? Assessment for Vocab, Reading Comp, and Writing?

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  28. Should the questions at the end of the mentor text be used to create the objectives?

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  30. Does anyone remember specific about the mentor text you chose--focusing more on high school choices.

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  31. The English 8-12 Mentor text is Zadie Smith's "Meet the President" The passage is not actually from the story but more of a awkwardly written book review.

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  32. The English 6-12 mentor text is from Zadie Smith's "Meet the President" although there is nothing from the actual story. The mentor text is more of a strange book review of the story. Very awkward. Stay away if you have another mentor text choice

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  33. We're studying for the test and will choose the English 8-12 text. We're having trouble understanding Tier 3 vocabulary words for English nonfiction or fiction texts. Is Tier 3 only for content specific--such as science, math, etc. Can someone get give us an example of Tier 3 vocabulary for English text?

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    1. Anything low frequency and ELA specific: adverbial, quotation, blog, bias, antonym, documentation, persuasive, preposition.

      Good, long list here

      http://soltreemrls3.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/marzanoresearch.com/media/documents/List-of-Tier-2-and-Tier-3-Terms-for-ELA-and-Math.pdf

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  34. What did people put for Question 4 on Screen 5? Did you address how you will assess for the WIDA levels of your choosing for each Language Objective? Taking the test tomorrow and very nervous - I think I am overthinking this! Any advice would help...thank you!

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    1. Not sure that I am correct, but I listed the assessment of using a portfolio and comparing the writing assignment to previous works in the portfolio while using a rubric based on WIDA's Can Do Descriptors to show growth.

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  35. Not sure if you know the answer to this question... but would you think that the ELL MTEL test prep would be helpful for this test as well?
    Thanks in advance!!

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    1. Someone i know said that it did help. Plus ESL MTEL practice exam has some MC questions about SEI principles. Probably good idea to look through those.

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  36. I took the test and this blog was very helpful.
    I will add some information about the essay from what I can remember.
    Essay first
    Part one is just like the example online http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/STUDYGUIDE/MA_SG_CRI_56.asp.
    The mentor text is from your content area. The mentor text is on the left side of the screen as you work through each part. Each part I believe had a max of 600 words. I think I hit the max on 2 of the sections only.

    Part 2: Vocab and oracy
    A. One vocabulary and oracy strategy
    B. Second vocabulary and oracy strategy
    C. How does the second strategy build on the first?
    D. How will this help an ELL student or something like that? (maybe this was how will it help with the content objective)
    E. How will strategy help reach oracy and vocabulary objective

    Part 3: Reading
    A. List one strategy
    B. Something like how will that build on strategies from part 2 (vocab and oracy strategies)
    C. How will this strategy help reach content objective
    D. How will it help reach reading objective
    E. Hmm differentiate for a couple WIDA levels I think I had WIDA level 2 and 5

    Part 4: Writing
    A One writing strategy
    B How will this strategy build on the other strategies to make it a full SEI lesson or something like that
    C How will this strategy help achieve the writing objective
    D I think it also asks how it will help reach the content objective
    E. I was told to differentiate for different WIDA levels
    i level 3
    ii level 5

    Part 5: Assessment
    A how would you assess your first vocabulary and oracy strategy?
    B. How would u assess your second vocabulary and oracy strategy?
    C How would you assess your reading strategy
    D How would you assess writing strategy
    E. Pick one of the above and two different wida levels of my choice to differentiate


    MC. Okay the first 3 or 4 were the laws just the basics of tittle 3, question 2. I would look at the 10 examples on line. When we worked in study groups at my school (Billerica Memorial High School) for this part, we recognized that if you focus on the goal of each question it should help you get to the correct answer. Ie. if the goal has to do with writing, the answer should have to do with writing etc.

    Helpful links
    https://quizlet.com/77663009/mtel-sei-bootcamp-rpc-flash-cards/
    https://quizlet.com/110122295/flashcards
    http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/retell/

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    1. I just took the test this morning, and the above description is spot on. Wish I had seen this blog page before I took the test, because while I thought the multiple choice questions were rather easy, I spent too much time on them and consequently did a very rushed job with Part 4 and didn't get to Part 5 of the written part. My best advice is to have a few strategies in your back pocket that will generally apply to the areas of vocab, reading comp., writing, and assessment, and make sure you fly through the MC questions so you have enough time to answer the 5-part essay portion.

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  37. I'm taking the test in a week and am concerned about the open response. I teach early childhood special ed. Is there a mentor text in line with this??? Thanks for the post it's helped me to change my study strategy to WIDA levels and open response instead of minutia. Thanks again

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    1. Yes, there is a "Early Childhood (PreK–2)" text, but my advice is that your concern should not be the text itself but being able to create objectives, lessons, and assessments.

      Check out the comment from "anonymous January 6, 2016 at 11:55 AM." It should be very helpful.

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  38. This blog provides the best open response advise I have come across. Thanks again

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  39. Taking the test in 2 days. Thank you all for the helpful pointers.

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  40. Failed by 3 points. Was weak in the assessment portion, any advice for what I couldv'e done there??

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  41. Failed by 2 points. Need to strengthen my open response...or take the class. Not sure what to do. I still feel like it might be worth another attempt at the test???

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  42. For all of you who recently missed the mark by a few points, I feel your pain! But my biggest advice is to focus on the multiple choice section the next time around!!

    I first took the test in Oct. and missed the passing score by four points (To break down my score report: I got many of the items in 2 sections and some of the items in 1 for MC. For the essay, I was "thorough" in the mentor text analysis, "adequate" in vocab and writing strategies and "limited" in the reading comp and assessment strategies).

    NOW, when I recently passed the test I took in October, here's how I did:
    Most of the items in one MC section, Many of the items in the other
    and Some of the items in the last.
    For my essay, I was adequate in the text analysis and limited in ALL of the remaining sections.

    So despite doing significantly worse on the essay the second time around, I still passed. After talking to a colleague about this, he said the MC section is 60% of the test (that's one percent per question!), which means that monster 25-part essay is only 40%. Obviously strive to do well on the essay, but really focus on your policy changes, vocabulary words, and ELL teaching strategies in order to get a majority of the MC questions.

    These two links (already shared above, but I'll leave them both here) helped me the most. The first acts as a great study guide for the MC q's and the second goes into detail with best teaching practices that can help on the essay.

    https://quizlet.com/subject/MTEL-SEI/

    http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/retell/

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    1. I recently passed the test in January* My b, typo

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  43. Has anyone taken a prep course that helped them pass the test?

