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Activity Overview


SMILE Poetry Analysis

Another great way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that examine Structure, Meaning, Imagery, Language, and Effect. This activity is referred to with the acronym SMILE. In a SMILE analysis, students break down different aspects of the poem to facilitate in-depth understanding. Using the full text of “Those Winter Sundays” or just a single stanza, students can depict, describe, and analyze the way poetic elements work together to create a central message or theme.


SMILE Example for “Those Winter Sundays”


S

STRUCTURE

This three-stanza, free verse poem is narrated by an adult son remembering his father’s care during his childhood. He begins by describing the painful physical labor his father performed in the cold each morning. The second stanza contrasts the son’s more relaxed morning with his father’s selfless chores. In the last stanza, the speaker laments his youthful inability to recognize and reciprocate his father’s acts of love.
M

MEANING

Although he was not a warm man, the speaker's father showed love daily through small, unappreciated acts. As he recalls his past, the now-adult speaker feels a mixture of gratitude and guilt. The poem reminds readers of the sacrifices parents make for their children and of the often silent and invisible nature of love.
I

IMAGERY

The dominant images in the poem are of cold and heat. The speaker's childhood home is cold, and his relationship with his father seems stiff, yet each day his father sacrifices his own comfort to build a fire and warm the house. The fire and its warmth are representations of the father's love.
L

LANGUAGE

The cold is emphasized through diction and sound devices. The "blueblack cold" created "cracked hands that ached" along with sounds of "splintering" and "breaking" in the house. Alliteration with the letters "b" and "c" highlight the change of breaking, chattering, and shivering. This brutal language makes the father's sacrifice seem greater.
E

EFFECT

The speaker’s nostalgic tone evokes a sense of regret and sadness. Readers may share this sorrow and be moved to appreciate the small acts of love their family members perform.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/5] Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/3] Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/5] Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/5] Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style


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 SMILE analysis of “Those Winter Sundays”. Remember that SMILE stands for Structure, Meaning, Imagery, Language, Effect.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of SMILE.
  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.)



SMILE Rubric
Create a storyboard using the acronym SMILE to analyze a poem.
Excellent
25 Points
Satisfactory
21 Points
Needs Improvement
17 Points
Poor
13 Points
Structure, Imagery, Language
The student correctly identifies and explains important examples or overviews of the poems structure, imagery, and language.
The student correctly identifies and explains most examples or overviews of the poems structure, imagery, and language. Examples may be of minor significance, but demonstrate understanding of the poetic element.
The student correctly identifies and explains examples in at least one of the three categories. The student attempts all three categories, but does not show a clear understanding.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Effect, Meaning
Descriptions in both categories demonstrate an accurate understanding of the poetic elements and their significance. The student clearly understands the literal and symbolic meaning of the poem and how this meaning is supported through poetic devices.
Descriptions in both categories demonstrate a basic understanding of the poetic elements and their significance. The student understands the literal meaning of the poem and makes some attempt to explain how this meaning is supported through poetic devices.
Descriptions show some understanding of the overall poem and its poetic devices, but are missing fundamentally important aspects. Student does not understand the figurative meaning.
Responses reflect a lack of understanding or are missing or too minimal to score.
Storyboard Images
Depictions chosen for each section are accurate to the poem and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for each section are mostly accurate to the poem. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for each section are inaccurate to the poem. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions/Proofreading
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the poem.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the poem and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the poem.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.




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