Reflection: Debate Film Interpretations of "The Raven" & Introducing Transcendental "Vision" - Section 2: Introduction

So when I say I will accept all kinds of inferences if they are backed by evidence, I really mean it.  Today's lesson definitely proved to me the value of standing by this statement and allowing genuine peer discussion, debate, and disagreement in my classroom!  In one of my final class periods teaching this lesson, I was truly shocked when a student, prefaced by the phrase, "Now hear me out on this...", tosses out the inference that the mother shoved the father in the oven at the end of the story.  Obviously, my horror was apparent.  I followed it up with my standard question asking them to support that statement with evidence, and I was truly impressed (and still horrified, mind you!) at the depth of evidence they really had pulled from the text.  From details like panting, the smell of smoke, and more, they really did have a case for the mother tossing him into the oven!  I didn't have to wait long for another student to chime in, reevaluating the evidence, offering evidence that contradicted what lovingly became known as "the oven theory," and presenting a completely different view of the story.  Meanwhile, all students began to look through their own notes and texts to either jump on the "oven" bandwagon or find information to prove it wrong.  Ultimately, the class squelched "the oven theory" as just a theory with not enough evidence to support it, but the process of watching it unfold was so invigorating as a teacher!  That class period has now become legendary.  Though it happened the last hour of the day, I heard a buzz of students talking about "the oven theory" on the way out the door to other students.  Future class periods asked me about it and argued for or against it.  Student Twitter accounts apparently exploded with references to "the oven theory."  It was truly a day to remember, made possible solely by student close-reading, textual evidence, and a classroom that encourages vigorous debate!  Winning!

The "Oven" Argument
Debate: The "Oven" Argument

Film Interpretations of "The Raven" & Introducing Transcendental "Vision"

Unit 3: Romanticism & Transcendentalism
Lesson 7 of 8

Big Idea: Watching video interpretations of a source text is a Common Core Standard? That sounds like a plan my students can get behind!!

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90 minutes

Cassy McCoy Carey

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