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Jessica Prestifilippo

9th Grade English

November 16. 2015
UNIT: Night by Elie Wiesel
LESSON TOPIC: Analyzing Diction
AIM QUESTION: How do authors use diction to convey meaning?
A. What LEARNING OBJECTIVES/ MAIN IDEAS do students need to know (maximum of 3)?
Students will be able to define diction.
Students will be able to explain why an author uses specific words and analyze how those choices affect
the text.
Students will be able to create found poetry using specific words from Elie Wiesels Night.
B. What COMMON CORE skills will be introduced or reinforced during this lesson?
RL 9.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and
connotative meanings, analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.
W 9.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are
appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
C. What academic and content specific VOCABULARY is introduced in this lesson?
Diction, Denotation, Connotation, Found Poetry
D. What materials (e.g., ACTIVITY SHEETS, etc.) will I present to students?
SMART Board, PowerPoint, Night by Elie Wiesel, Diction Handout
E. What activity, if any, will I use to settle students and establish a context (DO NOW)?
I will begin class, as usual, by asking students about their weekend. I anticipate that many will respond, as
usual, with good.
Scaffolding Sentences:
Try to replace good in these sentences:
That movie was good. That is a good portion of steak. Samantha is a good person. The afternoon
was good. Helping the homeless was a good way to spend my time yesterday.
Possible Answers: great, excellent, wonderful, awesome, amazing, fine, kind, suitable, moral, upstanding,
generous, enjoyable, lovely, delightful, sizable, worthwhile, admirable, best, brilliant, commendable,

extraordinary, exceptional, effective, fantastic, interesting, memorable, magnificent, outstanding, perfect,

remarkable, superior, compelling, masterful, notable, sensational, stellar, etc.
F. How will I open the lesson (MOTIVATION) and capture student interest?
After students have completed the Do Now, students will look at a comparison of the sentences:
o Samantha is a good person. Vs. Samantha is a moral person. Vs. Samantha is a
generous person. Vs. Samantha is a delightful person.
-How are the sentences different?
-Does one word work better than another in the sentence? Why?
-What does the word generous convey that good does not? What do you know about Samantha if the
sentence says that she is generous instead of good?
-What are the differences between saying someone is skinny vs. slender vs. emaciated? What
about ugly vs. unattractive vs. plain?
-We have been discussing the difference between denotation and connotation. Can someone define
denotation? Connotation?
Scaffolding Sentences:
-In slim vs. skinny vs. emaciated, the denotation for all three is thin.
-Can someone define denotation?
-The connotation changes with each of the words. Would you rather be called slim or skinny or
-Here the connotation is: slim = good looking/healthy size, skinny = pretty small/thin, emaciated = much
too thin, unhealthy, skeletal.
-Now can someone define connotation?
-If you were the author or the speaker, why would you choose to use certain words? Why say emaciated
instead of skinny?
-The decision about whether to use good or generous or moral or delightful refers to diction.
How can we define diction?
G. What additional INDIVIDUAL/TEAM/FULL CLASS ACTIVITIES will I use to help students
discover what they need to learn (suggest three)? If these are group activities, how will student
groups be organized?
1. After completing the Do Now, the Motivation, and determining a definition for diction, I will hand out
the Diction Worksheet and the class will discuss the definition and then relate it to Elie Wiesels Night.
-What have you noticed about Wiesels diction?
-What words does Wiesel use? What words does he repeat?
-How does Wiesel use figurative language?
-How does the text sound?
-Why does Wiesel make the specific diction choices that he does when writing Night?
-I will provide students with an example sentence starter to help them discuss diction.
-If we were speaking or writing about diction/word choice we would say, The author intentionally
chooses these words in order to
2. After discussing Wiesels specific diction choices, I will introduce found poetry by creating an example
as a class. I will ask students to use one of the quotes they found for homework and choose words that
jump out at them. These words can be the most meaningful or interesting. I will ask students for these
words and then I will write them on the board. I will include some of my words as well. I will create a two

line found poem as an example. I will then instruct students in how to create their own found poetry using
two pages from Night and ten free words of their choosing that they can add at any point in the poem.
3. Students will work in pairs to create their found poetry and I will circulate to provide assistance and
ensure that all students are working.
The lesson begins by activating students prior knowledge. Students must find synonyms for good. All
students, at all levels, can accomplish this activity by providing synonyms with various levels of
connotative difficulty. Furthermore, I have scaffolding questions that can aid students who are struggling
with the activity. Additionally, I have scaffolding questions to be used throughout discussion. Answers
will then build upon each other so that students can engage with more complex ideas once they are
prepared for those mental leaps. The lesson also begins with more general knowledge so that students can
look at the skill of pulling apart diction before dealing with Wiesels complex diction within Night.
Students will therefore have a basis of understanding before moving on to more complex thinking. Once
students have constructed their definitions of diction, denotation, and connotation, they will then receive a
handout with these definitions. This will aid my struggling readers and my students with IEPs so that they
have something to reference throughout the rest of the lesson. Throughout the lesson, the information will
be presented both verbally and visually to allow for multiple entry points into the material. After
discussion diction and looking at Wiesels specific word choice, students will gain first hand experience
with diction through the creation of found poetry. Such interactivity will require active engagement with
the concepts and the text. Furthermore, students will be grouped in heterogeneous pairs based on
academic ability so that struggling readers can work with stronger readers in sifting through the text for
words and phrases, and in constructing their poem.
I. What KEY questions (higher order thinking) will I ask to engage students in analysis and
-The decision about whether to use good or generous or moral or delightful refers to diction.
How can we define diction?
-What have you noticed about Wiesels diction?
-What words does Wiesel use? What words does he repeat?
-How does Wiesel use figurative language?
-How does the text sound?
-Why does Wiesel make the specific diction choices that he does when writing Night?
J. How will I ASSESS student mastery of the skills, content, and concepts taught in this lesson?
I will perform formative assessment as students answer the questions during the Do Now and Motivation,
as well as during the conversation about diction. Additionally, I will assess as students work in pairs to
create their found poems. Formal assessment will be based upon the completion of the found poetry
K. How will I bring the lesson to CLOSURE (SUMMARY QUESTION)?
Students will complete an exit slip on the bottom of the Diction Handout, by answering: What is one thing
you know today that you did not know yesterday? What is one thing that you do not completely

L. How will I reinforce and extend student learning?

1. CLASSROOM APPLICATIONS: If the class finishes early, students will share their poems with other
pairs and with the class as a whole.
2. ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES: Individual students who finish early can add additional lines to their
poems, and/or edit their poetry.
3. HOMEWORK: Students will continue reading Night, pages 29-47. They will write down quotes that
show how the Germans treated the Jews. Additionally, students will continue to memorize their poems.
M. What topics come next?
1. TOMORROW: Students will utilize their understanding of diction and word choice to look at the way
that Wiesel depicts dehumanization in Night.
2. DAY AFTER: Students will create a character map for Elie in Night so that they can analyze his
character and his transformation over the course of the memoir.