Juggling ELA Shares Her Favorite Scary Story That She Teaches

This is my favorite time of the year. The leaves are changing color, I can wear my comfy sweaters and Halloween is just around the corner. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I like to celebrate it all month long. All of my students know that I have a bit of an obsession with Halloween.

I like to start off with a scary story unit and I end with my students writing their own scary stories. I have taught numerous scary stories over the years but here is a list of some of my favorites.

"The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

"The Bad Babysitter" by R.L. Stine

I love to teach basically anything by Edgar Allan Poe, but my absolute favorite scary story to teach is "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe.

There are many things that I love about "The Tell-Tale Heart." A lot of my students read below grade level and many of Poe's stories have archaic language in them. I find "The Tell-Tale Heart" to be more accessible than some of Poe's other tales. The story is fairly short so you can teach it in 2 or 3 class periods. I've successfully used this story in grades 9-12 but it can work with 7th or 8th grade classes that are advanced.

I find the plot of "The Tell-Tale Heart" to be absolutely terrifying. Can you imagine thinking that someone is your friend and your roommate (or boarder) and they're plotting your murder? Just thinking about it gives me the chills. One thing that I love to point out to my students is that in this story (and other Poe tales) the protagonist is an evil/crazy man. Most of my students think of the protagonist as the "good guy." When I teach multiple stories by Poe I like to compare and contrast his narrators.

In honor of my favorite holiday, I have teamed up with some other secondary ELA teachers from TpT to have both a blog hop and a two day sale. We all have 20% off on our Halloween products 10/16/16 and 10/17/16. Take advantage of these low prices to find items that will help you have a hauntingly good time in your ELA classes.

Check out everyone's blog and look at their sale items. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

I promise it won't be a year before I write another blog post :-)


  1. We both adore teaching Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" this time of year . . . I love that we have that in common! :)

  2. I don't know why but I love horror. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, I love horror movies and horror TV shows.

  3. Add me to the "Tell-Tale Heart" fan club. There's something so terrifying about the story that both the kids and I love.

  4. I love stories with ironic twists at the end and both "The Lottery" & "A Rose for Emily" are two of my favorites to teach!

  5. I agree-- I could teach about anything by Poe. Good point about some of the difficult language. The other one I think is still accessible and VERY creepy, is The Cask of Amontillado.

  6. Add me to "The Tell-Tale Heart" Fan Club! It's one of my favorite short stories to teach! I LOVE the idea of comparing and contrasting the different narrators in Poe's short stories. That would be a great literary analysis activity! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome. My students that I graduated in June I had for 3 straight years so we did a lot of Poe. We always compared and contrasted characters.

  7. I love using "The Lottery" in class. I hadn't thought of it as a Halloween story, but I think it fits the bill.

  8. Oohh, I haven't read that RL Stine one. I will have to go do that! Thanks for the good set of titles.

  9. I have read alot of stories because I have love to read the interesting stories,when I was in the school,I have buy many stories books from my pocket money and now i have been reading the stories at free time because Iam a professional academic academic content writer and I help the students of university to submit the assignment at university and also I offer an online to Buy Mba Dissertation service to the students at a cheap rate.

  10. That sounds intriguing! Sharing spooky tales can make literature come alive. Have you considered incorporating diverse narratives into your teaching? It adds depth to the curriculum. Also, if you ever need assistance, there are reputable services like best assignment writer uk to support your lesson planning. Keep inspiring your students!



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