The Tell-Tale Heart Movie with a Lesson Plan

Here’s a good little lesson for tricking students into analyzing “The Tell-Tale Heart” theme.

A Case for Getting Rid of Cable and Learning “The Tell-Tale Heart” Theme

We don’t have cable in my house, so I spend my summers watching old movies of literary masterpieces and share them with you, my fellow teachers and lovers of literature.

My kids love them. Of course, most of your students will have cable, so you better give them an assignment so they pay attention.

The last movie on this page is the best, but I’ll let you decide.

Don't get buried under floor boards of stress trying to come up with a great "Tell-Tale Heart" unit. I made one with common-core aligned lesson plans, graphic organizers with answer keys, common core aligned rubrics, a quiz, everything you see on this page, and my charm and wit. All for only $4.95.

Don’t get buried under floor boards of stress trying to come up with a great “Tell-Tale Heart” unit plan. This one has common-core aligned lesson plans, graphic organizers with answer keys, common core aligned essay rubrics, a quiz,  and my charm and wit. This unit is made by real teachers, not a bunch of publishing company suits sitting in a hotel room pretending to be teachers.

Check out these heart-pounding standards, first.

  • RL.9-10.7 – Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment.
  • RL.11-12.7 – Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.

Perhaps you’re wondering how you could turn this into a lesson plan involving ELA Common Core standards?

Do it with a chart: Literary Interpretation T-Chart

  1. Divide or fold a paper in half, long ways.
  2. As you’re reading or after you’ve read  To Build a Fire,” list 6-10 things in the left column that are important to the story.
  3. As you watch the video, Write how those 6-10 things are portrayed in the video.
  4. If you’re really interested in continuing the learning, do a basic comparison paragraph with a judgment on how accurately the film portrays the short story.

Let's look at the movies. This first one's fairly chilling for 1941. You could probably read the story, watch the movie, and have time to fill out the chart.

You can focus the assignment on "The Tell-Tale Heart" theme, characters, mood, or whatever strikes your fancy.

This next one's actually beter, although it's shorter. You'd definitely have time to read, watch, and thoroughly complete the assignment, perhaps even with a comparison essay.

This next one is the absolute best "Tell-Tale Heart" movie. It begins with the crazed narrator chopping up a chicken--foreshadowing alert. This one's the longest of the three. I'd recommend the story be read either the class before (here's some lesson ideas to make the reading more meaningful) or for homework.

Fill out the chart at the start of class. Watch the movie--it really is awesome. Compare the two.

You could also watch multiple video interpretations, filling out a chart for each one. You could knock out all three videos in one class.

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