Mood and Tone Activity for Any Fictional Text - Distance Learning

Grade Levels
8th - 11th
Formats Included
  • PDF (6 student PDF pages, 7 Slides, 3 sample response pages)
  • Google Apps™
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The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


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 sure to elevate thinking!

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.

A video tutorial IS included to walk students through how to complete the tech-y aspects of the assignment. The video tutorial is intended to help answer some of the questions students may have when completing this activity remotely.



Here is how the mood and tone 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. A second version of these bookmarks is included that is better formatted for distance learning.

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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Total Pages
6 student PDF pages, 7 Slides, 3 sample response pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.


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