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Best Word for the Job

English Grade 6

This is a unit designed to teach the importance of diction. Teaching students to classify words as having positive, neutral, and negative connotations allows students to begin to describe an author’s diction; to see it as a deliberate choice an author makes in order to create an overall tone to a work. Duration: 1-1.5 weeks

Stage 1 Desired Results

ESTABLISHED GOALS G R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it. Cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions from the text. R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning and tone.

Transfer Students will be able to independently use their learning to understand and appreciate the direct and deliberate relationship between word meanings and tone.

UNDERSTANDINGS U Students will understand that… -Analyzing diction is one of the first steps in determining the overall tone of a text. -Many words have more than one denotative meaning. Readers must often know multiple meanings of a word. -Words have positive, negative, or neutral connotations which shape meaning.

L.5 Demonstrate understandings of word relationships and nuances in word meanings. Students will know…


T Meaning ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS Q How/Why do writers use specific words to tell a story [or explain something]? How does a reader determine an author’s tone? What is the difference [or importance of determining the difference] between tone and mood?

Acquisition Students will be skilled at…


W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

How to determine the connotation of a word, the importance of selecting a precise word to tell a story or explain something, and how to use diction to begin to analyze an author’s tone.

-Selecting words based on denotative and connotative meanings. -writing narratives using effective technique i.e. diction with deliberation. -citing specific textual evidence (i.e. diction) after reading closely to support a conclusion from text.

Stage 2 - Evidence Evaluative Criteria -connotative meanings of words

-distinguishing between degrees of meaning in different words

Assessment Evidence CURRICULUM EMBEDDED PERFOMANCE ASSESSMENT (PERFORMANCE TASKS) PT Informal check for understanding: 1. List/Label/Sort activity in the form of a graphic organizer with ‘negative/neutral/positive’ as the headings for words with different connotations but same denotation for house “a place for human beings to live”. Academic prompt (graded) 2. A brief written response in paragraph form which requires students to select a word that describes an emotion. Students must be able to differentiate between the connotations of 3 different emotions in this activity (‘embarrassed, self-conscious, & humiliated”). They must write about that emotion deliberately using diction, details, and imagery which will convey the intended emotion to the reader. Students are graded with a rubric and also required to mark the required elements of their work with a key. Informal check-power point or use of internet to obtain visuals for precise words. 3. Students are given a list of precise words for hat- a covering for the head. They must determine the uses or purposes for the different kinds of hats and explain in writing. Then using context

-use of precise diction

-the power of deliberate word choice

clues, fill in blanks by using the specific words for head coverings. Extra credit Performance task opportunity for students who want to create their own visual representation of a word with many different precise words (shoes, vehicles, bags, etc.) Academic prompts: 4. Fill in the blank activity NOT intended to have one correct answer. Students can select the best connotative meaning for each sentence; the challenge comes when they are asked to explain the scenario where the other word may be used; thereby explaining the different meaning created by using each word. 5. No more Nice: teachers have a list of vague, ambiguous words that are off limits for students to use. This fill-in-the blank template activity lets students see how many synonyms they can find for one word since it is used 8 times in this paragraph! (‘good’) Credit is given for responses that are creative and beyond the basic answer.

-avoiding overuse of vague words (i.e. good) -the power of deliberate word choice and precise words.

OTHER EVIDENCE: OE Students create a character who wears a specific hat they have researched and write a paragraph detailing this character’s personality with deliberate use of diction.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan Summary of Key Learning Events and Instruction 1. Work on a Frayer concept map with the word DICTION. Include a definition, examples, non-examples, and synonyms/antonyms to ensure student understanding. W Students write definitions of diction, connotation, denotation and tone in their notebooks. W

Explain denotation using examples with multiple meanings of words: “He is a hard teacher” how can hard be misinterpreted In this sentence? Students need to explain the different denotations of the word “hard”. Next, show that connotations refers to feelings and associations created by the word. (Positive, neutral, negative). Example: Positive: slender neutral: thin negative: scrawny H 2. List, Sort activity with all the words for house with same denotation. H Read and respond to excerpts from “The Giver” about Jonas using diction E 3. Explore differences in shades of meaning between humiliated, embarrassed, and self-conscious. Write a brief paragraph exploring one emotion. E, R 4. Hat Powerpoint lesson with fill in the blank sentences. H, E, R 5. Connotative meanings cloze exercise. E, R, T Fill in the blank paragraph with different words for GOOD. E

Adapted from Understanding by Design 2.0 © 2011 Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Used with Permission July 2012

Best Word of The Job, Grade 6, Christine Terranova