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Sixth-Grade Goes “Goth”

Sixth-Grade Goes “Goth”
Students Engage in Gothic Literature Lessons through New Experiences

Exploring passions continues this school year, providing teachers with dedicated time to learn more about a topic or activity that inspires them. At PVC, sixth-grade teachers Katey Ernau (ELA), Ian Gallagher (Science & Social Studies), Emma Akhondzadeh (ELA/SS), Christina Pegna (Math/Science), Lauren Gonzales (Special Education), and Jenny Rescigno (Math) focused their passion project on finding different “outside” experiences that connect back to the topics their students are studying in school. That often means that students get out of the classroom to see and interact with the subject matter. In this case, students were given the combined experience of hearing an actor deliver the story of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” followed by a visit to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside home in Sleepy Hollow, creating an immersive experience around the gothic-themed Unit l.

Assistant Superintendent, John Griffiths kicked off the unit with a dramatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Next, students moved to other famous gothic works including, “Frankenstein” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Reading Washington Irving’s short story in class helped prepare students for an in-person performance by master storyteller, Jonathan Kruk. Jonathan, dressed in period clothes from the early 19th century, regaled students with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” He spoke about the early settlers and how the story of the headless horsemen came to be. 

Next, students visited Washington Irving’s Sunnyside cabin and made connections between the short story, the author, and the local history. Ms. Rescigno said that the students loved the visit and that they were ”so engaged in the house and asked great questions.” Having the knowledge of the story, combined with experiencing Jonathan Kruk’s performance, primed the student for the tour, providing context and appreciation for this special field trip to the famous author’s home.

“We are passionate about giving students a variety of ways to connect with the materials they are learning and to do so across subject areas,” said Mrs. Rescigno. “Our team works together to find ways to bring in outside programs into the building and/or to go into the field and have the kids experience something new.”