Learning doesn’t stop on Halloween at Bob Jones
Freshman English teachers took an out-of-the-jack-o-lantern approach to literature on Halloween Day at Bob Jones High School.
“We’re having cross-curricular lessons among four English classes, also with the art department involved,” Bob Jones principal Robby Parker said. “We want different modalities in the classroom — visual learning, writing and interacting in group work.”
Teachers used “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe to explore atmosphere, mood and tone in the prose. Poe’s short story recounts a man’s gruesome revenge on a friend.
Kristi Combs said her classroom, the “carnival room,” depicted the festivity of the story’s introduction and was decorated with bright streamers and pink and purple balloons. Kristen Bergenson’s “century room” gave historical perspective for the time of Poe’s writing.
“There’s nothing more ‘Halloweeny’ than Poe. We’re using his work to teach tones in literature,” Bergerson said. Vocabulary training enables students to create descriptive phrases for mood.
Art students at Bob Jones drew foreboding walls to resemble the catacombs of Rome in Mary Oliver’s room. Drab curtains and cave-like murals created an underground setting. “We’re trying to give the kids historical background for the book’s setting,” Oliver said.
“Mood is very dark in here with candles. Poe himself is here,” Parker said entering another room with teacher Jon Campbell portraying Poe.
“We’re having a little study on my life and work,” Campbell said. “‘The Cask of Amontillado’ is one of my more creepy and conniving short stories, to say the least. I tell why I write the way I write, and why my work and life are so dark and macabre.”
“The raven, my friend Igor, joined me today. He likes to stay with me inside,” Campbell said. “He hasn’t attacked anyone yet, but I can’t guarantee everyone’s safety for the rest of the day.”
“It’s always a great day to be at Bob Jones, but today may might even be a notch above,” Parker said.