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Activity Overview




Use the traditional TP-CASTT activity to have students compare two poems with similar themes and topics. In the following example, “Dreams” and “A Dream Deferred” are compared to highlight the common theme of the importance of holding onto dreams and goals.


TP-CASTT Example for “Dreams”

T

TITLE

I think the title is probably about dreams. Maybe the dreams we have when we sleep? Or goals in life?
P

PARAPHRASE

The poem talks about the importance of holding onto dreams, because without them, life is empty, meaningless, broken, and barren.
C

CONNOTATION

The narrator uses words like, “die, broken-winged bird, go, barren field,” and “frozen” to highlight the cold and empty image of a life without dreams and goals.
A

ATTITUDE/TONE

The narrator’s tone is one of urgency and confidence. The narrator is urging the reader to continue to hold onto their dreams, and the narrator seems to know the importance of holding onto dreams.
S

SHIFT

In this particular poem, there is no obvious shift between lines or stanzas. Both stanzas are warnings about what happens when someone gives up hope for their future goals.
T

TITLE

This poem is about the importance of holding onto goals in life. It is not about sleeping dreams, even though sometimes that’s where our goals manifest.
T

THEME

The theme of the poem is to hold onto goals and the hope of one day achieving them, because without goals, life is broken, empty, and without purpose.

TPCASTT Example for “A Dream Deferred”

T

TITLE

The title might be about a dream being put off until later.
P

PARAPHRASE

The narrator wonders what happens to dreams that are deferred, and muses about what they do in a series of similes. The narrator wonders if they dry up, fester, stink badly, become too old and sweet, sag like a heavy load, or eventually explode.
C

CONNOTATION

The narrator uses comparisons to show the different ways in which a dream put off can become something else on its own for the person who puts it off. The narrator uses words and phrases such as “dry up, fester like a sore, stink like rotten meat, crust and sugar over, sags,” and “explode” to access all of the reader’s senses in thinking about an important dream.
A

ATTITUDE/TONE

The narrator’s tone is genuinely curious until the end, when the narrator asks in italics if a dream deferred explodes, which seems to be more forceful – and even hopeful that it will.
S

SHIFT

The shift occurs after the second, long stanza which asks all of the different things that a dream deferred could do. In the third stanza, the narrator seems a bit defeated, like maybe nothing happens – but then, in the final line, the narrator perks up and in italics, suggests almost hopefully that a dream deferred might explode.
T

TITLE

I was correct in my assumption that the poem might be about a dream that gets put off for awhile, but the narrator actually questions what it might do during the time it gets put off.
T

THEME

The theme of the poem is to be careful of what a dream put off for too long will do. It might not immediately take a toll on the dreamer, but eventually, it might become too much and have to be fulfilled.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: TPCASTT Poetry Analysis

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Perform a TP-CASTT comparison analysis of “Dreams” and “A Dream Deferred”. Remember that TP-CASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TP-CASTT.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



TPCASTT Analysis Rubric Template (Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme)
TP-CASTT is an acronym for a series of questions one must ask when analyzing a poem. TP-CASTTING a poem helps break down some of the more complicated language, sound devices, and literary elements that can be confusing at first. Create a storyboard that analyzes the key TP-CASTT aspects of the poem, including accurate or interesting depictions, and complete explanations.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
27 Points
Beginning
22 Points
Try Again
17 Points
TP-CASTT Analysis
Each aspect of TP-CASTT is analyzed thoroughly and thoughtfully. The two title aspects show thoughtfulness. The paraphrase correctly sums up the main ideas of the poem in the student's own words. The connotation uses a healthy sample of words from the poem that highlight important ideas. The attitude/tone is appropriate and discusses how the tone changes throughout the poem, if applicable. The shift(s) is/are correctly identified and explained. The theme identified highlights the meaning of the poem and offers insight, and it is supported by evidence from the text.
Most of the aspects of TP-CASTT are analyzed thoroughly and thoughtfully. In discussing the aspects, the student may have forgotten key evidence, or they may be unclear in their analysis. The student shows a basic understanding of each of the parts of the acronym, but may not apply them fully to the selected passage.
Most aspects of TP-CASTT are provided with basic evidence and quotes from the poem. The student may be able to identify the elements correctly, but not be able to explain them completely or reveal insight. The discussion is rudimentary and/or may seem rushed.
Some aspects of TP-CASTT are missing or too limited to score, or most of the aspects of TP-CASTT are incorrect. The student makes no attempt to reveal insight in his or her analysis.
Depictions
The depictions of each aspect of TP-CASTT are accurate to the poem, or provide an interesting, creative, or insightful visual interpretation of the element in the poem. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the depictions of each aspect of TP-CASTT are accurate to the poem, or provide an interesting, creative, or insightful visual interpretation of the element in the poem. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the depictions of each aspect of TP-CASTT are accurate to the poem, but they are minimal. There may be some inaccuracies or evidence that the student strayed from the task at hand. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Some of the depictions of each aspect of TP-CASTT are inaccurate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
English Conventions
Ideas are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.




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Dreams and A Dream Deferred





Image Attributions
  • Calendar* • DafneCholet • License Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)


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