Education Technology

NCTE: Exploring Denotation and Connotation

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will write definitions and connotations of four common words for themselves. They will examine how various common terms can have the same denotative meaning but completely different connotative meanings.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the LearningCheck™ App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Have the students write a brief description of their impression of the following words: love, school, summer, and family. Ask them to include what they think the word "means" as well as what specific images or feelings it conjures up for them.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the NoteFolio file(s) to your class using TI Connect™ and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Identify denotative and connotative meanings.
  • Examine possible effects of connotative meanings on an audience.
  • Analyze an image to determine connotative meanings.
  • Describe audiences that would recognize these connotations.
  • Identify and analyze connotative meanings of various terms depending on context.
  • Define connotation and denotation (with examples).
  • After the Activity

    Have students share their responses. Discuss the effects of connotation and denotation.