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Harmening 1 EPSY 485 Elise Harmening November 27, 2012 Course Assignment-EPSY 485

Assessment in Creative Writing through Poetry


I. Context Our eighth grade classroom of 27 people, is a diverse group of learners from a Chicago suburb. The town is a diverse both racially and economically where there are very wealthy people in portions of the town and at the same time there are students that are on free and reduced lunches. There is a growing Hispanic population within the school. We have 5 students in the classroom with divorced parents and three of the students have parents who are not on speaking terms. In the classroom we have two students with English as a second language and three students with a learning disability. Two students have ADHD and one student has dysgraphia. The classroom is talkative (there is no discussion issue), lively and full of energy. In some cases, they are overly social, but they are present in the class and participate often. We do not have any major behavior issues in the classroom. Most of the students in our class were raised in with a form of Christian background with two students with a Jewish background. There are no students who are extremely religious. Within the classroom we have a wide range of reading levels: fifteen on level, two are closer to a ninth grade reading level, six are at a sixth grade, and two that are very far behind (these children have ADHD and struggle to focus during the day). The class has the background knowledge of basic poetry and the writing process, as well as a general understanding of poetic terms. I will be furthering their knowledge based on the continuation of poetry and analysis of the author and reader relationship. II. Unit of Study

Harmening 2 EPSY 485 The eighth grade class is studying poetry. This unit consists of a series of important questions that address both reading and writing skills for these students. The essential questions for this particular unit include the following: What is the role of the author when we read poetry? What responsibilities do the readers have when reading poetry? How do I create an authentic experience in my writing? These essential questions will guide the unit to help students focus on the writer and reader relationship through poetry. These questions help the student identify their role as a reader, and how they need to look at a piece of poetry as well as how, as a writer, they should produce a piece of poetry. ELA Standards: 1. 1.C.3e Compare how authors and illustrators use text and art across materials to express their ideas (e.g., foreshadowing, flash- backs, color, strong verbs, language that inspires). a. Blooms Taxonomy: Applying and Analyzing 2. 3.C.3b Using available technology, produce compositions and multimedia works for specified audiences. a. Blooms Taxonomy: Evaluating and Creating III. Assessment during Instruction Activity with Answer Key DIRECTIONS: Complete the following questions based on the poem we talked about in class today. The poem is included below for you to look at when answering the questions.
O Captain! My Captain! O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10 For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;

Harmening 3 EPSY 485


For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20 Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. -Walt Whitman

1) List three essential elements included in this poem, not including foreshadowing. Repetition, rhyming scheme, irony, symbolism, metaphor, etc. 2) Write a response poem to Whitman based on O Captain! My Captain!. Make sure to use the element of foreshadowing in your poem. NOTE: Answers will vary. The following is merely an example: A nation divided never again they chided. He brought them together Stronger than ever. Both sides fought their brother ignoring their crying mother He stood tall through it all Until he was shot. 3) How did you respond to Whitman? Use the following questions to help guide your answer. a) What elements of poetry did you use in your own poem? b) What metaphors or ideas were used in both your poem and Whitmans poem? c) Choose one line from each poem (yours and Whitmans) to compare a specific poetic element you both use. NOTE: Answers will vary. The following is an example based on the above poem. I chose to respond to Whitman by mirroring his message. I used a rhyming scheme and foreshadowing to help emphasize the point I was making and to follow a similar pattern as Whitman. We both talked about the President without directly addressing him and discussed the difficult aspect of a civil war. My Line: He stood tall through it all

Harmening 4 EPSY 485 Whitmans Line: The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won; Both of us are using irony to show that the Presidents strength through the entire war could not stand strong when a bullet went through his head. It is ironic that he was able to make it through the entire war, despite the horror and difficulty but did not actually live to see the benefits of his work. Analysis of Items 1) The first question addresses the first standard (1.C.3e); this question asks students to be able to indentify basic poetic elements. In order to compare authors to one another, students need to have the vocabulary down first. The information will help me to determine whether or not they have that first step before assessing deeper comprehension. I am simply addressing students understanding at this level. They not only need to remember the basic elements of poetry but also understand if they occur in a text. 2) The second question addresses the second standard (3.C.3b); the students are asked to create their own poem. The students are writing to a specific purpose and audience (the question and the teacher). The students are taking their understanding to a higher level, as they are applying the knowledge they gained during class to create their own example. 3) This last question takes the first standard (1.C.3e) to a higher level of thinking than the first question. It asks the student to apply the information they learned about the poem and poetic elements, as well as evaluate their own work and analyze both poems. The students are being asked to think about their writing and compare it to another author. This is exactly what the first standard looks to do. This will help determine if students are ready to move on and build on this concept or need to spend more time on comparing authors through poetic elements. EVIDENCE: The students will have plenty of practice with not only this poem, but comparing other authors poetry. This will be the second poem they create, though none have been based on Walt

