Horrors!

 

 

Prefatory Statement :

 

This four-week unit will focus on how setting and mood produce a desired effect for writers of short horror fiction.   The students will focus on two of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”   The students will examine how Poe uses setting and mood in his stories to create a desired effect.   The students will also examine the use of mood and setting in both classic and modern day film clips.   Eventually, students will use these elements in their own stories.  

Students will be given the opportunity to choose a short story or novel that creates a strong mood.   While most of these choices will be horror fiction, it doesn't necessarily have to be.   The students will examine how these works of fiction use mood and setting effectively, and they will share their findings with others.   The students will also examine how mood is created visually by writing their own screenplays in groups and either presenting them on film, or drawing visuals to go along with them.    

              Young adults are some of the main consumers of horror fiction and film.   Many young people are fascinated with being scared.   By looking at elements of horror fiction, students will discover how authors can use things such as setting and mood to increase feelings of unease and horror.   Through discovering an author's intent, students will develop their analytical skills.   Also by examining and understanding these types of elements, students will have the tools they need to evoke desired emotions in all of their writing.   

              The Minnesota Graduation Standard this unit would cover is the Arts and Literature Analysis and Interpretation-Literature High School Standard:

A student shall demonstrate the ability to interpret and evaluate complex works of literature by:

A. describing the elements and structure of literature; the artistic intent; and the historical,

     cultural, and social background of the selected literature;

C. describing how particular effects are produced by the artist's use of the elements of

     literature;

 

 

Class Specifications :

 

              This unit would be appropriate for 10-12 graders.   This unit may be inappropriate for students who have a strong dislike for horror fiction.   While nothing read in the unit is too scary, some of the video clips might be too intense for some students.   A teacher presenting this unit would need to know his or her students and make exceptions for those who would need it.   A teacher could assign a journal entry prior to the unit in order to determine whether a unit like this would be comfortable for students.   The students could be asked to write about their feelings concerning horror movies and fiction.   This unit is not more appropriate for one group more then another, although the only required reading will be Poe.   However, there can be an attempt to look at horror films that are written by women and films that are more multicultural.   Students will also have the option of picking their own piece of fiction to read.   They could be encouraged to choose from many different authors and topics.  

 

Significant Assumptions :

 

My two basic teacher assumptions are that in order to write well, students must understand the elements of writing well, and in order to understand author's intent, students must be able to examine elements of language in a text.     I also assume that students learn best when they are interested in the topic.   That is why I think that Horrors! will be successful.   The addition of video clips and student creativity through film and art will be fun for students.   I assume that students are able to read and comprehend Edgar Allan Poe's work and that they will have had experience both with class discussions and working in groups.   I also assume that students have had some experience in writing creatively and that they will be willing to attempt to either create a movie or draw artistically.    

 

 

Desired Outcomes/Standards/Objectives to be Met :

 

The students will complete parts of the Minnesota Graduation Arts and Literature Analysis and Interpretation-Literature Standard for High School including parts of

A and C.

A student shall demonstrate the ability to interpret and evaluate complex works of literature by:

A. describing the elements and structure of literature; the artistic intent; and the historical,

     cultural, and social background of the selected literature;

C. describing how particular effects are produced by the artist's use of the elements of

     literature;

 

Objectives for the unit:

Students will learn:

•  The use of the elements of mood and setting.

•  To analyze how setting and mood create a desired effect.  

•  How to identify author's intent  

•  How to interpret and evaluate a piece of literature

 

 

Possible Whole-Class Activities :

 

  1. Discussion on what is scary:

What scares you?

Why does it scare you?

Do you liked to be scared?

Why do teens like horror movies and books?

What makes a movie or a book scary?

  1. Watch video clips from horror movies and discuss.

What makes these movies scary?

How does the filmmaker use specific visual details to create a scary mood?

  1. Read aloud from “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” and talk about the images these stories create.
  2. Discuss “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

How does Poe use descriptions in his stories to create a sense of mood?

How does he use setting to create mood?

