Edgar Allan Poe Archivist Activity – 7810

Edgar Allan Poe Archivist Activity – 7810


The students will complete a Performance Task about Edgar Allan Poe’s life using primary sources. A Performance Task requires the students to use critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication skills to answer open-ended questions about a hypothetical yet realistic situation. This Performance Task also has an accompanying document library that includes a range of information sources (such as articles, photographs, letters, and an obituary). The students are instructed to use these materials in preparing their answers to the Performance Task’s questions within the allotted two 90 minute class periods. The students will also use critical thinking and problem solving skills to construct a timeline of the events in Poe’s life based on the historical documents.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal/Target (6)

The assignment prompted the analysis of primary sources located in the document library, as well as secondary sources they found while conducting online research. Information fluency was applied by the students as they conducted their additional research by referring to their Online Resource Evaluation and Digital Research Tip Sheet. These research materials encouraged the students to recognize objectivity, authority, and reliability when analyzing information on the internet. The students then synthesized the information from the document library (as well as their additional sources) in order to address the authentic task (described in the Scenario) of assessing the historical items in the box. The students then made several accurate claims about the historical evidence by assembling the information in a formal letter to the Virginia Historical Society and in the creation of a timeline.

Developing (3)

The students communicated and collaborated with their partners to reach a common goal. They interacted with the digital tools as
they completed the letter to the Virginia Historical Society and the timeline. Finally, the students communicated in a reflection through the use of a Google Doc Survey to discuss the following:

  • their experience completing the Performance Task
  • their role as a communicator and collaborator
  • using critical thinking skills to evaluate the relevancy of the primary sources in the document library, as well as internet sources
  • problems they faced and solved during the Performance Task
  • their role as critical thinkers and how it connects with their goals in the future

Ideal/Target (7)

The students engaged in critical thinking and problem solving through the following authentic tasks:

  • generating questions to guide their analysis of the primary sources and their additional research
  • collaborating with a partner to reach a common goal
  • incorporating strategies to gain insights about the events and influences in Poe’s life
  • arranging the events of Poe’s life and creating a timeline through the use of a digital tool
  • justifying their decision making in regards to which sources are most relevant

Analyzing the documents allowed the students to think critically about the documents’ relevancy to the specific questions. The students exhibited problem solving skills while explaining the reasons for their conclusions, and the justification of those conclusions by explicitly referring to the specific documents. Critical thinking is not only evident in the accuracy of the information they provided, but also in how clearly their ideas were presented, how effectively the ideas were organized, and how thoroughly the information was covered. Finally, the students applied problem solving skills through Dipity by creating interactive timelines.

Approaching (5)

In this Performance Task, the students utilized the digital tools to generate a letter on Google Doc based on their analysis and insight. The students also created a digital timeline using Dipity in which they collaborated on visually engaging timelines by integrating images, texts, and links. The students made connections between the historical content and the ideas presented in the Performance Task questions.

Student Artifact

Poe Dipity

Download Files

Poe Archivist Activity (7810) – H21 Lesson Resources

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