Teacher Guide for FAST-R Passage: FAST-R: Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading. I Ask My Mother to Sing Poetry

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1 Teacher Guide for FAST-R Passage: FAST-R: Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading At a Glance Approximate Grade Range: Genre: Poetry Topic: Longing and Memory Author: Li-Young Lee Source: I Ask My Mother to Sing Special Note: used on G7 MCAS 2001 I Ask My Mother to Sing Poetry Difficulty Index: Considerate Challenging Structure: Purpose: Richness: Relationships: Vocabulary: Style: Lexile Measure: 810L In this poem, a song takes the poet to a new place. Can you tell where that is? Read the poem below. Use the information from the poem to answer the questions that follow. I Ask My Mother to Sing She begins, and my grandmother joins her. Mother and daughter sing like young girls. If my father were alive, he would play his accordion and sway like a boat. Purpose: This poem is about memories, including those of the narrator, her mother, and her grandmother. Relationships: Some students may have difficulty tracking the relationships between the people in the poem. Some students may think the narrator s father died in a boating accident. Richness: Background knowledge about water lilies is required to understand the metaphor. 5 I ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace, nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers running away in the grass. Richness: The reason that the women are crying is open to Determineation, but the text suggests that their singing evokes bittersweet memories. 10 But I love to hear it sung; how the waterlilies fill with rain until they overturn, spilling water into water, then rock back, and fill with more. Both women have begun to cry. But neither stops her song. Li-Young Lee I Ask My Mother to Sing, copyright 1986 by Li- Young Lee. Reprinted from ROSE, poems by Li-Young Lee Ideas for Connected Writing Activities: Write an essay explaining why the women continue to sing even though they have begun to cry. Use details from the poem to support your answer. Explain what the image of water symbolizes in this poem. Re-write this poem as a story the speaker remembers his mother telling him. Write an essay explaining what memories from your own life you would like to pass along to your children and why. Spotlight On: Li Young Lee Li Young Lee (1957-), although ethnically Chinese, never lived in China. Because of his father s politics, his parents were exiled before he was born. Lee was born in Indonesia, but in 1958 his father was taken as a political prisoner and again exiled. Over the next five years, the Lee family lived in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, finally moving to the United States in As a boy, Lee found it difficult to adjust to life in the United States. He didn t talk for a long time because he was embarrassed that he didn t speak English. This poem is characteristic of Lee in that it addresses the themes of exile and his father.

2 Teacher Guide for FAST-R Passage: I Ask My Mother to Sing FAST-R: Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading Poetry The annotated answer key below highlights common reasons students might choose each answer, and the sidebar gives more insight into the question types, to help you understand patterns of student responses. Always make time to follow up with students in conferences or small groups to probe their thinking, teach in response to patterns, and help them apply effective reading and thinking strategies to their everyday reading. Note: You may find it helpful to refer to the Types and Levels of Questions on FAST-R sheet from your teacher resource folder as you examine your students responses. The icon in the right-hand column, below, corresponds to that sheet s more detailed explanations of the kinds of thinking each type of question asks of readers. 1. In line 1, the pronoun she refers to the A. poet. (OOP2, the poet uses a first-person voice rather than a third-person voice to suggest that the speaker is part of the scene) B. grandmother. (OOP1, the grandmother is mentioned in line 1) C. young girl. (OOP1, poet calls the two singers young girls ) D. mother in the title. (can be inferred from title and first two lines of poem; she and my grandmother are referred to as daughter and mother in line 2; therefore, she is the poet s mother) FE2: Recognize evidence explicitly stated at multiple locations or with varied wording in the text 2. In line 2, mother refers to the A. poet. (OOP2) B. grandmother in the poem. ( she and grandmother in line 1 are referred to as daughter and mother in line 2) C. young girl. (OOP1, poet calls the two singers young girls ) D. mother in the title. (OOP1, students may choose this one because mother is in the question and in the answer choice) FE2: Recognize evidence explicitly stated at multiple locations or with varied wording in the text 3. Where does the poem most likely take place? A. the United States (author spotlight) B. Peking (OOP2, line 5) C. on Kuen Ming lake (OOP2, line 7) D. on a boat (OOP1) 4. In line 11, the phrase spilling water into water describes A. the mirroring effect of water in a lake. (OOB, plausible if visualizing the scene without basing one s image on a close read of the text) B. raindrops falling into waterlilies. (OOP1, students may not be paying attention to the specific phrase they are being asked about) C. water pouring from a waterlily into a lake. (found in lines 10 and 11; the waterlilies fill with rain until/they overturn ) D. raindrops falling into a lake. (OOP1, students may not be paying attention to the specific phrase they are being asked about) FE2: Recognize evidence explicitly stated at multiple locations or with varied wording in the text 5. Why might the father play his accordion and sway like a boat? A. the song gives him hope for the future (OOB) B. the song reminds him of tragic events in the past (OOP2) C. he misses his family (OOB) D. the song reminds him of fond memories