  1. Presentation of student drawings from one of Poe stories.
  2. Presentation of student drawings from screenplay project.
  3. Presentation of student made video.

 

 

Possible Small-Group Activities :

 

  1. Group drawings of one of Poe's stories.
  2. Sharing scary passages and settings from individual books, short stories, or poems.
  3. Scary place in community writing project.
  4. Screenplay and drawing project (see handout).
  5. Screenplay and film project (see handout).
  6. Literature circles

 

 

Possible Individual Activities :

 

  1. Writing a scary short story using elements of mood and setting.
  2. Writing a short story based on a scary place in community.
  3. Writing a screenplay using elements of mood and setting.
  4. Reading a novel of choice that has strong elements of mood and setting.
  5. Drawing of a scary scene in individual reading choice.
  6. Watching a scary video and writing a paper on uses of mood and setting.  
  7. Response journals.

 

 

Ongoing Activities :

 

  1. The students will work in a small group to write their own short screenplay in which they use elements of setting and mood to create a scary atmosphere.   They will have the option to either draw each scene as they would like to see it, or to actually film their screenplay using real elements of setting and mood.
  2. The students will have to pick and read an individual short story, book, or poem that uses strong elements of setting and mood.   Throughout the unit they will be required to discuss their book in small groups.
  3. The students will have the option of writing their own short story or writing a short story based on a scary place in their community.  

 

 

Student Resources :

 

•  Student copies of Edgar Allan Poe's “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

•  Student choice of short story, book, or poem.  

•  Paper, things to draw with

•  Access to a video camera (optional)

•  Videotape (optional)

•  Access to community resources (optional)

 

 

Unit Launch/Anticipatory Set/Set Induction :

 

Set Induction

 

Objectives:

Students will learn:

•  how mood and setting are used in film to create a desired effect.  

•  why horror is popular with modern culture and what scares people.  

 

Method:

1.   The teacher will show a few clips from several horror movies, both classic and modern. The scenes should show strong examples of mood and setting.   The teacher must carefully screen each video in order to determine whether it is appropriate for his or her class. (20 min.)

These could include:

Frankenstein (both old and new versions)

Dracula (both old and new versions)

Psycho

The Shadow of the Vampire

Scream I, II, III

Psycho

The House on Haunted Hill

Sleepy Hallow

Vertigo

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Nightmare on Elm Street

Friday the 13 th

The Burbs'

Young Frankenstein

Jaws, II, III

It

 

 

  2.     The class will discuss these videos.   (10 min.)

What makes these movies scary?

How does the filmmaker use specific visual details to create a scary mood?

                            Which scenes are most scary?   Which scenes are least scary?   Why?

If you were able to create your own scary movie, what would you include?   Why?

3.   The class will also discuss why people like horror.   These questions can either be         discussed as a class or in small groups. (10 min.)

      What scares you?

      Why does it scare you?

       Do you liked to be scared?

      Why do teens like horror movies and books?

      What makes a movie or a book scary?

 

4.   We will talk about what will happen in the unit.   They will be told more as time progresses. (10 min.)

We will read “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe and complete in class activities and discussions.  

The students will need to pick out one of the following books to read:

Suggestions:

Turn of the Screw Henry James

Dracula Bram Stoker

Frankenstein Mary Shelley

Or modern authors such as: Stephen King or Anne Rice

Students will write a journal entry about it and discuss it in small groups.  

There will be a group screenplay project.

The students will be required to write a short story that can, if desired, be based on a scary place in the community.

At the end of the unit, the students will complete a web quest.

Questions?  

 

Assignment:

Students should start thinking about a book, short story, or poem they would like to read.   Handout (see attached)  

 

Evaluation:

The teacher will know that students have met the objectives by their participation in the discussion.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organization of the Unit :

 

Week One:

Day One:  

Set induction (see above)

Day Two:  

Hand out books. Short lecture on Edgar Allan Poe (10 min.)   Start reading “The Fall of the House of Usher” out loud (35 min.)   Assign the rest of the story for tomorrow.   Handout group screenplay assignment (see attached).   Ask students to think about whether they would like to make drawings or a video (5 min.)    

