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Connotation & Denotation

Susan Carmody 2012

BACKGROUND
Lesson Topic: Subject: Connotation/Denotation Language Arts Lesson Length: Grade Level: 80-90 min. 7-10

STAGE 1: DESIRED RESULTS


Prioritized Lesson Standard(s)
Archived Arizona State Standards R09 Strand 1, Concept 4, PO 3. Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words. Common Core State Standards 9-10.RL.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 choice on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone). 9-10.RI.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspapers). 9-10.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. b. Analyze the nuances in the meaning of words and similar denotations. 9-10.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.

Enduring Understandings
An author creates the tone of his/her writing by carefully selecting words with the connotations that communicate his/her underlying message.

Essential Questions
How does word choice affect text?

Knowledge

Skills

Students need to know:


Key terms: denotation, connotation, positive, negative The relationship between word choice and authors message

Students need to be able to:


Distinguish between connotation and denotation/connotative meanings and denotative meanings Label words as having positive, negative, or neutral connotations Analyze how connotation affects the authors message

Objective
I can distinguish between denotation and connotative meanings of words. I can apply my understanding of denotation and connotation to analyze the authors message.
Susan Carmody, 2012

Key Points
(WHY) Critically reading to consider both the denotative and connotative meanings of words enables the reader to fully understand the authors message. Likewise, considering both denotative and connotative meanings of words when writing and speaking enables the writer/speaker to fully communicate his or her feelings. (WHAT) o Denotation=dictionary definition of the word (denotation=dictionary) o Connotative=feelings connected with the word (connotative=connected) o Connotations impact the readers impression of the people and events in the text (HOW) Identify words that have positive or negative connotations. Ask yourself: How does the author/narrator want me to feel about this topic based on the positive/negative connotations?

STAGE 2: ASSESSMENT EVIDENCE


Diagnostic Assessment Video Clip Predictions: Assess students prior knowledge related to the idea of using different words with the same meaning through their responses during the anticipatory set Summative Assessment Independent practice Formative Assessment Denotation and Connotation Trigger Responses Hand signals/thumbs up/thumbs down Answers to questions with passages

STAGE 3: LEARNING PLAN


I can predict the lesson content from a video clip. (10 MINUTES) 1. Teacher explains that students will watch a video clip related to the lesson content. Teacher instructs students to watch the sign in the video clip carefully. (>1 minute) 2. Teacher plays 1:47 video clip: http://www.smekenseducation.com/word-connotations-convey-tone-inreading-and-writing.html. (>2 minutes) 3. Teacher instructs students to think and write about the following prompt for two minutes: What did the woman in the video mean when she said: I wrote the same, but different words? How do you think what she said applies to what we are learning today? (2 minutes) 4. Students form pairs and share the ideas they recorded. (2 minutes) 5. Teacher calls on several pairs to share their ideas with the class. (1 minute) 6. Teacher explains the lesson by providing the lesson objective, explaining the lessons purpose, and informing students of the assessment method at the end of the lesson. Teacher connects the video content
Susan Carmody, 2012

to the lesson. (3 minutes) I can explain the concepts of denotation and connotation. (15 MINUTES) 1. Teacher gives students definition of DENOTATION: dictionary definition of a word. Students write the definition of denotation in their notes. Teacher gives students an example of denotation: The dictionary defines snake as A long, limbless reptile that has no eyelids, and jaws that are capable of considerable extension. (1 minute) 2. Teacher tells students to make a color association with denotation: What color can you associate with the concept of denotation and why? Teacher uses think-write-pair-share, giving students two minutes to think and write about their response; two minutes to pair, share ideas with a partner, and select one response to refine; then calls on groups to share their color association. (6 minutes)

Example: I associate black and white with denotation because dictionary pages are white and the words are black denotations are found in the dictionary.
Color association will serve as a check for understanding. If students responses are well explained, the teacher will move to connotations. If students responses are not well explained, will use the denotation reteaching activity. See Differentiation section for Denotation Re-teaching. 3. Teacher gives students definition of CONNOTATION: feelings associated with or connected to a word. Students write definition of connotation in their notes. Teacher gives students an example of connotation: The connotation associated with snake is evil or danger. (1 minute) 4. Teacher tells students to make a color association with connotation: What color can you associate with the concept of connotation and why? Teacher uses think-write-pair-share, giving students two minutes to think and write about their response; two minutes to pair, share ideas with a partner, and select one response to refine; then calls on groups to share their color association. (6 minutes)

