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Age Range: Grade 6 through Grade 8 (Middle School Level)
Duration: 45 minutes
Description: Write narratives that create anticipation through sensory details including movement and gestures.
Students will write a suspenseful short scene.
Students will learn how to create suspense by taking a moment from a story and including sensory details in that moment.
List of prompts (see below)
1) Discuss the anticipatory set about suspenseful movie scenes. The anticipatory set is When was the last time you found yourself clenching the seat during a movie? What made that scene so scary? How did the movie director slow down the moment to make you doubt what you were seeing?
2) Read a few gripping passages from any chosen piece of literature and invite students to discuss how the author created the tension.
3) Divide the class into groups. Have them brainstorm different methods used to generate suspense.
4) Have the student groups share with the class.
5) Next explain to the students that they are going to be writing their own suspenseful story.
Guide them with the following starter sentences. First; He or She was out for a walk one night when he or she heard a noise in the trees. Then help them along with questions such as
1. What do you think you heard?
2. What were you thinking?
3. What were you smelling?
4. What did you see?
Assessment: From time to time, ask students to share what they are writing to make sure everyone is clear about the purpose of the prompts.
Extension: Have students write another suspenseful scene without guiding questions.