An Introduction to Denotation & Connotation

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SWBAT determine the connotative meanings of words by defining and discussing connotation.

Big Idea

Today we focus on meaning that can't be found in a dictionary...


5 minutes

When my students walk into the room today, I have the first screen of the PowerPoint displayed for them to read.  Once everyone is settled in, I will click the slide so students can consider the change in meaning if Dahl had used "plan" instead of "scheme."

I invite my students to talk with their elbow partner or small group about the difference between the words.

Then, I ask them to set up a sheet of paper for Cornell Notes and display the essential question for them to copy down.

*There is a video about Cornell Notes with this lesson.

Getting Down to Business

45 minutes

For this lesson, we go through the PowerPoint slides discussing along the way. 

My favorite part is when we come to the whiteboard activity (which can just as easily be done with slips of paper).  The kids have a good time hiding their answers from their group and doing a, "1, 2, 3, show your paper!" reveal each time.

Most of the time the answers do match, but it is fun to hear the discussions that happen when a student doesn't have the same connotative understanding of a word that the other students do.

This is a lesson in which I spend time talking about note-taking skills again.  Because we are so focused on Cornell Notes in my building, I have a responsibility to help my students become effective note-takers in class.

We will go through the entire finishing process once in a while, as we do in this lesson, just to make sure they remember our school expectations on note-taking procedures.

There really is value in having them compare what they got out a lesson with a peer.  I use this time to remind students that they should have a friend or two in each class they can rely on to get notes from.  I even tease and say that their parents will let them hang out with their friends more if they say they're studying!

Did They Get It?

This set of notes could be picked up for a formative grade; however, I have my students hang onto them to use on tomorrow's assessment of connotation and denotation.