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    1. I tried the 7 Day CSS MTEL SEI. It was a free trial with supposed support from a personal online tutor. I wouldn't recommend this as a prep course. The questions I asked of the "tutor" weren't answered effectively and the practice test wasn't thorough enough to cover the material.

      I downloaded and read the RETELL articles from the malden public schools and created study notes from them.

      www.maldenells.wikispaces.com/file/view/ another good site is www.colorincolorado.org

      In addition, I watched youtube videos on Sheltered English Emersion.

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  44. Mr. Tobin and respondents, you are my hero!

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  46. First, to whomever posted the rest of the Open Response information, you are an angel!!

    Note to test takers, make sure you "turn the page" to next screen when you finish each part of the Open Response. It's not one document, it's five. Not sure why/how I didn't notice this but I just kept typing away in the Part One screen. I got to Part 4 when the computer notified me I had reached my word count. After I figured out my mistake, I had to back track and type like hell with less than an hour to go to RE-DO Parts 2, 3, and 4 responses in the proper screens! Got to Part 5-c when time ran out: So close yet so far! I will be taking it again. And,BTW, you can't cut and paste either.

    On the brighter side, the test is totally doable. Read the articles at http://marbleheadschools.org/~jones.bethan/FOV1-00031A01/ and map out a theoretical plan. Thank you Marblehead!

    Also worth noting is that you can preview all of the mentor texts before choosing one. I am an ELA teacher, but went with the social studies text instead.

    Finally, the testing site on Trapelo Road in Waltham was pretty nice compared to what others have said about their testing sites.

    Good luck, and thanks again to ALL who have posted here and elsewhere.

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    1. Any memory as to what the social studies mentor text is about?

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  47. I had a similar experience with regards to the open response. I was lucky enough to figure out my mistake when typing section 3. Had to retype my work. Finished the test but did't have time to go back and check my flagged questions.

    Do Not Use CUT and PASTE. These are non-functioning keys. I failed by two points but feel pretty good about it and will retake soon.

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  48. I am reading in the study guide that I need to know "Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001". I understand that no child left behind has been replaced by "Every Student Succeeds Act". Are there any changes pertaining to English Language Learners in the updated law? Will the July 2016 SEI MTEL question us on the updated version (if any) or will we be tested on the outdated law?

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    1. I just took the exam yesterday, the question is still about NCLB. There were about 2 questions about the law, many of the other MC were situational classroom questions. The outline for the OR above is basically spot on.

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  49. thanks so much for all this info.. it's so useful! I'm taking the test next week, and I see that the test guide says that "WIDA ELD levels will be available for your reference." Is that just the numbers with the names (i.e. - level 5 - bridging), or is it the whole set of charts with descriptions and can do statements? thanks so much.

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    1. Hi Rebecca-
      Just the Level numbers with names are available for reference. I was hoping the descriptions and can do statements would be there too, and thought it was a bit misleading. Good luck next week - If I can do it, you can!

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  50. I just took Dr. Brent Daigle's SEI MTEL Workshop at Boston College today. He used to be a scorer for the test. Interesting that he spent far more time reviewing what would be on the MC portion than the Essay. For the essay he emphasized that there are 5 parts, have strategies ready and why they work, know your assessment types.

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    1. Did he mention if they were looking for any specific assessment types or was it more general in nature such as fill in the blanks, definitions, matching etc? Thanks.

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    2. My notes from that portion of his workshop/lecture are that Part 5 of the written part is on Assessment. "Know assessments. Be able to say why it works." Hope this helps!

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    3. Does anyone have thoughts on the assessment portion of the test? I mean, if they are producing a written product (like RAFT), isn't that an assessment in and of itself?

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  51. For those of you who failed and then took it again, was it the same test? With the same mentor texts? Could you do the lesson plan on the same text for a second time?

    only asking this question because I took the test today and am feeling oh so pessimistic...

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    1. What were some questions or parts that you feel unsure about now having taken the test?

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    2. (warning... everything I have to say is totally negative and not especially useful)
      I just think it's a really bad test. I studied a lot and felt very well prepared, but there were questions on topics that I was very familiar with and still wouldn't know the answer. Most of the questions were some version of: If were in this situation, what would best the best thing to do first, or if you were doing this sort of lesson, what would your primary motivation for structuring it be.. Great conversation starters but terrible multiple choice questions. I felt so flummoxed by the MC questions, that by the time I got to the open response, I just said lots of stupid stuff, and I was totally prepared to do the lesson plan and assumed I would do well, but my brain was fried and I also was unexpectedly short on time, so I don't even think I did very well on the open response. Ugh.. It was miserable. I will report back when I found out how I did.

      So, all that to say, I don't think that there is anything I could or should have done that would add to everything else that has been said here (which was pretty much the guiding force in all the preparation I did), but I just think it's a bad test.

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    3. I took the test 3 times and each time it was exactly the same. Same overall structure, same exact multiple choice questions (though in a different order each time), same essay questions, same mentor text options, etc

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  52. I took the test on March 5th and just received my scores today. I failed by 2 points, received a 238. I would be curious to hear what anyone else's breakdown was. Here was mine:

    Multiple Choice:
    Section 1: Many
    Section 2: Some
    Section 3: Some

    Open Response:
    Part 1: Thorough
    Part 2: Adequate
    Part 3: Adequate
    Part 4: Limited
    Part 5: Limited

    I'm curious, because my coworker who took it received three "limiteds" and had the same scores up top and passed it. I also agree with the previous poster that this is a very subjective and crappy test. I'm hesitant to take it again because I feel like they are just trying to fail people.

    In any case, anyone who received scores and either passed or failed, I would love to hear your breakdown as well.

    Thanks!

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    1. The multiple choice counts for 1% per question (aka 60% total) while the 25-part essay (5 sections, each containing 5 subsections)counts for only 40%, so it's more valuable to do better on the MC than the essay.

      First time I failed by 4 points breakdown:
      MULTIPLE CHOICE:
      Section 1: Many
      Section 2: Many
      Section 3: Some

      ESSAY
      Part 1: Thorough
      Part 2: Adequate
      Part 3: Limited
      Part 4: Adequate
      Part 5: Limited

      Now when I passed (NOTE how much worse my essay was...)

