ELA Shack RI.8.4

Project Overview

ELA Shack RI.8.4
RI.8.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

1. Edward was always a loner, so his aloof nature didn’t come as a surprise to anyone at the dance that night. In this sentence, the word, aloof, means____
A. solitary
B. friendly
C. interested
D. Intelligent

DOK 1, Difficulty 1

Hint: Does he hang with a lot of friends?
Explanation: (A) Aloof is the answer, because it means that Edward is a loner, a solitary creature, someone who doesn’t join in all of the reindeer games. (B) is exactly the opposite of loner, so that could be ruled out immediately, as could (C), and though he’s most likely intelligent (D), there’s no indication of anything in this sentence other than Edward just wants to be left alone.

2. Dr. Who gingerly touched his finger to the Tardis’s door and realized that it wasn’t really as hot as he thought it was. In the passage, the word gingerly means_________
A. Spicy
B. Nonchalant
C. Carefully
D. Happily

DOK 1, Difficulty 1

Hint: If something is hot, how should it be touched?
Explanation: (C) Carefully is the answer, because touching something hot could lead to injury and massive amounts of non-shmoopy language. Gingerly, though it has the word ‘ginger’ in it, is not a spice, and therefore, (A) is completely wrong. And, because the Tardis is hot, touching it (B) nonchalantly or (D) happily doesn’t make sense. But then again, with time lords you never know. On planet earth, the answer is still (C).

3. The massive craft seemed to hover in the midnight sky, then quickly accelerated and disappeared from view. In this passage, hover, means____
A. Ascend
B. Descend
C. Threaten
D. Suspended

DOK 1, Difficulty 1

Hint: If something doesn’t move, and it’s up in the air, what is it doing?
Explanation: (D) Suspended, is the answer, because when something is suspended in the air, it hangs there. Both (A) ascend, and (B) descend indicate movement, which the craft wasn’t doing. (C) suggests that the craft was bent on world domination.

4. Once a zombie bites its victim, the person becomes infected and is eventually modified so that they are no longer human. In the passage, the word modified, means____________
A. Scared
B. Changed
C. Saved
D. Discarded

DOK 1, Difficulty 1

Hint: If a zombie bites someone do they stay the same?
Explanation: (B) changed, is the answer, because when a zombie bites someone, they change into a zombie, too. The Walking Dead says so. And while being (A) scared, and (D) discarded might happen, being bitten by a zombie guarantees that the victim is well past being (C) saved.

5. The stray dog’s ribs showed under his ragged coat giving him an emaciated and wasted look, so we took him home and fed him. In this passage, the word emaciated, means__________
A. Healthy
B. Fit
C. Unappreciated
D. Gaunt

DOK 1, Difficulty 1

Hint: Was this dog well fed?
Explanation: (D) is the answer because the poor dog’s ribs were showing, giving him a withered and gaunt look. So, the dog isn’t (A) healthy or (B) fit at all. And while the dog might be unappreciated, it is clearer that at that moment in time, he’s just too thin and starved.
6. Rocks are made of interlocking grains that fit together, some of them tightly, and some of them less so, which makes the stones porous. In this passage what does the word porous, mean?
A. Permeable
B. Solid
C. Pourable
D. Inexpensive

DOK 1, Difficulty 2

Hint: If grains fit loosely together, what happens when it comes into contact with water?
Explanation: (A) is the answer because when water hits a porous rock, water will go right through it, making it permeable. (B) while the rock is most definitely solid, it doesn’t talk about how it would be porous. (C) and (D) can both be ruled out quickly because they don’t have anything to do with the qualities of the grains inside of a rock.
7. When they were arrested their communicators were confiscated and placed on a shelf, which upset Maggie because she needed it to signal to the mother ship. In the passage, what does the word, confiscate, mean?
A. To take
B. To destroy
C. To modify
D. To submerge
DOK 1, Difficulty 2

Hint: Who has Maggie’s communicator?
Explanation: (A) is the answer because if Maggie is not able to call the mother ship, then Maggie doesn’t have it anymore and someone took it from her. They didn’t do (B) destroy, (C) modify, or (D) submerge it because they were placed on a shelf. Clearly, Maggie has no way to phone home.