 

 

Day Three:

Discuss “The Fall of The House of Usher.”   First clarify events in story (20 min.)  

Questions:   How does Poe use setting to create a desired effect?

                     What kind of mood is produced in this story?   Look at specific parts.

                      (Descriptions of house)

                     What parts do you think are the most effective?

                      What are some of the words or phrases that Poe uses to create mood?

Group activity:   Groups select a scene they find the most effective.   As a group, they draw a picture of the scene using evidence from the text.   They present it to the class

(30 min).

 

Day Three Lesson Plan

 

Objectives:

Students will learn:

•  how Poe uses setting and mood in “The Fall of the House of Usher.”  

 

Method:

  1. The teacher will ask the students to first summarize the story. (5 min.)
  2. The teacher will answer any questions.   (5 min.)
  3. There will be five minutes for individual writing time on the following questions.  

        How does Poe use setting to create a desired effect?

        How does Poe describe the house?   What words does he use?  

                     What kind of mood is produced in this story?   Look at specific parts.

                     What parts do you think are the most effective?

                     What are some of the words or phrases that Poe uses to create mood?

                (“clouds hung oppressively low,” “insufferable gloom,” “vacant eye like                 windows,” etc.)  

  1. The class will discuss these questions as a whole. (10 min.)
  2. The class will be divided into groups of 3-4.  
  3. They will select a scene in the story that they find the most effective.   As a group, they will draw a picture of that scene using evidence from the text. (15 min.)

Students will examine how Poe uses setting to set the mood.

What kind of mood does this picture represent?

What kind of words does Poe use to set the mood?

  1. The groups will present their pictures to the class.   (10 min.)
  2. Homework: decide what book to read for individual book assignment.

 

Evaluation:

The students will have met the objectives by participating in the discussion and though their work in groups.  

 

Day Four:

Class is divided into those who want to create a video and those who want to draw for the screenplay assignment.   The teacher divides these students into groups of 3-4 (5 min.)   They spend the rest of the day in their groups discussing the assignment (45 min.)  

Day Five:

Students have the individual book picked out for today.   Hand out books (10 min.)   Work time in groups (40 min.)  

 

 

Week Two:

Day Six:   Start reading “The Pit and the Pendulum” out loud (40 min.)   Assign the rest for tomorrow.   Discuss short story assignment.   (see attached handout) (10 min.)  

Day Seven:   Discuss “The Pit and the Pendulum.”   First clarify story (20 min.)

Questions:       How is this story the same as “The Fall of the House of Usher?”   How is it    

                         different?

                             How does Poe use setting to create a desired effect?

                            What kind of mood is produced in this story?   What does it change?

                            What parts do you think are the most effective?   Why?

                            Which story do you think is more frightening?  

                            What makes one scarier then the other?  

Group activity:   Groups select a scene they find the most effective.   As a group, they draw a picture of the scene using evidence from the text.   They then present their picture to the class (30 min.)   Any extra time spent on silent reading of individual books.   

Day Eight:   Finish group picture presentations.   Work time for groups (50 min.) Rough draft for screenplay due Day 10.   Any extra time spent on silent reading of individual books.  

Day Nine:   Students bring in ideas for individual short story.   Short conferences with teacher and conference with peer groups.   Work time or silent reading time. (50 min).  

Day Ten:   Group conferences with teacher.   Rough draft for screenplay due.   Work time or silent reading time (50 min.)

 

Week Three:

Day Eleven:   Rough draft returned (5 min.)   Students get into new small groups to discuss first part of individual reading assignment (see handout) (45 min).   Extra time spent on silent reading.

Day Twelve:   Students start working on second half of screenplay assignment.   Teacher helps students get access to video cameras if necessary.   Free work time or silent reading (50 min.).

Day Thirteen:   Rough draft of individual short story is due.   Conference with teacher.   Work time or silent reading time (50 min.).  

