Common Core Standards 6th Grade Writing Lesson

Che-Mai Gray, a teacher in Marysville, Washington, created this detailed Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson plan full of directed listening and thinking activities, all based around Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

By Cameron Pipkin


Common Core Standards 6th Grade Writing Lesson




For Grades 6-8, administered in five 60-minute classroom sessions. This lesson requires an Internet connection and access to computers for students. Also, a large screen at the head of the classroom for teacher(s) is preferable.

This is a multi-day Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson in which students are asked answer prediction questions periodically throughout the reading. As a final activity, students enter into a directed conversation and writing activity in which they compose a response to the narrative in “The Tell-Tale Heart.” This response takes one of two forms: either an acrostic poem or a comic strip. This works well as a Halloween-themed lesson or to kick off a mystery unit.

Aligned to the following Common Core Standards

  • ELA-Reading: Literature RL.8.1, 8.2, 8.4, 8.9, 8.10
  • ELA-Reading: Informational Text RI.8.1
  • ELA-Writing W.8.9
  • ELA-Literacy L.8.4, 8.4(a), L.8.4(d), L.8.6,


Common Core Lesson Plans

Common Core Standards 6th Grade Writing Lesson Plan

Session 1

1. Question students about their familiarity with author, Edgar Allan Poe. Ask if students have seen the Halloween episode of the Simpsons where Homer narrates the poem, “The Raven.” Here’s a link to the video on youtube:
2. Visit the website, Poe’s Life and walk students through some of the content there. As part of the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson, discuss what you find on the site about Poe’s life with your class. Guide students to see the connection between the challenges in Poe’s life and writing (eg. Poe’s dead wife and mother as influencing the character of Lenore in “The Raven”). Poe’s writing comes out of what he experienced in his life, just like the writing that many of us do—we write about what we know.
3. Give students space to discuss the writing they have done and how it was connected to their life experiences.

Session 2

1. At this point in the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson, hand out “The Tell-Tale Heart” Vocabulary Worksheet to your students and go over it. Read each word on the worksheet to the class and have your students repeat it. Define each term and give examples of usage.
2. Introduce your students to the story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”. As you read the story, stop periodically and ask the class to record their predictions in response to questions you create. As students listen to the story, let them know that this writing process will help them understand the story.
3. Pull up Prediction Questions for “The Tell-Tale Heart” on the overhead projector, and make sure to cover all the questions.
4. Instruct students to remain quiet. Uncover the first question and ask your class to record their predictions. As you read the story, stop in the designated places in the text to let your class to respond to the questions as they are uncovered. Take care not to uncover questions until you have reached the appropriate place in the story.
5. When you finish reading, ask your class to talk about the story and share their responses to the prediction questions. Give them enough time to come to their own conclusions and finish discussing their thoughts on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
6. Gather your class’ prediction response sheets for measuring participation and comprehension and save them for Sessions 3 and 4 of the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson.

Sessions 3 and 4

1. Hand back prediction response papers you saved from Session 2 of the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson.
2. Have your class brainstorm terms to describe “The Tell Tale Heart.” They might come up with words related to the story, setting, climax, characters, etc. Record the terms on the board.
3. Hand out “The Tell-Tale Heart” Assignment Sheet. The sheet lays out two options for creating a response to the story. Give students the time they need to complete the assignment on computers.

Session 5

Now that the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson is complete, give students the opportunity to share their work with each other.

Student Assessment/Reflections

  • It’s a good idea to check students’ predictions after Session 1 of the Common Core Standards 6th grade writing lesson from the DLTA. Look for participation in the lesson and answers that show understanding of the story.
  • Assess students’ comic strips and acrostic poems using the Assessment Rubric found on page two of “The Tell Tale Heart” Assignment Sheet. The rubric is designed around the principles outlined in the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model.
  • Break students into groups and ask them to complete the Wish and a Star Sheet for each person in the group.
  • Common Core Standards 6th-Grade Writing Lesson Plan



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