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152

Toolbox
Predicting
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di ti With Poe
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Adapted from ReadWriteThink lesson A Directed Listening-Thinking


Activity for The Tell-Tale Heart by Che-Mai Gray

This lesson is designed for


intermediate-grade students.
Students listen to The TellTale Heart and answer
prediction questions as the
teacher stops at designated
points during the reading.

Session One:
Introducing Edgar
Allan Poe and
TheTell-Tale Heart
To begin the lesson, the teacher
asks the students if they have
heard of Edgar Allan Poe and
what they know about him. To
build on this knowledge, the
teacher introduces the lesson by
going to the Poe museum website
www.poemuseum.org/life.php.
The teacher uses this website to
build background knowledge of
who Poe was and to explore some
of the details of his life.
The teacher questions and
guides students to make
connections between Poes difficult
life and his style of writing. The
goal is for the students to come to
the understanding that his writing
may have been shaped by his life
experiences, just as students and
others usually write about what
they know. Teachers give students
an opportunity talk with a partner
or small group about the writing
they have done in the past and the
personal experiences they were
based on.
The teacher informs students
that he or she will read aloud a
story to them by Poe called The
Tell-Tale Heart, a copy of which
can be found at http://www.
poemuseum.org/works-telltale.
php. Before reading the story, the
teacher tells students that as he or
she reads the story they will stop

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The Reading Teacher

Vol. 67

periodically and write down their


predictions. Tell students that this
writing process will help them
better comprehend the story while
they are listening.
The teacher puts the prediction
questions (see reproducible) on
some type of projector so all the
students can see, covering up all
questions at first. The teacher
reveals the first question, reads it,
and has students write their
predictions. Begin reading the
story, stopping at the designated
points to allow students to respond
to the prediction questions. At the
conclusion of the story, the teacher
has students discuss the story and
their responses to the prediction
questions preferably with partners
or in small groups.
The teacher moves among
student groups and encourages
students to discuss why they think
the story unfolded the way it did
and how it made them feel. After
ample time for peer discussion, the
teacher collects the students
prediction responses. Be sure to
save these responses, as they will
be used in following sessions. The
teacher can also use the responses
to assess student participation in
the lesson and their comprehension
of the story.

Sessions Two and


Three: Written
Responses, Comics,
and Poems
The teacher returns the students
prediction responses from the
previous session. Then the teacher
reads The Tell-Tale Heart once
again. Once the story is read and
before the upcoming writing task,
the teacher asks students to
brainstorm a list of words to
describe the story. These words

Issue 2

pp. 152153

DOI:10.1002/TRTR.1198

may relate to the story itself, or


specifically to the characters,
setting, plot, or climax. As the
students are coming up with words,
the teacher writes the words on the
board and/or has students record
them individually. The teacher then
explains to the students the two
options for responding to the story:

1. Use the Comic Creator at www


.readwritethink.org/materials/
comic/ to create a comic strip with
at least six blocks that summarize
a portion of the story The
Tell-Tale Heart.
2. Use the Acrostic Poems online
tool at www.readwritethink.org/
materials/acrostic/ to create an
acrostic poem that summarizes the
events of the story. Students can use
the terms Tell-Tale Heart or
Narrator as the basis for their poem.
The teacher prompts the
students to use the words from the
board or words they individually
recorded about the story to develop
the response of their choice. Its a
good idea to have the story up so
the students can refer to it: www.
poemuseum.org/selected_works/
tell_tale_heart.html
Use the next session for peer
editing and creating final drafts.

Session Five:
AuthorsChair
Students present their poems and
comic strips to the class.

Extensions
For elementary grade levels,
teachers need to add additional
support for some of the complex
vocabulary in the story. More
prewriting and scaffolding will be
needed as well. However, the
online comic and poem creators
are for all age levels.
(continued)
2013 International Reading Association

153

Toolbox
Predicting
With Poe
Reproducible

Adapted from ReadWriteThink lesson A Directed Listening-Thinking


Activity for The Tell-Tale Heart by Che-Mai Gray

www.reading.org

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