 

 

Day Thirteen Lesson Plan

 

Objectives:

The students will learn:

•  How to use setting and mood in a short story  

 

Method:

  1. The teacher will collect all the rough drafts from the students (5 min.)  
  2. The teacher will conference one on one with each student.
  3. She will quickly read each paper and ask the students if he or she has any questions or concerns.  
  4. She will be looking for evidence of setting and mood within the paper.  
  5. She will give the student advice and then return the paper (45 min.)
  6. Student should spend extra time in silent reading.   

 

Evaluation:

The teacher will know the student has completed the objective if the student hands in a paper effectively using the elements of mood and setting.  

 

Day Fourteen:   Half of time spent on individual story (25 min.).   Half time spent on group work (25 min.).  

Day Fifteen:   Second part of individual reading assignment is due.   (see sheet)    Presentations of group project next week (50 min.) Extra time spend on group work.

 

Week Four:

Day Sixteen: Final preparations for group presentations. Group work time (50 min.).

Day Seventeen:   Presentations of group projects (50 min.).

Day Eighteen: Presentations of group projects (50 min.).

Day Nineteen:   Presentations and start Web Quest in computer lab (50 min.)

Day Twenty:   Finish Web Quest in computer lab and hand in short stories (50 min.).  

 

 

Grades :  

 

The unit will be worth 200 points.   Each assignment handout will contain the grading criteria for each assignment.    

The group screenplay and presentation will be worth 50 points.

Screenplay   25pts

Visual component (drawings or video) 25pts

Short story   50pts   

Individual book essay and group work   30pts

Web Quest   50pts

In class participation 20pts

This will include participation in discussions and participation in-group drawing assignments.  

 

The letter grades will be based on percentages.  

90-100% A   180-200

80-89%    B   160-179

70-79%    C   140-159

60-69%    D   120-130

59 and below F 119 and under

 

The students will be provided written feedback on all written assignments and group presentations.   They will have the opportunity to discuss their grade with the teacher if they feel the desire to.  

 

 

Supporting Materials for Teachers

•  A copy of Edgar Allan Poe short stories

•  Websites:

•  www.gothic.net/poe/index.html

•  www.poecentral.com

•  www.geocites.com/Area51/Corridor/4220/poe.html

•  www.geocites.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/3627

•  www.easylit.com/poe/

 

Screenplay Project

 

In this assignment you will write your own screenplay using elements of mood and setting.   While dialogue is important, it is also very important to vividly describe the setting of your scenes.   You will be in groups of 3-4.   Each group will write their own screenplay.  

In addition to the screenplay, groups will need a visual component for this project.   Groups will have the options of either drawing pictures for each scene in their screenplay, or actually filming their screenplay.   Video cameras can be borrowed from the school. You will have time in class to work on this project, but you may need to spend time outside of class also.  

Groups will present their screenplay to the rest of the class.    

 

•  Each screenplay must be 3-5 pages long.
•  The screenplays must have a minimum of two characters.  
•  In addition to dialogue, in-depth descriptions of setting must also be included.
•  Don't have too many different scenes in your screenplay, you'll run into problems later.  
•  If your group is drawing pictures for your screenplay, you must have a minimum of one picture for every scene change.
•  If your group is filming your screenplay, you must have also show the scene changes.
•  You don't have to use the horror genre for your screenplay.   You may use any genre that expresses mood.   Other examples are mystery and suspense.
•  You will get time in class to work on this project, but you may need to meet outside of class also.  

 

Grading Criteria:   The student has:

 

 

If anyone is having questions or concerns about their group, please speak with me.  

 

 

Time Line:

Rough draft of screenplay due Day 10

Group conferences Day 10

Presentations Days 17, 18, 19—groups will be assigned a presentation date

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual Book Assignment

 

You will need to select a book from the following list:

Suggestions:

Turn of the Screw Henry James

Dracula Bram Stocker

Frankenstein Mary Shelley

Modern novels by Stephen King, Anne Rice, or John Saul can also be used.

You will discuss this novel in a group with 3-4 other people.   You will also be required to write an essay discussing elements of setting and mood within your work of fiction.  

