Take advantage of your students’ fascination with spooky stuff this month. We’ve collected our favorite Lit2Go stories and poems along with some spooky images from FCIT websites. The items in the collection will probably give you many ideas for classroom activities, but here are just a few ideas for starters:
- Compare the print or audio version of H.G. Wells’ original War of the Worlds (available on Lit2Go) with Orson Welles’ famous 1938 radio adaptation (available on Wikipedia).
- Use the scary tales here for a study of foreshadowing. Listen to the audio recording of the books and tales below, but stop frequently to allow students to predict what will happen next.
- Select one of the photos as a writing prompt.
- Write a tale about one of the mythological creatures in the ClipArt ETC collection. Many of them are composite creatures. Don’t like any of the choices? Create your own composite creature for your tale. The ClipArt ETC website has over 10,000 animal illustrations, so mix-and-match to your heart’s content.
- Write a descriptive paragraph for a spooking setting. Don’t just tell me it’s spooky. Describe the sights, sounds, and other details so I feel it’s spooky.
- Writing epitaphs can be an engaging poetry activity. Ask students to compose their own epitaph, but specify that the cause of death be something silly that wouldn’t actually happen:
Here lies Roy who typed this scary post,
He drooled on his keyboard and now he’s a ghost.
Have students print their epitaphs on construction paper cut to the shape of tombstones and decorate with designs inspired by the photos way, way down this page.
- Plan a classroom party using one of the novels below as the theme.
- Ditch the Kleenex ghost and egg carton bat craft projects. Instead plan rich art activites around scenes from the selected novels and poems below.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London, England in 1818. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. Frankenstein is a part of the Monstrous Creatures collection on Lit2Go.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The narrator finds it increasingly difficult to conceal an act of violence from the authorities.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said—
The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour….
The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees—degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a long time my Reason struggled to reject as fanciful—it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name—and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared—it was now, I say, the image of a hideous—of a ghastly thing—of the GALLOWS!—oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime—of Agony and of Death….
An old friend is summoned to his childhood friend’s home to comfort him during his final days of an illness only to witness strange and horrifying happenings in the House of Usher.
The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length. I saw that the crescent was designed to cross the region of the heart. It would fray the serge of my robe—it would return and repeat its operations—again—and again….
A priest looks for lodging in the night and is given shelter by an old woman. She goes to gather more wood, and she tells him not to look in the back room. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he looks in the room and sees horrible things.
Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh. Questions about this post or suggestions for a future topic? Email me at Roy@FCIT.US. To ensure that your email is not blocked, please do not change the subject line. Thank you!
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