Digital Skills: Developing Online Assessment Skills in Everyday Classroom Activities Western Reserve Public Media
Students will determine whether words with similar definitions have a positive or negative connotation.
I can:

Determine a word’s connotation.

Tech Skills:
  • Keyboarding

The supplemental resource also utilizes the drag and drop tech skill.

Materials and Resources:

Printable worksheets for connotation and denotation here and here. The links are also in lesson plan.

Digital T-Chart

Teacher selected pairs of words

Teacher selected topics for student brainstorming


Grade Level:
  • 6th-8th Grade
Subject Area:
  • Language Arts

Activity 1

  • Depending on the age level of your students, introduce or review the concept that words with similar denotations, or definitions, can have different connotations, or associations.

    Try introducing or reviewing the concept with a video such as this one or this one

  • These connotations are generally positive or negative, though they can also be neutral.

  • Print students a copy of each of the printable worksheets to allow students to practice categorizing words as having positive or negative connotations.

    Printable 1

    Printable 2

  • Depending on the age level of your students, you may wish to complete one or both of the worksheets together. Alternately, you may allow students to work in groups or partners and then check over the work when finished



Activity 2

  • Direct students to the digital T-Chart.

  • Direct students to type their names and the date on the top of the page.

  • Next, direct students to type a label of positive connotations on the left column and negative connotations on the right column.

  • Provide students with several pairs of words, focusing on one pair at a time.

  • These words should be related to a similar topic, such as personality traits. They should have similar denotations, or definitions, but a clearly positive or negative connotation.

    For example: bossy and leader

  • For each pair of words, students should be able to identify one that is positive and one that is negative.

  • Allow students time to type the pair of words in the appropriate columns.

  • Continue with several more pairs of words.

  • When finished, allow students to print their T-charts and turn them in.

  • Alternately, you may wish to review the correct answers as a class and allow students to print their T-charts to keep for future reference.



Practice Activity

  • Break students into pairs or small groups.

  • Provide students with 1-3 topics to brainstorm related words.

    For example: Shopping

  • Ask students to make a list of related words.

    Students may create a list of words such as expensive, cheap, and thrifty.

  • Direct students to make another T-chart for each topic in which they sort their word lists into words with a positive or negative connotation.

  • Allow students to print and turn in their T-charts.

  • Alternately, you may wish to allow student pairs or groups to present their T-charts to the class as the basis for a whole class discussion.


Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).

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

Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute).

Supplementary Resources:

This drag and drop activity from Read Write Think allows students to choose a concept and then organize words along a positive and negative axis.

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