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Teachers might ask students to browse the app, examine poems centering on a particular mood by both famous and not-so-famous authors, and then analyze the poems, concentrating on the literary devices the various authors use to illustrate the indicated mood. They might also have students use the app to browse and analyze all works by a particular author, like Shakespeare’s sonnets or Thoreau’s verse.Continue reading Show less
POETRY from the Poetry Foundation is a collection of famous and not-so-famous poems that readers can browse and explore. Each time you open the app, a SPIN button appears. Tap the button and two rainbow-colored stripes scroll along the top of the screen, finally coming to rest on two words -- one indicating a mood (like gratitude or nostalgia) and another indicating a subject (like youth or nature). A list of poems matching that mood and subject then appears on the screen. Users select poems from the list to read. Students can save poems to a Favorites list, but poems aren't tagged with their corresponding mood or subject. It would be helpful if each poem’s tags (like "nature" or "nostalgia") were displayed within the poem itself. That way, users could search for a poem for an occasion by browsing favorite poems tagged “love” or “celebrations,” for example.
The appeal of POETRY is that it’s designed to inspire. The app's structure suggests poetry is written for every mood and every subject -- indeed, so wide an array of emotions and subjects is represented here that it’s easy to get lost in spinning the subject and mood bars. The emphasis on themes is powerfully equalizing: It’s just as likely a reader will encounter works by Emily Dickinson as by far less well-known modern poets. This is a great way to discover engaging new works and to concentrate on content over big-name authors.
POETRY drives home some key skills about reading literature that shouldn't be underestimated. By organizing poems by theme, the app truly emphasizes content over author: Poems of lesser-known poets stand side-by-side with works that have been beloved for centuries, allowing users to focus more closely on the content and quality of the writing. Under the guidance of a good teacher, students could discover insights about the importance in poetry of tone, diction, and other literary devices.
Unfortunately, the app's features are limited: There’s no ability for annotating texts, and opportunities for sharing are limited to a few options for sharing posts to social media. It would also be educationally useful if users could import or access poems not built into the app. POETRY provides a terrific range of authors including Dante, Shakespeare, Dryden, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar -- but with only a few poems included from giants like T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman, what’s missing is glaring. POETRY would be good for learning in the context of a well-articulated, well-structured poetry unit in the classroom, but it wouldn't be nearly as instructive or engaging without that guidance.
Key Standards Supported
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.
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.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
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.
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.
Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.
Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.
Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.
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.
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.
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.
nalyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.
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.
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).
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
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.
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.