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This lesson focuses on the Florida Teacher Certification Examination for English writing prompts that can be used to practice for the one essay that is required within the exam.

FTCE

The Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) is the exam required for teachers to qualify to teach K-12 students in the state of Florida. The examination we will be focusing on in this lesson is specifically the English exam for student grades 6-12. It is important to keep in mind that the essays are graded on:

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  • Understanding and comprehension of English
  • Writing methods, skills, and techniques
  • Knowledge of the subject

The essay is graded on a 1-7 scale, with 7 being the highest score you can receive. The essay is read and graded by two readers, who will each provide their own score. The final score will be an average of the two.

English Writing Prompts

In the English 6-12 exam, you will be given two writing prompts to pick from to write your essay. The writing prompts provide quotes or paragraphs from different famous pieces of literature, then asks you to do the following, as stated on the exam: ”Using any critical approach, discuss in an essay how the language and/or other elements contribute to the overall effect of the selection. Support your discussion with specific references to the text.”

Sample Prompt One

On Aging”When you see me sitting quietly,Like a sack left on the shelf,Don’t think I need your chattering.

I’m listening to myself.Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!Hold! Stop your sympathy!Understanding if you got it,Otherwise I’ll do without it!When my bones are stiff and aching,And my feet won’t climb the stair,I will only ask one favor:Don’t bring me no rocking chair.When you see me walking, stumbling,Don’t study and get it wrong.

‘Cause tired don’t mean lazyAnd every goodbye ain’t gone.I’m the same person I was back then,A little less hair, a little less chin,A lot less lungs and much less wind.But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.”~Maya AngelouWith this sample, analyze the work as the exam expects, then walk away from your essay for a a few hours, even a few days. Then go back and read it again. This break will help you look at your work with more of an objective eye.

Sample Prompt Two

The Miser”A MISER sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily.

One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause, said, ‘Pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it.”~AesopWith this sample prompt, I would suggest having a friend look over your essay. Make sure they are checking for grammar and clarity.

Then when they give it back to you, take the time to re-write it. This practice will give you more of an idea of what to do when you are taking the exam.

Sample Prompt Three

Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences”Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.

And in this it is not likely that all are mistaken the conviction is rather to be held as testifying that the power of judging aright and of distinguishing truth from error, which is properly what is called good sense or reason, is by nature equal in all men; and that the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.”~Rene DescartesWith this prompt, combine the two methods above.

Write your essay, then take a day and come back to it. Revise the essay, then hand it to a friend so they can review it as well. You will find that with these techniques you should be getting your work back with few or no comments from your friend.

Sample Prompt Four

The Door”When I first heard you on the phoneyour voice had to be that ’40s wartime voicefor it to get under my skin like it did,after seven years asleep.

You’re at the beginning of something, you said,and I’m at the end of something;but you didn’t go away,twice-born, three times, coming around,rough cello.Late daysI want to drive to your grave,But I don’t belong to it.”Since this is your last prompt here, I would suggest writing the essay, and giving it to a completely new person to review. This will give you another perspective on your work. Just make sure that your reviewer has seen the list of things on which you will be graded.

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