This past week, I taught a few lessons and Tone and Mood for an 8th grade class. In my opinion, these two literary elements are abstract and challenging to teach because they require us to step back and think out of the box. Fortunately, as educators we have access to resources other educators and edutech entities design and make available for us to use with young minds.
In an effort to make the lessons with the videos more engaging, I copied the questions into a Jamboard documents, Tone and Mood, where the kids would talk to their buddy working partner, discuss the question to find the correct answer together. They then marked the correct answer in their own individual Jamboard document. Two immediate things happen here, students can easily read the questions, answer options and actively participate in their own digital copy. Students can later refer back to their annotated digital documents for use during their individual work time and assessment tasks.
The best part is that the classroom teacher and students explore writing their own pieces applying the target skills. In the spirit of the National Writing Project, I give us all 8 minutes to draft a piece, then share our lines with the whole class and then give us more time to write. I tend to ask the kids, “should we write for 4 or 5 additional minutes?” Surprisingly, they say “five, five more minutes.” The room becomes silent and students enthusiastically concentrate in finding words to add to their work-in-progress drafts.
Here are my drafts as a teacher writer.
This Sunday, I woke up very early because I wanted to go running before 8AM. As I walked into the park, what did I see? A sparrow on top of the park sign. It looked all puffy, fat and proud with its chest all out. Its head looked all tiny compared to its body and skinny short legs.
Mood and Tone
A young lively teenager lived with her sister and parents in a two adobe story house near a deserted land full of huge boulder rocks. The temperature in that city is dry, arid and treeless. It’s known that scorpions creep under the rocks and occasionally visit the neighboring houses. They cling against the house walls minding the business of the householders. They think to themselves about the moving characters, “what secrets do you hold I get to watch?”