Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Setting the Mood and Tone...or at Least Identifying It

Prepare yourself for one seriously picture-heavy post!  I had way too much fun with this lesson and so did my students.  Not only did they enjoy it, but they did phenomenally well on their post test.  I would say that is a big, huge, GIGANTIC thumbs up to it all.  Oh and also?  Read all the way through because I'm finally sharing a bit of fun info from AAGT (local Arizona Gifted Education conference) that I attended a couple weeks back.

And I would like to thank Miss Nannini at YoungTeacherLove for posting her lesson on this exact skill because I was able to be inspired and applied pieces of her well-taught lesson and added elements to it that I knew would be successful for my group of kids.  Since I'm especially lacking in my creative side for anchor chart creating, I used hers to help me out.  We used a different book to practice mood and tone though so maybe others will get a kick out of it and like to use the mentor text I chose.  Enjoy!

I've mentioned before on the blog about how our district is still sticking with state standards for now. So, while Miss Nannini quoted the CCSS version, our Arizona version is more focused on intended effect (AKA mood and tone).  This is why I love Common Core...the language of our standards will be the same!  Now if only we could go ahead and jump in.  In the meantime, I'm trying to be patient.  No matter what, it was a whole lot easier to get my students to grasp onto intended effect by teaching them mood and tone.

Okay so...we always want to reel in our students' with a BIG hook whenever possible right?  Well, in this case, my team and I used music!  Thanks to one of my teammates and what I learned at the AAGT conference, I used YouTube to bring in lyrics and music to my classroom to help students get a feel for mood and tone.

After we put together the left side of the anchor chart you see above and chatted all about the difference between feelings and attitudes we jumped right in to the juicy stuff...the music!  Before I explain how I used three songs for the hook, let me give you a little heads up, especially if you decide to try this out in your own classroom...

While at the AAGT conference, I attended a session called, "Pop Culture in the Classroom," presented by DJ Graham.  Due to a huge need for differentiation in a Gifted classroom (a bit different than other populations) and the importance of pulling in the upper 2 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, he decided to tie it all together with how pop culture helps to make a connection between the students and teacher as well as making the material directly coincide with what is most relevant to our students today.

You MUST know, we as educators are allowed to use copyrighted video clips and music in our classroom under a fair use guideline, "Movies:  10% or 3 minutes (whichever is less)," and "Music: 10% or 30 seconds (whichever is least)" (from U.S. Copyright Office, 2009); (Harper, 2007).  Also, if you want to use music in your classroom for teaching purposes, you should definitely search You Tube first.  It is chock full of lyric videos...meaning only the lyrics play across the screen.  There is no music video to worry about or content kids shouldn't see.  Sure, you can print up the lyrics and have kids just read along as they listen to songs, but this is so much bigger for them!  Just do a search for any song and add "lyrics" to your search and you'll get exactly what you need.  As always, make sure you view the full video for content.

How did I bring this into my classroom for a lesson on mood and tone?  Like I said, one of my awesome teammates had the idea to play Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, Happy by Pharrell Williams, and Phantom of the Opera (from Broadway or the movie version).  Each one covers a super specific and obvious mood and tone.  I went straight to YouTube to find the lyric videos for these as soon as she mentioned she had played the songs for her kids...I wanted to step it up a notch!

My kids and I discussed how the lyrics truly set the mood (kind of like pictures in a picture book) and the actual background music sets the tone.

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

"...from the ice inside your soul," from Jar of Hearts

For your downloading pleasure (source):

Happy by Pharrell Williams

And here (below) is my favorite moment!  I danced around the room as this one was playing here and there.  But this student of mine couldn't help sitting in his seat any longer . He jumped up and started dancing right as I was taking this picture.  So, I of course danced over to him and we did a little bit of the "Carlton" and sung the song at each other.  Basically?  My kids immediately identified and felt the mood and tone so overwhelmingly, there was no question about it!

"...clap along if you feel happiness is the truth," from Happy

For your downloading pleasure (source):

Phantom of the Opera (movie version)

"...my power over you grows stronger yet," from Phantom of the Opera

For your downloading pleasure (source):

As I played the 30 second clips, students jotted down certain words or phrases they caught under a T-chart with mood and tone written at the top.  At the end of each clip, they did some quick Rally Robin style discussing, and we came back together as a class to share what we saw and heard.  It went swimmingly and they absolutely loooooooved it!

Once my kids felt confident identifying mood and tone within music and lyrics, we read The Dark by Lemony Snicket, together.  Through modeling, I made sure to inform them authors tend to repeat the same adjectives or phrases in order to make the audience feel and understand the mood and tone.

I was ecstatic to find my kids not only identified those key words, but they also figured out some really good ways to describe the mood and tone according to what they felt and were thinking exactly.  I recorded them on our anchor chart. They realized that not only was the dark meant to be creepy but they also felt surprised and relief at the ending.  Yessssss!!!

Pulling from Miss Nannini's lesson, she used the Aesop Fable, "The Ant and the Grasshopper" to assess her students and compare the mood and tone they read to what they saw in the Disney Silly Symphony version.  But, I decided to use this as their independent practice.  We watched a short clip near the end of the Disney video (downloaded from YouTube), meanwhile they jotted down any key words or phrases they noticed on a T-chart in their notebooks.

They used Close Reading strategies as they read "The Ant and the Grasshopper" text in order to locate those special key words and phrases that show mood and tone.  

I decided to have them write a descriptive paragraph with text-based evidence for that day's exit ticket to let me know the mood and tone (intended effect) of the fable.  

Have you taught mood and tone to your students yet?  What sort of ideas or strategies have worked well for them?