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EDGAR ALLAN POE:
An Author Unit
Language Arts Component of an Interdisciplinary Unit
by: Lisa M. Spereno
Language Arts Component
5 weeks

Unit Plan Overview

The unit plan I have created is a five-week author unit on Edgar Allan Poe, designed for an 8th-grade class. This unit would follow a unit on Charles Dickens and precede a unit on the Civil War. The purpose of this unit is to enrich the understanding of Poe’s literature in a more contextual light, one that allows students to explore the facets of Poe’s life, what impact world history may have had on him and his writing, and allow for synthesis and evaluation of specific reading and writing strategies and techniques that occur in Poe’s writing.

While this is a language arts component, I have included a "wish chart" (next page) of how a truly laterally-planned unit would work with this topic. This could be an interdisciplinary effort by several teachers constructing a theme around a specific topic in Poe literature, such as mysteries (science and math) or historical events (social studies, health, art).

My concentration is on the language arts aspect of the unit, and is more vertically structured, with lessons building on previous lessons to accomplish an end product. However, I believe that the individual lessons within the language arts component comprise an appropriate amount of instructions that fit the unit, and are not constrained to one type of instruction/learning or another. That I will further address in my instructional overview.
 


Unit Plan Goals

The following are the goals of this unit:

Instructional Overview
The unit I have designed is centered around a block-scheduled middle school, with classes that run approximately 100 minutes long. There are some ‘separation’ points or transitional points in the unit that could also accommodate regularly scheduled forty to forty-five minute classes.

What I am accomplishing in the English Language Arts component of this unit is not simply a five week read along or read aloud of Edgar Allan Poe, but a study in the value and importance of the literary style Poe created and how it shaped the literature world as well as the future of literature, entertainment, and media. I wanted activities that would make learning about him more interesting, more relevant, and more fun. I wanted to build upon lessons for retention of knowledge and comprehension, and I also wanted to give the students enough opportunities to actively participate in creative, hands-on activities. I wanted these activities to allow students to further their critical thinking skills through analysis, synthesis, and self-evaluation. Block scheduling is a large period of time to try and keep 8th graders on task and in the reality of the course content, so even though I did stick with the Bloom’s taxonomy progression of learning skills, I tried to incorporate the affective domain and the psychomotor domain in some of the lesson objectives.

There is a lot of reading and being read to (and of course this is an English class), and I have tried to intersperse technology and computer learning to liven up the

introductory part of the unit. Many students today are at least passingly familiar with the Internet and search engines, and I inserted a class on looking up given URLs and searching for information to use with a timeline activity to break the monotony of information. This of course would be a monitored lesson, and would have technical support introduced and available to them during the class block. This would be more of a direct instruction activity, but would take place in a learning-center environment and I think would maximize student involvement and interest in the unit.

After the introductory lessons on Poe, his life, and historical events taking place in America and in the world in the early nineteenth century, there are three main short stories that the class will read together: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Pit and the Pendulum. I will also read aloud The Case of M. Valdemar, The Cask of Amontillado, and the poem "The Raven" to give students the chance to examine Poe’s literary motifs and to become familiar with his style.

The story reading lessons will incorporate deductive and inductive learning and instruction. Some of the information will be provided for the students as an attention-getter, but most of this time will be spent allowing the students to hone in on their interpretive and analytical skills.

I really want to incorporate a sample of writings from Irish writer Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, and the remnants of slave ghost stories and Native American folktales to serve as a cultural comparison to Poe’s genre and originality. I want to incorporate some type of multicultural springboard that enhances students’ awareness of other culture’s literature from the time period and also allows students to tangibly examine literature that was not

all white European male. This is the one part of the unit that, unfortunately, is expendable for this particular plan. There may not be enough time to cover such ground, and my other concern is that it wouldn’t be fair to try and rush through a week of minority literature when I may be able to incorporate another unit devoted to the subject itself. I am still working on this part of the unit, trying to promote a multicultural, anti-bias, and culturally relevant approach without making it seem rushed or out of context.

