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Ch 3: Word Choice & Tone: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4

About This Chapter

Use this chapter to teach your high school students the importance of word choice and tone and meet the Common Core requirement. Take advantage of the quizzes to measure student comprehension.

Standard: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10). (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4)

About This Chapter

Students who have mastered an understanding of word choice and tone in various forms of writing will be able to identify the meaning of words and phrases based on the context of their usage. Your students will be able to identify figurative language and connotative references in literature and will recognize when an author uses and clarifies the meaning of a term throughout a text. These lessons will help your students:

  • Define tone and mood and explain their relationship
  • Recognize several types of figurative language
  • Differentiate between connotation and denotation
  • Determine tone and point-of-view by evaluating the writer's word choices
  • Explain how a writer can use and further define a word throughout a text

Students demonstrate mastery of this standard in both reading and writing. They will understand the tone and the writer's intent in literature and will choose words more carefully and intently when writing. Mastery will increase student comprehension and enable them to read and write at higher levels.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are a few activities you can incorporate into your lesson plans to help you meet the standards for the Common Core.

Connotation: What's in a Name?

After viewing the lessons on connotation and denotation, select a variety of sports teams and post their names on the board. Ask students to first give the denotative meaning of each. Then, have them list possible reasons the name was chosen, leading to the connotative meanings of the words.

Remix - Teaching Tone Through Trailers

After viewing the lessons on tone and mood, try using movie trailers to reinforce tone. Remix trailers are popular and can be a great way for your students to identify tone. Download the original and remix trailers for Sleepless in Seattle and The Shining from YouTube (or SchoolTube if blocked). Begin by showing your students the original trailers. Now explain that the next trailers are identical, only the tone has changed. Next, show the remixed trailers of each.

Figurative Word Choices- Music as Literature

After viewing the lessons on word choice, have students evaluate the lyrics to the song 'Firework' by Katy Perry for figurative language. Urge them to listen to the song first and write down as many examples as possible. Then, provide them with the printed lyrics and encourage them to see what else they discover. This can be done as a class exercise or assigned as homework.

6 Lessons in Chapter 3: Word Choice & Tone: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

1. Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

In this lesson, we will define the literary terms tone and mood. We will then discuss how to identify each of them, as well as how to identify them in small reading passages.

Impact of Word Choice on Meaning and Tone

2. Impact of Word Choice on Meaning and Tone

In this lesson, you'll learn how authors can influence the meaning and the emotional effect of a sentence just by choosing the right words or by making references and comparisons. You'll learn the appropriate literary terms along with examples for each.

How to Interpret the Word Choice of a Writer

3. How to Interpret the Word Choice of a Writer

Authors never pick the words in their works by accident. In this lesson, we'll explore the ways that authors use words and see how this impacts our understanding of their work.

How to Determine the Writer's Tone and Point-of-View

4. How to Determine the Writer's Tone and Point-of-View

Writers give us many clues to help us understand why they write. In this lesson, we're going to check out the concepts of tone and point of view to see how they can be used to better understand a passage.

What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

5. What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

Discover the difference between a word's denotation and its connotation in this lesson. Explore how authors use both denotation and connotation to add layers of meaning to their work with some literary examples.

Discussing and Refining the Meaning of a Term

6. Discussing and Refining the Meaning of a Term

In this lesson we explore a few methods in how to discover and refine the meaning of a term, through using the dictionary and our critical thinking skills, and how best to commit it to memory.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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