Lesson Plan

Author's tone

Help students realize what role tone plays in the overall feeling of an author's work.
Hollie B.
School district administrator
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
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Students will be able to...

Define tone.

Discuss the effect tone has ona piece of work, and how tone relates to an author's purpose.

Analyze how the interpretation of tone in a movie trailer can change an audience's perception of the tone of a piece of work.

English Language Arts
Grades 5 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

It grabs students' attention and makes them want to learn more.


Show students some move trailers, and ask them if the trailer wants to make them see the movie. If so, why? If no, why not? Try to steer the discussion to incorporate academic vocabulary, such as tone.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Conversing

Review the meaning of tone and what role it plays in an overall piece of work. Discuss examples students have already read, both in and out of class. Ask students to collaborate in small groups to summarize how they think tone and author's purpose work in tandem. Come back together as a whole group and discuss the groups' ideas.

3 Guided Practice

Ask students to read a short selection (as a PDF on notability, if possible), and in small groups have students identify the tone of the piece. Ask text-dependent questions, and require students to find the evidence to support their answers within the text itself (they could highlight in Notability). You can have all groups read the same text, or could differentiate and have each group read a leveled, short text. After discussing as a class, watch some sample misleading trailers (such as "The Shining" portrayed as a family film, or "Romeo and Juliet" portrayed as a romantic comedy, etc.)- and ask students to predict the tone of the text based on the movie trailer. This would be a great way to introduce a new text you are about to read- students could make predictions on the tone based on a misleading move trailer, then read the text and analyze if their predictions were right or wrong. If wrong, they could be prompted to discuss why, and how the make of the movie trailer used tone to completely change the perception of the text to mislead an audience.

4 Independent Practice

Free, Free to Try, Paid

Once students understand the importance of tone, they can work in small groups to create their own movie trailer on a text they've already read. They can show it to various people (teachers, other students) and ask the viewers to make predictions about what tone the text has.

5 Wrap-Up

Students can share their videos with the class by uploading them to the class google website.