English 9 Regents: Elements of Fiction in “The Raven”

We read and analyzed “The Raven” using the elements of fiction triangle (review for the exam) as well as examining Poe’s use of specific poetic devices.

Each group (6 groups) selected a card for which part of the story the group would focus on: Exposition (Characterization), Exposition (Setting/Mood), Rising Action (Conflicts), Climax (Turning Point for the Protagonist), Falling Action (Reaction to/Consequence of the Climax), and Denouement (Resolution of Main Conflict).  Each group shared its findings as well as made references to poetic devices that Poe used to get the ideas across.

Visible Thinking:

The following video, “Stephen King vs. Edgar Allan Poe: Epic Rap Battles of History,” was used in a Visible Thinking exercise (students were pre-warned of PG-13 phrases and excused from the room while it played if they thought they might find the two references offensive…they are so brief that they might not even be noticed in the rap, but I put it out there just in case):


NOTE: As we are doing many Visible Thinking exercises with the poetry unit, we are sharing verbally instead of using PostIt Notes.  I shuffle their class cards and deal them into three piles: See/Think/Wonder.


English 9 Regents: Forming Evidence-Based Claims about Poetry

When we began work with Free Verse poetry, we took a very close look at “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes.  After making a claim regarding a theme in the poem, we especially paid close attention to the following figurative language tools to see how they supported the theme of never giving up in spite of extreme difficulties:

– the extended metaphor of the staircase (both the “crystal stair” that the Mother’s life was not, and the beat up, wooden staircase that it was);

– the symbolism of the tacks, boards torn up, bare places on the floor, and the turns at each landing;

– and the characterization of the Mother through her dialect and her willingness to keep climbing in spite of hardships.

In preparation for their next writing assignment, we took the information about “Mother to Son” and placed it on a Forming Evidence-Based Claim worksheet (see below) to use as a model:

MOTHER TO SON Forming EBC Worksheet

The students had been instructed to bring in any Free Verse poem of their choice (as long as it was school appropriate and a minimum of 20 lines so that they had something to work with).  After we finished the model of “Mother to Son”, I asked them to do the same thing for their own choice of poem.  The poems had to be RHA’d for theme and at least three examples of figurative language that supported the theme.

Student Samples:

EBC Poem Mackenzie


EBC Mackenzie


EBC Poem Andre

EBC Andre

Once they completed their Evidence-Based Claims forms, they were then able to construct a three-chunk paragraph about the poem that they had selected.