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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing an Essay for Assessment

Some tests ask you to write an essay response to short stories and poems you have closely read. The following activity will help you practice.

Analyze an essay prompt.

Read the following prompt, answer the PAST questions about it, write a focus statement, and list details. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Read the writing prompt.

The short story “Friend Beneath Your Feet” tells about a day that Jana spends with her shadow. The poem “Chicago Poet” tells about a poet seeing himself in a mirror. Both deal with reflections and shadows, which stay with us our whole lives. What theme is the same in this short story and this poem? How does the short story express this theme? How does the poem express it? Use evidence from the two sources.

Answer the PAST questions.


To name a theme and use evidence from two sources to show how the theme is expressed


Test grader


A theme in “Friend “Beneath Your Feet” and “Chicago Poet”


Literary analysis

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