Finally, I included the mask-making component as a way of tying together several themes that run through Poe, from overtones of death to symbolism to recurring literary devices to distorted realities. This is one of several cooperative learning activities that I included to get the students talking, working with each other, and promoting peer and self-evaluation in the classroom. Students can develop their critical thinking skills creatively and put nonverbal emotions and expressions into something solid and real and presentable. There is more indirect instruction taking place during this activity, as students make their way from the specific task of mask-making to the general concepts of what masks in society stand for and can be interpreted for their meaning.

In taking a look at the instructions I would use throughout this unit, I cannot say I would be more direct or indirect; I think a healthy mix of the two is probably the best, and I definitely believe that the use of student ownership via cooperative learning activities and simply allowing them to talk, to construct meanings and not be afraid to be right or "wrong" would guide me in improving upon my instruction and the unit plan as a whole.
 
 


Unit Plan Visual Representation

Unit Plan: Author Unit, Edgar Allan Poe
Grade Level: 8th
Content: English Language Arts

Individual Class Time: 100-minute blocks, 2 or 3 times per week

Overall Class Time: 13 block periods, about 5 weeks
 
Chronology
Notes/Assessment
Activity/Plan
Day One

(Week 1)

Handout: historical events from 1800-1850 in America and around the world

Student Self-Evaluation Worksheet

Reflective entry in writing journal (ungraded)

Intro Unit American/European/World events

Timeline (visual/linear); Cooperative learning groups

Day Two Criteria for timeline

Learning center activity in computer lab

Computer lab; work on Internet resources; print pages
Day Three Timelines due – group Complete timelines; present timelines; take pictures with digital camera to distribute individually to each group member

HW: begin reading The Tell-Tale Heart

Day Four

(Week 2)

Cloze worksheet (20 pts.) on Tell-Tale Heart Hand out timeline pictures 

Read aloud: Cask of Amontillado

Vocab: Tell-Tale Heart (TTH); have students volunteer to read TTH aloud; complete Cloze worksheet; collect

HW: read The Pit & the Pendulum (P&P)

Day Five Video

Handouts on ending re-write: draft and final copy

Handout on literary terms (refresher from 7th grade)

Vocab: P&P

Watch animated video of P&P

Directions on how to do draft of ending rewrite; Time to do handout on literary terms and go over

HW: Rough draft 

Day Six

(Week 3)

Draft due

Checklist for what to look for in the draft

Writing journal activity

Read aloud The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar; 5-minute freewrite on reaction in reading journals; begin The Masque of the Red Death (MRD)

Discuss endings/style 

Work on revision of first draft (peer critiquing using checklist) in coop. learning groups

HW: Revision of first draft

Day Seven Graphic organizer for completion of ending rewrite to P&P

Rubric on what’s expected in final rewrite 

Handout on questions to think about for MRD (review purposes)

Vocab: MRD

Finish reading MRD in class, students volunteer to read orally

Coop. learning groups to go over questions to think about; discuss as a large group after 15 or 20 minutes

HW: Final ending rewrite 

Day Eight Rubric for final ending rewrite (25 pts)

Three photocopied short stories/poems by minority authors

Worksheet with guided questions for three stories

Collect final copy of ending rewrite for P&P

Cooperative learning groups – with worksheet; have groups read at least one of the stories in class; freewrite in reading journal on aspects that may be the same or different from Poe’s pieces (literary devices, genre, styles, etc.); discuss in groups

Day Nine

(Week Four)

Character Dialogue

Quiz (matching, short-answer- 10 pts)

Presentation rubric

Read aloud "The Raven"

Character Dialogue assignment; cooperative learning groups; "interviews"

Quiz on literary devices used in Poe’s stories

HW: Work on character dialogue

Day Ten Character Dialogue group presentations (25 pts)
 
 

Character dialogue group presentations

Set-up for mask activity: What is symbolism? Why do people use masks? Etc.

Day Eleven

(Week Five)

Videos & accompanying books/comic books

Papier mache materials

Demonstration on how to make papier-mache masks

Writing journal activity

Mask presentation rubric

Watch video – MRD; also, clips of videos depicting masks in society: Mardi Gras, rock groups (KISS, Twisted Sister, Gwar), Halloween, Amadeus, Mask, The Man in the Iron Mask; also, comic books (Spiderman, Power Rangers, etc.)

