October 31, 2019
"It was many and many a year ago, / In a kingdom by the sea, / That a maiden there lived whom you may know / By the name of ANNABEL LEE." ~ "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allen Poe
It was not many and many a year ago (just Halloween 2019), in a classroom at Walton Middle School, that two teachers there taught whom you may know, by the names of Mr. Brendon Murphy and Mrs. Rachel Jones.
It is no secret that middle school students over-indulge in sugary treats and are overly excited the day of Halloween. Knowing this, sixth grade ELA teachers Mrs. Jones and Mr. Murphy decided to creatively join forces, designing and co-teaching a close and careful reading of the complex text "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allen Poe--the perfect poem for October 31st. The teachers combined classes in Mrs. Jones' room and took turns guiding students' understanding of the poem's theme with text dependent questions and tasks. The teachers even incorporated whole brain teaching techniques to help students understand internal and external conflicts operating in the poem. Though the room was full, students worked hard to understand the mystical, somber poem's key ideas and details and the author's craft and structure through his use of repetition and rhyme.
Clearly, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Murphy love their profession with "a love that was more than love," to quote Poe. Working together, the teachers and their students all exhibited WMS' "we, not me" spirit in this creative and engaging lesson.