How does an author create a certain mood?

11 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT explain how word choice by an author creates a particular mood in a text.

Big Idea

Words impact how we feel about a text we are reading.

Introduction: What is Mood?

10 minutes


E.B. White offers us so many different aspects to analyze with his book, Charlotte's Web. Today, I am engaging my students to analyze mood. To accomplish this task, we are reading Chapter IV: "Loneliness." I want to draw attention to the parallels between the weather and Wilbur. To do this as we read, the students will be paying close attention to what is happening to the day and to Wilbur. I will be asking the students guiding questions and the students will be gathering this information using circle maps.

I will begin with the students on the rug. We will discuss what mood is, and then we will proceed with reading the chapter.

Next, in order to deepen the understand of how an author creates a particular mood, I will gather the students on the rug for Socratic Seminar.

Then, students will read the poem, "Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens," by Jack Prelutsky to practice the objective independently. After they read it, they will write about the type of mood the author creates.

Opening Activity:

I start by sharing the objective on the rug: I can analyze how an author creates a certain mood. Then, I ask my students, what is mood? I ask them to engage in a think-pair-share. I have a few students to share out to the whole group. I have a Feelings Chart ready to reference to help students with the concept of mood.

Also, I will provide three examples with words that create a specific mood. After I read the words, I ask them what type of mood do these words create? These are the examples:

  1. dark, creepy, things, lightening, screaming
  2. laughing, jumping, playing, sunny
  3. calm, quiet, peaceful, soft

Reading to Analyze the Mood of Chapter IV: Loneliness

25 minutes

I explain the purpose of reading Chapter IV, "Loneliness," which is to pay attention to how the author uses certain words to create a specific mood. As we read, we are gathering evidence. I have the students divide a paper in half. One side they are making a bubble map of the day. On the other half, they are making a bubble map of Wilbur. I am creating a classroom chart to scaffold the process.

As we move through the chapter, I am helping students see the comparison between the gloom of the day and Wilbur's loneliness. I will pause to give them time to add to their bubble maps:

Looks Like Wilbur Is Gloomy

Another Example of Day & Wilbur

The Day & Wilbur

The Mood of the Day & Wilbur

This Is How It Looks For Wilbur

Also, I will bring attention the meaning of the suffix, "-ness," in the word loneliness. I provide opportunities for my ELL students to learn suffixes in context.

Socratic Seminar: How does E.B. White Create the Feeling of Loneliness?

10 minutes

Students will bring their work and gather on the rug to discuss the mood the author created in this chapter. I am using the following questions for the discussion:

  1. How is the day?
  2. What is it going for Wilbur?
  3. What mood does the author create?
  4. How does he create it?

Here is part of our discussion:

How Is It Going For Wilbur?

What Is Happening With Wilbur?

What Mood does Jack Prelutsky create?

12 minutes

I want to see if students can apply the skill of identifying mood in another piece. So I am having students read the poem: Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens.

I am asking students to apply their knowledge of mood given what they learned from analyzing the mood of Chapter IV: Loneliness, which is a rigorous task because the moods in these two selections are so different. To facilitate this task, I feel the poem is concrete enough for my English Language Learners to identify a mood.

First, students will read the poem. They can read it more than once to identify the mood.

As they read, I walk around and to make sure they are reading accurately. I provide support if they need it.  

Then, I want them to identify one mood. To help those students who may be struggling, I take the time to make a list of moods with the students. I add to it.

After that, they will create a bubble map that supports the mood they chose with evidence from the poem. I ask them to write the mood in the middle, then go back and reread the poem to find the evidence. The versatility of this poem is that the evidence can be used to support different moods. This is one reason I chose the poem. A student can infer the mood as angry while another student may state the mood is crazy. Each student is able to find support for their respective mood.

Here are some of their samples:

Angry Mood

Silly Mood

Craziness Mood

Craziness is the Mood

Its A Crazy Party

Writing to Explain the Mood Jack Prelutsky Created

20 minutes

Now students will spend time writing a paragraph about the type of mood Jack Prelutsky created. They will need to provide evidence in their writing. As I walk around, I am looking for them to write an opening sentence that states the mood clearly. To help them, I have written the question on the white board: what mood does the author create? Then, I ask them to use time order words to give the evidence. I did offer them the linguistic pattern: The author creates_________________. They do the rest. And, this scaffold is for those who need it.

Here are some examples of their work:

Excitement Is Created

The author Is Angry

Why This Poem Is Silly

Sharing Writing

7 minutes

A few students will share their paragraphs. I am intentional about who gets to share their writing. During their writing time, I make sure to pay attention to who is meeting the task. It is those students who I call upon to share. If a student declines, I try to encourage but I do not demand. I do encourage more if I feel the student will benefit from sharing. 

After the speakers share, they receive feedback. This is the system I use:

•Two Stars: Two different students share what they specifically like about the content of the writing.

•A Wish: Another student shares specifically how they think the writing can be improved.

Here the speakers and their work:

Interesting Paragraph

Its A Crazy Party

Sharing His paragraph

There is Craziness