Begin making masks: display emotion or what is hiding?

HW: Writing journal entry: describe why mask looks like it does/what it is portraying

Day Twelve Papier mache materials

Present masks (20 pts.)

Display case/items to hang masks around room

Finish masks

Brief presentations

Day Thirteen Final Test on Poe (100 pts)

Test Blueprint 

Test: Vocabulary, Short-Answer, Essay

Assessment Techniques

First of all, I want to point out that I attempted to create a unit plan in which assessment was ongoing. I don’t think assessment culminating in an exam regurgitating five-week-old material is the easiest or the most helpful way for students to learn (even though I do include one in this plan! – I should clarify by saying that I don’t think it’s the only way to assess student performance or production!). Therefore, assessment really did guide much of my unit plan.

At the very beginning of the unit plan, there is a self-evaluation checklist for the student’s use. This is basically a checklist of unit requirements that the student can mark off if it was done or not, and provide any comments. At the bottom of the checklist is a place for the student to write in the grade he or she believe they deserve. When they receive their final grade, if it varies from what they predicted they were going to get, then there can be a personal conference to discuss how my checklist (which is identical to the student’s) differs from theirs. Students may also request personal conferences at any point during the unit to discuss how they are doing and ask any questions relevant to the material.

Students are set up in cooperative learning groups at several points during the unit (timelines, drafts and revisions for the ending rewrite to The Pit and the Pendulum, small and large group discussion on The Masque of the Red Death, comparison of other (minority) literature of the time to Poe, and "character dialogue" interviews/skits). I
 
 

believe setting up the class this way, and keeping the students in the same groups throughout this unit, is important because it gives the students a chance to develop trust and confidence in one another and themselves. It provides a partner or partners for discussion, self-evaluation, and seeing something "through someone else’s eyes". Children, especially eighth-graders, are also very social creatures. Utilizing cooperative learning allows them to not be confined for such a large block of time doing solitary activities or listening to a teacher talk; it allows them to talk among themselves and discovery-learn and ask questions they may not ask in a large group environment.

I chose a Cloze worksheet for The Tell-Tale Heart because I wanted something that was more of a review-style activity, yet stimulated cognitive recall of the material.

The handout on literary terms is a fill-in-the-blanks and matching review sheet of sorts. These are terms that students learned in 7th grade that still apply and can be used to great advantage during the Poe unit, in discovering added depth to mood, style, tone, etc. I’ve used this more for the student’s benefit as a refresher instrument and a review sheet for later.

There is a checklist and a graphic organizer used for the ending rewrite to The Pit and the Pendulum. Because students will be working in cooperative learning groups, I want them to be able to evaluate each other, question the evaluations, and agree or disagree with the outcomes before handing in a finished product. By utilizing a checklist of what’s expected and a graphic organizer to stimulate past recall and fresh ideas, the student can see exactly what is expected of them and can also add onto those expectations
 
 

for an additional challenge. While the checklist is cut and dry, and any student can look at it and look at another’s work and go down the columns, the graphic organizer allows for more creativity and ideas that the student can bring to the table. I want them to be able to write in a Poe-esque style without losing what is inherently in them. For those students who dislike writing, they can still meet the expectation provided. For those who meet the expectations and choose to go beyond, it is a tool for them to achieve and actively take control of their own learning process. That is what I feel is important in this activity: that the students see the process they are going through (draft, revision, final copy) as well as the final product.

I will also provide the students with rubrics for three of the activities they are doing: the ending rewrite on The Pit and the Pendulum, the character dialogue group presentation, and the mask presentation. This is so that they know the minimum, medium, and maximum expectations for these activities. These rubrics are also designed to help answer questions if any arise when comparisons are made between the students’ checklist and mine for the final grade. Specific components can be readily identified within a rubric so that there is no question if something was done or not done. Also, I think that by allowing the students to see the expectations in black and white, there is room for students to partake in their own final assessment. If they disagree or don’t understand what is expected, modifications can be made if practical and reliable, and the students can feel as if they have a continuous role in their own learning. Also, with the mask making activity, I want to make sure that the masks are displayed prominently after the activity so that students can take pride in their products. Because this is different than a paper or a test, I think students would enjoy seeing something they physically created appreciated and displayed.

