Why are things creepy?

Class began the usual way. Students completed a WA that asked them to identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs of a sentence, and then we went over this as a class. I reminded students that this WILL be on their quiz on Friday, and I explained that the quiz will have three parts: one part about vocabulary, one about parts of speech, and one about capitalization for a total of 15 points.

Students moved into NBT, and the prompt for today was submitted by a student. I reminded students that this is something they can do to earn participation. After watching the video below, I invited students to write about who they think the MVP is of their favorite sports team or who the MVP in their life is.

Today marks the beginning of our suspenseful story unit! This is something that about 75% of classes get excited for and 25% are nervous about. If you/your child is in the 25%, I want you to know that this unit is about suspense – not horror or gore or anything violent. Also, students are always welcome to not watch a video I show, and when it gets the to writing assignment that accompanies this unit, students are welcome to see me for an alternate assignment.

Of course suspense is the vehicle we are using to accomplish learning about a lot of different things, and this is showed students in class:

  • Figurative language (identifying, interpreting, writing)
  • Word choice – connotation/denotation
  • How do author’s create mood in their writing?
  • How can I create mood in my writing?
  • How can I write very descriptively in order to make my reader have an emotional reaction?
  • How do I give my peers good feedback in order to push their writing further?
  • How do I use feedback given to me in order to revise my writing into the best possible piece it could be?

After going over what we will be accomplishing over the next month, I showed students A PART of the clip attached below. PLEASE NOTE that I stopped the video at the 2:01 mark and told student they should make sure to have parent permission before watching the rest. The video ENDS with gore, and that is not at all what this unit is about, so students were instructed to not only check with parents before finishing this (if they wanted to) but to also reflect about how scary things tend to affect them.

After viewing the first two minutes, students discussed the following questions with their group members:

  • Did this video cause you to react in a particular way? How so? Why did you react that way?
  • What did the director do in order to build that feeling of suspense?

After discussing, students took some time to write their thoughts down on the page about creepy things and creepiness by responding to one or more of the following questions in writing:

  • What’s the difference between creepy and scary?
  • What are things that “creep you out”? Why do those things creep you out?
  • What is a creepy experience you have had?

They then did a “gallery walk,” visiting a variety of desks, reading what their classmates had written, and using some feedback frames on the board to comment back to others about their thoughts. Of course we needed to set a creepy mood in the classroom, so this music played as students read and responded:

After responding time was up and students had a chance to look at the comments left for them, we went over the definition of the word “ambiguous” because “ambiguity” and creepiness go hand in hand.

  • Definition: able to be understood in more than one way; vague; having more than one meaning
  • Synonym: unclear
  • Antonym: clear

Next, while jotting down ideas about creepy things, students watched the video below that gave them a nice overview and scientific background on what creepiness is and why some things give us the creeps.

We will reflect on this video a bit tomorrow.

To end class, if there was time, students played vocabulary jenga in order to prepare for their quiz on Friday.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Complete brainstrom sheet for tomorrow – be sure to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS

A Creepy Brainstorm