School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 5

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 4. Analyze elements of poetry to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Objective d. Identify and explain other poetic elements such as setting, mood, tone, etc., that contribute to meaning


Prior to this activity the teacher should select a series of poems that have distinct settings and then find a picture of a setting that matches or nearly matches the setting of the poem. To begin, the teacher will read aloud one of the selected poems and then show students the picture that matches the setting. With teacher guidance students should select words, phrases, or lines of the poem that are reflected in the picture. Next the teacher should display the remaining pictures, perhaps including some pictures that do not match any setting in the poems. Students should read the next poem and then select the matching picture again finding words, phrases, or lines of poetry that are reflected in the picture.


Each student will need a disposable copy of an age appropriate poem where a distinctive setting and mood are present and two different colored highlighters. Teacher and students should read the selected poem aloud and discuss the general meaning of the poem. Next, with teacher guidance, students should highlight details in the poem that address the setting. Then using a different colored highlighter students should highlight details in the poem that reflect the mood. Finally, teacher and students should discuss the elements of setting and mood in the poem, whether or not they match, and how their match or mismatch affects a reader's understanding of the poem.


To introduce students to mood in poetry, the teacher should play a variety of musical selections and have students respond to them by telling how the music made them feel. Next the teacher should read aloud a poem that has been selected for its distinctive mood and then play a musical selection that reflects the mood of the poem. With the assistance of the music, students should be able to identify the mood of the poem and select from it words, phrases, or lines of poetry that reflect the mood. Finally, teacher and students should read an additional poem, again selected for a distinctive mood. This time the teacher will play three musical selections and have students determine which selection best reflects the mood of the poem. Students should be able to isolate words, phrases, and lines of poetry that reflect the mood of the poem and match the mood of the music.


The teacher will give students copies of a narrative poem that has a dominant mood. Working in small groups, students will read the poem and identify its mood. For younger or struggling students, the teacher can provide a list of words that would describe a mood from which they can make a selection. Once students have identified the mood, they will need to find text support for their selection and explain why that mood is appropriate to that poem. These details can be recorded on a chart like the one below. After the chart is complete, students and teacher should discuss their findings.

Title of Poem Identified Mood
Text Support Explanation of Text


After multiple readings of a narrative poem, the teacher will give students a chart where the first column, which is lines from the poem, is already complete. Then students will analyze each given line to determine whether the line reflects elements of setting, mood, tone, or a combination of elements. Students may work on this individually, with a partner, or in a small group. When the chart has been completed, teacher and students should discuss the details.

Lines from Poem This line reflects setting because This line reflects mood because This line reflects tone because This line is a combination of elements because


The teacher and students should read the Langston Hughes's poem "Mother to Son" and discuss how Hughes felt about perseverance and hard work. Students will return to the poem and find words and phrases that support Hughes's feelings. The teacher will explain that those words reflect the poet's tone or attitude toward perseverance and hard work. Next, the teacher will place students in small groups and give them an additional poem where the tone is distinctive. Some suggestions are Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and John McL's "There's This That I Like About Hockey, My Lad." Students will follow the same procedure by isolating words and phrases that reflect the author's tone toward his subject. Class discussion will determine the accuracy of student responses. An extension of this activity is to have students complete an "I am…" poem that will help them define the author's tone. Any combination of the lines below will assist students in defining tone.

I am (name of character in the poem)

I am (two qualities of the character)
I wonder (something the character is curious about)
I hear (an imaginary or actual sound the character hears or would have heard)
I see (an imaginary or actual sight the character sees or would have seen)
I want (a desire of the character)
I am (name of the character)
I pretend (something the character would want)
I feel (actual emotions or physical feelings)
I touch (a tangible or metaphorical object)
I worry (a concern the character has)
I cry (about something, for something, someone)
I am (name of the character)
I understand (something the character comprehends)
I say (something the character has said)
I dream (something the character wants to happen)
I try (something the character attempts to do)
I hope (a wish or belief the character has)
I am (name of the character)
Resources for Objective 3.A.4.d:
LESSON SEEDS | Sample Assessments | Advanced/G-T |