There are several writing activities as well. These go in either the reading journals (reflective entries and opinions on Poe’s life and times, reflective freewrites on reactions to several different stories) and in the writing journals (more specific entries describing masks and answering questions from a worksheet; drafts and revisions for the ending rewrite). These journals are ungraded and may have other unassigned entries only if the students wish to make additional entries. These are used as tools, and to get the students thinking on paper about what they are seeing or doing. The reading journals are confidential, and collected once in a quarter. The writing journals are to be shared in cooperative learning groups and in personal communication conferences to clarify writing processes, compare and contrast pertinent information, and draw conclusions from lessons. Even though they are not graded, they represent internal motivation towards a final assessment and a personal assessment.

Finally, there are actually tests (yuck! but, I think, necessary for the unit the way I have devised it). There is one quiz three-fourths of the way through the unit designed to test knowledge and comprehension of literary devices and their importance in Poe’s writings. There is also a final exam on Poe, which takes the ongoing assessment that has gone on throughout the unit and put it into three categories: Part A is a vocabulary test, checking spelling and understanding of some key terms used in the three main stories read by Poe. Part B is a short answer component designed to test application and analysis by combining stories that were read to activities that were done and asking the students to

think more into the questions. Part C is a short essay component, where the students have to pick one out of three essays and show analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the material read, visualized, and use their own interpretive and cognitive skills to answer as completely as possible questions posed to them regarding Poe’s literary stature and delineating other features from the unit that helped them reach their conclusions. Here is where they may utilize any videos that were seen, any other stories read, and what they have garnered from their group discussions and/or activities to more completely justify their positions and what they have accomplished.
 
 


Assessment Instrument

I have chosen to use as my detailed assessment instrument the rubric for the character dialogue group presentation. This task involves the cooperative learning groups to interact and devise an interview or skit that displays correct use of dialogue and an accurate portrayal of how characters from Poe’s stories would speak to each other or someone interviewing them. The students have the freedom to choose how they want to portray their dialogue, as a reader’s theater, interview, game show, skit, etc. Their guidelines are to make the dialogue as realistic as possible, using vocabulary if at all possible from any of the stories, choosing a character from one of the Poe short stories, and effectively bringing forth what that character would say and do in a setting also of their choosing.

As shown in the rubric, there are not only points evaluated, but spaces for both student comments and teacher comments for review, direction, and enhancement of the learning process.
 


Rubric for Group Presentation on Character Dialogue

Names:
Format Used:
 
Points/Description
Student Comments Teacher Comments
Presentation
3
2
1
   
Delivery
All students speak clearly and audibly; clear evidence of preparation; transitions and choice of format clear and direct Two or three students speak clearly and audibly; some evidence of preparation; transitions occur; choice of format clear One or not one student speaks clearly and audibly; no evidence of preparation; no transitions; choice of format not clear    
Use of Visual Aids
Uses aids relevant to format chosen; use of visual aids promote and enhance presentation (video, blackboard, tape recorder, props, etc.) Uses some visual aids in presentation. Visual aids promote presentation. Does not use visual aids.    
Participation
All students in group participate in chosen format while presenting dialogue. All students show evidence of preparation by contributing to enhancement of presentation. Two or three students in group participate more than the group as a whole. Participating students contribute to the enhancement of the presentation. One student participates alone in group presentation. One student shows evidence of preparation.     
Use of Time
Character dialogue presentation lasts the required 8 – 12 minutes. Presentation lasts too long (over 12 minutes) or too short (between 5 and 8 minutes). Presentation lasts less than 5 minutes.    
 
