Teaching the Dead: Lessons from a post ZA Classroom

Hi all!

As some of you may know, by day I’m a typical high school English teacher. I struggle to teach teenagers how to “dissect” a piece of literature and perform literary analysis on it’s various pieces. How does the author create the mood? Why does he or she use this word? What does this foreshadow? What does this say about the character?

I’m fortunate enough to teach an elective class called “Stories of Suspense.” In that course, I teach Hitchcock’s Psycho and The Birds, analyzing the use of shadows, lighting, and sound. Then I move onto some Poe, Stephen King, and Lovecraft. But the highlight of the class, and what it is most famous for, is my use of episodes of TWD. I use the show to go over those same literary techniques we learn in classic literature: foreshadowing, theme, character development, story structure, imagery, symbolism, mood, tone, etc as well as film techniques such as lighting, scenery, special effective, sound and score, make up, costuming, and pacing. The students love being able to apply what they learn in “regular English class” to a TV show, and vice versa. In fact, many of them claim after taking the class that they ‘can’t watch TV or movies the same way again.”

I’m proud to bring some of my insights and actual lessons to everyone here on the board, and exceedingly grateful that my “Teaching the Dead” posts have gained a following. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them and that you will check this folder often.

Happy reading and posting!


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