Connotation Teacher Resources
Find Connotation educational ideas and activities
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Lincoln is in the House! ("Name-Dropping" Poems and the Power of Connotation)
“What’s in a name?” Just about everything. Barack Obama, Vincent van Gogh, Justin Bieber. Famous names evoke a multitude of reactions and poets often use the names of famous people in their works precisely because names carry connotations that give added depth to their poems. After examining several “Name-Dropping” poems, class groups search for other examples, present their findings to the class, and then craft their own examples. The richly detailed plan includes suggestions for research sites, famous musicians, artists, and political figures to use as subjects, and writing prompts. Worthy of a place in your curriculum library.
Connotation and Denotation: How Word Choice Affects a Paragraph
Review the terms denotation, connotation, diction, and mood in paragraph writing. After defining the terms, middle schoolers practice writing examples of both connotation and denotation. They complete a connotation and denotation graphic organizer and chart, and then they practice incorporating the elements using the paragraphs on the final worksheet.
Connotation: "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke
What's happening in this poem? Have your high schoolers participate in an activity about connotation and denotation. They apply the concept of connotation to a reading of Theodore Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz." Lead a discussion about author's intent focusing on diction, and have readers complete a worksheet as the class period progresses. A link to the text and worksheet is included.
Collaborating about Denotation and Connotation
Analyze layers of meaning by exploring denotation and connotation. By examining a photograph of the famously controversial Marilyn Monroe, high schoolers interpret the connotative and denotative meanings of the given information. Then they choose images of their own to analyze! This plan has learners use the Internet to find images, but consider bringing in magazines and images of your own.
Connotation in Propaganda
High schoolers assess persuasive techniques in propaganda. They identify and critique rhetorical devices in primary source documents (sources are not specified, but links to sites that contain various documents are included). Groups make posters and deliver informal presentations detailing examples of persuasive connotation in their document.
Color Connotations and Symbols
Students explore color connotations. In this color imagery lesson, students view a PowerPoint to generate a discussion of color imagery. Students rename colors as they appear on the PowerPoint. Students explore the emotions that different colors evoke in readers. Resources are provided.
New! Express Yourself Lesson Seed 2
Use Langston Hughes's poem, "Words Like Freedom," to explore the concepts of freedom and liberty. Learners read the poem, determine the theme, and use the provided graphic organizer to examine the connotative and denotative meanings of the words freedom and liberty. Close with a quick argumentative writing assignment.
Determine the Meaning of Words by Comparing Denotative and Connotative Meanings
Use an informative video about denotative and connotative meanings in your lesson about word choice and figurative language. The video focuses on the informational text "Girl Power" and shows sixth graders how to use word meanings to determine the author's purpose and tone. At 11 minutes long, the video might be best when broken into parts throughout a reading or writing lesson.
Positive and Negative Connotations
Does the word "obsessive" have a positive or negative connotation? What about "stylish" or "fervent"? Use this list of twenty-four adjectives, as well as the graphic organizer on the next page, to reinforce the difference between positive and negative connotations of words. Students match word pairs to determine the connotations of each. This activity would work well as an assessment of a lesson on connotations, or as a homework assignment.
Connotation and Denotation:
Eighth graders investigate the effect that connotations can have on writing. They are shown examples to build background knowledge before attempting the exercise. They finish by writing a paragraph to practice what they have learned.
Elements of Denotations and Connotations
Lead your class to explore, define, and explain denotations and connotations. Using Voyage™ 200 (a personal learning tool), each learner investigates and defines examples of denotation and connotation. After finding the definitions, the class discusses and compares their findings.
Students recognize the difference between connotations and denotations of words in order to increase their comprehension of what they read, which helps increase fluency.
What's in a Name?
Introduce your language arts class to connotation, denotation, and diction. Middle schoolers identify and differentiate between the connotative and denotative meanings of words by analyzing the fictitious sports team names. Learners discuss team names and the mental images they convey. They create logos to illustrate the connotations of team names. Look for the rest of the three-lesson unit "Three Lessons for Effective Word Choice," of which this resource is a part.
Shades of Meaning
Examine and distinguish between words that have similar definitions but different connotations. Middle schoolers define connotation and denotation and participate in a "shades of meaning" contest in small groups. Groups use the Visual Thesaurus to match words that have similar definitions but different connotations.
Reading Cuisine: Connotation
Define denotation and connotation for your class and read "Chocolate Cake" from Fatherhood by Bill Cosby (or look online for an audio clip). Class discussion about diction inspires playful rewriting of the text. Learners sort words with negative and positive connotations. Finally, large class groups revise the school lunch menu to have either positive or negative connotations.
Bias in News Sources
As young consumers of media, it is important for high schoolers to explore concepts of bias and prejudice, and how they may be present in media. After discussing ideological messages that media can contain, individuals complete a warm-up activity about connotation. They then read an article about the different ways the media conveys bias. Finally, small groups look at news stories and evaluate their level of bias.
Speak Write! Understanding the Hidden Meaning of Words
"Can the connotation of a word or phrase create bias or prejudice?" The activities in this SMART Board lesson are directed toward this question, which will be sure to incite lots of opinions and ideas. The SMART Board file guides them through two days of lessons about connotation, denotation, and their implications. This activity would be a good way to begin a unit about prejudice, or to tie in a vocabulary lesson about word meanings.
Analyzing Poetry with TPCASTT
Middle schoolers read a poem and complete a TPCASTT chart. They make a prediction about the title (T) , paraphrase each line (P), identify poetic devices and nuances (C-connotation), explore mood and tone (A-attitude), point out shifts in content or style (S), evaluate the title after reading (T), and name what they believe is the theme or main idea of the poem. Presents a very systematic way of analyzing poetry.
Lions, Tigers, and Slugs? Oh, My!
Explore the power of words with your class by analyzing the connotations of fictitious sports team names. Learners discuss team names and the mental images they convey. They create logos to illustrate the meanings and connotations of team names. "Connotation: Three Lessons for Effective Word Choice" is a 3-part unit with other activities connected to this resource; find it on Lesson Planet!
"Shooting An Elephant": George Orwell's Essay on His Life in Burma
High school readers examine George Orwell's essay "Shooting an Elephant" for examples of symbolism, metaphor, connotation, and irony. They analyze how these literary tools convey the writer's main point and contribute to the persuasive effect of the text. The resource is thorough, if a bit cumbersome.