      MULTIPLE CHOICE:
      Section 1: Most
      Section 2: Many
      Section 3: Some

      ESSAY:
      Part 1: Adequate
      Part 2: Limited
      Part 3: Limited
      Part 4: Limited
      Part 5: Limited

      So granted I passed, it didn't feel like that great of an accomplishment. It was that one "many" in the multiple choice section that saved me. In conclusion, it's an extremely stupid test
      But whaddya gonna do when we're all a bunch of enslaved, bikinied Leia's to Pearson's money engorging Jabba the Hutt? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  53. I'm sorry you didn't pass. That totally stinks... I'm the person who wrote the really cranky post from 3/12, but I did just find out that I passed. Here was my breakdown:
    MC
    1: most
    2: many
    3: most

    OR
    1: thorough
    2: adequate
    3: adequate
    4: adequate
    5: thorough

    I'm super relieved and surprised that I passed. I felt totally flustered and flummoxed by the whole test.

    The only thing that could possibly be of use from my experience is that I wrote a ridiculous amount for the open response. I think that most of it was totally stupid and meaningless, but - as I tend to do when I don't know what I'm supposed to be saying - I just said a lot. babbled.

    Other than that, in terms of preparations, I did exactly what so many people advised on this board. thanks for all the advice. What a stupid system and test this is, and what a shame that we all have to waste our time jumping through hoops like this when we could be doing things that are actually useful for our students..

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  54. I passed, but I have a feeling that barely. I had three limiteds and two adequates,a most and two manys.

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  55. I failed by 2 points. I had one most and two many's on the multiple choice. On the open response, I got one adequate and four limiteds.

    My open response topic was teaching Glossary usage to PreK-2. Can anyone tell me what their topic was for the same grade level.

    Thanks for your help and best of luck to everyone.

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  56. Best prep for SEI MTEL is found on guildway.com. They have an online course as well as workshop.

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  57. This discussion has been extremely useful as I try to cram SEI content into my tiny brain before Tuesday's test. Quick question about the open response: Are you able to jump back and forth between parts? I ask this because I would normally write the assessment piece first and work backwards from there. Thanks in advance.

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  58. Actually, I have a second question: Does any of the mentor texts cover Math or Science in grades 3-5?

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  59. you can go back to any parts of the test any time, including even the MC part.

    Hannah

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  60. As I read through the prompts for the OR question, I am confused about the last one, assessment. Don't many strategies have assessment built in? For example, if I use a writing strategy where I have students develop a graphic organizer before writing and then use a word bank with our chosen vocabulary words, then can't that serve as assessment for both the vocabulary and the writing task? And if they are using information from the text, then it will also assess their success on the reading task. Are we supposed to suggest separate tasks that are not already included in the vocabulary, oracy, reading, and writing strategies? Thanks for any help!

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    1. I'm taking it tomorrow, but I would assume this refers to your summative assessment - evidence that the students have achieved the objective. The assessments scattered throughout your other strategies would be more formative assessments used to shape your instruction or inform your assessment of their progress toward the ultimate goal.

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    2. Thanks! I'll think of the last prompt as specifically looking for summative information and any built ins as formative. I hope it went well for you. I take it on April 20.

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    3. It went okay. Now, I just have to wait for 3-5 weeks to see if I actually passed. Basically, I wrote in formative aspects of each strategy for those parts and wrote separate, summative assessments at the end. I don't know if that's the way to go, but it certainly ensures that it's all connected in the end.

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    4. Did you pass Zac? Looking for some insight!

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  61. Just took that infernal test. I used all 255 minutes and emerged bleary-eyed and dazed, and feeling DUMB. I studied the materials from the RETELL course, the MTEL prep site, the Marblehead link AND this blog (thank you so much! But I should have looked more recently than I did - not sure how I missed the detailed breakdown of the OR items posted on January 6. That would have been a lifesaver!). Anyway, after finishing the MC in an hour I was thinking I had tons of time for the OR. Not that I thought I had nailed it, though - I flagged at least a dozen ambiguously worded, two-possible-good-answer MC questions before resorting to a mental coin toss/eenie-meenie-minie-mo process just to get some closure and move on to the OR. On that section, I got caught up in detailed explanations of the first 3 items, and barely had time to finish. I too struggled with the assessment questions at the end, in the five minutes I had left, recycled one of my vocabulary activities and slapped the term "summative" on it; I don't know if that fit the bill, but I hope so. I also kicked myself for not using specific examples from the text in my answers. My advice is to pace yourself a lot better than I did. IMHO it's just too much microscopically detailed writing to possibly expect in such a short (!) period of time. So even though I thought I was well prepared going in, and felt inadequately prepared during and after, I'm not sure how I would have changed my study strategy! So many questions were situational and I kept looking for the trick words, but couldn't find them. Maybe I'll pass, but I certainly don't feel the way I did after taking other MTELs, which I did fine on. So while I wait until the end of May, I'm haunted by the thought of either having to retake it, or paying for a RETELL course, since the free offering no longer appears available for my district's cohort. The thought of spending another $185 is about as appealing as spending an entire semester of once-weekly afternoons in a RETELL class and paying for the privilege. Robbing Pearson to pay Mitchell Chester, or vice-versa, I guess. BTW the guy from New Orleans who gave the prep course (so fried right now I don't even have any interest in looking up his name - Brett something) was entertaining as hell, but did nothing to help me prepare for this debacle. Another Benjamin down the drain. But hell, we teachers are made of money, right? Feeding the corporate education behemoth and entrepreneurs smart enough to see a need (or desperation!) In all, a god-awful experience! Best of luck to those who haven't taken it yet!

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    1. Oh crud. I took Brett Daigle's workshop, too. Argh!

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    2. Did you get your results and did you pass??

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  62. Thanks to all for your insight into this test! I am still in the midst of studying and am wondering which is better to study - the Can Do Descriptors or the Performance Definitions for the levels?

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  63. Anyone taken the MTEL ESL? I am looking for a private tutor to help me with the essays.

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  64. First of all, thank you, Dan for writing this post and thanks to all who responded and gave advice. I am preparing to take the test this summer. I'm nervous about the open response. For those of you who passed, do you remember which mentor text you used for your open response? Also, is it enough to read the articles on the Marblehead Schools website and Colorin Colorado and do the quizlets, or would it help to sign up for a course?