3 Grades 7-8 Poetry I Ask My Mother to Sing 6. What is the purpose of lines 10-13? A. to introduce a new character (OOB) B. to emphasize the importance of water to his family (OOP2) C. to describe an image from the song D. to describe what the speaker is seeing (OOP1, hearing ) 7. Which of the following details supports a tone of nostalgia in the poem? A. the mother and daughter sang like young girls (line 2) B. waterlilies filled with rain (OOP1, line 11) C. the picnickers ran away (OOP2, line 8) D. the poet begins to cry (OOB) 8. What is most likely the reason why the speaker asks his mother to sing? A. because he likes his mother s voice (OOP1, line 9) B. because he can t sing himself (OOB) C. because he likes to hear about Kuen Ming lake D. because his father isn t alive anymore (OOP2, line 3) 9. The most likely reason that the women begin to cry as they sing their song is that A. they are touched by their memories of Kuen Ming lake. (can be inferred based on the beautiful memories of the song they are singing) B. they are scared by what might happen next. (OOP2, students may think this is a reason to cry, but the women are remembering things that happened, not fearing what s coming next) C. they remember a terrifying event in Peking. (OOB, there is no terrifying event described in the poem) D. they don t want the song to end. (OOP2, students may think this is a reason to cry, but it is clear from the last line in the poem that the women do not stop singing) 10. Which of the following is the most important symbol in the poem? A. a boat (OOP2) B. water C. grass (OOP2) D. a song (OOP1) MI2: Interpret a singular meaning from the sum total of a particular paragraph MI5: Interpret meaning by using an understanding of literary concepts MI3: Interpret implicit meaning by understanding the organization of information in the text

4 FAST-R + Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading Name I Ask My Mother to Sing Poetry Date Teacher/Class In this poem, a song takes the poet to a new place. Can you tell where that is? Read the poem below. Use the information from the poem to answer the questions that follow. I Ask My Mother to Sing She begins, and my grandmother joins her. Mother and daughter sing like young girls. If my father were alive, he would play his accordion and sway like a boat I ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace, nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers running away in the grass. But I love to hear it sung; how the waterlilies fill with rain until they overturn, spilling water into water, then rock back, and fill with more. Both women have begun to cry. But neither stops her song. Li-Young Lee Spotlight On: Li Young Lee Li Young Lee (1957-), although ethnically Chinese, never lived in China. Because of his father s politics, his parents were exiled before he was born. Lee was born in Indonesia, but in 1958 his father was taken as a political prisoner and again exiled. Over the next five years, the Lee family lived in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, finally moving to the United States in As a boy, Lee found it difficult to adjust to life in the United States. He didn t talk for a long time because he was embarrassed that he didn t speak English. This poem is characteristic of Lee in that it addresses the themes of exile and his father.

5 FAST-R + Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading Name I Ask My Mother to Sing Poetry Date Teacher/Class 1. In line 1, the pronoun she refers to the A. poet. B. grandmother. C. young girl. D. mother in the title. 2. In line 2, mother refers to the A. poet. B. grandmother in the poem. C. young girl. D. mother in the title. 3. Where does the poem most likely take place? A. the United States B. Peking C. on Kuen Ming lake D. on a boat 4. In line 11, the phrase spilling water into water describes A. the mirroring effect of water in a lake. B. raindrops falling into waterlilies. C. water pouring from a waterlily into a lake. D. raindrops falling into a lake. 5. Why might the father play his accordion and sway like a boat? A. the song gives him hope for the future B. the song reminds him of tragic events in the past C. he misses his family D. the song reminds him of fond memories

6 Name Date School Teacher/Class 6. What is the purpose of lines 10-13? A. to introduce a new character B. to emphasize the importance of water to his family C. to describe an image from the song D. to describe what the speaker is seeing 7. Which of the following details supports a tone of nostalgia in the poem? A. the mother and daughter sang like young girls B. waterlilies filled with rain C. the picnickers ran away D. the poet begins to cry 8. What is most likely the reason why the speaker asks his mother to sing? A. because he likes his mother s voice B. because he can t sing himself C. because he likes to hear about Kuen Ming lake D. because his father isn t alive anymore 9. The most likely reason that the women begin to cry as they sing their song is that A. they are touched by their memories of Kuen Ming lake. B. they are scared by what might happen next. C. they remember a terrifying event in Peking. D. they don t want the song to end. 10. Which of the following is the most important symbol in the poem? A. a boat B. water C. grass D. a song Open Response Prompt: Why do you think the women continue to sing their song even though they have begun to cry? Use information from the poem to support your answer.

7 Teachers: Please duplicate and use this answer sheet only for students for whom you did not receive a pre-printed answer sheet! FAST-R Answer Sheet Name School Date Grade Class Passage Title Completely fill the circle for the correct answer. Teacher Name Write your answer to the open response prompt in the lined space below if your teacher directs you to do so. 1. A B C D 2. A B C D 3. A B C D 4. A B C D 5. A B C D 6. A B C D 7. A B C D 8. A B C D 9. A B C D 10. A B C D OFFICE USE ONLY RESEARCH: Y N OPEN RESPONSE:

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