Do you like scary stories? I admit I am a total wimp when it comes to anything scary! But my middle school ELA students LOVE creeping themselves out with this scary story and Halloween activities! I love to use their love of all things scary to practice reading literature and improve their analysis skills! I recently discovered this often-forgotten gem by the one and only Mark Twain: “A Ghost Story.”
“A Ghost Story” – Mark Twain
Only recently had I discovered this story and I was absolutely delighted by it! In true Mark Twain fashion, satire is front and center in this story and provides a great opportunity to introduce satire to your students.
Based on the true story of one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, “The Cardiff Giant,” this fictional account begins with a chilling narrative of a hotel guest about to encounter something supernatural.
After hours of terror and, in an unexpected plot twist, the narrator finally meets the ghostly specter face-to-face. What follows is a hilarious and absurd conversation between the narrator and the ghost where Twain uses satire in his commentary on the general public and their gullibility.
Fun and Engaging Learning!
Trust me when I say that this is such a fun story to read with students! However, some background knowledge is required! Without the proper background knowledge, the story will likely not make sense and fall flat.
But don’t worry, I’ve got you! You know I love helping you build your students’ background knowledge!
Here is a list of everything you will get with this Halloween Resource:
- An Informational Article recounting the real history of “The Cardiff Giant.” (Absolutely vital for understanding the story!)
- A Slides Presentation teaching and reviewing the following topics.
- Sensory Details
- Tone (review)
- Mood (review)
- “A Ghost Story” by Mark Twain (Full Text – it’s in the public domain)
- “A Ghost Story” Student Assignment that asks students to analyze all of the topics listed above.
- Additional Teacher Talking Points Sheet addressing:
- Symbolism (specifically Twain’s use of light and dark in the story)
- Social Commentary
- Humor and Irony
- Modern-day Connections (spread of misinformation via social media and the gullibility of individuals)
- BONUS: Writing Assignment Asking students to write their own spooky story with a surprise ending.
- Grading Rubric
- Answer Keys!
This is truly a great way to dive into some fun Halloween Activities for Middle School ELA with your students during the month of October!
Until Next Time!
Brenna (Mrs. Nelson)