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  65. I took it and passed, and I think the marblehead schools articles were useful, and the quizets were extremely useful as were all the notes on this website about the open response. I have a colleague who went to a course in boston that was allegedly taught by one of the test graders, and she showed me her notes, and they seemed completely useless. not closely aligned to the test at all.. made me very glad I didn't waste the time to go to the class.

    I'm a high school english teacher, and I did the pre K mentor text for the open response, which is totally crazy!! the high school english text is weird, as I think someone here already mentioned. It's an article about a story, and it's just confusing what it actually is that you are reading. as weird as it was to do the pre k text, and as much as I was having internal panic while I made the choice to do so during the text, I think it was definitely the right move. the pre k text was very straightforward and I could apply and show off everything I knew about all the levels and strategies, and I did well on it. Maybe it would have been fine to do the HS one, but I had a feeling that I was going to get into a tangled mess because it was just such a strange text to use for this assignment...

    good luck! don't take a review course.. this blog post and all the comments are way more useful than the review course!

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    1. Completely agree. When taking the test, I thought I would do HS English for the same reason but felt the text was weird and there were easier choices to demonstrate how planning and assessment. I settled on elementary math.

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  66. I'm feeling slightly hopeful but also panicked. Test for me is next Saturday. Thank you everyone!!

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  68. I passed and it was 100% due to my scores on the multiple choice. I even felt good about the open response, but it didn't score well. This thread helped a lot in helping me see that as I prepared.

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  69. Hello good teacher folk...

    I am a HS science teacher who stumbled onto this site looking for a place to "peddle" an Op/Ed I wrote regarding the horrible SEI Endorsement course or "RETELL" (I took it this spring...and if I never have to take it again, it will be too soon). I understand this is a blog commenting on MTEL ESL and it doesn't sound like either the MTEL or RETELL are much of a bargain. Anyway, long story short: can anyone recommend a media outlet that might be sympathetic to a pretty scathing op/ed? I would also be happy to share the piece I wrote and garner some feedback if anyone is interested. The DOE/DESE seems determined to drive as many qualified and motivated professionals from the educator ranks as it can - it's the only conclusion I can draw given what I, and many of you as well, just experienced.

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    1. this is just a massachusetts situation, right? why don't you send it to the globe?

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    2. Seriously? The MTA would probably publish it AND offer editing advice. I was in a situation where I was not in a cohort year, then cutbacks put me in a new position, so now I have to pay for whatever I choose to do...MTEL, RETELL, etc. I'm fortunate in that I have no kids so I can afford to pay and do the work, but honestly, if you are at different stages of your life you can't easily dismiss the fact that it's asking for like $200-$500 and possibly hundreds of hours of additional unpaid labor to meet the requirement.

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    3. Hello "Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 12:26 PM"
      Please let me know how I can review your 'op-ed' on the RETELL/SEI subjects you refer to in your recent post? I would really love to read it. I have no connections or idea which media outlet would publish it, but I do hope you find one. I have some thoughts on the topics myself but have been keeping them silently to myself. Although I am pursuing the appropriate study & will take the exam (without the RETELL course) this year, I have been wondering if I was the only person who has a 'counterpoint to the whole mandatory & low-helpful approach being taken by our Commonwealth in pursuit of a righteous goal: the education of ALL our children. Please let me know how I can connect with you to see your op ed? Thanks!

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  70. I've taken the test twice and haven't passed yet. However, my second attempt showed a much improved open response. So for next time I'll focus on studying for the multiple choice using the marblehead articles as well as the ESL MTEL practice quizzes. This blog has been very helpful in spite of the fact that I have yet to pass.

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  71. I am due to take the MTEL ESL 54 test this summer. Can anyone give me some tips for studying the Open Response? websites, guides, etc.?








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  72. I am due to take the MTEL ESL 54 test this summer. Can anyone give me some tips for studying the Open Response? websites, guides, etc.?








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  73. For Multiple Choice take the 100 choice MC practice test for the ESL MTEL. A lot of the questions are situational and really helped me for the vague questions on the multiple choice. They also explain each answer on the website. I took it three times until I got a 95% or so. First time I probably got a 40%. The 10 practice MC questions on the website for the SEI test are good but not enough. I got four limiteds and one adequate on the open response, but still passed because I got Many, Most, Most on the multiple choice.

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    1. Thank you Anon for your response! Congrats on your accomplishment too!

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  74. I've heard most test prep classes for the SEI MTEL are awful, but I found guildway.com and took their online course. I studied for two weeks and just found out I passed. Very thorough studying material, and applicable to the test. I was extremely prepared.

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  75. I want to shout out a big thank you to this site. I found out last week that I passed the SEI test. When I took it I had no idea if I had passed - I felt like I had guessed on many of the multiple choice questions and I didn't feel good at all about the open response. But it turns out I did well - most/all on all the multiple choices and thorough or adequate on the open response. I will share my study strategies since they seemed to work for me - maybe they'll be helpful to others. As others suggested, I took the ESL test and made sure I understood all the errors I made on it. Also, I got materials from a friend who had taken retell and I studied all of her readings and assignments. I made myself flashcards with a bunch of vocabulary and practiced like crazy. Lastly, and I think this was what helped with the OR, I did a full try with their sample test. First I just looked at the test and did part A, then I compared my A to their answer. Then I wrote out full answers for 2 vocabulary and oracy strategies, a reading comprehension strategy, a writing strategy, and assessment strategies. I think going through that process helped. The test really sucks - good luck to anyone taking it!!

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    1. Good advice. Thank you. I'm taking the test in a few weeks. Yikes!

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  76. So, I'm about to take the test a third time, and am very discouraged. The first time I took it, I was just checking out what was on it, and scored 227. This second time I took it, I scored 239. The breakdown of my score was...
    MC
    Sec1: Most
    Sec2: Many
    Sec3: Many
    OR
    Part1: Adequate
    Parts2-5: Limited

    Unlike the person who posted a thread on April 14th and passed, I failed. What is up? I contacted Pearson to find out how to appeal the score, and was told, no appeals are available for this test. Again, what gives?

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    1. What a bummer! It sounds like you were very close, since the passing score is 240. If you could improve your OR scores and keep your MC score, you would pass. I described my strategy just above your post - I did sample open responses, using the prompts I found on this page. I think that must have really helped me. Also, I don't think they change the mentor texts, so now that you know them, you can go in prepared. If you know someone who took the SEI course, see if you can get their materials or even talk with them about the strategies so you can plan ahead which ones you would use. Good luck!!!

