- Demonstrate knowledge and control of the connotative power of words.
- Write vivid, meaningful language.
- Prepare and perform an oral presentation of completed work.
- Connotation Revision Article (PDF)
- Class set of thesaurus and dictionaries
Set Up and Prepare
Make a class set of the Connotation Revision Article (PDF) Choose three students ahead of class to perform a demonstration for the class.
Prepare the students to each ask the same question in a different tone. For example, "Can I go to the office?"
- The first student raises her/his hand and asks the question in a demanding tone.
- The second student raises her/his hand and repeats the same question in a pleading tone.
- The third student raises her/his hand and repeats the same question in a confused tone.
Write on the blackboard, "The student asked to go to the office."
Step 1: Discuss the meaning of the sentence, "The student asked to go to the office." Ask the class if the sentence gives the reader any information about the student. Can they visualize the way the student asked the question? Point out that the sentence is rather bland, without any vivid language to visualize the scene.
Step 2: One at a time, the three students will raise their hands and ask the question as prepared.
Step 3: As each student asks the question, write a new version of the sentence on the board to describe the method the question was asked. All four statements should be on the board. It is beneficial to think out loud as you revise so students see the process. Ask yourself questions such as, "How can I improved the statement to reflect the student's attitude?" or "The verb ‘ask' doesn't tell the reader that the student was begging to go to the office."
- The student demanded to go to the office.
- The student begged to go to the office.
- The student bewilderedly asked to go to the office.
Step 4: Discuss the differences between the original sentence and the three revisions with the class. Is it easier to visualize what happened in each revision? Point out the way connotation and word choice changes the meaning of the sentence.
Step 5: Ask the students to suggest other verbs for the sentence, and what connotation those verbs lend to the meaning.
Step 6: Distribute the Connotation Revision Article (PDF).
Step 7: Ask students to work with their partner revising a newspaper article about the winning season of their fictitious athletic team to create vivid connotative language. The reader should be able to visualize the action and feeling of the passage. Students should make use of a thesaurus, and/or dictionary, to expand their word choices.
Step 8: Monitor student progress to ensure students are confident with the assignment.
Step 9: Once students have completed the task, ask them to edit their work for further improvement of vivid details.
Step 10: Following completion of this activity, partners will present their posters and read their revised articles to the class.
Supporting All Learners
If necessary, review the meaning of connotation and the use of vivid language for connotation. Have the student look up words, such as walk, in a thesaurus and read the synonyms. Discuss how words such as ‘amble' and ‘saunter' have more of a visual connotation than ‘walk.'
Students can revise a previous paper or journal entry to create a more vivid effect.
Student teams present posters and revised writing to the class. Classes could vote for their favorite Athletic Team Names. Posters could be put in the hallways for open house, or parent/teacher conferences.
Students can take the project home to receive input from parents/guardians.
- Discuss the various connotations of the sentence, "I need to go to the office."
- Work with a partner to revise an article for vivid, connotative language.
- Use a dictionary and thesaurus as constructive resources.
- Self-edit revised writing.
- Present all finished work to the class.
- How did this final lesson tie together the entire unit?
- What would you change overall in this unit?
- What other resources would be helpful in the future?
- Do you think this unit was age appropriate for your class? If not, how would you revise the lesson?
Assessment of this portion of the project is part of the overall unit grade (including the work from Lesson Two). As students read their revised work to the class, constructive comments should be made by the instructor and classmates.
Point value should be awarded to the teams based on the following criteria:
1/3 - Using time in class to their benefit
1/3 - Thoroughness and completion of all components of the activities.
1/3 - Creativity, neatness, and oral presentation