Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pow! Bang! WWAM!

your curly companion, Suzanne
It's a bird!  It's a plane! It's poetry analysis!!  

Last year, half of my course load was Pre-AP English 2.  You read poetry, you take it through TPCASTT.  So how do you help struggling readers analyze poetry?  You WWAM it!

What
Weird
Attitude
Message

Here's how this process works:
What-Break the poem into 2-3 sections.  In groups, have students paraphrase the lines of the poem on a literal level.  *Emphasize the use of a dictionary to understand unfamiliar words. 

Weird-Have students highlight or squiggly underline anything that looks or sounds weird.  Look closely at what they’ve found.  Is it a simile? Metaphor? Rhetorical question? Fragment? *Why might the poet have chosen to use this device?*
Attitude-What is the author’s attitude (tone) toward what they are saying?  How do you know?

Message-In student’s own words, what is the poem about?  This answer is the subject.  What is the author saying about the subject?  Now we’ve found the theme. 

Whenever I'm first introducing this process, it is very teacher centered.  With time, I remove myself and students become more self-sufficient.  To assist with this, I made WWAM stations with directions on one side and an example on the back.  Station directions are included in the MovieSTAARs pack found here.

For a timed testing situation, I hope that students have internalized and can think through the What, Attitude, and Message sections.  What I want them to mark and spend time with is the Weird.  That's where the super powers lie in poetry. 

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