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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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Engage pupils in practicing denotative and connotative strategies to understand particular words. They work in pairs and write a series of sentences using each word that has a positive connotation and negative connotation. Some example words are provided, but you could also open this instructional activity by conducting a group brainstorm of words that have either a negative or positive connotation. This instructional activity may be difficult for those who have limited literary exposure.
Use a denotation and connotation worksheet to help middle schoolers refine their reading and writing skills. They review pairs of like terms, and then they choose the word with the more positive or negative connotation (as directed) to complete 14 sentences. An example uses the words skinny and slender to describe a female form. Which one has a positive connotation?