Seventh grade teacher, Erin Smith, takes a different approach to teaching her students American literature


Korissa Smith

Erin Smith swears in the jury: Cl Vasser and Hilyah Brown

Korissa Smith, Editor

On November 2nd, seventh grade English teacher, Erin Smith, demonstrated a different approach to teaching classic literature.

Students were asked to show their understanding of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous short story “Tell-Tale Heart” through a mock trial,

“We just completed a mock trial for the defendant who was a character in the short story, the tell tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe.” said Smith. “We had the defense prosecutors and the excuse me, the defense attorneys, and then the prosecuting attorneys fighting for either ‘he’s guilty, but he’s insane’. Or ‘he’s guilty and deserves the death penalty’.”

Erin smith showed excitement for the project because she felt that her students had the opportunity to use their voices.

“They get to use their speaking voices and practice, you know, having academic conversations,” said Smith. “They get to engage in back and forth with their peers in an appropriate way, which is usually pretty fun. And it gets them out of their seats talking about the characters in a book, which is what I want.”

When asked if she thinks that this assignment was a success Smith made judgement that it indeed was.

“I think so,” said Smith. “I think everyone did a really good job. I think they took some pretty detailed notes and came up with some good questions. And I think they spoke respectfully back and forth, which was what I always want.”

Smith says that should would definitely make plans to do these kind of assignments in the future

“Yes,” said Smith. ”So we will continue to practice having those like academic conversations with each other in like an organized space so that we can share our opinions and share our thoughts in a way that is respectful and safe and encouraging. That’s my whole goal.”