Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Analyzing Texts For Voice, Tone, And Mood - Section 1: Small-Group Text Analysis


Three out of the four writing excerpts I selected worked quite well, providing enough evidence of an overall voice for it to be detectable and subsequently named and supported with evidence by my students.  Can you guess which excerpt gave them the most trouble?  If you answered "Your Laughter," by Pablo Neruda, you are correct!  While some of my higher-performing students could determine that it is a love poem, and explain the accompanying voice, tone, and mood, others were thrown by some of the language in the poem, specifically his reference to death, and often misinterpreted the laughter as more negative than positive.

When I use this lesson with future 8th-graders, I will switch out the Neruda excerpt for a love poem that is more accessible, perhaps something like the first stanza of "I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke, or the first stanza of "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron, both of which still provide a certain rigor, but perhaps possess fewer distractions than the Neruda stanza.  Because I need my students to build confidence early in the year with determining voice, tone, and mood in a text, it makes sense for me to begin with texts that allow for most, if not all, of them to gain this confidence.

  Rethinking The Writing Samples
  Staircase of Complexity: Rethinking The Writing Samples
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Analyzing Texts For Voice, Tone, And Mood

Unit 2: Literary Analysis: The House on Mango Street
Lesson 2 of 10

Objective: SWBAT analyze four separate writing passages for voice, tone, and mood, creating a self-generated chart that mirrors the music sample chart from the previous lesson.

Big Idea: Why am I laughing? Why am I crying? Analyzing texts for voice, tone, and mood.

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  70 minutes
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