Intro to Rubrics, chapter 3 : Stage 1

In this chapter, the authors go into how to develop a rubric, making sure to relate to course and assignment objects.  Four stages are suggested in constructing a rubric: reflecting, listing, grouping and labeling, and application (Stevens and Levi 29-30). 


I decided as I was reading this chapter that I would take an assignment and use their method to develop a rubric, summarizing their ideas as I go. I am using my first poem assignment in English 1100: Creative Writing. The assignment description  is:

First Poem Assignment 

Length:  At least 10 lines. 

Poem should be typed in word processing program and saved as an RTF (Rich Text Format) file. 

Document should be named: yourlastname_poem1  (for example: swing_poem1)  

Poem should have heading in upper left corner with your name, class, date and the assignment (poem one). Title of the poem should be left-justified before the first line of the poem.

Write a new poem, using at least four of the techniques described in Lesson Six. The poem does not have to rhyme, but it can. 

The poem should include at least four of the following elements:  an end-stopped line, a run-on line, an enjambed line, an original metaphor, an original simile.

Stage One: reflecting. 

The authors give a list of questions to answer for a rubric (Stevens and Levi 29-32).  .


  1. Why did you create this assignment ?
  2. Have you given this assignment or a similar assignment before?
  3. How does this assignment relate to the rest of what you are teaching?
  4. What skills will students need to have or develop to successfully complete this assignment?
  5. What exactly is the task assigned?
  6. What evidence can students provide in this assignment that would show they have accomplished what you hoped they would accomplish?
  7. What are the highest expectations you hve for student performance on this assignment?
  8. What is the worst fulfillment of the assignment you can imagine short of simply not turning it in at all?


Here are my reflections on my poem one assignment.


1.  I wrote this assignment to develop students’ skills in using poetry elements and in expanding their creativity. I also developed it to ease reluctant students into writing poetry.


2.  Yes, I have given this assignment for that last few years. In general, students do pretty well, but they sometimes forget an element or used clichéd phrases and ideas. I would like to get them to be more original and specific. The comments I most often make on this poem are about being more specific and original.

3.  This assignment relates to three of my course objectives:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic vocabulary of fiction, poetry, and journal writing.
    • Experiment with fiction, poetry, and journal techniques.  
    • Develop authority, point of view, and individual voice and style in their writing. 

It also relates to future assignments—a second poem assignment, the final portfolio, and the final exam. If students do well and learn and understand the skills in this assignment, they will do better on the succeeding assignments also.

 4.  Students have some of the skills they need already, such as thinking about professional writing and creativity. At this point in the class, they have finished and revised a short story and a commentary paper as well as working on a journal. They are practicing new skills with poetry, and many of them have never written a poem before or never learned terms associated with poetry. They read a  lesson before completing this assignment as well as the text ; both explain line types and images. Students need to be able to understand the terms (end stopped line, run-on line, and enjambment as well as simile and metaphor) and they need to understand clichés. Some skills are more important than others, such as originality and using the poetic elements required, but other skills like grammar and punctuation and paper formatting are also included and practiced.

5.  The task is to write a 10 or more line poem using specific poetry elements related to lines and images. The tasks is broken down into parts: using poetry elements correctly, using original images, having a clear voice and style, being consistent in grammar and punctuation use, being professional in paper format and delivery, and typing poetry elements to a clear theme or meaning.

6.  In the past, some of the best poems to come out of this assignment have either been from students with a natural or previous grasp of poetry, who come up with original and specific images and ideas and have a clear, focused poem or students who really work at using the elements required in a focused, specific way. Several times, I’ve had students write this poem about not liking to write poem, but they do it well.

7.  An exemplary example of poem one would be a poem with a specific, interesting title that relates to the poem or even becomes a first line; the poem contains all the required elements and uses them effectively in the poem to enhance meaning and ideas in the poem; the poem has a correct heading, professional formatting, and is submitted in the dropbox correctly; the poem using original images and ideas and does not fall back on clichés or sometimes uses clichés in new ways; the poem using grammar, punctuation, and capitalization either according the standard English usage or in a purposeful way in the poem as another  element to create meaning; the poem shows the students’ writing style and point of view but in a new way.

8.  Students who struggle with this assignment usually have clichéd poems or rely on abstract, vague or secretive ideas. They also may struggle with using two of the line types or only use them for the sake of using them, not to enhance ideas in the poem.

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