8. With a grave sense of foreboding, Necrobard joined the raid on King’s Fall, even though most of the players were not highly ranked. In this passage, what does the word, foreboding mean?
A. Happiness
B. Elation
C. Uneasiness
D. Hesitant

DOK 1, Difficulty 2

Hint: If the players are ranked lower and they are joining the raid, what’s the likely outcome?
Explanation: (C) is the answer because entering into a raid with unskilled players almost guarantees that Necrobard will be respawning a lot. He has good reason to be uneasy about it. Give that, feeling (A) happiness, or (B) elation isn’t even in the ballpark. And, while he would also be (D) hesitant, the passage indicates that he boldly accepted the challenge anyway. Level up.

9. The policeman intervened when it became apparent that the two women were going to start throwing grocery bags in the Walmart parking lot. In this passage, what does the word intervene, mean?
A. Arrested
B. Tried to stop the fight
C. Called for backup
D. Started singing loudly

DOK 1, Difficulty 2

Hint: What’s the first thing that policemen are supposed to do when there’s an argument between two people?
Explanation: (B) is the answer because it is the first thing that most officers try to do in an incident like this, and secondly (D) singing loudly, while it might distract them long enough to forget what they were fighting about, most likely unless the policeman was a great singer, they will ignore him. (C) and (A) aren’t likely either since calling for backup (C) would take too long, and (A) isn’t likely unless there’s actual violence occurring.

10. Hummingbirds are voracious eaters and can consume more than five times their own body weight in nectar every day. In this passage, what does the word, voracious, mean?
A. Predictable
B. Picky
C. Skittish
D. Enthusiastic
DOK 1, Difficulty 2

Hint: In order to consume that much nectar, what must the hummingbird’s attitude toward eating?
Explanation: (D) is the answer because hummers like to get their nectar on and no one had better stand in their way. Since they have to eat so much food per day, there’s no way that they are (B) picky, or (C) skittish about their food. Lastly, they are not (A) predictable because they can eat bugs, too (just really tiny ones).
11. Seeing that she was sad, Jason told Annabeth that he’d give her a penny for her thoughts if she wanted to talk about it. In the passage, what does Jason mean by the phrase ‘penny for her thoughts’?
A. Jason only has a penny to give to Annabeth
B. He wants to know what she is thinking about
C. He thinks that her thoughts are worth a penny
D. Jason wants Annabeth to like him

DOK 1, Difficulty 3

Hint: If Jason wants her to talk, what is he interested in?
Explanation: (B) is the answer because it is clear that Annabeth is upset, so handing her a penny(A), or thinking that her problems are only worth a penny (C) won’t help anything, will it? Jason doesn’t indicate that he’s out to make her like him (D), only that he’s trying to be a good friend. Besides, demi-gods don’t have pennies, anyway…they have drachmas.

12. The new recruits were told that at the drop of a hat they should be ready to grab their gear, slide down the fire station pole, and get onto the truck inside of ten seconds, or they would be left behind. In this passage, what does the phrase ‘drop of a hat’ mean?
A. They should not drop their hats, they are expensive
B. The new recruits should be ready to grab their gear
C. The new recruits could be called at any time, night or day, without warning
D. They should practice sliding down the pole and getting onto the truck without their hats.

DOK 1, Difficulty 3

Hint: How fast does a hat drop?
Explanation: (C) Since a hat, typically, drops pretty fast, this phrase indicates that the recruits will be called at any time of the night or day. And while it is true that they needed to be (B) ready to grab their gear, that’s only half of what has been asked of them. (D) Practicing on the pole, and (A) holding onto their hats goes without saying, but doesn’t address the issue of time or their job.

