Analyze the Impact Specific Words Have on the Novel's Meaning and Tone

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SWBAT demonstrate how author’s diction establishes tone in “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by writing key words from scenes in the chapter.

Big Idea

Please Check Your Attitude! How words can create the attitude of a story?


10 minutes

I begin this activator by asking my students to complete the Chapter 3 "Revenge is My Middle Name" Quiz.  After taking the quiz students are asked to exchange papers with a partner and we correct the quiz together as a class.

I chose to use this as the activator because it will connect the previous class's reading to today's reading.  Having students grade their peers formative assessments gives them an opportunity to "rethink" the answers to the questions.   The goal is to get the information into their brains and rethinking is a great way to achieve the goal.



Building Knowledge: Character Traits

10 minutes

Essentially, today's lesson is introducing diction and tone and how diction creates tone but I first want students to look at the character traits of two new characters, Junior and Mary.  I do this by handing out Character Map organizers and ask them to fill in the descriptions individually or with a partner referring the the text when needed as required in standards RL.9-10.1 and RL.9-10.3.



Building Knowledge: Diction, Tone, and Mood Review

15 minutes

Differentiating between Tone and Mood

Next I review diction which was part of the previous days lesson. To increase student participation I want to create a challenge by putting my tone card on the wall and next to it I put up the definition for Mood "Feeling Created in the Reader" and ask if this is Tone?  I then put up the definition for Tone "A Writer's Attitude Towards the Subject" and ask which is the definition for Tone?  Mood? Finally we return to the definition of tone so that I can focus with students on how diction creates tone by giving a few examples from the text.  

.This simple exercise uses both their visual and auditory modalities increasing understanding and hopefully retention of the information being presented. Next I give an example from the text illustrating how diction can create tone. Junior's sick little dog Oscar is shot by his father in the second chapter. The death of the animal, who is a complete innocent, becomes a symbol for the senseless destruction caused by poverty on the reservation.  I read the quote,

"Junior," he said. "Carry Oscar outside." "No!" I screamed. "He's suffering, Dad said, " We have to help him." "You can't do it!" I shouted." I wanted to punch my dad in the face.

I then lead a short discussion on how this quote creates a tone of despair and anger towards his parents and poverty on the reservation. 

Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

I ask students to do two tasks while reading silently or quietly with a partner.  They will read Chapter 4 and using a Tone Template they will  write 1-2 sentences to identify favorite scenes including the page numbers. They will also write key words from the scene and determine tone.  I provide them with a list of Tone Words in which they can refer to while determining the tone of the passage RL.9-10.1 and RL.9-10.4.

The second task is answering questions on the Chapter 4 Reading Guide.  I was a little concerned that this may be too much to do but it was worth the try.

During their reading and after I checked for understanding I use this time to confer with students that may have struggled with the classwork or students with whom I have not conference with because of their poor attendance. These conferences are one of the ways that students get one-on-one time with me. I get to share their progress reports and review any missing work needed to make up before the end of the week.



Wrap Up

10 minutes

Report Out

I want students to share their examples of favorite passages and tone words demonstrating the qualitative aspect of text complexity.  I toss a sponge ball  to select a few students to read one example to the class. I do this to keep their attention on me and add some fun to answering a question in front of their peers SL.9-10.1.  I also ask students to comment on the passage read and tone it creates by using an Accountable Talk Stem which is posted on the wall.