A Directed Listening-Thinking Activity for "The Tell-Tale Heart"
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In this lesson, students participate in a Directed Listening–Thinking Activity (DLTA), in which they listen to "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and answer prediction questions at designated stopping points during the reading. Students then discuss and write a written response to the story at the conclusion of the lesson, in the form of either an acrostic poem or comic strip. This lesson works well at Halloween or at the beginning of a mystery unit.
- Acrostic Poems: Students can use this online interactive tool to create an acrostic poem as a response to Poe’s story.
- Comic Creator: Students can use this online interactive tool to create a comic to summarize Poe’s story.
- 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model: This website describes the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model, a powerful framework that enhances, supports, and helps students in learning writing techniques.
From Theory to Practice
- Good comprehension instruction involves explicit instruction and modeling of specific reading strategies.
- Students should practice the reading comprehension strategies by applying them to other texts.
- Routines, or transactional strategies, [e.g., the Directed Listening-Thinking Activity (DLTA) or question—answer relationships (QAR)] are an integral part of a comprehensive literacy curriculum.
- The DLTA is an effective method for using prior knowledge to improve students' listening comprehension, schema, and thinking skills (Stauffer, 1975).
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Materials and Technology
- Computers with Internet access
- LCD projector (optional)
|1.||Photocopy "The Tell-Tale Heart" Vocabulary Worksheet and "The Tell-Tale Heart" Assignment Sheet for each student.
|2.||Create overheads of The Tell-Tale Heart Vocabulary Worksheet and the Prediction Questions for "The Tell-Tale Heart".
|3.||Bookmark the Acrostic Poems and Comic Creator on your classroom or school computers.
- 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
|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.
|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.
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.
Allow students time to share their comic strips and acrostic poems with one another.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- 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.