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Lesson Plan

Modeling Reading and Analysis Processes with the Works of Edgar Allan Poe

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Modeling Reading and Analysis Processes with the Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Gaines

Hoover, Alabama


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • "Treehouse of Horror." (1990). The Simpsons—The Complete Second Season. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox.

  • Readers' notebooks or journals

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Plot Diagram

Grades   1 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Plot Diagram

The Plot Diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, which is used to map the events in a story. This mapping of plot structure allows readers and writers to visualize the key features of stories.


Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


Printing Press

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Writing & Publishing Prose

Printing Press

The interactive Printing Press is designed to assist students in creating newspapers, brochures, and flyers.


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  • This lesson assumes that students have a working knowledge of simile, metaphor, repetition, personification, alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme. If they need more instruction on these topics, visit the resources listed on the Links to Other Forms of Poetry and Elements of Poetry handout.

  • Purchase or rent The Simpsons—The Complete Second Season, which includes a spoof of Poe's "The Raven."  Note that you can use different published versions of the poem from the Edgar Allan Poe Society if the video is not available; however, the video is the recommended option. The differences among the versions on the Poe Society site are subtle and probably more sophisticated than middle school students are ready to explore.

  • Obtain copies of Poe's works that will be used for the lesson. All the pieces are available online and are widely anthologized. If possible, obtain Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness (Atheneum, 2004) to share the Gris Grimly's illustrations with the class. The book includes each of the four short stories used in this lesson.

  • Choose a brief biography or background piece on Poe to share with students during the first session. If your class texts of Poe include biographical and other background information, turn to the class text. Otherwise, you can provide information online from the Poe Museum, Knowing Poe, or Wikipedia. So that students can follow the think-aloud process, all students should be looking at the same text. Either provide copies of the text for students, make arrangements to share the text with an LCD projector, or make overhead transparencies of the biography that you have chosen.

  • Prepare to share The Interactive Raven Website using an LCD projector or a computer lab. This site provides a look at the vocabulary and literary devices in Edgar Allan Poe's poem by displaying the stanzas from the poem one at a time, pointing out Poe's use of some common literary devices. By moving the mouse over the highlighted words, readers can learn more about Poe's use of alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme, and read definitions for words that may not be familiar to them.

  • Review the Websites used in the lesson and decide which to have students explore as they look for background information about Poe. Alternately, gather reference materials for students to use in their research.

  • If students cannot access the resources online, copy or create overhead transparencies of the handouts.

  • Test the Plot Diagram interactive, Venn Diagram, and The Interactive Raven on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the correct plug-ins installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • Test the audio recording of "The Raven" on your computer to ensure that you have the proper media player installed. The *.AU formatted file plays with Windows Media Player, and the *.RA file plays with Real Player (look for the FREE version on the download page, rather than the trial version).

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