 

Part One:

Group discussion questions:

  1. The group should give a summary of the first half of the novel.
  2. Then each person will pick out a passage in the novel that he or she thinks best represents a passage where elements of mood and setting are prevalent.  
  3. First he or she will read the passage aloud and then share with the group why he or she picked this passage.  
  4. Lastly, the group will compare the passage with what we have read of Poe's stories.   How is it the same?   How is it different?  

 

Part Two:

The second half of the novel should be finished.

You will have to write a short essay (1-2 pages) explaining how the author of your novel used setting and mood.   Some questions to answer are:  

Does the author use setting and mood effectively?

What passage is most effective?   Why?

What are some key words or phrases the author uses to portray a certain mood?  

What writing techniques/strategies does the author use to evoke this mood?

 

Time Line:

Choose novel Day 5

Part one due Day 11

Part two due Day 15

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Short Story Assignment

 

You will have two options for writing a story.  

•  You can create your own short story using your own ideas.   It doesn't have to be about anything in particular, but it must be a horror, mystery or suspense story.   It must also use elements of setting and mood effectively.  
•  Describe the setting in detail.
•  What emotions does it evoke?
•  What do you want your readers to feel?
 
•  You can create a short story based on a scary place in your community.   It may be a haunted house, a ghost story, or even a scary place in the woods.   It's up to you.   You may do research, but it is not necessary.   There is some good information at the Duluth Public Library about haunted places in Duluth .   There may also be information like this in other areas. You may also do some first hand research, but you can't trespass or bother people.   Just remember, no matter what you do you need to be respectful. For this option, setting and mood are also very important.  

 

Grading criteria:

 

Time Line:

Ideas and short conference Day 9

Rough draft and conference Day 13

Final Draft   Day 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Quest

Horrors! and Edgar Allan Poe

www.d.umn.edu~kschmid1

 

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Edgar Allan Poe.   Black cats, dark pits, and ceaselessly beating hearts await you.   But don't be scared, very few visitors are actually buried alive.   Most only go a tiny bit mad, and what's a little madness among friends?   

Join me as we trudge through the nightmare that is Edgar Allan Poe.   Perhaps, if you complete these three tasks, you may come through unscathed.  

 

Task One:

Who is the man behind the madness?   How close are madness and genius really linked?  

You can find answers to these questions and more with an examination of Edgar Allan Poe's life.   Write a one-page essay on how Edgar Allan Poe's life may have affected his work.   Here are a few websites that may help you.

 

www.poecentral.com

 

www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/3627/

 

www.gothic.net/poe/index.html

 

Task Two:

What scares you the most?   Pick one of Edgar Allan's stories that you haven't read before and write a one-page response on your reactions, impressions, and questions.   Some websites that may help you are:

 

www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4220/poe.html

 

www.gothic.net/poe/index.html

 

www.easylit.com/poe/

 

 

Task Three:

Now that you're back from whatever haunting adventure Poe took you on, write a one-page essay on how Poe uses mood and setting in the story you read.  

 

 

You've completed the three tasks.   You're free to go now.   How do you feel?   Are your hands shaking?   Are you sweating?   Can you hear the deafening beating of your heart?

Maybe you should stay.   After all, there's nothing wrong with a little madness among friends . . .

 

 

 

 

Checklist

 

Name__________________

Learning Area:   Literature and the Arts

Educational Level:   High School

Content Standard:  

•  describing the elements and structure of literature; the artistic intent; and the historical, cultural, and social background of the selected literature;

•  describing how particular effects are produced by the artist's use of the elements of literature;

 

Yes = evidence shown

No = no evidence

 

 

Student                                                                                                                               Teacher

                    Evidence                    Web Quest

 

______1._____________sufficiently demonstrates ability to interpret and      _______

                                               evaluate a work of literature

 

______2.­­­_____________sufficiently demonstrates knowledge of elements of_______

                                               literature

 

______3._____________sufficiently demonstrates knowledge of artistic intent _____