The Tell-Tale Heart Project Ideas

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

''The Tell-Tale Heart'' is an intense short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. This asset offers multiple group and individual projects to allow your students the opportunity to showcase their understanding of this complex piece of literature.

The Tell-Tale Heart Projects

Edgar Allan Poe is a fabulous poet, but his work is incredibly intense. High schoolers are at an age that they can certainly understand the language of Poe, but may need time to fully digest his underpinning meanings in his work. This is particularly true of the The Tell-Tale Heart. The themes in this work are dark and can be confronting to teenagers.

That is where projects come in to play. Projects allow a student to compile all they have learned and understood about a certain topic into a single display. The projects offered in this asset are designed for high school students to profile their acquired knowledge related to Edgar Allan Poe's work The Tell-Tale Heart.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Art is a great way to express your feelings and understanding about a concept. This project encourages students to single out their most salient ideas related to the work and create a work of art to represent the work.


  • Optional art mediums
    • Paint
    • Clay
    • Sketch pencils
    • Art paper


  • Conduct a brief class discussion on how the work made each student feel. Ask:
    • What was the most important scene in the story to you?
    • What emotion did you feel most during the reading of the story?
    • What image comes to mind as you think about this story? {Encourage them to think beyond the heart.}
  • Now, tell your students that they will need to create a single piece of art that captures their most salient feelings about the story. Their work must:
    • Tell part of or the entire story in an artistic way
    • Be produced in paint, sculpture form, or sketch
    • Express strong emotion
  • Give your students a time limit for the project to be completed at home. Consider offering some class time to work on the project.
  • Allow class time for students to present their work, explaining what the work is and why it was chosen to represent the story.


  • Consider allowing students to work in pairs or small groups.

Retell It

Literature told in an old version of a language can be just as difficult to understand as if it were in a foreign language. This project helps students truly compile the story by translating it into a language version familiar to them.


  • Writing utensils
  • Digital story telling applications (optional)


  • After reading and discussing the story, ask your students to consider how they might retell the story to a friend who has not read it before.
    • Would they use the same language phrases?
    • Would they tell every detail or paraphrase?
    • What method of storytelling would they use?
  • Instruct your students to retell the story of The Tell-Tale Heart in any storytelling format they choose. Some options for consideration are:
    • Graphical novel (comic book style)
    • News article - facts devoid of emotion
    • Pure retelling in language that matches the current linguistics of the day
  • Give your students a deadline for submission of their work.
  • Consider allowing for class time in which students could share their stories. Discuss:
    • Did everyone include the same details?
    • Is it always important to include every detail in a retelling? Why/why not?
    • Does the work maintain its intensity when retold in more modern language? Why/why not?


  • Consider allowing students to work in pairs on this project.

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