Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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Ode to a Grecian Urn Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Ode on a Grecian Urn Include:

"Ode on a Grecian Urn" transports the reader back in time as the narrator observes the decorations of an ancient urn. The poem uses vivid language to sketch life in Ancient Greece, including music, landscapes, and romance. This lesson plan will help students focus on the literary elements in Keats' poem and to pinpoint important passages and ideas.

Ode on a Grecian Urn Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

"Ode on a Grecian Urn" TPCASTT

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Poetry is one of the most expressive forms of literature. It can evoke emotions, set a mood, tell a story, or create a deeply and universally understood feeling in its readers. This makes expounding its elements, and understanding its rich meaning, comparisons, and symbols, even more important.

The TPCASTT method of poetry analysis is a great way to teach students to dissect a poem and understand its parts. It helps students to uncover the deeper meanings within poems while giving them the confidence to be self-educators. TPCASTT Poetry Analysis is an order of operations similar to PEMDAS for math. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem.

TPCASTT Example for "Ode on a Grecian Urn"



I believe the title will be about someone famous in Greek History who has died.


The speaker is looking at all the pictures on the urn and discussing them.


The speaker uses a mixture of happy and sad language, which conveys a very complicated, bittersweet emotion. He also uses a great deal of language about countrysides, and plants.


The speaker seems wistful about the passage of time.


A shift occurs in the final stanza, when the speaker stops describing the scenes on the urn and writes about how the urn will endure, unchanged, even as human life moves on.


After reading the poem my title was partially correct. The poem was deeper than expected, and wasn’t about a particular person.


Some things about life are the same as centuries ago; the urn is immortal as are the images on the sides.

This is a great activity to have students do in a small group. Once they are finished, ask them to create their own storyboard with the TPCASTT steps!

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Perform a TPCASTT analysis of "Ode on a Grecian Urn". Remember that TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.

  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TPCASTT.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
  5. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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Key Motifs in "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Themes, symbols, and motifs spring to life when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the poem, and support their choices with details from the text. For instance, in the classroom, your students can track Keats' use of a motif through the entire Ode. Ask students to track a motif, come up with their own examples, and put them into a storyboard for further explanation.

Example Motif in "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

The Senses

Throughout the Ode, Keats specifically tries to invoke the senses through adjectives and descriptions. He repeatedly mentions music, conveying to the reader the sound of instruments or the singing of a song. Keats uses vivid imagery to depict two lovers touching for the first time. He appeals to sight with the mention of the beautiful women and art.

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Brief John Keats Biography

John Keats is one of the greatest English poets, whose short life had more than its share of tragedy and hardship. Keats' father died when when the boy was eight years old. Following several financial missteps Keats' mother left the children in the care of their grandparents, before dying of tuberculosis a few years later. Keats' style was formed through the suffering he observed in life, and the consolation he found in both art and literature. He became a passionate writer, valuing the beauty in everything. His characteristic romantic style attempted to tackle big philosophical ideas through vivid language and classical imagery. Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. However, he left the world with lasting legacy of his vision in words.

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•   (English) Ode on a Grecian Urn   •   (Español) Oda en una Urna Griega   •   (Français) Ode sur une Urne Grecque   •   (Deutsch) Ode auf Einer Griechischen Urne   •   (Italiana) Ode su Un'urna Greca   •   (Nederlands) Ode op een Griekse Urn   •   (Português) Ode em uma Urna Grecian   •   (עברית) תודה על קנקן יווני   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) قصيدة على اغريقي جرة   •   (हिन्दी) एक यूनानी कलश पर ओडे   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Ода к Греческой Вазе   •   (Dansk) Ode på en Grecian Urn   •   (Svenska) Ode Till en Grekisk Urna   •   (Suomi) Oodi Kreikkalaiselle Uurnalle   •   (Norsk) Ode på en Grecian Urn   •   (Türkçe) Grek Urn'inde Ode   •   (Polski) Ode na Greckiej urn   •   (Româna) Ode pe un Grecian Urn   •   (Ceština) Ode na Řecké Urn   •   (Slovenský) Ode na Grécky urn   •   (Magyar) Óda egy Görög Vázához   •   (Hrvatski) Ode na Grčki Urni   •   (български) Ода на Гръцки Урн   •   (Lietuvos) Odė ant Graikų Balsuokite   •   (Slovenščina) Oda na Grecian Urna   •   (Latvijas) Ode uz Grecian Urnā   •   (eesti) Ode Kohta Greciani Urn