Denotations & Connotations

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The lesson begins by introducing your students to the vocabulary to help them identify the “shades of meaning” of words, such as denotations and connotations.  The lesson then expands upon these concepts and requires the students to deepen their understanding of connotations so they are able to use them correctly and effectively in their writing.  Most students use them without realizing it, whether in listening to the opinions of others, or the words they use themselves each day in conversations.

Denotations & Connotations Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Denotations & Connotations
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson begins by introducing your students to vocabulary to help them identify the “shades of meaning” of words, such as denotations and connotations.  The lesson then expands upon these concepts and requires the students to deepen their understanding of connotations so they are able to use them correctly and effectively in their writing.  Most students use them without realizing it, whether in listening to the opinions of others, or the words they use themselves each day in a conversation.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display the following words: Talkative, Conversational, Chatty, Nosy.  Ask students:  What do you think about when you see or hear each of these words?  How do you feel when hearing them?  Do you think differently when you hear one word versus another?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students to give a dictionary definition of each word.  How are they different or the same?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce connotations and denotations.
  4. Distribute Connotations & Denotations content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Distribute colored pencils.  Allow sufficient time for images to be drawn or found on the Internet.  You may also add two other words to use.  Also, if necessary students may add a brief sentence.
  6. Once completed, allow students to share their work with the class, explaining the decision behind using the drawing or image for the word.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  9. In closing, ask: What word describes you?  Include the denotation of the word, plus an example of a positive, negative, and neutral connotation of the word.
  10. Give students scratch paper and access to a thesaurus, and time to define the word, along with connotations of its meaning.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5.C, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5.C, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5.C

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more language arts resources? Check out our other Language Arts Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Language Arts