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Unit 1: Summative Short Story

Unit 1: “We Are Readers” Summative Assessment

The Novel of My Alternate Life

Common Core State Standards

CC.9-10.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

CC.9-10.W.3.d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

CC.9-10.W.3.b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CC.9-10.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards)

CC.9-10.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  Learning Objective: I can reflect on my life so far and create a mind-blowing story in which one crucial detail is different.


1.    Reflect on your life so far. Think of all the twists and turns, one thing leading to another. What were the crucial moments, people and experiences?

2.    In your imagination, change one important thing:

              a.             A character

              b.             A setting

              c.             An event

              d.             Anything else!

3.    Write the story of any part of your life, past, present and/or future as it would be as a result of that change you made.

4.    Use ALL THE TOOLS AND ELEMENTS THAT MAKE A GREAT STORY: you can find a handy resource that lays them out below.

5.    Edit and revise the story both in class and at home (for HOMEWORK), ensuring that you have included dialogue, description, and a complete plot. 


Format Requirements:

3-5pages, Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced.


Grading Criteria: Assignments will be graded using the rubric below.


Fiction Writing Toolkit


Things that every story has:


  • Exposition => Rising action => Climax => Falling Action => Resolution

Elements of DESCRIPTION:

Characters’ appearance

  • Body
  • Face
  • Hair
  • Manner
  • Movement
  • Gesture/Behavior
  • Emotions



Setting: environment/furniture/rooms/landscape


Sensory information:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Smell
  • Taste 
  • Touch

Great stories include DIALOGUE! Please note paragraph indentation!  Also look at your mentor texts we studied in class



She moved sideways, nervously shifting her eyes towards the water below. The cliff was high and the water looked much more intimidating up here than it had down below. 

“Are you ready?” Cassie whispered, grabbing her hand. 

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” Emma replied. 

“We’re already up here. It’s now or never.”

Emma took in a deep breath and squeaked, “Okay. I’m ready.”

Cassie braced herself and yelled, “One! Two! Three!” 

The girls leapt off the cliff, flying towards the lake below. 

Story of My Alternate Life Narrative Rubric



Advanced (4)

Proficient (3)

Basic (2)

Novice (1)



The narrative engages the reader by creatively introducing the situation/experience, the setting,  the narrator and/or characters through descriptive, precise language.

The narrative engages the reader by introducing the situation/ experience, the setting, the narrator and/or characters.  More description would enhance the work.

The narrative attempts to  engage the reader by  introducing the situation/ experience, the setting,  the narrator and/or characters.  Minimal description.

The narrative does not effectively describe a specific  situation/experience and setting  with a narrator and/or characters.  


The text is well-organized.  The narrative flows smoothly from one idea to the next.  The events build to a well-crafted conclusion that follows from and reflects on the ideas in the narrative.

The text is well-organized.  The narrative flows smoothly from one idea to the next.  The events build to a clear conclusion that follows from the ideas in the narrative.

The text is minimally organized. Some ideas are out of sequence or not connected to the rest of the narrative.  The text does not have  a well-defined conclusion that is connected to the events of the narrative.

The text lacks organization.  The progression of ideas or events may be confusing or they are not connected to each other.  The text does not have a conclusion.


The writer creatively and effectively uses a variety of narrative techniques, such as flashback and foreshadowing to tell the story and uses dialogue, description and reflection to develop the event and characters.

The writer effectively uses narrative techniques, such as flashback, dialogue, and description to develop the event and characters.

The writer uses some narrative techniques such as dialogue and description to develop the narrative. 

The writer uses little or no dialogue, description or reflection in the narrative.

Language and Conventions

The narrative includes sophisticated and varied sentence structure as well as precise, vivid words and phrases. Contains minor errors in conventions.

The narrative includes correct, varied sentence structure as well as clear words and phrases. Contains some errors in conventions. 

The narrative lacks varied sentence structure or  precise words and phrases.Contains several errors in conventions.

The narrative lacks correct sentence structure.  Word are general and vague. Contains many serious errors in conventions.