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Grade: Middle

#3024. "Perfecting a Pal's Poe Paragraph

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted Thu Jan 15 07:20:16 PST 2004 by Kathryn Donlin (kathrynddonlin).
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Johnstown, United States
Materials Required: Chalkboard, chalk, 14 copies of "Masque of the Red Death," posterboard with defintions elements
Activity Time: 50 minutes
Concepts Taught: Create and Revise a Poe-like Paragraph

Take roll. (1 minute)
Hold a class discussion about the elements or techniques that add to the suspense of a movie and in literature. (3 minutes)
Have the students read the opening paragraph of "Masque of the Red Death," and pay close attention to the different literary elements and vocabulary. (1 minute)
Ask the students the emotions the first paragraph instilled in them. (1 min)
Talk about the different techniques Poe uses to create suspense in the opening paragraph (3 minutes)
Talk about the different literary elements found in the first paragraph (6 min)
Explain to students that they are going to create their own opening paragraph to their own story by using the same writing techniques as Poe (6 min).
-Explain that they will write a single paragraph that creates a single emotional effect, such as fear, terror, joy, or depression
-Have the students plan to describe a scene or narrate a short incident that conveys the emotional effect. Have the students begin working on their "Perfect Poe Paragraph" (20 minutes)
-MBWA constantly give the students encouragement and provide relevant and clear answers to any questions they may have.
-Encourage the students to keep in mind the effect they wish to create, beginning with their first sentence.
-Impress upon the students that their goal is to have all elements come together into one unified and dramatic paragraph.
Have the students get together with a partner to exchange papers and evaluate each other's drafts (9 min).
-Have them look at the different elements keeping in mind the following questions:
Does the writer use introduce a conflict?
Is there strong imagery used?
Is there an implied setting?
How are the word choices? Could they be stronger? Do they make sense?
Does the point of view add or detract from the writer's purpose?

** If time permits, have the students begin to revise and polish up their paragraphs on their own.