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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Teacher Guide by Kristy Littlehale

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our High School ELA Category!

Student Activities for Stopping Include:

Robert Frost is often thought of as the quintessential American poet. He pairs calm, serene American settings with calm, serene feelings of his narration. His poems capture both ordinary human experiences and the imagination, in addition to creating unforgettable rhythms and sounds in the colloquial language of New England. “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” is one of his best known works, and explores the theme of obligations versus man’s desire for peace of mind. While the narrator in the story wants to stop and admire the world around him and the peace he finds in nature, he knows he has obligations to keep so he must move on. This is a common experience many students will recognize, as they also have obligations that keep them from doing the things they really want to do.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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Brief Synopsis of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

It is a cold winter’s night, the darkest night of the year, and the wind is blowing while the snow is falling. The narrator is riding through the woods with his horse. He finds himself on the land of a man who lives in the village and stops to look around. The narrator muses that his horse must think it odd that they’re stopping in the middle of the woods, and as if to answer, the horse shakes his harness bells. The narrator notes that the only other sound is the wind and snow. He is taken in by the lovely dark beauty of the woods, but he knows he can’t stay in the woods all night admiring them. He says that he has obligations, including more miles to travel, and promises to keep.


Essential Questions for “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

  1. What kinds of obligations can distract us from enjoying the world around us?
  2. Where do people go when they want to find peace of mind?
  3. How can nature inspire us?

Stopping Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” Analysis


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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 TP-CASTT 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. TP-CASTT 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 “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

T

TITLE

The title sounds like the narrator is in the woods on a snowy night. Maybe it's Christmas time?
P

PARAPHRASE

The narrator stops in the woods of a local villager. He thinks his horse might wonder why they’re stopping in the middle of nowhere, because it’s the darkest night of the year. The horse shakes his harness, as if he is confused. The only other sound is the wind and light snow falling. The narrator observes the beauty of the deep woods, and the peace and dreamlike calm they give him, but realizes he must move on because he still has more distance to go before he can rest.
C

CONNOTATION

The narrator uses words such as “without a farmhouse”, “frozen lake”, “darkest evening”, “easy wind” and “downy flake” to create an image of his isolation in the middle of a winter night. He admires the beauty of the “lovely, dark and deep” woods but pulls himself away, noting that “sleep” or peace of mind, can’t happen quite yet.
A

ATTITUDE/TONE

The narrator’s tone is gentle, contemplative, and calm as he discusses the cold winter night and his horse’s reaction until the shift, where he sounds resigned.
S

SHIFT

The shift occurs when the narrator snaps out of his reverie and realizes that as nice as it might be to stay in the woods and admire their beauty, he needs to keep going.
T

TITLE

The title is about a narrator stopping in the woods and admiring them on a dark winter’s night. He wants to stay in the woods, but he knows he has obligations to keep.
T

THEME

The theme of the poem is the desire for peace of mind, which can be found in nature, but is often interrupted by the daily obligations of life.

TP-CASTTing "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Example

(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 “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”. 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.



TPCASTT Template

Example

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





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Literary Elements in “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”


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When teaching poems, it is often helpful to refresh or introduce students with technical words. “Metaphor", "alliteration", "personification", "imagery", "apostrophe", and "assonance" are a few important terms.

After you have read the poem, ask your students to do a scavenger hunt using the Storyboard Creator. Give them the list again and have them create a storyboard that depicts and explains the use of each literary element in the poem. They will have an absolute blast and gain mastery of the words.


"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" Literary Elements


DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE
Personification Giving human-like characteristics to non-human objects or abstract ideas “He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.”
Alliteration Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words in a sentence or line “The only other sound’s the sweep”
End Rhyme Words at the end of a line that rhyme with words at the end of other lines. “Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;”
Imagery The use of descriptive or figurative language to create vivid mental imagery that appeals to the senses “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,”
Assonance The repetition of a vowel sound “And miles to go before I sleep.”


Literary Elements in Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Example

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


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows five examples of poetic language in "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening".


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify use of literary elements in the poem.
  3. Put the type of literary element in the title box.
  4. Give an example from the text in the description box.
  5. Illustrate the example using using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.



Literary Element Spider Map Template

Example

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





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Connecting with the Theme of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

Sometimes, it is difficult for students to connect with themes in poetry until they put them into a real-world context. Consider the following activity for students to storyboard with "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening".

Have students find inspiration in the world around them by taking a “nature walk”, either in school as a class, or at home on their own. Have students set aside one hour to find a place where they can think quietly and observe the world around them. Ask students to describe their experience with sensory imagery, writing down one thing for each sense, and document it in a storyboard like the one below.


Personal Connection Storyboard Example: The Beach


Sight

I saw the waves crashing into the rocks at high tide, almost reaching the sea wall. I saw seagulls lazily floating overhead, and I watched as a man with his dog played frisbee in the surf. The sunset was red, orange, and yellow, like fire.


Sound

I heard the sounds of a dog barking, and the seagulls cawing. I heard the laughter of small children, and car horns on the main road. I listened to the waves breaking evenly on the rocks.


Smell

I could smell the ocean, mixed with the smell of fried dough and barbecue from the restaurants near the boardwalk.


Taste

I smiled as I sipped my Del’s frozen lemonade and watched the sun go down. The lemonade was tart and cold.


Touch

The air was warm, the breeze was faint, and the sand was cool. As I walked along the water, the waves were cold as they washed across my feet.



Connecting with the Theme of "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" Example

Example

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Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening   •   (Español) Parando por Woods en una Noche de Nieve   •   (Français) Arrêt par Woods sur une Soirée Enneigée   •   (Deutsch) Stoppen Durch Wälder an Einem Verschneiten Abend   •   (Italiana) Fermandosi Accanto a un Bosco in una Sera di Neve   •   (Nederlands) Stoppen Door Woods op een Snowy Evening   •   (Português) Parando por Madeiras em uma Noite Nevado   •   (עברית) עצירה ידי וודס בערב מושלג   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) زيارتكم وودز مساء ثلجي   •   (हिन्दी) एक हिमपात शाम पर वुड्स द्वारा रोकना   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Остановка у Вудса в Снежный Вечер   •   (Dansk) Standsning af Woods på en Snedækket Aften   •   (Svenska) Stoppa av Skog på en Snöig Kväll   •   (Suomi) Pysäyttäminen Woods Lumisella Ilta   •   (Norsk) Stoppe ved Woods på en Snowy Evening