Benchmark Assessment (Cold Write)

Benchmark Assessment (Cold Write)

Narrative Writing


Since you began school, you have used your imagination to write many stories. These stories are called “narratives.” Today you will write a narrative so that your teacher can see how much you know about writing a good story.

Write a brief response to this question.

  • What should narrative writing include?

Open Notebook

Discuss your thinking with the class.

Benchmark (Cold Write): Narrative

Work Time

Now you will write your narrative. Remember that a narrative is a story about events, both real and imaginary.

You will have 20 minutes to write your narrative.

  • Write a brief narrative in response to the prompt.

The Theme of Sonnet 18

Work Time

On the basis of your paraphrasing in the previous lesson’s homework, respond to the following questions.

  • What do you think the theme of Sonnet 18 might be?
  • What is Shakespeare saying in this poem?
  • Do we get a glimpse of his personality here?
  • What does that say about him?

Open Notebook

Next, discuss your thoughts with a small group, and be sure to choose a group member or two to be your reporter. When your teacher instructs you, you’ll share with the whole class. Did you come up with any of the same ideas as your classmates?

What Makes a Sonnet a Sonnet?

Work Time

Review the parts of a sonnet with your teacher. Pay special attention to how Shakespeare wraps his lines; he doesn’t just finish a thought at the end of each line. This is called “enjambment” and is used often in poetry of all kinds.

Next, take a look at five more modern sonnets by Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Amy Lowell.

  • How do they differ from those of Shakespeare?
  • Which do you like better, and why?
  • Is the language of Shakespeare more difficult?
  • What kinds of topics might sonnets be written about?

Open Notebook

Share your list of topics with your classmates, and see what they’ve come up with.

A Sonnet of Your Own

Work Time

Now that you have a better idea of how sonnets work, it’s time to start writing your own Shakespearean sonnet!

  • Begin by writing two lines of iambic pentameter, the first two lines of your sonnet.
  • When you’re done, share your first two lines with a partner.
  • Are both partners’ first two lines in iambic pentameter? If not, help each other fix them so they comply with the requirements.

Open Notebook

Lines 3 and 4

Work Time

Now write the next two lines of iambic pentameter to complete your first quatrain. Make sure that the rhyme scheme is abab .

  • Share your first quatrain with your partner. Do these first four lines fit the proper pattern? If not, help each other fix them so they comply with the requirements.

Open Notebook

Sonnet Debrief


As a class, have a conversation about what you found easy about writing the first part of your sonnet and what you found difficult.

  • Make suggestions to your classmates about ideas you have that might make this assignment easier.

Your Sonnet?s Second Quatrain


  • Work on your sonnet. Write the next quatrain at home, and bring it to class for peer editing in the next lesson.