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Lesson Plan

A Directed Listening-Thinking Activity for "The Tell-Tale Heart"

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A Directed Listening-Thinking Activity for "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Che-Mai Gray

Marysville, Washington


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Sessions 3 and 4

Session 5

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Improve their listening comprehension and prediction skills by participating in a Directed Listening–Thinking Activity (DLTA)

  • Respond to literature read in class by either writing an acrostic poem or creating a comic strip

  • Practice strong and effective writing as assessed by the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model

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Session 1

1. Ask if students have heard of Edgar Allan Poe. Ask also if they have watched The Simpsons. See if students remember the Halloween episode where Homer recites "The Raven." It is highly recommended that you show the video segment once or even twice in class.

2. Access Poe's Life online to go over some of the details of his life. Help students make the connection between his tough life and his style of writing. Explain that his writing may stem from his life experiences, just as we usually write about what we know. (Students may or may not be able to connect the loss of Poe's wife and mother to Lenore in "The Raven.")

3. Have students also talk about the writing they have done in the past and the personal experiences they were based on.

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Session 2

1. Distribute "The Tell-Tale Heart" Vocabulary Worksheet and put the overhead copy on display. Go over the list of words with students. Read each word aloud and have students repeat it. Give the definition of the word and a clarifying example. This gives students a frame of reference when you read these words that they may not know in the story.

Note: This vocabulary segment is intended only as a brief introduction, as these words are past most middle-level students' mastery skills.

2. Explain to students that you are going to read a story by Poe called "The Tell-Tale Heart". As you read the story, you will be stopping periodically and asking students to write down their predictions in response to certain questions. Tell students that this writing process will help them better comprehend the story while they are listening. Have students take out paper to record their predictions.

3. Place the Prediction Questions for "The Tell-Tale Heart" on an overhead, covering up all questions at first. Remind students that there is no talking during the reading, no matter how badly they would like to discuss what is happening. There will be time later in the lesson to talk about the story.

4. Reveal the first question and have students write their predictions on their sheets of paper. Begin reading the story, stopping at the designated points to allow students to respond to the questions as you uncover them. Do not reveal questions until you have gotten to the designated place in the reading.

5. At the conclusion of the story, have students discuss the story and also their responses to the prediction questions. Allow them time to reach their own conclusions and process the story with one another.

6. Collect the students' prediction response papers, and assess their participation in the lesson and their comprehension of the story.

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Sessions 3 and 4

1. Return the students' prediction response papers from the previous session.

2. To connect prior knowledge from the session before, ask students to brainstorm a list of words to describe the story. These may be words relating to the story itself, or words relating to the characters, setting, plot, climax, and so on. Write the words on the board.

3. Give students "The Tell-Tale Heart" Assignment Sheet, which outlines two options for a written response to the story. Allow students time to work on the computers to complete the assignment.

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Session 5

Allow students time to share their comic strips and acrostic poems with one another.

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  • After Session 1, you can assess students' predictions from the DLTA. Check for participation in the lesson and appropriate answers that demonstrate comprehension of the story.

  • Use the Assessment Rubric included on the second page of "The Tell-Tale Heart" Assignment Sheet to evaluate students' comic strips and acrostic poems. The rubric focuses on the evaluation of ideas, writing conventions, and word choice (per the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model).

  • Gather students into groups of four. Then have students fill in the Wish and a Star Sheet for each person in their group. Review the completed sheets before distributing them to students.

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