ALEX Lesson Plan


Hey, dude, watch your tone! Introducing the literary element of tone.

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Natasha Flowers
System: Leeds City
School: Leeds City Board of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33153


Hey, dude, watch your tone! Introducing the literary element of tone.


Lesson to introduce the literary element of tone. The lesson will also allow students to apply their knowledge of mood and audience to determine the tone of a text.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (7)
1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.7.1]
ELA2015 (7)
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. [RL.7.4]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

I can use text evidence to interpret the tone of a poem/text.

I can define mood and tone.

I can apply knowledge of word choice and audience to determine tone.


Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Poems appropriate for grade level. This lesson will use the poetry books The Way A Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith and I Never Said I Wasn't Difficult Sarah Holbrook.

Anchor Chart and markers

Tone Tracker graphic organizer


Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive white boards or computer and projector.


Students should already know the definition of and be able to identify the mood of a text.

Students should be familiar with collaborating with a partner.

Teacher should make copies of the poems "Not Today" for each student.

Also make copies of more of the poems by Hope Anita Smith and Sara Holbrook poems you wish to use with this lesson.



Before- Activate Prior Knowledge -10 minutes

1. Use  Literary Elements of Style, Tone and Mood PowerPoint to review the definition of mood. Do not go through the entire slideshow. You will only need to view the slides pertaining to mood. 

Styles-Tone-Mood Presentation

2.  Give students a copy of the Literary Devices pdf to review the definition of mood.

3.  After reviewing the definition, ask students to put the handout away for now.

4.  Tell students to take out a sheet of paper and fold it in half. This will quickly create a t-chart.

5.  At the top of the page have them put the definition for mood in their own words.

Label the left side of the paper Mood Is... 

Label the right side of the paper Mood Is NOT...

6.  Ask students to get with their thinking partner to come up with three examples and three non-examples of mood.

Transition: Mood is a literary device writer's use to set the atmosphere of the prose or poetry. It also an important part of understanding how the author and/or narrator feels about the subject of the text. In other words, mood helps us figure out the tone of the piece.

7.  Play the tone slides of the Literary Devices PowerPoint.

8.  After viewing and discussing the tone slides, tell students to turn their Mood t-chart over. 

9.  As a class, put the definition of tone in your own words. Take several examples from different students. Ask- what information in the original definition (from the slides) helped you? Help students formulate a "working definition" of tone.

9.  After the discussion record the definition at the top of the page.

10.  Next lead students in a discussion to develop examples of what tone is. Record those on the Is side of the chart.

11.  Finally talk about the non-examples of tone. Record these on the Is NOT side. Tip: you may find it easier for students to discuss what tone is NOT first. 

Looking at Tone in Poetry.

Use the poem "Not Today" by Hope Anita Smith. It is in the book The Way A Door Closes.

Remember you can use any poem, but this lesson features the work of Smith.

I Do ( Teacher model phase)

1. Read the poem aloud. 

2. Use the guiding questions on the graphic organizer to help you think through the process of determining the author or narrator's tone. You will find additional questions you can use to develop your think aloud listed beneath each focus question.

Focus Questions /Tasks
1. Who or what is the subject of the poem?

a. What does the poem seem to be mostly about? Is something discussed or described repeatedly or in great detail?

2. Determine the overall mood of the poem. Jot down the words or phrases that support your answer.

a. What emotion are you feeling now? 

b. What are your connections to this subject matter?

3. Study the word choice. Does the poet use positive or negative connotations or meanings of words?

a. Does this word or phrase hurt or help my opinion of the subject matter?

b.Would I want this word or phrase said about me or my experiences?

4. Read the poem again. Who do think the intended audience is? What makes you believe this?

a. It seems like the author is talking to ...

b. Who needs to hear this information?

There is a completed graphic organizer for the poem "Not Today" you can use as an example.  

Record your answers and display them as a model for students.

We Do and Y'all Do

Select another poem. Pass out copies of poem and blank graphic organizer to each student.

Repeat steps. Use the focus questions and the additional think aloud questions to guide students through this process.

As partners are working, circulate and confer. 

Look-Fors check for these things to see if students are "getting" the lesson.

1. Student discussions include relevant connections to the words and subject matter of the poem.

2. Students are recording "moods" that make sense.

3. Can reasonably defend their choice of audience.

Transition: Mood and tone are often thought to be synonyms because they are dependent on each other. So please remember these are two distinct literary elements. 


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Assessment Strategies

Ask students to take out their independent reading book and a sheet of paper. Have them respond to the following prompt:

So far what would you say the author's tone is toward the subject matter or topic of your book?

You may substitute the book with another poem from Smith or Holbrook. 


Students can view artwork and determine the artist tone. The artwork at is created by students here in Alabama. You can also find artwork created by students from around the world.

After viewing the paintings, students would answer the following questions:

1. What is the subject matter?

2. What is the overall mood of the artwork? 

a. How does the artist use color, light, and space to evoke or create this mood?

3. Who should see this work of art? Why?



Students can listen to picture books read aloud online at and complete the graphic organizer.

You could also pre-teach each part of the graphic organizer on seprate days before doing this lesson.


Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.