Understanding How Dialect Helps to Develop Tone in Folklore

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SWBAT understand how dialect and exaggerations impact the meaning of word choice and mood in the text, "How the Snake Got Poisoned".

Big Idea

Using Dialect to detect the origin of characterization in a text.

Warm-up: Subgenres & Genres

7 minutes

Folklore can be found all around us. "Folk" is a reference to any group of people that share some common factor. Examples of folklore can easily inform students about the life of early Americans and how they lived on the frontier. The most unique thing about life is that at any given time, people are apart of not one, but many groups around us.

Students will be asked to think about the genre types and forms that folklore is told and written in literature. This mini-discussion of folklore allows us to think about the many ways that folklore can be organized as literature. Possible responses can include stories, songs, poems, customs, and traditions.

Who is Zora Hurston?

5 minutes

Prior to reading literature for this lesson, students will watch a bio clip on Zora Neale Hurston. Students will be asked to view this clip to understand the life of Hurston, her influences for writing, and how her works have impacted society.

Independent Practice: Reading and Translating Stories

35 minutes

Students will independently read Folklore Collected by Zora Neale Hurston to understand how dialect can impact the meaning and tone of a selection. After students read the story, they will rewrite it in standard English. The challenge that I gave to students was that the re-write had to equal the same length of lines as the original story. Once students finished reading and retelling the story, three questions were answered to test their overall comprehension of the story.

Listen to a student talk over Hurston folklore video clip to hear the impact the rewrite had on the comprehension of the text.