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Tone Teacher Resources
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A key element of literary criticism is the analysis of diction and tone. The 26 slides in this presentation model for scholars the questions to ask when forming an analysis. Loaded with examples and practice exercises, the presentation could be used with any class involved with literary criticism.
Explore figurative language with your secondary class. Extending a language arts unit, the lesson prompts middle schoolers to examine how an author's word choice establishes a story's tone, possibly using metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and personification. They can then develop their own plots using figurative language.
How are mood and tone similar? Different? Help your readers understand the difference between the two with this helpful guide. On the first page, they read the definition for both tone and mood and identify words that are describe each. On the second page, they put their knowledge to work on seven examples. For each, they list the tone, mood, and context clues that helped them arrive at the decision.
Discuss the meaning of the phrase tone of voice with the class. They respond to a variety of scenarios where a particular tone would be prevalent. They then read "Mother to Son" without knowing the title and answer some questions about the poem's tone and voice. In the end, they write a poem of their own where they are giving advice to someone.
The Olmec were an ancient people native to Mexico who lived from 1000-500 BC. Young artists examine the Olmec piece Seated Figure to analyze the use of body language to communicate a tone or feeling. They then use clay or play-dough to create their own expressive sculpture. Background information and images are included.
Satire and tone are difficult concepts for high schoolers to fully comprehend. Luckily, Mark Twain was an expert of satire, and learners still find his work interesting today. Use chapter 13 of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to illustrate both tone and satire, and how they go hand in hand. Eleventh graders read the chapter and discuss a series of comprehension questions.
By examining pictures and choosing words to describe what they see (and what they might smell, hear, taste, and feel), learners connect the use of imagery to tone and mood in writing. They listen to recordings of authors reading their own poetry (or you could read it aloud) and draw pictures based on what they heard. Finally, they share their drawings in groups and explain the language that inspired their pictures.
Model for your high schoolers how to prepare for the essay portion of the AP Language exam. For guided practice, pairs analyze metaphor, simile, tone or syntax in Norman Mailer’s “The Death of Benny Paret,” and then work independently on an analysis of William Hazlitt’s “The Fight.” Extensions, worksheets, and assessments are included. The text of Mailer’s story may be found in AP language textbooks or online.