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The Tone Map

The Tone Map

Author: Brian Mead

• Listen to poems being recited,with an ear to how the performer has adopted different tones of voice over the course of the performance.
• Mark, visually, where and when those shifts of tone occurred.
• Use a rich and varied tone vocabulary to name each shift in tone, looking up words you do not know
• Practice “mapping” a poem on your own, in a precise and nuanced way.
• Write instructions to a classmate on how he or she should recite the poem, with evidence to support why
this series of tones of voice is correct.


In his introduction to the Poetry Out Loud CD (track 2, “The Power of Poetry”), NEA Chairman Dana Gioia
says that reciting poetry, and listening to others recite it, can train our “emotional intelligence.” Later, in track
30, Gioia points out that most poems tell a “narrative of emotions”: that is, they move through a series of
moods and tones of voice, arranged in a particular order to tell a particular emotional story. Even when the
poem seems like a simple series of images, and even when we can’t say exactly what events took place in the
poem, there is usually an emotional drama playing out from the beginning of the poem, through the middle,
and into the end, as the poem tries to arrive at some emotional resolution.
As students learn to name the tones of voice that the poem moves through, they will learn to describe mixed
emotions,such as “sweet sorrow,” and to distinguish subtle shifts in tone and mood. They will build their
vocabulary of feeling, train their emotional intelligence, and prepare themselves to speak more accurately and
confidently about any piece of writing or work of art.
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Watch the video lessons, then do the assignment at the end of each video.  The final assignment is as the very end of this tutorial and is due to on our next class meeting.

The Tone Map - Part 1

This video is about how we can train our "emotional intelligence" among other things. Enjoy.


"Jenny Kissed Me" Tone Map

Download this to use for your first assignment.


The Tone Map - Part 2

Watch this after completing the first tone map of Jenny Kissed Me.

The Tone Map - Part 3

Your final assignment for the Tone Map: Use your chosen poem from the Poetry Out Loud anthology (the one you will recite in our classroom competition) and make a tone map.

This is due to by next class.

Final Assignment is due to