Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Revamping TPCASTT






Hey there, everyone! So, because it's National Poetry Month, I thought it would be a great time to talk about how I use the TPCASTT strategy in my classroom and how that has evolved. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this strategy, TPCASTT is an organized and structured way to help students analyze any kind of poetry. It has been my experience that asking students to analyze poetry without structure leads to confusion, frustration, and eventually a dislike for the activity in general. The TPCASTT strategy is the best way I have found to help students analyze poetry.

When I was in junior high and high school (and even a little in college), I was assigned poetry analysis assignments with a TPCASTT all the time. However, without directions, practice, guidance, and feedback I found myself scratching only the surface of the poems I was asked to analyze. When I became a teacher and saw that the same strategy was in my curriculum, I decided there had to be a better way to have students utilize it. I decided to give the old strategy a face lift.

Instead of just listing what each letter stands for and giving students a blank box, I decided to give more guidance and directions. As we all know, middle school students really rely on structure and very precise directions and so I kept that in mind as I tweaked this famous and frequently utilized graphic organizer. The biggest thing I decided to do was to add questions and comments that would guide students in their analysis. I also made more room for paraphrasing and broke the "Connotation" box into six smaller boxes to help students visualize the importance  and amount of literary elements in poetry.

I have found that, since doing this, my students comprehension of poetic texts have improved. I've also found that their willingness to participate in activities and assignments that come after the analysis of a poetic text because they are confident in their actual analysis. All in all, I really like this strategy for analyzing poetry in the classroom. I just think that, in the context of a middle school classroom, it needs a little extra structure and organization!

Below is a graphic I made for my classroom to help students remember what goes in each box of a TPCASTT! It's a quick reference guide that can be used by anyone! And if you're looking to use a ready-made TPCASTT organizer, instead of creating your own, head over to my TpT store! I have the above template available there!

I'll see you next month! Happy teaching!


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