Harmening 5 EPSY 485 Whitman to this point. The test is a fair assessment of a broad range of skills gained in class, based on the same skills that were taught in the past few days. The test will be timed so students will have the knowledge fresh in their minds and even provide the poem so excess recall is not necessary. The fairness of the test extends because students will only be tested on information practiced while in class. I will ensure the test is reliable by checking the questions individually, and blindly. The students will put their names on the back of the paper so I can look at the test with the least amount of bias possible and analyze the gaps in knowledge as I go through each questions. The test is valid because it directly addresses the two standards I am using for this particular section of the unit. Each question can be linked to the exact elements of each standard. Further, I will use this assessment to plan for the next few days of class. If many students miss the first question, I know that I have moved too quickly and they need a refresher on the basics. If students are missing the second question, I can work through the deeper understanding of what it means to write a poem and how to respond to another poem. The final question lets me know if the students are actually able to compare one poem with another on their own. These skills were all practiced in class, but it is essential to see how they are actually able to produce their own material in a test situation. IV. Explanation Conducting the assessment and grading: I would grade this activity but using the criterion based grading method, the test would be low-stakes. This way the students will take it seriously and put effort toward the assignment while not feeling the pressure of a high-stakes test or heavily weighted piece. The assessment will occur at the beginning of class after a two-day lesson on Whitmans poem, poetic elements, and comparing and contrasting authors perspectives. The students will have the entire class

Harmening 6 EPSY 485 period to complete it (approximately 50 minutes) but I will allow for more time for those students who have a learning disability. Those students will be able to come back to my classroom during specified times to complete the assignment. Ultimately, this is an individual assessment, because previous activities were based in group and whole-class discussions. The idea is to access the individual comprehension of this section of the unit and find gaps in knowledge for future instruction. After working on these areas within the poetry unit, students will have prior knowledge of the upcoming assessment. They will be collected at the end of the class hour and graded (according to the procedure listed aboveone question at a time for the most accurate and reliable grading). After all assessments are graded, they will be handed back and we will go over each question as a class. This post-assessment will help me to understand exactly where each student is in their understanding of the unit, and where to go from this point. Using data-driven analysis I can ensure that my students will close the gaps that may have occurred in the assessment and plan for future lessons in different ways to better close gaps to begin with. Having an individual assignment ensures that I have a good reading of where each student is and I will not have to guess where certain students are if they were working as a group or in pairs. Students will also see exactly where they fall and can determine what they need to work on or gain access to through direct instruction from the teacher. Performance criteria: The goal is for all students to be able to answer each question with a full and accurate answer. I understand that this may not happen, and the questions ask for students to display a variety of skills. Because of this I will apply two different forms of evidence to determine where my students stand:

Harmening 7 EPSY 485 Standard 1.C.3e Proficient understanding: Students are able to identify at least three poetic elements found in Whitmans poem as well as link those to their own poetic devices. The student will receive between 3-5 points. Adequate understanding: Students are able to identify at least two poetic elements found in Whitmans poem and have a vague or limited response to the comparison between authors. The student will receive between 2-4 points. Poor understanding: Students are able to identify one or fewer poetic elements found in Whitmans poem and cannot compare their work to the Whitman poem. The student will receive between 1-3 points. Standard 3.C.3b Proficient understanding: The student will be able to create a poem that mirrors or accurately responds to the themes and poetic devices used in Whitmans poem. Students will receive between 3-5 points. Adequate understanding: The student is able to create a poem that has a rhyme scheme but unable to produce any other comparison or mirroring elements. Students will receive between 24 points. Poor understanding: The student is unable to produce a poem that has any relation to Whitmans poem. The student will receive between 1-3 points.

If most of my students are able to fall within the adequate or proficient understanding I can most likely move forward with the unit. The students who were struggling will receive alternative assignments as we move forward to support their basic understanding of the material.

Harmening 8 EPSY 485 If students are performing at an adequate or poor overall, I will definitely slow down and look at another way of presenting the material. I would take extra time to go over the assessment and analyze whether or not it was actually a fair representation of the work we did in class. If it does seem fair, I will look at my instruction. The analysis of the assessment and where students fell short will help me to determine how to move forward. I will ask for a very specific feedback, asking students exactly what they do not understand and where they feel they know the most. Based on this information I can examine their responses and the assessment to make a new plan to re-teach the information in a new way.