Dialogue
2
1
Vocabulary
Uses at least four vocabulary words in proper context in presentation. Uses at least three vocabulary words in proper context in presentation. Uses two or less vocabulary words in presentation.
Character Interaction
All students in group have speaking parts. All characters interact with one another. Two or three students in group carry the speaking parts. One student does all the speaking.
Character Development
Characters are introduced. The way the characters speak is consistent with the personality of the character. Two or three characters are introduced. These characters speak in a manner consistent with their personalities. One or no character(s) is/are introduced. The character speaks.
Use of Language
All students speak in correct Standard English or the way the character would speak as portrayed in the story. Evidence of this is presented clearly in the presentation. Literary devices are evident in language used.  Two or three students speak in correct Standard English or the way the characters would speak as portrayed in the story. Some evidence of this is presented.  One or less student(s) speak in correct Standard English or the way the character would speak as portrayed in the story. 
 
Audience Awareness
1
.5
0
At least two students maintain direct eye contact with the audience; questions are answered by at least two students One student maintains direct eye contact with the audience; one student answers questions Eye contact is not maintained; questions are not answered

Total points available: 25

Remember: Groups have four or five members
 
 


Lesson Plans

  1. Day One, Week One
Lesson: (A) Poe Timeline NYS ELA Standards: 1, 4

Goal (for Lessons A, B, C):

Students will recognize certain similarities between and achieve a basic understanding about historical events going on during Poe’s life, and will be able to construct a representation of these facts in order to better represent how these events may have affected Poe and his writings.

Objectives:

Given handouts on chronological historical events that occurred in America and the world from 1800 to 1850 and biographical handouts on Edgar Allan Poe, the learner will be able to:

    1. Discuss these events in small groups and compare them to events in Poe’s life
    2. Work together in cooperative learning groups of four to five students in order to construct an accurate linear or cartoon/visual chronological timeline depicting this information
    3. Develop a reflective writing entry in their writing journal to support the events chosen and depicted for their Poe timeline
Prerequisites:

Students should have basic knowledge of how to construct a timeline. Some knowledge of historical aspects would also prove helpful, but not especially necessary as materials will be provided.

Materials:

Biographical data handouts on Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Handounts of important/influential historical events in American history from 1800-1850

Handouts of important/influential events in world history from 1800-1850

Markers, colored pencils, crayons, large poster paper

Examples of two different types of timelines

Anticipatory set:

Brainstorm session for no longer than five minutes on what prior knowledge exists of historical events and/or information on Poe during his lifetime

Procedure/Activities:

Closure/Providing Feedback:

Let students know that the next class will take place in the computer lab for further information to be garnered regarding Poe. Monitor progress and personalities of cooperative learning groups and facilitate information to help them stay on task and achieve the objectives. Positively reinforce the groups that are staying on task and working cooperatively.

Evaluation:

The point of this lesson and the two that follow it is to gather seemingly different or unremarkable information when taken on its own and combine it as a whole aspect of a certain person’s life. At first glance, was there anything going on around Poe that would seem to influence his writing? Does tragedy beget tragedy, or was his life a series of eerie and tragic coincidences? Are historical events important when used as a backdrop against this important writer’s life?
 
 

  1. Day Two, Week One
Lesson: (B) Poe Timeline NYS ELA Standards: 1

Goal (for Lessons A, B, C):

Students will recognize certain similarities between and achieve a basic understanding about historical events going on during Poe’s life, and will be able to construct a representation of these facts in order to better represent how these events may have affected Poe and his writings.

Objectives:

The learner will be able to:
    1. perform basic Internet searching procedures about Edgar Allan Poe after watching a presentation by the computer support technician or technology instructor
    2. find a URL and open files using the correct procedure once given a list of suggested URLs to investigate further
    3. participate with a partner to compile additional information to use in conjunction with the timeline information from Day One
Prerequisites:

No prior computer knowledge is necessary; however, partners should be paired with one being more able and computer-proficient than the other if possible.

Materials:

Website handout

Computer lab time: computers, working printer, paper

Anticipatory set:

Instruction by technology instructor or other experienced school staff person on how to navigate the search engines on the Internet and look up files and URLs; also Internet etiquette and expectations that students will stay on task

Procedure/Activities:

Closure/Providing Feedback:

Let students know that timelines will be due the following class block. Show students how to properly shut down and log off the computers.

