Monday, February 23, 2015

Teaching Author's Mood

This past week I focused on teaching Author's mood.

We started with reading a few stories that have a change in mood somewhere within the story/passage. I noticed that some of the students were having a bit of trouble thinking of words to describe the mood of the passage. I call these "mood words"while I am teaching. In order to expand their "mood word" vocabulary, I decided to make a list for the projector board so that they could refer to it during our next activity. You'll find the list in a PDF at the end of this blog post; however, you can also see it below :)
(the PDF includes Author's Tone words, as well)

As I had this list displayed, I had my students take a look at it and ask about any words they felt that they were not familiar with (nostalgic, for example, was a common one). We discussed these words so that the students would be able to use them in our next activity. 

I now had my students split their paper into 6 different boxes and we did the most fun thing ever..... listened to music!

My class was super excited about this! The objective - jot down the song title, listen to the song, and write down "mood words" in the box that you feel apply to the song being played. I then had the students separate into small groups of 2 or 3 and create a mini-poster for their song. (I assigned a song, which was previously played in our activity, to each group). Below are a couple of examples of my students' posters they created after listening to their songs. The song is in the caption below the picture if you can't tell based on their poster, haha!

"Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson

"Dream Big" by Ryan Shupe

All of the posters on our Super Work board ... The Mood of Music!

I know it is SO hard to find music that works in a classroom...appropriate music! Appropriate music that also appeals to our students is almost unheard of! I gathered a list of a few I really love!

Continuing the week with the same skill...

As we continued our week of Author's Mood, I had a new activity for the students. Now that they practiced using all of these new "mood words", I wanted them to show me that they could write with the words. I printed out a bunch of photos and/or quotes from Google (you will find my collection of photos attached below in the PDF) and gave one to each student, randomly. The students had to think about the mood the artist or author of the picture/quote was trying to express and then write about it. I wanted them to come up with more than one mood expressed by the picture/quote.

I handed out one to each random

Then the students wrote their rough drafts. Once they had a few friends edit their work, they wrote their final copies on this little paper I printed out.

The picked their construction paper colors - also based on the "mood" of their quote or picture.
(For example, they should not pick pink or yellow if the picture is grim or sad.)

 Below are some examples of the completed work: 
I typed what they say below some of them, just in case it is too blurry.

The mood of this artwork is cold. The man on the bench seems stressed and mad. No one else is there. Just him. Alone. There is not much light at all. He is lonely. All alone. 

I feel like the overall mood is sad and hopeless. I think it's sad and hopeless because everything is dark and dead. The clouds are dark and the trees are dead.

I feel that the overall mood of this artwork is calm, peaceful, and relaxing to me because you are riding  over the water through the sunset on a nice hot air balloon. When I see this picture I feel relaxed. I feel like I want to be on the hot air balloon, floating over the calm water into the sunset. You might even feel free and let go of all your stress and feel free. 

I feel that the overall mood of this quote is confident. I think that this quote has a confident mood because it is telling you to get dressed up and live life the way you want to live it. Other moods for this quote are powerful and relaxed. I think this also goes because it's telling you to have fun and relax. Anyone who reads this will want to relax and have fun.

When I look at my picture the overall mood feels playful because the frogs look like they're friendly and they want to play around. Other moods you might have [are] silly, happy, [and] calm. You might think happy because this whole picture has many different colors. It's colorful. This is the mood my picture makes me feel.

The overall quote is sorrow. Sorrow means sad. I know this because it says tears and when you have tears you cry. Another mood is lonely. I know that because the author is talking to a pillow.

I feel that this activity suited my purpose because the students used the new vocabulary words I wanted them to use. They really seemed to use them successfully. I was really proud of them! 

Keep in mind I used all of these activities along with the regular passage readings we use for reading practice. These activities alone will not teach students how to find the mood of a reading passage; however, I really feel that they broadened the students' knowledge of different words to express mood. They did a really great job with our reading passages after these lessons, and it made them love picking the mood of a reading!


  1. What a great activity! Thank you for the thorough explanation and for sharing your materials

  2. Thank you this is an awesome resource!

  3. Thank you for sharing your great work and this wonderful lesson! Going to work it into my plans this week. I am using it along with our novel we are reading, A Long Walk to Water, but I will also use the picture book Hannah and the Homunculus by Kurt Hassler. Have you read this title? There are amazing mood words in the story that I had not thought of until I read your lesson. The story also discusses the power of words in general.