I'm rushing through literary analysis skills like a madman, trying to get in the No Child's Behind Left Untested stuff in before the MSAs in March. I'm finding it quite difficult what with the combo of language arts and social studies, but as my planning partner says: "The kids will be fine. Fuck the test. You're in a charter school. Teach them the skills that matter, not the skills that are tested."
As much as this statement is precisely in line with my personal beliefs about education, it's really hard to do after the previous three years of "teach to the test! if your test scores drop you will be shit-canned! the test is all that matters in the universe!"
So, Poe: the kids like learning about him, but not so much reading him. "The Tell-Tale Heart" was typically successful, but I had to drop the reading level substantially for about 95% of my kids. I've used it so far to teach plot, conflict, and motivation. "The Black Cat" was too hard, "The Pit and the Pendulum" too long, and I'm dreading the poetry in a couple weeks after hearing about the revolt the 8th graders had over "The Raven" and how boring it was.
Tomorrow I'm going to stay with the macabre theme but stray from Poe in order to use "The Monkey's Paw" to teach motivation, characterization, and visualization.
What's up with the Poe Toaster?