Reflection: Flexibility Connotations vs. Denotations: Building Meaning of Words in Informational Text - Section 3: Independent Practice: Students working with article vocabualry words


I love this lesson because it allows flexibility in how vocabulary can be an intricate means to understanding how meaning can impact the tone expressed in literature. With the teaching of connotation, students learn how positive and negative words impact a mood and tone of a literary work. Even with the denotation of words, students learn that a dictionary meaning aids in fully understanding a word and its part of speech in a sentence.

In this lesson, I was hoping that students could see the link between the connotation and denotation have in literature. With the constructing of the ice cream cones, students struggled with the affix and synonym scoops. Some of this difficulty came from students not studying these terms in school last year. Another reason dealt with the lack of vocabulary words students know in their personal bank. While the ice cream cones were easy for students to do with minimum help from the teacher, not having interactions with locating associations with word meanings hindered students' focus more on wanting a definition than knowing an association of each word. I thought that students selecting their own words would make the information of each scoop easy to find. However, that was not the case. View my ice cream cone student work reflection video to see explicitly what went wrong with this instructional choice.

In future teaching of this lesson, I will keep this vocabulary activity going throughout the first quarter since students were so excited to draw ice cream on a sheet of paper. While that high enthusiasm decreased once the identity of each scoop was revealed, students showed great creativity in producing their ice cream cones. To change how I introduce the connotation of words, I will require students to first infer a positive and negative connotation for each word then use the dictionary to support their inferences.

While this lesson explicitly relates to vocabulary from the reading done in class, teachers can use the same ice cream cone template and relate it to other literature genres that students will engage in throughout the school year. In addition, this template can remain the same throughout a quarter/semester while the names of the scoops change to provide more individualized instruction to the areas taught with vocabulary in that grade level. 

  Flexibility: Ice Cream Template Reflection
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Connotations vs. Denotations: Building Meaning of Words in Informational Text

Unit 2: Living Without
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT determine the connotation and technical meanings of words and its impact on the meaning and tone of a piece of literature.

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