Tablet on top of stacked books

There’s No Place Like Tone: Using the Thesaurus to Teach Denotation and Connotation

Dear Dr. Louis,

“Quick question — I was just reviewing my notes from the webinars and remember that at one point, an online dictionary/thesaurus was referenced for the term ‘left out’ that helped students consider word choice that held the same tone or connotation. I don’t seem to have written down the resource/website. It was very easy to navigate so would love to be sure we have that noted. Can you help?” — Joan

Dear Joan,

Sure! I referenced two: visualthesaurus.com and dictionary.com. I love visualthesaurus.com for many reasons. I especially like it because of its audio capability for ELL students, its multi-dimensional purposes in teaching denotation and connotation, and its visual aesthetics. The other one is dictionary.com. Many teachers use it, and it has some super qualities: when you get there, select the <Thesaurus.> tab. You’ll see wonderful tabs that delineate the word or phrase for different denotations and connotations!

And remember, one of the greatest skills a student can develop is the understanding of tone in a reading passage. By understanding the tone of a passage, a student can explain how the concrete details and the tone conveyed by those details contribute to the overall meaning of a passage. Come to our Back-to-Basics training. There’s No Place like Tone!

Keep reading and writing!

Best regards,

Dr. Louis

Dr. Deborah E. Louis

Ph.D. in Humanities

Dr. Deborah E. Louis' passion for educational excellence began as a classroom teacher. For sixteen years, Deborah taught On-level, Pre-AP®, and Advanced Placement® English Language Arts to secondary students of diverse ethnicities and learning styles. In 2010, Deborah purchased the Jane Schaffer Writing Program®, and along with her non-profit organization, Center for Educational ReVision (CerV®), her goal and that of her national team of experts is to provide the highest quality professional learning and mentoring to teachers in the areas of writing, advanced academics, high-stakes testing, and educational technology. Through webinars, workshops, job-embedded training, and teaching materials, Deborah strives to ReVision the educational system, combining traditional and flipped approaches to professional learning for teachers of grades K-12; and differentiating for Special Education, English Language Learners, and Gifted and Talented. Although her mission takes her all over the United States and abroad, Deborah lives in Dallas, Texas USA. She loves music, dancing, archetypal psychology, and continuous learning opportunities.