Close Reading: Vaulting over Vocabulary Hurdles with Connotation vs. Denotation

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SWBAT understand unfamiliar vocabulary by the connotative and technical meaning of words and phrases.

Big Idea

Vocabulary check: Who needs a dictionary when associations are all in the text?

Bellringer: Connotation and Denotation

7 minutes

There are many ways to discover a words’ meaning. In literature, we determine the meaning of words by their denotation or connotation. On a piece of paper, students will copy the following terms

Connotation: the suggesting of additional meanings of a word, apart from its literal meaning

Denotation: the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word or expression

to begin understanding how words on paper apply to what we actually do with a text. In this lesson, students will focus on defining unfamiliar words by implied or explicit meanings. Because vocabulary is a stumbling block for many students when asked to comprehend a literary text, it is essential that students have a process for determining the meanings of unfamiliar words. 

Guided Practice: Learning with a Clip

10 minutes

This is not the first time that students are interacting with the words "connotation" and "denotation." Because of the prior knowledge students exhibit with these terms, an interactive video will create some FUN in ways to review these cognitive processes. 

Students will watch the video clip to understand the difference between connotation and denotation. The information in this interactive clip will bridge any gaps students may possess with the associations with connotation and denotation. As students watch the clip, I gather the reading selections for the next activity.

Independent Practice: Interacting with Vocabulary in an Informational Text

30 minutes

Before having my students JUMP into defining vocabulary in Rout Bull, I ask them to skim the text circling words that are unfamiliar. To initiate conversation on vocabulary, I ask students to share words that were circled on thier paper. Instead of giving out the definitions, I save them for the time in this lesson that I will model how to find connotations in a text. 

To help students with connotation, I prompt students to look at the word, look above, to the right and left, and below to identify associations of the vocabulary word. With the use of my Elmo, I type up a chart entitled, The Rout Bull - connotation&denotation chart, that contains the heading of words (from circled words of students), connotation, and denotation. As a class, I work through each word, identifying the associations while having students look up words in the dictionary.  

The purpose of this activity allows students to see how word meanings are defined and how other choices of words could develop the full spectrum of a word. Because vocabulary can stump students' comprehension of literary text, these methods of thinking help develop success with students possibilities with defining unfamiliar words. Check my connotation and denotation stratgey reflection to see how students responded to this activity!