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  77. I'm getting ready to take this stupid test again at the end of June. I've focused more on the multiple choice section this round of studying, but am looking to do a little better on my OR than I did the last time. I received "limited" in the assessment section- does anyone have suggestions of what they liked for the assessment? Thanks again for all the helpful info.

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  78. Can anyone recommend a helpful way to study the WIDA levels to prepare for the OR part of the test? I have the Can Do descriptors PDFs. I need to be able to say how I'd differentiate between levels, right? I'm taking the test Monday. Gahhh.

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  79. I found this resource for writing language objectives! http://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/pdf/ell/Writing%20Language%20Objectives.pdf

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  80. I really wish I found this discussion board a while back. I just found it and the test is TODAY. ugh

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  81. So, I've given myself about 6 weeks to prepare for the test. I'm glad I happened across this blog. In reading through it seems the common themes are as follows;

    1) Master to MC as best as possible - MTEL ESL practice test is the best resource for this

    2) Know WIDA.
    3) Part 5 for assessment seems to be the common hang-up for the OR
    The Marblehead site and Quizlet seem to be a great resource

    All that said, as a math teacher I have some concerns getting through the OR with success. That said, my primary question is around how to tackle this exam as a math teacher. I read several posts on this blog that raised the same question, but didn't come across any solid replies. Doe anyone have any insight on the math based mentor text that they can offer up??

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  82. I found these links pretty general but extremely helpful for the OR!

    http://www.mastersinesl.org/teaching-esl/best-practices-for-teaching-esl-speaking-reading-and-writing/

    http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/how-develop-lesson-plan-includes-ells

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  83. "Failing to find an online audience since 2003"
    Finds audience via SEI MTEL Panic of 2016, LOL
    Seriously this post and comments thread have been so helpful.

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  84. Thanks very much Dan and community for the support. I sat for the dreaded SEI MTEL 56 two days ago, and this site was very important to my preparation.

    If I had to give three suggestions, here they are:
    1. Plan your lesson plan so that content and language objectives are easily achieved by the 4 activities you want to use (vocab/oracy x2, reading, writing), and of course prepare those four strategies very carefully.

    2. I know it has been said earlier in the suggestion, but using the practice test for MTEL 54 ELL was great. Opening two windows so that I could see the question, think, and then check the answer helped me to adjust my lens on the objectives that both tests have in common.

    3. This is a time saving tip: use the 15 minutes of checking boxes at the beginning to do a brain dump onto the dry erase board. I wrote down acronyms, 7 step process, WIDA details, my lesson objectives/activities, etc. So, when I was getting mentally exhausted in hour 3, I could refer back to my notes to get back on track. Doing this before the clock started on the test helped me to save time.

    AND, one question/observation: I wrote about 350-400 words per section, exceeding my 1500 word limit by about 150 words. However, I asked the test proctors about a cumulative word limit, and they seemed to think it wasn't a big deal. I would have thought that the testing program would simply stop letting me write until I purged earlier text, but there was no warning/prohibition given.
    Anyone had a similar experience? As I looked over the MTEL site this morning, I am seeing less about the 1500 words than I remember. I am hoping that there is a built in cushion and that I didn't go over that limit.

    Many Thanks!

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  85. Thanks for your comments and insights everyone! It's been extremely helpful. I am scheduled to take the test tomorrow and I just found this great site....http://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/factors.htm

    If you look through it, you will find ways to better understand cohesion factors (which was really helpful to me!) Hope it helps you!

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  86. I have read this blog and all the comments so many times... and I'm still confused.. Are we supposed to writing a lesson plan for the Open Response? In our content area? I'm a music teacher. Or is the lesson plan based on the "mentor text"? I have the SEI open response template from Judy Aurajo's site, but I'm not entirely sure how to apply the template to this context. I guess it's the "mentor text" that's confusing me. Test is Monday.... I'm nervous....

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  87. Just finished taking the test today and this site was the most beneficial for me, so I thought I would answer some of the questions I've seen on here.
    1. You are given a whiteboard and marker to write down thoughts, etc.
    2. The open response states that it should be approximately 1500 words, 300 for each section, but I found that in one of my sections I hit 600 words and they told me that was the most I could use. So the approximation doesn't have a penalty, but there is a limit of 600 per section.
    3. The open response is creating a lesson plan based on the mentor text of your choice. You do not have to stay in your subject area. I went with Elementary and it was on measuring volume.
    4. There were questions about ELL learners with disabilities which I was not prepared for.

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    1. Can you give a better sense of the specifics of the mentor text you chose related to measuring volume for Elementary?

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    2. Procedural text on finding volume

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    3. Is it finding volume in math or science? i.e. Is it finding volume using beakers or cubic units? Thank you so much! This has been so helpful.

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  88. Back for another post. I'm still trying to prepare for this from a math teacher's perspective. The MTEL site had an example posted for a scored response, but for part 1 only. So it does a nice job of demonstrating the analysis of the text, BUT stops short of showing part 2 which is the lesson plan. Any advice of where to find such an example? I have scoured the internet to no avail.

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    1. The open response template found here is the exact open response on the test. http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/retell/ I filled it out twice as practice, once using a math concept and once using a social studies topic. While the template is not filled in for an example, it gives you all of the parts.

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    2. Thanks for the follow up. I am aware of the template and have completed it as best as possible. Parts 2-5 are still confusing to me. Maybe the math teacher in me is preventing me from understanding a semantic map from a word splash from a KWL. This is terminology that just doesn't jive with my content area. In the same way that things like equivalency and PEMDAS give non-math teachers reason to break out in hives. Not knowing this terminology doesn't prevent me from using best practices to make the curriculum accessible to ALL students. Am I over thinking parts 2-5 on the template or do I essentially have to learn the structures that would be used in an ELA classroom to actually come off like I know what I'm talking about for the satisfaction of the monkeys that actually threw this at us blindly??

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  89. Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your experiences taking the test and your study recommendations. I'm scheduled to take the test August 3. A question I have is can you use more than one strategy for the reading and writing? Can you use a pre-reading, during reading and post reading strategies? I just feel one strategy would not be enough.

