This was ninth-grader T's first brush with Edgar Allan Poe. She had a definite opinion!
Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!). Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Mr. Blythe shared his curriculum and together we came up with the idea to have them narrate Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." The crazed narrator provided the perfect vehicle for the class to become an ensemble of different personalities in his murderous head. Betsy Foldes Meiman directed the piece as if it were a take on Batman's Joker or popular video game homicidal maniacs, some of which she has voiced. The class took up the challenge and dug deep into the text, ingesting and performing Poe's words with deep understanding. Language and literacy barriers were smashed. The shy became killers, and of course Mr. Blythe himself, the poor victim. Recorded remotely by Betsy over zoom over a week's time, the edited files were given to professional sound designer Eric Willhelm who then created an eerie and ever more stressful atmosphere driving the story to its explosive conclusion.
We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. We think they will never forget The Tell-Tale Heart!
*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
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