Yesterday in #tech4teens we played with words and we how meaning can dance to different rhythm as we use literal and figurative language. We twisted tongues and a thesaurus as we learned how connotative meaning can speed up the tempo of emotion.

Writers control the volume knob with mood and tone. Connotative meanings, an associated idea usually used to draw an emotional response mark the dial.

So today in camp we played with language by making connotative number lines and then crafting an extended multi-metaphor using google slides.

Warm Up

We first had to define metaphor. Our campers range from age eight to fifteen so we meet in the middle and push everyone with universal truths of good writing.  We asked students to prime the pump by responding the following prompt.

Pick a normal object and compare it to something else. Try to use a metaphor.

These examples flooded the Google doc.

  • The pillow was cotton candy under the girl’s head.
  • The artwork hanging in my room is a wished upon dream.
  • The stuffed bear’s brown fur reminded me of a soft rug whose wool was the color of dark chocolate.
  • My shoelaces are safety belts for my feet
  • My charger is a burst of energy.

I used the following:

Window shade. My cold shoulder to the world.

Window shade. An Opening to Possibilities

Playing With Meaning

We used these two metaphors to define what figurative language, connotative meaning meant.

We then explored how writers play with connotation to hack on the mood and tone of the piece. I asked students for a word and someone suggested beach. We went to Flickr picked a word and I came up with one poem with a happy mood using words with a positive tone and connotation and a sad mood using words with a negative poem and connotation.

Next students went into breakout rooms and had to do meaning number lines. Each group got a pair of opposites and had to determing a way to display to typed of data the opposites on a scale and the connotation on the scale. They created these

table of opposities of big and small

Multimedia Extended Metaphor Poems

Then to complete camp we jumped back to WalkMyWorld and learned about writing extended metaphor poems. First we defined target and source. Then we made a graphic organizer and made one row for each sense and then one row for the target and the source.

Students created a chart and some went and found an image. Others found an image first and went back and made a chart.

I demoed how to write the poem, We discussed how our font and color choices affect mood and tone as much as word choice. We also talked about the importance of framing when considering a background.

You make the image a background of thr slide. Your write the poem. You mess with your design. You download and publish to your website.

Again please do not tell the kids but some of the standards we hit:

Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.

Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending).

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.


Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Featured image “Words of a Feather” by -Jeffrey- is licensed under CC BY-ND

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