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Grade: Middle

#4103. Teashing Tone with Writing

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted Tue Jan 29 17:59:42 PST 2008 by sb (
link to "Tone PPT"
fort bend isd, sugar land, tx
Materials Required: notebook paper, board, tone words list
Activity Time: 30-45 minutes
Concepts Taught: tone (could be adapted for mood)

I used this on powerpoint. A link to the powerpoint can be found here: and is labeled "tone PPT"

Since there is a lot of text with each slide, I'm going to put "Dir" to stand for "directions" for what the teacher would say or do.

You can put these on overhead or write on board.

Post slide 1:
Don't Take That Tone With Me!
Dir. Ask studens what they think you thought you were feeling when you wrote this (anger). Ask them what they think you wer feeling if you told them you wrote this as the opening slide for a lesson on tone (witty).

Post Slide Two:
Tone: a guide to the literary element
Dir: Ask what they think you felt on this one (informative)

Post Slide 3:
Tone Sweet Tone
Dir: Ask what they think you felt on this one (witty)

Post Slide 4:
Tone: not THIS literary element again!
Dir: Ask what they think you felt on this one (frustrated)

Slide 5:
Tone, you already know it!
Dir: Discuss how all three of these gave the same information, the PPT would be about tone, but it wasn't what you said, it was how you said it.

Post slide 6:
It's not WHAT we say, it's how we say it!
Dir: Poll class and ask if they have ever e-mailed or texted someone meaning the words one way, but the person took it the wrong way.

Post slide 7:
When it comes to your e-mails you don't have the tone of your voice -- so those on the other side of the screen will read tone into your e-mail based on the efforts you make, the formatting you integrate and the words you choose to use.
Dir: Ask class when they think tone will be important for them (hopefully you make real world connections.

Post Slide 8:
Real Life example: A job candidate came into town to interview for a faculty position. The faculty member responsible for organizing a meet-and-greet dinner sent around an e-mail invitation that read "talking to the candidate is not required; just don't embarrass us."
Dir: Discuss how this was meant to be a joke.

Post slide 9:
Here's Another One: Betty, hi,
I haven't been successful reaching you by phone, so I'll try e-mail instead.
Dir: Ask students how they think the person reading this took it. Turns out she thought it was a critisim about how she refused to answer phone calls, but it wasn't meant that way at all!

post slide 10:
Fold your paper like a hotdog and then like a hamburger so you create quadrants on your page
Open up the quadrants and pick 4 tone words from your list (the more different they are, the better). Put the one tone word at the top of each quadrant.
Dir: Have students follow directions using a class set of tone words

Post Slide 11:
In each of the quadrants you are going to reply to a Dear Abby question.
Take on the tone of that quadrant, giving advice to the exact same answer, but with a different tone
Dir: The Teacher will do one as an example first.

Post slide 12:
Dear Abby/Andy,
I'm trying to decide what elective to take in high school. My parents think I should do Spanish because it will be useful, but I really want to do art because I like it. We've agreed to go with whatever decision you make. So what do you think?
- electing to do with your decision

Post slide 13:
Dear Elect,
I remember when I was your age, I too had a passion, a dream I wished to follow. My parents wanted me to join band, but my heart lay in the world of theater. How I wished to grace the stage! To this day, playing the tuba has never satisfied me. I say follow your dreams and become an artist!
Your dramatically,
Dir: Ask student what tone you used.

Post slide 14: Dear Elect,
You do realize there are children starving in the Africa, right? Get over your boo hooing and just pick the foreign language so that way you can learn to whine in 23 other countries.
Dir: Ask what tone was used.

Post slide 15:
Dear Elect,
I know high school decision making can be very stressful, and I hope you end up being happy no matter what you do! Your parents have put you in a tight spot, but they only want what is best for you. Before you pull out your hair, I would suggest writing out a four year "game plan" with art as your elective. If you can show your parents there will be plenty of room in your schedule for Spanish later, I'm sure they will see your choice is a reasonable one.
Yours planningly,
Dir: Ask what tone is being used.

Post Slide 16:
Now You Try!
Dear Abby/Andy,
My best friend in the whole world is going to a different high school next year. She says we'll be BFFs, but I'm afraid not seeing her every day will make our friendship fade. How to I prevent this from happening?
-Missing my friend already

Dir: Have students write responses to this questions.

Post slide 17 and give time for sharing:
Get into groups of three.
Read one of your quadrants. See if your group members can figure out the tone (tone words that are synonyms count! Ex. If your tone word is "enraged" and a group member says "angry" they get a point!)
If they can't figure it out, tell them the four tone words you used.
Take turns rotating who read a quadrant.
Scoring: 1 point if you guess the tone of the response. 1 point if someone can figure out your tone without needing the four tone words.

Dir: You can finish with reading a class set of something and discuss the tone used by the author.