The Tell Tale Heart: Guilty or Innocent by Reason of Insanity?

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SWBAT construct arguments related to the criminal prosecution of the narrator in Poe's The Tell Tale Heart.

Big Idea

Argue both sides, NOW which side are you on?

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Recapping the Story

10 minutes

We read this story in a previous class, so I thought it would be a good idea to just talk through the events of the story. 

I like to do this by using a soft soccer ball and tossing it to one student.  That student begins telling the story, then tosses it to someone else.  If something is forgotten, anyone can chime in and ask for the ball to get back on track.


 Here is an audio retelling that you can use if anyone missed the reading:

The Assignment: Guilty or Insane?

40 minutes

Today's assignment was for students to collect evidence and construct arguments ON BOTH SIDES OF THE QUESTION: Is Poe's narrator guilty or insane?  The kids had a lot of fun with this, and they worked away.  

After they compiled the evidence, I told them to choose the side with which they agree.  Of course, as usual many students started on one side of the issue and ended with a totally new way of thinking.  I always tell them, "That's allowed; that's learning."