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  90. I looked at the SEI Open Response Template and I think there may be some errors. For example, under the reading and writing portions it asks "Connects to language objective" then under that "Connects to vocabulary objective." I was thinking that it should ask for - Connects to content objective instead of language objective. For those of you that have taken the test, is that correct? Thank you to all of you for your help.

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  91. I took this test yesterday. It did not take me as long as everyone else, and I think this is because I was so prepared for the essay. That being said, the multiple choice was very challenging for me. I feel like I prepared as well as I could have, and I still am not confident that I did well enough to pass. I used the open response template and practiced two open responses. I know there are certain places that I could have done better on the open response (e.g. forgot to point out passive voice for sentence-level structures, and I'm sure I labeled some words in "tier 1" that belong in "tier 2", but I can't imagine these would prevent me from passing the essays. You really have no excuse to do poorly on the essays if you prepare and practice. The template is pretty much exactly the same as the real test! The multiple choice is another ball game. Too many times I was able to get it down to two answers that sounded legitimate, and it was really hard to decide which one to go with. Best of luck to everyone! This test is checking that we are understand how to make learning accessible for our students, yet the learning required to pass this test is not made accessible for us. Unbelievable!

    HELPFUL LINKS
    Background info - I read every one of these articles and highlighted key info, then I went back and studied what I highlighted: http://marbleheadschools.org/~jones.bethan/FOV1-00031A01/

    Practice multiple choice - definitely do this: https://www.mtel.nesinc.com/Content/StudyGuide/MA_SG_SRI_56.htm

    ESL MTEL - very helpful. I took this first reading the answers and explanations as I went, and then I took it again without looking at the analysis until after: http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/content/Docs/MA_FLD054_PRACTICE_TEST.pdf

    ESL MTEL analysis: http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/content/Docs/MA_FLD054_PT_APPENDIX.pdf

    Praxis - more helpful multiple choice prep:
    https://www.ets.org/s/praxis/pdf/5361.pdf

    Open response template found here: http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/retell/

    Open response prep:
    https://www.mtel.nesinc.com/Content/StudyGuide/MA_SG_CRI_56.asp

    http://www.colorincolorado.org/
    (watch some of the videos!)

    http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/index.htm

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    1. Thank you to all of you for sharing your experiences with the test and preparation materials. I am scheduled to take the test on August 3rd. I just have a few questions about the Open Response. The template says content objective. Can you put more than one objective in? And, for the language objectives, just one of each? Is it okay to use more than one reading strategy and more than one writing strategy?

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    2. How did it go? I'm signed up to take it 8/16. I am hung up on the objectives as well, so would appreciate any inside you have to offer. Thanks!

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    3. Sorry...*insight

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    4. I ran out of time. I think I spent too much time on the MC questions. They were challenging but using the ESL MTEL practice test really helped. I know I did not do well on the OR - I was suffering from severe test anxiety and the need to rush thru all the parts to finish in 4 hours. I felt I was not able to show what I could do. I am not a fast worker and I need time to reflect before I start writing lesson plans. I don't know if I will take it again. My advice would be for OR is to plan your objectives and assessment first, then go back and do everything else. Good luck.

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    5. Update on August 5th post: Just received my scores and I passed--so surprised!! I scored some, most and many on MC, 2 adequate and 3 limited on OR. So relieved.

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    6. Update: I surprisingly passed! I think just barely. I scored some, most and many on MC. On the OR I had 2 adequates and 3 limited. (I'm shocked I did that well as I didn't finish the writing and assessment portions.) My advice is to use all the buzz words you can think of to add credence to your answers, such as comprehensible input. Good luck!

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    7. Update from post on August 5th.....Just found out I passed! What a surprise! I scored some, most, many on MC and 2 adequate and 3 limited on OR. I didn't finish all subsections of the OR, hence the limited score. For those of you preparing for this test. Know and understand all the answers on the ESL MTEL. Use lots of buzzwords in your OR such as comprehensible input, graphic supports. Also, make sure in the lesson includes many opportunities for the students to be talking with one another using academic language. Thank you to all the people who provided study tips. You're the best!

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  92. I passed! Thanks to this blog post and comments! I agree that taking the ESL MTEL practice test a few times is very helpful. I got Most on the multiple choice and an Adequate and 4 Limiteds on the open response.

    I also passed the ESL MTEL. Guess what? It's easier than the SEI MTEL. Granted, it has 100 multiple choice questions vs. 60 on the SEI, but the Open Response part is easier! I scored Many on the multiple choice and Adequate on the Open Response. So if you're on the fence about which test to take, I say go for the ESL. (You'll have to do a 150-hour practicum to get your ESL license.) There were a couple of identical test items on the two tests!

    I found the Wellesley Pearson testing site to be rather dehumanizing and soulless. The Rockland site was less so.

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  94. I just took the test today. Did anyone chose the Zadie Smith "Meet the President " text? I chose it and assumed students had access to the short story itself. It was a strange choice of mentor text.

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    1. I chose it, and I agree with you and others that it was very strange, but it had some text features I felt I could get my head wrapped around. I did not assume students would have access to the short story itself. They were pretty specific about pointing to examples from the text excerpt itself. Hope that helps someone else.

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  95. I just got back from taking the test. Thank you to all who posted on this blog. I felt very prepared for the essay. It definitely followed the Open response template found here: http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/retell/ The one problem for me was that I ran out of time and didn't finish part 5 of the 5 part essay. This essay is ridiculous on so many levels!! First, its really a 25 part essay because each of the 5 parts has 5 parts. Second, they ask you to explain how each strategy supports strategies from other parts so you end up toggling back pages to recall those strategies and then you can't cut and paste them between screens. I had to write them down, which seems tedious but with so many details in your head you need to recall them for each part!! I wasted way too much time going back and forth between sections. I used Quizlet which helped prepare me for background knowledge and terms. I used the colorado site for articles and background knowledge too! I also took Brent Diagle's workshop, which introduced me to SEI but didn't really prepare me very much for how this test would be. I think one thing that would have been more helpful to me is more practice questions like the ones on the test. The 10 questions on the MTEL SEI site were helpful and all the questions were exactly like those. Each question is about 3-4 sentences and are mostly scenarios and you have to decide what course of action would do first. Tricky because I found at least 2 appropriate answers for this type of question. The test calls L2 emergining, not beginning like the WIDA charts indicate. The test refers to the levels as Entering, Emerging, Developing...not necessarily with the Level attached. So know those. I have no idea what "Dual Iceberg" is but there was a question looking for an example of that. I need to look it up as I've never come across it in any of my study prep. Also, they refer to Question 2 not ballot 2 and you need to know what that did (mandated SEI be available in all schools.) I'm bummed because while I felt as prepared as I could be, not finishing the test probably means failure. Not sure if I will try to take it again or opt for the class. I just want to thank everyone here for great advice, links and general support. This was the hardest MTEL I've taken to date. Good luck to anyone waiting to take it.

