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Picking Up the Clues

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Educurious Team

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of Picking Up the Clues

The Challenge
Your challenge is to figure out what makes a piece of literature, a graphic novel or a film suspenseful. What are the elements at play within the work? How does this effect your appreciation and understanding of the work?

To do this, you will follow the lead of a successful professional novelist, April Henry, and you will craft your own imaginative narrative using the elements you've studied.
The Project
Module 1
Module Extension
Go below the surface at your own peril.
Why Care?
This unit requires you to analyze highly challenging texts. It also asks you to exercise your creativity and to work with others on projects. These are key skills and practices that are used in many careers. They will serve you well in the future.

Knowing how to be persistent and struggle through hard texts will lead to you into being a more fluent and aware reader.
Allowing yourself to tap your creativity provides you with the ability to "see outside the box" and gives you space to write, think and play with words
Working with others on projects provides you with a window into how people work together in professions

While many might find creative pursuits less serious or important than other disciplines like science and math, we should remember that creativity also fuels a large part of the US economy. Mass media industries, software development, public relations, and advertising all require creative minds. In fact, creativity professions contribute well over $300 billion the US economy each year and in some countries make up 50% of all jobs. It is often said that creativity is the reason the US is consistently an economic leader in the world.

Any one can be creative. You just have to relax, concentrate and take risks.

How did his background inform his strange and gruesome works?

You will dive into the life of Poe before you begin reading his works. There is a big mystery about his death.
The Project
How do the Elements of Suspense show up in Poe? An what other literary tricks does he have up his sleeve?
Locked Room
Module 3
Studio Days
After your expert has given you feedback on your short story and after you have created some sort of digitally adapted product, you will publish it to an audience.
"I become insane with long intervals of horrible sanity."
You will develop a suspenseful short story and then adapt it into your choice of a graphic novel or short video.

In this unit, you will become familiar with suspense genres of literature and graphic novels or film. You will read a novel, as you become familiar with the Elements of Suspense and begin to form your own theory of suspense. After understanding the fundamentals of suspense, you will read a few horrifying works by Edgar Allen Poe.

Throughout the unit, you will also apply the Elements of Suspense to your own imaginative writing bank which will help you with your project
Need to Know Question
How do writers and film directors bring readers and audiences to the edge of their seats, making them want to read and watch on?
Throughout the unit, you will be studying mediums other than stories and novels. Graphic novels, comics and films. All use the elements of suspense, but in different ways. You will learn about these mediums. And depending on your equipment at the school and how your teacher wants to focus the unit, you will select several of imaginative narratives from the class to script and then create an adaptation of it as a graphic short story/chapter or as a short film. You will do this work as a team around a narrative of your choosing.
To get you on your way to mystery solving and thrill seeking, the unit consists of four modules that build on each other and lead you to greater independence with reading challenge text and more able to let creativity flow.
What are the Elements of Suspense?
Read a contemporary or classical novel
Explore three Elements of Suspense and how they contribute to making you want to read on.
Explore sensory detail with Hitchcock
Learn to make inferences
Write a rough draft of a suspenseful scene with some of the Elements of Suspense.
Module 2
Read Murders in the Rue Morgue, a gory story with an unexpected twist. It is considered to be the first detective story ever told. Two key tropes appear in the story:
the locked room mystery
the detective duo
You then try your hand at developing a locked room mystery.
How does psychology factor into suspense? What sorts of new psychological drama did Poe bring to his works?

In this module, you will individually read The Tell-Tale Heart. You will be aided by online tools, but you will still continue to look for the Elements of Suspense while understanding how the irrational fears that we all have can push plots forward. You will end the module by trying your own hand at a irrational fear narrative.
Module 4
What elements of suspense does Poe use to bring other challenging texts to life?
Select a Poe short storyto analyze. Your goal is to find elements that the class has discussed or that you find valuable to understand the text more closely.
Get feedback on your draft from peer and experts.
How is suspense made in other mediums? Is it as successful? Why?
Throughout the unit, you will explore either graphic short stories or films that use the Elements of Suspense. You will study how the medium constructs suspense, and you learn the tools for you to create your own visual masterpiece!
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