Evaluation:

I believe that technology is an invaluable tool in education and the way that the future world is going to be conducted. Therefore, I would want to see which students are Internet-savvy and which ones are novices. If given the opportunity in another unit or lesson, I may be able to use students as resources in gathering information later on. I will need to ask the students if they felt going on the Internet to get more information was helpful and find out if they have any suggestions or comments.
 

  1. Day Three, Week One
Lesson: (C) Poe Timeline NYS ELA Standards: 2, 3, 4

Goal (for Lessons A, B, C):

Students will recognize certain similarities between and achieve a basic understanding about historical events going on during Poe’s life, and will be able to construct a representation of these facts in order to better represent how these events may have affected Poe and his writings.

Objectives:

In their cooperative learning groups, the learner will be able to:
    1. utilize any information gathered from the Internet and combine it with what they already have to enhance their timeline
    2. complete their timelines within the first forty-five minutes of class
    3. produce and present their timelines to the class, discuss how they created their depiction, and justify their choices
Prerequisites:

Students should now be familiar with the handouts on events and Poe

Materials:

Markers, colored pencils, crayons, posterboard

Digital camera

Paper

Anticipatory set:

Have students immediately get together in their groups

Procedure/Activities:

Closure/Providing Feedback:

I will take pictures of the timelines with a digital camera in order to provide each student in the group a copy of their timeline that will fit in their notebook (to be placed also in the Resource section with the other handouts)

Evaluation:

Did the students’ interpretations and timelines vary? Did they include similar or vastly different information? Are timelines a reliable way to develop a theory about whether or not a person’s environment somehow influences what they do? Did the students seem to enjoy this activity? Did they find any relevance in it?
 
 

  1. Day Five, Week Two
Lesson: The Pit and The Pendulum Ending Rewrite NYS ELA Standards: 1, 2, 3

Goal:

Students will create a new ending for one of Poe’s short stories, combining contextual vocabulary with their own creativity to come up with a more Poe-like conclusion.

Objectives:

    1. Given fifteen vocabulary words from The Pit and the Pendulum, the learner will be able to identify and define previously unfamiliar words with 100% accuracy
    2. Having read The Pit and the Pendulum, and after watching an animated version of the story, students will be able to begin writing the rough draft of a different ending to the story.
    3. The learner will be able to read and recite literary terms and their definitions given a refresher worksheet, in order that they may be able to incorporate these terms into their further cognitive understanding of Poe’s meaning.
Prerequisites:

Students should have read The Pit and the Pendulum for homework. Students should realize at this point that many of Poe’s stories do not have traditionally "happy" endings; therefore, when the narrator in The Pit and the Pendulum suddenly gets saved by General LaSalle and his army, students should realize something was ‘up’ with Poe. Thus, the assignment of rewriting the ending to be more Poe-esque.

Materials:

Video of The Pit and the Pendulum

Handout guides on the ending rewrite (Draft, Revision, Final Copy)

Handout on literary terms (from 7th grade)

Anticipatory set:

Watch fifteen-minute animated video

Procedure/Activities:

Closure/Providing Feedback:

The first draft of the ending rewrite is due for the next class. While the new conclusion should be plausible, it can be as creative as the student wants it to be. They should try and stick to the style/tone of Poe, and use vocabulary words where and whenever possible.

Evaluation:

Should a mini-lesson have been incorporated on literary terms before simply distributing the handout? Or, should it be used as an activity to stimulate schema and used as a pre-test?

Spelling and grammar will not be an issue for the rough draft; that will take place when the revisions occur.
 
 

  1. Day Eleven, Week Five
Lesson: Creating a Mask NYS ELA Standards: 4

Goal:

Students will be able to distinguish several examples of symbolism from Poe’s work and relate this symbolism to real-life situations.

