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Teaching Tone and Mood

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Keywords: Flip Video, Tone and Mood, Language Arts, English, Social Studies
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Reading, English/Language Arts, Drama
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Ambridge Area High School, Ambridge, PA
Planned By: Lauren Taormina
Original Author: Lauren Taormina, Ambridge

-TSW will identify the tone in a text.
-TSW identify the mood in a text.
-TSW work cooperatively with a group.
-TSW film and edit a documentary.
-TSW demonstrate tone and mood through their acting and choice of music.


***Prior to starting this project, students were taught the difference between tone and mood and had practiced identifying the tone and mood in various texts.

Day 1:
-Put students into groups (I used small groups of two to three students).
-Assign each group a chapter or section from a book or novel that the class had recently read.
-Describe the project:
-Each group will create a documentary where they play the role of the main characters from the book or novel that they just read. In the documentary, the actors and actresses will be describing to the audience what events had just occurred in their lives. To demonstrate what this, I then showed a video clip from "Survivor" which airs on CBS so the students could see how on reality shows the people on the show often sit down and describe the events that recently occurred. The documentary that the students create is to be modeled after a reality show interview. I then describe to the students the storyboard, script, and filming and editing of a video that each group will be required to complete.

Days 2-4
-The students spend these first few days completing the storyboard. I created a storyboard template using Adobe Reader 9. On the storyboard, students planned out their project. They had to decide who was going to act and who would direct and edit. They had to write a detailed summary of their assigned chapter. They then created a title for their movie and selected a song that were both reflective of the tone and mood of the chapter. When selecting a song, the students had to find the proper copyright information so that they could include it in the ending credits of their movie.

Days 5-8
-The next step is for the students to write a script that stars the main characters from their assigned chapter describing the events that happened after they occurred. The script must reflect the tone and mood from the chapter.

Days 9-10
-The students spent these days filming their videos using the Flip Video cameras. Their acting needed to demonstrate the tone and mood of the chapter they were presenting. Considering the length of the chapters my students would be presenting, I required the final video to be between three and five minutes in length.

Days 11-15
-This was the final step of the project. Students spend this time editing their videos. They were required to have opening and closing credits. (The opening credits included the name of the chapter they were presenting and the title they had created for their movie. The closing credits had to include the names of the actors, actresses, and director and the proper copyright information for the song or songs they selected to use in their movie.) At some point in the video, they had to have a song playing that was appropriate and went along with the tone and mood of the chapter. They could play it during the credits, in the background during certain parts of the interview, or wherever it fit appropriately in the video. Most of the students used Windows Movie Maker, although some groups chose to use other video editing programs.

Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

Methods of Evaluation:


-Always allow extra time for any technological difficulties that may arise!
-I think this project could be modified to fit a social studies or history class. Students could complete this same style of documentary after learning about important people in the community or throughout history.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
-In a music class, students could create their own music to be used in the video.
-In an art class, students could create props to use in the video.
-Students write an essay in which they constructively critique the finished movies.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Flip Video, Projectors, Projector Screens, Headsets, English/Language Arts, Word Processor, Worksheets
Other Items: 1 Windows Movie Maker, $Free Download each