Grade 7: Blizzard


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Reading Literature

RL.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.7.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

RL.7.5 Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.


This grade 7 assessment titled “Blizzard” cited on is based on a poem by Linda Pastan. The assessment is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of complex literary poem, in order to demonstrate deep understanding. In this assessment there are four text-dependent questions that address the reading standards listed above and one constructed-response question. 


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that it is unclear the amount of time it will take for students to complete this assessment. Since there is a writing prompt included in the assessment, writing and language standards that apply should be added and assessed.


This assessment is a good example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards. The task could be used as a formative assessment to assess students’ abilities to engage in the close reading of a complex poem. Assessment guidelines that provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance are included in the Teacher’s Guide along with which standards each question addresses. Guiding questions, discussion questions, paired texts, related media, and a parent guide are included in the assessment materials.