Literary Devices in Context: Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" (November 5th, 2014)

Courtesy of:
Courtesy of:

The jaunty pop music gave subsided to reveal the sound of a beating heart.  Thump.  Thump.  The students looked around the room quizically, wondering what could be the source of that noise.  Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Intermittently it reemerged and then disappeared while I continued teaching, pretending that nothing was wrong.

This was how I introduced the Edgar Allen Poe classic “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  The students followed along in their literature books as the short story was read aloud through the speakers.  Thereafter, they completed a  three-column chart identifying the literary devices they located and what examples they found of those literary devices.  We wrapped up the class with a discussion of whether or not it was easier (or harder) to identify and understand literary devices in the context of a story.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue posting resources into the Genius Hour Annotated Bibliographies (5 sources by Friday).


Literary Devices Review (and Pop Quiz) Day: Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Leverage Television Show

After touching on the subject of literary devices last week, we reviewed them further.  First, the students watched a short clip (the last 6 minutes) of Episode 9 from Season 2 of the show “Leverage.”  This episode, entitled “The Lost Heir Job,” wrapped up the various plot threads in a courtroom scene.  Through this scene, the students were able to identify flashback, foreshadowing, deus ex machina, hyperbole,and figurative language. Thereafter, we took a moment to play some games to aid in the review process.  The students and I had a brief Q & A session with me to fill in any other questions they might have had about any of the literary devices on the quiz.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue work on the Annotated Bibliography for your Genius Hour Project.


Show What You Know! (Thursday, September 30th, 2014)

Yesterday, the students were able to create super-short stories using a literary device of their choice.  The catch was that it had to be humorous.  Since class time did not allow us to do it as a whole group activity, I offered this activity as an extra-credit opportunity.  Below is some of the literary device-laden silliness they created:

We then took the silliness a step further.  The students created longer, mini-stories using a few elements.  They were given a chart of random people, places, things, and events to inject into their stories.

Show What You Know Subjects

They they took those random elements and paired them with a literary device selected at random through a wonderful spinning wheel to create their story.  This also served as a great opportunity to review the definitions of these literary devices for the students still a little fuzzy on them.

Wheel Decide | Literary Devices

We did this for three rounds.

The students then shared their favorite of the three random stories they created with their table groups.  The groups then selected their favorite.  These favorites faced off so that we could determine the class favorite.  (I plan to post some of the winning stories in tomorrow’s blog post.)

REMINDER: Vocabulary Quiz tomorrow!  There will also be a literary devices quiz on Monday.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for tomorrow’s vocabulary quiz.
  • Continue work on your Genius Hour Proposal (due tomorrow).  It must be posted in KidBlog in order to receive credit.


Literary Devices in (Digital) Center Form-Day 2: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Today’s lesson was a lot like yesterday’s lesson.  In fact, it was a continuation of it.  After sharing the literary devices they found in their favorite songs for last night’s homework, the students continued working on their Literary Devices Centers using the iPads.  As they finished each set of activities, they logged evidence of their work through creating a corresponding blog post on KidBlog.

Thereafter, for the classes where there was a little extra time, otherwise it was for extra credit, the students applied what they knew of literary devices on this page at Today’s Meet.

We wrapped up class with a little review activity using the Plickers on literary devices.


**Extra Credit: Create a silly, one paragraph mini story using a literary device (or two) and post it on Today’s Meet.


Literary Devices as Centers: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Yesterday’s class periods showed that the students had a pretty firm grasp of the basic and more widely-used literary devices.  How fantastic!  As a result, today we moved into centers using the iPads.  After a quick recap of yesterday’s lesson as a relay race, each student received a school iPad with which they were to visit this blog.  They then had the opportunity to choose any of the literary devices of interest to them and complete the accompanying activities.  They then posted evidence of what they learned by applying that literary device in the context of a short story or analysis on their KidBlogs.

We will be continuing these self-directed centers again in class tomorrow.


  • šRead for 30 minutes.
  • šBring in the lyrics (either typed, printed, or hand-written) of your favorite song and highlight as many examples of literary devices as you can find.
  • Annotate each example with an explanation of how that highlighted portion serves as a valid example of that literary device.
  • šContinue work on your Genius Hour project.
  • šStudy for Friday’s vocabulary quiz.


Literary Devices Review: Monday, October 27th, 2014

The beauty of English Language Arts is that it is recursive and the same concepts are explored from year to year, just at varying depths.  So today, we touched upon literary devices, which the students learned in seventh grade.  While there are a lot of literary devices to explore, today we touched upon the following:

  • alliteration and assonance
  • metaphors and similes
  • flashback and foreshadowing
  • personification
  • onomatopoeia

First, we did a quick pre-assessment so I could see who knew what general concepts.  We used my new favorite classroom toy, Plickers.  These “picture clickers” combine an app with cards that are specially-coded and can be assigned to students.  They turn the cards in order to answer with an “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D.”  Below is a (very roughly-done) screencast I did for one of my grad classes on the usefulness of Plickers.


Hopefully one day I will have enough time to re-do this video to make it better. 🙂

We then watched some videos to help illustrate the various literary devices.  Two of the best-loved videos were a rap about literary devices

and examples of literary devices in pop culture.

We then finished class by re-taking the Plickers pre-assessment so that I could see if the students had any better results.  In most cases, all of the students answered correctly.  There were only a handful of students (under 5) in each class that were unclear about the meaning of some of the literary devices.