Looking for a fun and creative way to help students analyze mood and tone in a fictional text? Try using a sound equalizer metaphor to help students understand how mood and tone can fluctuate throughout a text, but they work in tandem to shape the overall piece.
This mood and tone activity is intended to provide students with a critical thinking challenge. If you intend to use it with struggling readers, I suggest taking time to model and guide them through the activity at least once.
Here is how the activity works...
1. Students read a fictional text. Any text is fine, but it should be long enough to be able to identify six different parts.
2. For each part of the text, students identify fitting mood and tone words. Sample mood and tone lists are included. Students also choose a color to symbolize the mood of that part and color in the graphic organizer to a height that matches the tone of the section. In this way, students are thinking symbolically about both mood and tone.
3. After filling out the graphic organizer, students write short justifications of their choices, and they also identify textual evidence that supports the mood and tone words they selected.
4. You also have the option of asking students to respond to four questions that extend their thinking. These questions involve synthesizing what they have already mentioned for each different part of the text. The questions lead students to explain how tone and mood impact other aspects of the story.
5. Finally, you'll also have access to tone and mood bookmarks that you can use as exit slips or quick formative assessments. They will give you data regarding who needs further scaffolding or small group re-teaching.
To help you and your students better picture how to use this activity, this resource includes sample responses for the poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes.
I created this mood and tone activity as I reflected upon how I think about these literary terms. They can be difficult for students, but bringing in metaphors and scaffolding their thinking step-by-step can set them up for success. Surprising students with new and unique activities can help keep boredom at bay and spark curiosity and engagement.
Please Note: This activity is intended for practice, not introduction. The resource does not include direct instruction for mood and tone. Please make sure your students have already been introduced to these concepts before using this assignment with them.
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