Objectives:

After watching the video of The Masque of the Red Death and other mask-related clips, the learner will be able to:

    1. define what symbolism is and produce several examples of symbolism from Poe’s work
    2. compare and contrast the symbolism of the mask as used in Poe with the symbolism found in the other clips, citing at least four different examples
    3. compile a list of character or personality traits that the student believes to be inherent within themselves, then design a papier-mache mask using one of the personality/character traits
    4. write a journal entry describing the process they used to create their mask and the reasons they chose the personality trait that they used
Prerequisites:

Students should have notes from the previous lesson on the discussion regarding masks and symbolism

Materials:

Video of The Masque of the Red Death

Cut-outs of Mardi Gras masks; Halloween masks; Chinese and theater masks

Video clip compilation: Mardi Gras, rock groups who use masks (KISS, Twisted Sister, etc.), scenes from the movies Amadeus, The Man in the Iron Mask, Mask, and The Elephant Man

Comic books: Spiderman, Batman, the Lone Ranger

Paper, colored pencils, markers, colored glue, multicolored paper, colored twist ties

Water, plaster, and strips of newspaper

Anticipatory set:

Watch video clips of makeup/masks

Procedure/Activities:

Closure/Providing Feedback:

Clean up!

Also, students will be instructed to do a writing journal activity, describing their process of choosing what their personality/character trait was, what it symbolizes, and developing arguments to justify their choice.

Evaluation:

The writing activity is designed to have the student draw direct parallels not only from the Poe story, but also to form a cohesive idea from what the student saw in more modern masks. Masks can symbolize anything from love and seduction to pain and torture; this is an interesting exercise to allow the student to encounter a direct relationship with what they believe masks to represent and then how they have represented themselves. The mask presentation rubric will be handed out so that students know what to expect the next day when they make their brief presentations.
 
 


Materials

Vocabulary

The Tell-Tale Heart

    1. dissimulation 6. scantlings
    2. profound 7. suavity
    3. sagacity 8. gesticulations
    4. crevice
    5. vex
The Pit and the Pendulum
    1. inquisitorial 9. frivolous
    2. indeterminate 10. oscillations
    3. writhe 11. inanitions
    4. bewildered 12. surcingle
    5. cadence 13. tumultuously
    6. lucid 14. vivacity
    7. epoch 15. lurid
    8. insuperable
The Masque of the Red Death
    1. Masque 9. grotesque
    2. Avatar 10. phantasms
    3. dissolution 11. prostrate
    4. dauntless 12. throng
    5. sagacious 13. cerements
    6. voluptuous 14. piquancy
    7. bizarre 15. dominion
    8. Gothic
Questions To Think About

The Tell-Tale Heart

Describe how the narrator eventually reacts to the policemen. Why does his attitude change? Briefly compose an idea as to the origins of this change and support your argument using examples from the passage (pp. 141-143).
 
The Pit and the Pendulum What kind of mood does this tone convey? Relate the tone of the piece to the outcome. Illustrate, using complete sentences, whether or not the ending ‘fits’ the story. Cite examples from the text to strengthen your debate.
 

 
  The Masque of the Red Death Compare the line above to the line describing the movement of the intruder: "…this spectral image…(…stalked to and fro among the waltzers"…)[p.45]). Why do you think there is such similarity in the language between these two passages?
 
Bibliography

Brossard, C. (ed.) (1983) 18 Best Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Reissue. NY: Dell

Publishing Company.

Greenberg, M & Silverberg, R. (ed.) (1991) The Horror Hall of Fame. NY: Carroll &

Graf Publishers, Inc.

Video: Tales of Terror (1962), rated PG, starring Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. Directed

By Roger Corman.

Masque of the Red Death (1964), rated PG, starring Vincent Price and Patrick Macnee. Directed by Roger Corman.
Websites:

http://www.nidlink.com Poe Perceptions (motifs, themes)

http://raven.ubalt.edu/features/poe/ Poe chronologry, biography, selected works, etc.

http://www.poemuseum.org/

http://dcls.org/x/archives/poe.html Poe cybertour; Poe wbliography

andromeda.rutgers.edu/~ehrlich/poesites.html

http://www.creative.net/àlang/lit/horror/poe.sht

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