TPCASTT Poetry: A Close Reading Strategy

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SWBAT analyze a poem using TPCASTT.

Big Idea

Strategies should assist understanding rather than function as an end unto themselves.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Time Frame and Context

This is Lesson 5 in our unit on British poetry from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. In this lesson, students complete a TP-CASTT for their poems. On this day students worked under the supervision of a substitute, so they were, for the most part, working w/out direct instruction from the teacher.

For the teacher unfamiliar w/ TPCASTT, many online resources are available. Here's a professional one that gives a cursory overview of the procedure but that needs more clarification of some terms, such as tone and connotation:

Teaching TPCASTT

15 minutes

Since TPCASTT is similar to two other close reading strategies I have taught, I choose this strategy for students to complete on a day I was attending a conference in Portland. 

I distributed the template the day before my absence so that I could review the requirements w/ students rather than leaving it w/ a substitute. TPCASTT_Template.doc.

I read through the document with students, explaining each component. I reminded students about the difference between connotation and denotation, but that many did not focus on specific diction suggest that they still, as seniors in high school, struggle with this distinction. 

TPCASTT of "The Follower" (Student Work) shows the efforts of a student new to my class this trimester, which is less than a week old when the student receives the assignment.



60 minutes

Students have the entire class period to work independently on their TPCASTT, but typically they take less time for this kind of work when I sub is present, which is why I asked the sub to collect the assignment. 

TPCASTT "The Second Coming" (Student Work) shows work from a student who has a good grasp on the poem's tone, one of the most difficult concepts for students to grasp.

TPCASTT of "On My First Son" (Student Work) shows a student's response to the TPCASTT task. This student followed up by talking to me at length about his poem, suggesting that he understands that TPCASTT helps him think about the poem's theme, tone, etc. and that he is aware of both what he understands and what he needs to work on to improve his understanding.