Acronyms are words that are formed from the initial letters of a word. In the acronym, TPCASTT, each letter represents a skill that students will use to understand poetry. I always have students working simultaneously with a strategy while reading. This decision is made so students are engaged in an active process when reading material for comprehension purposes.
To hook students to the lesson, I will ask them to describe what the acronym, TPCASTT means. I encourage students to think of literary elements or something in a piece of literature that each letter could represent. Because annotation and CROP QV are strategies used to make notes in margins of a text, students will rely on some of these skills as well to fill in their hook activity.
One sample student response included:
Analyzing poetry is nothing NEW for my students! Prior to going over the correct meaning of the acronym, TPCASTT, I will show students a brief video clip on the steps generally used by teachers when asking students to take apart poems. I elect for students to watch the video. However, students can write the simple steps in their interactive notebooks to reference in future lessons on poetry analysis.
After viewing the video, I will go over what TPCASTT means and how it looks when gathering personal thoughts about a poem. I will show students the TPCASTT Annotations - Handout first which only exposes the names of each letter. Students are initially amazed at how many different skills can be asked about a poem especially when a poem is short in length. However, going over the meanings/processes of each stage (TPCASTT Instruction) shows students how this type of annotation starts and ends at the same point.
Two different poems will be given to the class. The titles of the poems completed during this lesson are entitled, "Trail of Tears" and "Princess." These poems do not differ in complexity but offer varying perspectives about the Trail of Tears. Since I am teaching an interdisciplinary unit on Social Studies related topics, I want the literature selected for the unit to broaden students’ perspectives about the Pre-Colonial Times. The handout in the resource section also includes other poems that you can use in this lesson to develop more student understanding around the Trail of Tears. I would not suggest the use of TPCASTT for these poems but other strategies such as CROP QV or annotating to evaluate which was the most effective when developing students' comprehension around the Trail of Tears.
Students will partner with a peer, read the poem, and complete the TPCASTT Annotation. At the end of this process, students partner with a peer of a different poem, share their annotations, and record the TPCASTT on their chart or poem. I chose for students to interact with the poems separately rather than collaboratively, so experiences with these poems could be shared with the entire class in a timely manner. Not at one point in this lesson will I offer my interpretations of the poems. Students are interacting with TPCASTT for the first time this school year. I want them to learn that the level of analysis of this strategy takes time and how it will affect the amount of thinking involved in the marginal notes written on each poem.
Students will usually have difficulty with this task. Since students are working in heterogeneous partnerships, they should feed off one another's ideas and broaden their understanding of the text. I will facilitate learning and answer questions pairs have about different levels of TPCASTT. I know that most students will need support with the letters C, A & T which requires students to understand how connotations and figurative language impact the author's tone and theme of each poem. Most students recognize that the annotation process, TPCASTT has to be done in order so they can see the drastic differences the title provides from the beginning and to the end of the analysis.
See a work student's final TPCASTT handout to understand the amount of writing it takes to understand the process.
Students will answer the following question about today’s lesson:
Which step of TPCASTT was the easiest? the hardest? Please support your opinion in a fully developed paragraph.
Students have been given this task to evaluate the steps of TPCASTT and which poses the most difficulty for comprehension. I want students to discover that all of the steps of the TPCASTT increase its level of difficulty as students continue through the annotation process. The easiest step is the first “T” which requires students to predict what the poem is about. When students make predictions, they are using prior knowledge to make connections to a text. The hardest step, paraphrasing, requires students to eliminate conclusions about what is taking place in the poem and establishing in their own words exactly as events happen in a poem. Students often think that summarizing and paraphrasing are similar. However, the analysis of poetry requires students to use their own words to describe what happens instead of using information copied from the text to summarize what happen in the poem.