Tone Analysis Through Music and Nonfiction: Watch Your Tone

Identifying the tone of a piece of writing or the author's attitude toward the subject matter can be difficult for learners. Simplify the process with a lesson that begins with skits, moves to songs and their lyrics, and then to passages of written text. In each case, groups identify keywords that create the tone. Finally, class members demonstrate what they have learned by identifying the keywords that create the tone in Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

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Instructional Ideas
  • To begin the lesson, provide several class members with rulers and assign each a rhythm to tap out that they feel represents a different tone (joyful, sad, angry, happy, lively, etc)
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires extra prep time to collect and copy required materials
Pros
  • The resource includes a list of tone words, a rubric for the essay, and teacher tips for each part of the lesson
  • The lesson is carefully scaffolded so that all learners can successfully complete the exercises
Cons
  • None