Topic: Theme, Mood, and Tone




Poetry and literary devices


10th Grade Academic English class


1.  Students will understand the difference between mood, theme, tone, and literal and figurative meanings of Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night” by listening to a dramatic playing, discussing with their peers, applying their own experiences, and creating meaning and connection to it. (comprehension, synthesis)

2.  Students will use this new knowledge to determine the mood, tone, theme, and literal and figurative meanings of Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall” for homework. (application)


Pennsylvania Academic Standards:

1.3.10.C: Analyze the use and effectiveness of literary elements (characterization, setting plot, theme, point of view, tone, mood, foreshadowing, and style) used by authors in a variety of genres.


Instructional Procedures:

1.  Pass out the worksheet with the poem “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost to the class.

2.  Play dramatic reading of the poem to the class.

        a. have students write down what they think the author’s attitude is when they are listening to the poem on the back of the sheet and/or what words stick out. Write them on the board

        b.I will read the poem a second time while the students are writing down the feelings they feel this time. Write what they describe on the board.

3.  Have a student volunteer to read the poem aloud again to the class.

        a. Form two groups and discuss what they think the poem means, what the author is trying to convey, and an alternate meaning. Come together and discuss as a class what the poem could mean literally and figuratively.

                i. ask the students what is happening literally

                ii. ask the students what they think the literal meaning could mean for the main character.

                iii. ask the students if they have any different ideas, and if they feel a connection to this poem in any way.

4.  Students form into pairs. Have the pairs discuss how the students relate to this poem. What specific experience does this trigger for you? Does this experience show you what this poem could mean, figuratively?

5.  Come together as a class and discuss what we already know - theme.

       a. Theme is a common thread or repeated idea throughout a work. So based on your personal experiences and what you think this poem means, what do you think the theme is? Have a couple students answer. (Don’t say yes OR no)

6.  Have some of the students share their personal experiences. Ask them to share what they personally felt during this time. Is it similar to what you wrote down on the back of the sheet the first time I read the poem aloud? How is it different? Is it different because of the experience you chose?

        a. Can a poem have different meanings to different people?

        b. Does it connect to the theme at all?

7.   Ask students what they think this means? What are all these feelings?

        a. Discover that MOOD is what they are describing. Mood is what you feel when reading a piece of writing.

                i. Now go back and decipher what is their mood and what they believe to be the author’s mood during the poem. Have the students name some of the author’s moods. What do they think this could be? Does this fit into another category? Is it the same as mood?

                        •  Describe that the author’s attitude is tone, and the reader’s feelings is mood.

1.  Ask the class what theme, mood, and tone is separately, asking for definitions.

        a. Why do they believe theme is what they say, asking for specific examples.

        b. Mood is what they feel, so what words in the poem make them feel this way?

        c. What makes them believe tone is what they say, asking for specific examples.


Strategies for Diverse Learners:

1.  Diverse learners benefit from seeing information in a number of different ways. In this case, all learners, including diverse learners, will be able to see and hear the poem be read dramatically, hear a student read it in the class, and be able to talk about the poem in groups. They will also have the poem typed in front of them.

2.  Diverse Learners learn better when the information being presented can be personally relatable, and in this lesson, I ask the students to think of a time that they can relate to this poem. Being able to think about a personal experience when talking about the poem’s theme, mood, and tone, will make it much easier to understand the concepts. Later, when using their new knowledge to determine theme, mood, and tone of another poem, the students may try to personally relate to it before determining them, which will make it easier for them.

Evaluation Procedures:

1.  Students will have the opportunity to participate throughout the entire class and share what they know.

2.  I will be questioning the class very frequently. Their answers will show me whether they are using prior knowledge, from class and their experiences, to answer the questions. Their answers will also tell me if they understand the new concepts and if they understand the difference between them.

3.  Group discussions, small and whole, will allow me to walk around the room, listening in on the students input. From this I will know if the students are constructing their own understanding of the poem.

4.  Exit slips will allow me to see what the students learned from the class that day.

5.  Their homework will be to do what we did with “Acquainted with the Night” with “Mending Wall,” which will show we if they can apply the knowledge they constructed today in another context.


1.  Dramatic reading of “Acquainted with the Night” on YouTube.

2. Worksheet with the poem written on it.