The purpose of this second Benchmark Assessment (Cold Write) is to determine what students know about informational writing. Students will respond to a writing prompt, and you will score results as a measure of progress. Following this assessment, students will practice conducting close analysis of various passages from Much Ado About Nothing and continue their character analysis by writing a Perfect Paragraph.
- Read the lesson and student content.
- Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
- Familiarize yourself with the writing prompt and the scoring guide.
- If you have students on an IEP or other accommodations, check to see whether they receive extended time or need an alternative test setting. Work with the professional supporting SWDs to make sure student needs are met.
- Prepare activities for students who finish early.
Section 1: Informational Writing
- Provide 3 minutes for students to Quick Write a response.
- Have students share what they know about informational writing.
- In the next task, students will take the assessment. Be prepared to do the following:
- ✓ Answer any questions that are not of a substantive nature, providing no additional guidance about the prompt.
- ✓ Do a quick thumbs-up/thumbs-down check to ensure that students understand the prompt and are ready to begin writing. Remind students that they will have only 20 minutes to write.
- ✓ Tell students to begin working. When the allotted time has elapsed, tell students to stop working.
- ✓ If students finish before time is up, direct them to other activities.
Write a brief response to this question.
- What do you know about informational writing?
Share your knowledge with the class.
Section 2: Benchmark (Cold Write): Informational
Direct students to take the assessment. They will be responding to the following prompt:
✓ Within a school there are areas that are designed for more than one activity, such as the gym, the cafeteria, the classrooms, library, and others. A new school is being planned for your area and the building planners want to know about the different types of activities that take place in each area. The building planners have decided to ask students for information about various areas of a school. Your teacher has asked students to write reports that will help the planners of the new school.
✓ Select one area of the school that is used for several different activities and write a report on it for the building planners. Explain how students and teachers use this area each day. Be sure to give detailed information, perhaps using specific examples, so that the building planners will clearly understand what should be included in their plan for that area. You may also want to give information about the kinds of equipment or furniture needed for that area. Make your report interesting as well as informative for the building planners to read.
After class, assess each student’s informational piece. Students will have opportunities to write informational texts throughout the year during which they will have instruction on how to revise and edit their pieces. The information you gain from scoring this benchmark piece of writing will guide you in tailoring your writing instruction to individual student needs.
If students finish before time is up, direct them to other activities.
Now you will write your informational piece. Remember that an informational piece is a text that gives facts and information about a topic. It can also be writing that explains something.
You will have 20 minutes to write your informational piece.
- Write a brief informational piece in response to the prompt.
Section 3: Your Favorite Passage
- Collect act 2 Dialectical Journals.
- Distribute one note card to each student. Have students put their name on the top of the card and then write one of their favorite passages, from either act 1 or act 2.
- Tell them that the passages need to be brief, only a few lines.
- These passages can be chosen for any of multiple reasons; students should be able to explain why they chose any particular passage.
- Write a card yourself and participate in this exercise.
- Collect the cards.
- Before you begin this exercise, remind students of the final memorization piece, and encourage them to sign up as soon as they have chosen a scene.
- Check in to see if they have any questions on either the line memorization or the Prompt Book project. A good example of a professional prompt book can be found at the TheatreCrafts website.
Now that you’ve read two acts in total, you’re ready to begin some close analysis of smaller passages.
- First, look through the play and your Much Ado About Nothing Dialectical Journal entries to find one of your favorite brief passages from act 1 or 2. It doesn’t have to be any longer than two or three lines.
- This passage can be one that has beautiful language, is deep with multiple meanings, contains a universal truth, or is a great example of humor.
- This activity can help you begin to think about what passage you’d like to perform.
- Your teacher will give you a note card. Put your name on the top of the card. Write your passage on the card. Make sure to identify the passage with act, scene, and line numbers.
Section 4: Somebody Else?s Favorite Passage
Shuffle the cards and redistribute them, one to each student. No one will get his or her own card.
- SWD: Students who significantly struggle with comprehension can be given their own card to explain and interpret. Allowing a student to work with the same passage a second time supports understanding.
You will keep the last card and go first in this exercise, showing the students what to do.
Give students time to assess their passages. They may need to go back into the play to put the passage in context.
- ELL: If students are struggling with their classmates' written explanations, create a list of reasons for choosing passages on the board for reference.
Your teacher will shuffle the cards and redistribute them, one to each student. No one will get his or her own card.
Carefully review the passage that you are given, and answer the following questions.
- What is happening in this passage?
- Why do you suppose a classmate chose this passage?
- What stands out to you about this passage?
Remember, you can go back to the play to put this passage in context.
Section 5: Your Class's Passages
- Begin this exercise by going first. Take the passage that you were given and go into depth in meaning, literary conventions, and so on, explaining why this passage is special or important.
- Have students present their passages in the way you feel they will be the most comfortable, whether that’s standing, seated, or any other way that works in your classroom.
- Continue through the class until all class members have presented. Keep track of any repeats.
Now share what you wrote about your classmate’s passage. Your teacher will go first, and then, one by one, each student will present his or her passage to the class.
As you listen, consider the following and respond in writing.
- Did any of your classmates pick the same passages? Which passages?
- Are you surprised by any of their choices?
- Pay special attention when your passage is read. Did your classmate discover anything about it that you hadn’t thought of?
- If you hear another passage you like, be sure to make a note of the act, scene, and lines.
Section 6: Your Favorite Passage, Part Two
- Establish a time limit for writing to the Quick Write prompt.
- SWD: For students who may benefit from conducting a deeper analysis of this process, you can encourage them to explain their responses to the Quick Write prompt fully, citing at least one reason for each response. (The prompts are all yes/no questions that don’t require an elaborate response.)
Consider your own passage once more. By now, you’ve heard one of your classmates read and analyze it. Record your responses in a Quick Write.
- Did you gain a better understanding of the passage when it was read aloud and discussed in depth?
- Did you hear something in the text that you missed when you read it the first time?
- Did something your classmate said raise any questions for you?
Section 7: Character Analysis Perfect Paragraph
- Explain the concept of the Perfect Paragraph and tell students to choose one of the characters whom they have met in the play thus far to analyze. Tell them that this will be submitted during the next lesson.
- SWD: For those students who may need extra support, you can model the process of drafting a paragraph that answers the questions in the prompt before they begin their out-of-class work.
- Discuss the difference between what a character says he or she wants and what he or she might really want but be unwilling to admit to wanting.
Listen as your teacher explains the Perfect Paragraph.
Write a draft of your character analysis Perfect Paragraph. You’ll submit your paragraph during the next lesson.
Before you begin writing, choose a character to analyze, and consider the following questions to help you decide what claim you’d like to make.
- What has this character said or done that you find most interesting?
- What do you think this speech or action shows about him or her?
- What would your character say he or she wants the most? Would that be the same thing that you think he or she wants?
- Now, using the Perfect Paragraph instructions, write a draft of a Perfect Paragraph analyzing one of the characters in Much Ado About Nothing .