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    1. So helpful! Thank you Amy! I failed by 1 point last time so I'm hoping this next time will be my last! Did you pass..?

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  96. I took the test in Woburn. I found the testing site to be pretty low key in comparison to what I've heard about other sites. The two proctors on duty could not have been nicer or more encouraging.

    The test outline posted on Jan 6 is exactly what you will find on the test.

    I found that preparation is the key. You should go in having taken (and understood) the MTEL (54) ESL multiple choice practice test. You should know the WIDA Can Do descriptors for the grade level cluster of the mentor text you anticipate using. Have strategies and assessments prepared ahead of time. If you know anything about the mentor text you think you will use, that will help. You can have a few different strategies in mind for vocab, reading, and writing if you are not sure. Then you can choose the best ones after you have selected the mentor text you will use.

    Make use of the "Flag for Later" button on the computer. I did not and was not able to use the few minutes remaining after the essay to go back and look at questions that I was unsure of.

    You will need the full 4 hours. I am not sure if I would have finished in time if I had not taken the ESL practice test or had my activities planned ahead of time. You don't want to feel rushed while you're taking the test and you definitely do not want to run out of time.

    I did a lot of test prep, but I would have been completely lost without this blog. Thank you to all the author and all of the previous contributors. Best of luck to anyone taking the test!

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  97. THANK YOU to everyone who posted here from their experience taking the exam, it helped me tremendously and gave me a chance at passing the dreaded thing. Just took it this morning. Just wondering how long did you wait for your results?
    Whoever it was that suggested the "brain dump" on the white board notebook thing at the beginning - thank you I did that and it was so helpful. I memorized a one-page of notes that would help trigger my memory for the OR and it was super helpful. I came up with some mnemonics for the text analysis that helped me, but if you use it just check to make sure it jives with what you learned about the academic language features because I honestly felt kinda lost on that one. I narrowed it down to some keywords that would help me:
    Sentence Level academic Language: the "3 Ps" - Passive voice, Puncuation, and Pronouns
    Discourse Level academic language: Every Day I Take a Bath
    Every = Expository (vs. narrative)
    Day = embedded Definitions
    I = inferences (that a student would need to make)
    B = background knowledge needed to understand the text

    Hope this might help, thought I should at least put something out there since I got some much help from this thread.

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    1. sorry forgot the T = tense ... that exam did a number on my brain. Ugh

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  98. wow - sounds like you were really prepared. I bet you did great. Here is the link for the score release dates. I thought they were joking about not releasing them until 10PM, but they really do. I think my email came at around 9:30PM on the score release day..
    https://www.mtel.nesinc.com/PageView.aspx?f=GEN_GetResults.html

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  99. I just finished the test a couple of days ago and here is my advice. I would get any generic textbook entry or scholastic news summary on your subject and go through the essay process with the template. Practice getting everything under 300 words per section. The only thing I would really emphasize to know solidly is the WIDA levels. I agree with everyone about the utterly tedious nature of this test, I have taught graduate level courses on assessment and MC portion of this test does everything wrong (unnecessarily long prompts, non-parallel answers...I could really go on).

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    1. Is there a template available?

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    2. Can you elaborate by what you mean by knowing the WIDA levels? Do you need to memorize the descriptions and can-do descriptors for each level for all the language domains? The information out there seems overwhelming.

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  100. I took the SEI test and the ESL test. I would definitely encourage teachers to take the ESL Mtel as there are study materials available. I scored 236 on SEI MTEL with "Many", "Many", "Some" on on the multiple choice and "Adequate" in two categories and "Limited" on 3 categories. The ESL Mtel I scored "Most" and "Many" on the multiple choice and "Thorough" on both parts of the exam. Although the MTEL doesn't give the exact score for a "Pass", I found that study materials were readily available and there is a 100 question practice test with explanations available on the MTEL website too. It seemed easier to apply for a preliminary license in ESL in order to get the SEI endorsement. When I contacted DESE, they advised me to follow this same path. The cost of the ESL test is 130 and the license is 25 dollars. This is still less than the cost of the SEI Mtel, and I ended up with an additional license.

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  101. Just wanted to say thank you to everyone that took time to post a comment. Just found out I passed the Mtel! I couldn't have done it without all of your help, resources, and suggestions. Thank you!

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    1. I passed, too. I didn't take a review course, just followed the advice on this blog. Thank you Dan and everyone else who posted tips on how to do well on the test!

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  102. I wanted to write to say that this blog was extremely helpful and I really appreciate everything that educators put here. It was the reason I passed the test on the first try after studying with this and other online supports. Thank you!

    I would also like to share two strategies: 1) Do the open response first but keep and eye on the time. 2) Take a break half way through even if you are concerned about time. It's a long time to sit and your focus will improve if you stand up, walk to the restroom or get water, and then return to the task at hand.

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  103. I just found out I passed! Took 8 weeks to get the results! I'm so thankful for this blog and the people who took the time to write how helpful hints. I ended up with two limiteds on the open response, but scored two most or alls on the multiple choice. Quizlet is the best way to study for the multiple choice, use a variety of them over and over again!

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  104. I meant to send this earlier and it is more of the same but I was grateful for all the pointers given and had to say thanks. The SEI process was a terrible experience and I am so glad it is over. The comment from Jan 8 about the short answers is spot on so use that as a guide to have a game plan going into the test. Know you WIDA vocab at all levels and get ready for a lot of "which should you do first" and "which is the best" multiple choice questions"

    Thanks again to everyone

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  105. I just found out I passed after taking it twice. I used the guildway on-line prep which was really helpful, especially the Quizlet cards and the Open Response template. The open response did me in the first time. I recommend that you practice writing the open response objectives and lessons and then plugging in the mentor text language. I am grateful for all who contributed to this blog. It helps to know that we are not alone!

