Author's Craft: Analyzing the Creation of Tone an Mood in "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Author's Craft: Analyzing the Creation of Tone an Mood in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
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Google Docs™

(26 pages)
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  • StandardsNEW

If your students are examining how writer's create tone and mood, there is no greater writer than Edgar Allan Poe! "The Tell-Tale Heart" combines incredible use of language, punctuation, and sentence structure to create a dark story that kids will remember forever. The lesson begins with a scripted think-aloud using only the first sentence of the text. Through the think aloud, you will model for students how Poe uses language AND punctuation to create a dark, eerie mood from the beginning. This lesson then provides differentiated components that allow your students to analyze the author's craft in creating tone and mood at a level most appropriate for them. Three separate Google Doc activities are provided: one for struggling readers and beginning/intermediate ELLs that scaffolds learning while still requiring students to think critically and explain their thinking in writing; a second activity is designed for on-level students, who will annotate excerpts of the text and add commentary explaining how their selections impact tone and mood; the final level adds syntax into the mix and asks students to consider both the writer's use of language AND sentence structure decisions that impact tone/mood. Any of these activities can be done collaboratively with partners or small groups or completed individually. A short written assessment and links to the story online are also provided.

Next, links to movie versions of the story are provided along with a discussion guide and activity for students to compare and contrast how tone and mood are created in the text version and in the movie version. (Students will never watch a movie the same way again...)

Log in to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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