Four student collaborators in Sandra Bajema’s language arts class performed an outlandish Edgar Allan Poe parody by vilifying a rooster:
Students Chris Veldhuis and Aiden Marsiglia recited their parody with dash of slapstick and drama:
Every morning at the hour six, I wake in sheer terror to a sound,
A sound that makes me feel burned out then — a candlewick.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo y’all,” crowed eighth-grader Jhace Metzger, playing the annoying culprit with a single sheet of paper held before his face. The class erupted into laughter.
For at the cusp of the house where the chickens lay,
The sound of fowl continues to ring in my ears throughout the day.
Although I’ve blocked the windows and locked the doors,
I still hear its crow — only this and nothing more.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo, some more,” said Jhace, mimicking Poe’s famous verse.
Jhace, along with all of Bajema’s language arts classes, drew on Poe’s classics to complete their tasks. One assignment was a poetic parody of “The Raven” with at least two stanzas, and the other to create a skit based on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
With a recipe of instructions — do something annoying, commit a crime, hide evidence and find the repeating sound that drives the guilty party stir-crazy — students concocted a bit of fun madness.
“As a teacher, I love language arts and English and I’m always looking for learning targets where they’re doing fun stuff,” Bajema said. “This is fun and funny and creative and playing around with words for the love of playing around with words.”
Oh the Noise, the Noise!
At the start of the oral presentations, Bajema told her fifth-hour class “We expect to find something annoying that leads to a crime. The evidence then needs to be concealed. The guilty party then is tortured by a repeating sound, until he/she breaks down and confesses and reveals where we can find the evidence.”
One all-girl cast of eighth-graders acted out their skit, with an evil old lady (Annabelle) repeatedly chopping apples for pies while a tortured victim (Jaden) prepared to pummel her with a cast-iron skillet.
“In class, we watched the Spongebob Squarepants’ (Poe) parody ‘Squeaky Boots,’ so we got some good ideas how to do it,” said Isabel Kruger. “We decided to stuff her in the furnace.”
It couldn’t be forgotten the crime that had turned the old woman rotten.
She was burned hot in the furnace, with the flames of a fire…
Jaida Dykhouse said she and her eighth-grade classmates came to appreciate Poe’s subject matter and style. “We weren’t quite sure what to expect from Edgar Allan Poe, but we really got into his twisted perspective.”
But Back to the Rooster …
As Poe’s mischievous narrator, Chris nearly whispered the last little bit and the student audience leaned in.
But then I realized a taste in my mouth, it lingered there
“No!” I exclaim. “It’s not fair!”
I drink some water, but it doesn’t leave.
I felt something caught in my teeth.
The farmer asks why I’m sweating.
He noticed me fretting!
He knew.He must have had the police outside.
“Fine! Here he is! I killed him!” I cry.