Time to Show What They Know: Assessment on Poetry and "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst

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SWBAT explain the meaning of symbolism and demonstrate their understanding of tone and word choice in a text by taking an assessment.

Big Idea

Students show what they know---and don't know on an assessment on skills learned in "The Scarlet Ibis" and two poetry cold readings.

Do Now

20 minutes

Although the Do Now is typically a 5-10 minute warm-up activity, today my students will spend a little more time reviewing their foldables in preparation for the assessment.  I have them do this because I want them to see the utility in creating a study guide and to begin to create unique ways of studying on their own.

The foldable is a compact, visual way of studying that should appeal to the visual learners in the room. I also recognize that repetition is one way of facilitating learning, so, yes...this counts as one of many repetitions.

Here are the foldable instructions from my previous lesson.


60 minutes

Students apply their understanding of tone, vocabulary, symbolism, and overall comprehension of "The Scarlet Ibis" and two poems.  I have a confession: Teachers are thieves, so... I pieced together the "The Scarlet Ibis" and Poetry assessment by using items that I borrowed from the Scarlet Ibis that I found online at this site and adding in poetry items from education.com. I selected the poems on this site because I think they are challenging and the selected response items focus on two of the Common Core skills that we have been learning: identifying the tone and examining word choices that convey tone CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4. I have my fingers crossed that students will be successful on this assessment, but I plan to look closely at the items that most get wrong in order to inform my next steps.

This site is a great resource because it has assessment items for other poems that appear in the 9th grade McDougall Littell text as well: "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass" and "Seven Ages of Man." Ah yes...I'll be using these in the future.

I also want to point out that the poems are cold readings, so I get to see if students can apply skills when reading texts that we haven't dissected and discussed in class.  This is important because I am teaching lifelong skills that should not be text specific AND I am teaching to the standards NOT to the test.

Check out my sample constructed response on symbolism that I wrote in order to be prepared for where students might struggle on this item. As they are composing these responses, they are practicing the skill of explaining information clearly and accurately through the selection, organization, and analysis of content CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2. In fact, my students are not only focusing on content;they will also demonstrate command of grammar and usage conventions CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 since the PARCC rubric will require that they do so.


5 minutes

After collecting all assessments. I want to check in with students to do a temperature check about the test, so I will be asking them how they think they did. I am doing this temperature check because I want to see if students' perceptions of their performance align with the reality of their performance. In this case, the test is the summative assessment, but this temperature check may also serve as a formative assessment for the areas in which they perceive they still need more work.