13. Female Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizards, have the best of both worlds, and can produce offspring without the benefit of a male. In this passage, what does the phrase, ‘best of both worlds’ indicate about the female dragons?
A. That female dragons have many advantages over other animals
B. That female dragons leave their habitat often
C. That Komodo dragons are going extinct because there aren’t enough males
D. That the female dragon is one of the world’s largest lizards.
Hint: What would this ability do for the komodo dragons?
Explanation: (A) Being able to have offspring regardless of circumstance ensures that the species never dies out, which is a huge advantage, right? (C) is improbable since the Komodo can create her own offspring whenever she feels like it, thus they will never go extinct. (B) only indicates that they leave their habitat, and (D) only restates what is already in the passage and doesn’t explain what makes it better than other animals.

14. Jamal felt that studying with Ephraim would give him a leg up on the other students in Algebra. In this passage what does the phrase ‘leg up’ mean?
A. That Jamal needs a boost.
B. That Jamal’s extra work will give him an advantage over the other students.
C. That Ephraim must be really smart.
D. That the other students in Algebra are taller than Jamal.

Hint: Since Jamal is in Algebra, what is his overall goal likely to be?
Explanation: (B) is the answer because when someone gets a ‘leg up’ they are being assisted or helped to reach new heights. In Jamal’s case, he’s trying to better his grade in math. And while it’s a given that Ephraim must be pretty smart, it could also be just as likely that Ephraim is his study partner and they are helping each other. A ‘leg up’ doesn’t literally mean that Jamal is short (D), or that he needs to be boosted up onto something (A).

15. Once in a blue moon a legend will arise in a time of need, just like Captain America. In this passage, what does ‘in a blue moon’ mean?

A. The moon is blue
B. Legends only show up during blue moons
C. Captain America is a legend
D. The event rarely happens
Hint: How often does a superhero show up on the scene (other than at the box office)?
Explanation: (D) is the answer because legends and superheroes don’t happen that often. While Thor and Loki might prefer blue moons, literally, (B) most legends don’t. Most times the moon isn’t blue, so (A) can be ruled out. And while (C) is true, it doesn’t explain the blue moon phrase.


Tom felt that he had burned his bridges with Karen, so he didn’t bother to call her even though he truly wanted to apologize. What does he most likely mean by that?
A. That he likes to burn things.
B. He builds bridges.
C. Tom believes he has done something to offend Karen.
D. Tom wants to call Karen, but he knows that she’s not home.

DOK 1, Difficulty 5

Hint: What does it mean to ‘burn bridges’?
Explanation: (C) is the answer because poor Tom has done something so horrible to Karen that he’s sure she won’t want to talk to him….ever. While it’s nice that Tom might build bridges(B), or even (A) burn them down, that’s not really what that phrase means. (D) is completely off base because it offers additional information that wasn’t even in the passage. Live Mas, Tom.

Hint: What happens when someone is dispatched, and what is plunder, matey?
Explanation: (B) is the answer, because to dispatch someone means to kill them, and plunder means riches, treasure, items of worth, which the men enjoyed. (A) is technically true for the entire story…but this isn’t the entire story is it? (C) is also true, but it doesn’t talk about Grendel being killed, so that one can be ruled out. (D) Likewise, Beowulf and his men killing Grendel is only half of the story, isn’t it?

Ms. Grimley, your math teacher, thinks that something is amiss with last night’s homework. What does she most likely mean by that?
A. Your paper was completely stellar.
B. You need to improve your handwriting.
C. Something was wrong with the paper.
D. Something happened to your paper.

DOK 1, Difficulty 5

Hint: What do teachers point out most of the time?
Explanation: (C) is the answer, because it means that something was possibly wrong with the paper. If the paper had been (A) stellar, then a gold star, happy face, or goofy sticker would have appeared on the paper…which is shmoopy. While (B) would indicate that the paper was ‘ a mess’ that doesn’t make it ‘amiss’. (D) might have been a good answer except that the paper was turned in, so something can’t have happened to it, right?

After Beowulf and his men dispatched Grendel, they proceeded to enjoy the plunder they’d gotten from the sorceress’s cave.
What happened in this passage?
A. Grendel and his mother were killed and the village was saved.
B. Grendel was killed and the men enjoyed the spoils of war.
C. The sorceress’s cave was full of treasures and the men took it.
D. Beowulf and his men killed Grendel.

DOK 1, Difficulty 10