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  106. Does anyone know if you can look at multiple mentor texts before choosing the one to use for your open response?

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  107. yes - you can look at all of them before you start writing.

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    1. Thank you! I just don't want to have to do a math one!

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  108. I looked at them all before I did the multiple choice, which was useful because I had it floating around in my head and could jot down ideas if they occurred to me, and some of the ideas I actually got from the multiple choice questions.

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  109. Does anyone recall what the K-2 early childhood Mentor text was about?

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  110. Thanks to Dan and everyone who has commented here. I'm taking the test on Friday am and spending my entire holiday break studying :\ A few questions:
    -does anyone know anything about the Bio mentor text? I can't find anything online
    -for the OR parts 2,3,4, what exactly are they looking for when it says "strategies at all ELD levels"? We are just supposed to differentiate the strategy we chose? Seems a little redundant but ok.

    Finally- a resource for those who come after me- I modified Judy Araujo's OR template incorporating some of the comments here (mainly the Jan 6 info and someone else's mnemonics). I don't know how accurate it is but its a start. Here is the link: view only but just make your own copy.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/18p4VGt6aEkDrQIdeu287vYEZzfT2_kpi3ZFotXvT3Fk/edit?usp=sharing

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    1. I took the test yesterday- I felt well-prepared based on all the good tips everyone posted here. As others have stated, the OR was basically the same as the template here, and the MC questions were pretty similar to the ESL practice questions that are on the MTEL site, along with a few questions about the laws. Important update- I was specifically told that I could NOT do a brain dump on the white board until the official time for the test started. I still had plenty of time, though. I feel like I did well but its hard to tell if I did well enough to pass. Now for the wait!

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  111. I just found this part of Judy's SEI MTEL page and it is really helping me to organize strategies for the written portion of the test (especially parts 2, 3 and 4.) PLEASE check it out!
    http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/wp-content/uploads/Strategies-Organizational-Chart-1.pdf

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    1. Thanks- that document has excellent reading strategies but I am also looking for writing strategies and assessments, especially for high school science content courses. RAFT doesn't really seem appropriate for that...

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  112. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Great, template. Thank you for posting. I am studying now to take the test in 2 weeks. The OR is confusing me - it seems like I am repeating myself. I am hung up on the strategies for ELD's at all WIDA levels - we have to include strategies at those levels 3 times (vocab, reading, writing). Can we repeat ourselves - use the same ELD strategies? And can you give me an example of how you answered that in the OR? THANK YOU

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    2. When it comes to redundancy this test really does take the cake. They will give you certain WIDA levels to write about and it will be up to you to accommodate for those levels in each of the sections Reading, Written and Vocabulary/Oracy. You will need to know each of the levels so that you can be ready for anything.

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  113. Wow - that's great. I wish I hadn't taken the test already :)

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  114. As many have mentioned before this blog has been incredibly helpful so I wanted to add my own addition to help those who will be taking this test after me. Below is my own "Frankensteined" mix of Mrs. Judy Araujo's SEI MTEL organizer and SEI Bootcamp definitions From Quizlet. Think of it as "training wheels" for those of us who need a little extra help. I take my test this coming Saturday so hopefully this works! Best of luck everyone!

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-ziD5VXhenyjek7-N85bRGBfSElNft99AHbHiqH0GOw/edit?usp=sharing

    (Just go to File-> Make A Copy)

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    1. How do you think you did? I have a few more weeks to study. As a Math and Science teacher, this is all quite overwhelming. Can you offer advice as to how to study the WIDA levels? How much information should I memorize? Do I need to know all the can do descriptors?

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    2. I teach HS science and just found out that I passed. I generally knew the WIDA levels just based on summaries from the many Quizlets people had created- I certainly didn't study the actual WIDA table with the specific descriptors. I don't recall specific MC questions about the levels, and you just need to differentiate your strategies on the OR for a few different levels. Good luck!

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  115. Does anyone have the Marblehead articles? I tried the link but it is no longer available.

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  116. Insightful information shared here. One can also get the admission in best schools of architecture only at SMMCA Nagpur. Thanks for sharing.

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  117. Hi just a quick question for everyone, there are 5 parts of the essay?? Does anyone recall what each part is?

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    1. Someone wrote out all the parts in a comment above. There are many comments to read through - but I recommend doing it! I'm also studying for the test to take in the beginning of April :-(

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  118. Hi! I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone on this blog for your notes and comments on how to study for this exam. I PASSED!! The only way that happened was from preparing so much for the essay and taking notes from this blog. I studied various quizlets and made my own notes on the current laws mentioned in the standards online. For the essay, the template that was provided on here was so helpful for me, I mapped out everything before:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yKcM8dhj2rA9UgNpdB1VD7cd5dZgqJ0GeTOQJuK_qRk/edit

    After choosing the objectives and strategies you want to use for each portion well in advance, you can basically modify them to whatever mentor text you use. I chose the Elementary K-6 mentor text. I truly believe I passed because of how much I planned out my essay before!
    Thank you so much to everyone who commented and provided materials on this blog- I couldn't have passed without it! Good luck everyone!

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  119. Does anyone know a good writing assessment?

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  121. Does any one have examples of what the secondary ELA mentor texts have been like?

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  122. YEAH! Passed the test too!!!! The comments on this blog were enormously helpful!

    Also wondering why they don't tell you your score if you pass - I can't figure out the logic on that one....

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  123. I am taking the test tomorrow. A little nervous but I feel well prepared...took a 2 day course from Gohacademy.com. I would highly recommend it!

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  124. Dear Teachers,
    First of all thanks for your comments and suggestions. Thanks to the author to have started this blog. Can someone please describe the Science SEI Open Response that you wrote and passed the MTEL? Are we supposed to write the state standards as well in the OR? (it's impossible to memorize those, I am curious how am I supposed to write the matching content standard for the topic that I am going to write about?) I would really appreciate if someone can share a brief description of the science mentor text, an outline of the OR for science and the number of MC that show up on the MTEL.

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    1. I teach middle school science but chose the early childhood mentor text because it was the easiest to modify and write the objectives for. You don't need to write standards but you do have write a language and context objective. I looked at the science mentor text there was one for technology and engineering. You can chose any of the ones you want it doesn't have to be the grade level you teach. Just look at them all and pick the one you can make activities for the best.

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  125. This site was super helpful!!! It helped me pass! Thanks everyone

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