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Connotation Teacher Resources
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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.
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.
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.
Middle schoolers use this connotation and denotation instructional activity to develop vocabulary skills. They take notes on the terms, study examples, and choose from pairs of words to find the more positive or negative word choice, as directed. They also select words in sample sentences that answer questions like: "Which is worth more?"; "Which is more polite?"; or "Which would you rather be called?"
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.
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.
Over the course of three days, middle schoolers explore the concept of connotation. They differentiate between the connotative and denotative meanings of sports team names, develop their own team names, logos, and text, and revise a news article about a victorious new team to change connotation. Links to materials for all three lessons are included.
Pleasingly plump or fat? Disheveled or sloppy? Pairs of words with similar definitions can have vastly different connotations. Reinforce this concept by having your pupils complete a Connotation Chart. After selecting 12 pairs of words with similar definitions, they write the word with the positive or neutral connotation in the left-hand column and the negative connotation word in the right-hand column.
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.
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.