Example: I associate red with connotation because connotations are the feelings that go with a particular word, and I think of a heart when I think of feelings.
Color association will serve as a check for understanding. If students responses are well explained, the teacher will move to positive/negative connotations. If students responses are not well explained, will use the connotation re-teaching activity. See Differentiation section for Connotation Re-teaching. I can identify positive and negative connotations in a series of words with the same denotation. (16 MINUTES) 1. Teacher explains that some words are neutral, while others have positive or negative connotations. Teacher provides an example: Positive=slender; Neutral=thin; Negative=scrawny. (2 minutes) 2. Teacher forms small groups (2-3 students). Within each group, students number off. Each group has a list of words with the same denotation. Together, groups order the words from positive to negative, with the neutral word in the middle. (4 minutes) 3. Teacher calls on one member of the group by number (e.g., 2s) to share out to the class. (2 minutes) 4. Teacher gives students the following prompt to discuss and prepare an answer to with their small group: Imagine if a character or event was described using the words on the negative end versus the positive end. How can an author shape your view with word choice? How does strong word choice and considering
Susan Carmody, 2012

connotations make you a powerful reader and speaker? (3 minutes) 5. Teacher calls on members of some groups by number (e.g., 3s) to share their response. (2 minutes) 6. Students return to their normal desk. 7. Teacher checks for understanding using hand signals. Do students understand the terms? Teacher shows a word and either its definition or a feeling associated with it. Students make a D with two hands against their chest if they were given the denotative meaning. Students make a C with one hand against their chest if they were given a connotation for the word. Do students understand positive-neutral-negative? Teacher shows a word. Students give thumbs up if it is a word with a positive connotation, thumbs down if it is a word with a negative connotation, and a sideways thumb if it is a word with a neutral connotation. I can explain the impact of word choice on the text. (13 MINUTES) 1. Teacher introduces the impact of connotations on text by sharing two passages on the same topic: A Day at the Waterpark. Teacher reads Passage 1 aloud to class, while class follows along and listens. (2 minutes) 2. Teacher tells students to draw a sketch of the story. (2 minutes) 3. Teacher reads Passage 2 aloud to the class, while the class follows along and listens. (1 minute) 4. Teacher tells students to draw a sketch of the story. (2 minutes) 5. Students work with a shoulder partner to compare and contrast the passages and the pictures they drew for each, working to answer the questions: What words carry positive or negative connotations? How do the connotations impact the readers understanding? (4 minutes) 6. Teacher calls on groups to share their responses to the two questions. (2 minutes) I can analyze the impact of word choice on the text. (23 MINUTES) 1. Teacher models analyzing the impact of word choice using a paragraph from Harrison Bergeron. Before reading, teacher reviews the background information about the story. Then teacher asks students to record an answer to the question: How would you feel if the government created laws limiting your brain power? (2 minutes) 2. Teacher reads the paragraph aloud and uses think aloud to identify phrases that illustrate a neutral or positive connotation. (perfectly average intelligence, very above normal, required by law) (4 minutes) 3. Using think-write-pair-share, teacher poses the questions: How does the narrator of the story want us to feel the laws that limit the characters brain power? (4 minutes) 4. In small groups, students read a passage from Harrison Bergeron. Students identify words with
Susan Carmody, 2012

connotations (positive or negative) that impact the story by circling/underlining them and using smile/frown faces to indicate the connotation. Students respond to two questions to consider the impact of the connotations: (10 minutes) a. Considering the connotations of the words and phrases she uses, how does Hazel feel about the sound handicap others experience? b. Considering the connotations of the words and phrases he uses, as well as how the narrator describes his experience, how are readers beginning to feel about the sound handicaps? 5. Teacher selects a presenter from each group to share out. (3 minutes) Teacher monitoring student conversations, written work on the handout, and the responses groups share out serves as a final check for understanding prior to the assessment. If students require more work with connotation and denotation, the teacher should select another paragraph from the story and repeat the process of having groups identify words with positive or negative connotations on a topic, label the connotation with a smiley or frown face, and describe the impact of the connotations, prior to administering the assessment.

Susan Carmody, 2012

DIFFERENTIATION NOTES
Denotation Re-teaching 1. Teacher will remind students of the meaning of denotation: Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word. The denotation meaning of a word is the literal meaning a person would find when looking up the word in the dictionary. 2. Teacher will explain that students will see a word and a few choices for the denotative meaning of the word. Students will use their fingers to indicate the choice that corresponds to the denotative meaning. Heart 1. An organ in the body 2. Love 3. Family Mother 1. security and warmth 2. helpful 3. a female parent

3. New Triggers: a. Example: Give an example of the denotative meaning of the word hot. b. Simile: Create a simile (comparison using like or as) for connotation. Connotation Re-Teaching Repeat denotation re-teaching activity, this time asking students to identify the connotative meanings within the choices.

TEXTS AND OTHER RESOURCES


Student Handout; Quiz; Video Link; PPT Presentation

Susan Carmody, 2012