Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Diagramming Annabelle Lee

Susan Taylor


Using a Story Diagram Chart and a K-W-L Chart, students examine the parts of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, “Annabelle Lee.”


The student extends previously learned knowledge and skills of the seventh grade with increasingly complex reading selections and assignments and tasks (for example, using context and word structure, making inferences and generalizations, using graphic organizers and note-making, comparing and contrasting).

The student uses a prewriting strategy suitable for the task (for example, brainstorming, using a graphic organizer, listing ideas).


- Unlined poster paper (2 pieces) for creating K-W-L charts with student generated answers.
- Copies of K-W-L chart for individual student use (2 per student. I would copy the charts on the front and back of the paper.)
- At least one piece of notebook paper per student for rough draft of Story Diagram
- One copy of the Story Diagram per student plus a few extras (see associated file)
- A copy of the teacher model of the Story Diagram (see associated file)
- Class set of highlighters
- Class copies of an abbreviated Edgar Allan Poe biography - one per student per class so that each student will have one to highlight (copy from website: Edgar Allan Poe - Collected Works of the Master of the Macabe - Biography and selected stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe. )
- Class copies of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “Annabelle Lee” (copy from website: The Work of Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849) - The Work and Life of Edgar Allan Poe )
- Study guide questions and teacher answer key (see associated file)
- Paragraph summary web (copy from website: - see also teacher suggestions in associated file)
- A copy of the teacher modeled paragraph summary web (see associated file)
- Dictionaries and/or textbook glossary, optional
- Colored pencils or crayons, optional


1. Provide copies of the Story Diagram and the Study Guide Questions. (See associated file).
2. Print from the Internet, an abbreviated Poe biography and a copy of the poem “Annabelle Lee.” Make class sets of these documents. Be sure to make enough copies enough so that each student has his or her own copy to highlight and keep.
3. Teacher should review the biography information and highlight pertinent information in advance. Read the poem in advance and even practice reading it aloud.
4. Print a copy of the following:
a. The teacher model of the Story Diagram (see associated file)
b. The study guide questions answer key (see associated file)
c. A copy of the teacher modeled paragraph summary web.
5. Provide students with highlighters.
6. Provide copies of the paragraph summary web (copy from web site).
7. Provide dictionaries and/or textbook glossary, optional.
8. Provide colored pencils or crayons, optional.


DAY 1:
1. Ask students, “Why do you think that horror stories or “thrillers” appeal to many people?” Have students list some of the current horror films or thrillers out in theaters today or some of their favorites from the past. With the class, list answers generated by students on a K-W-L chart (see Associated File). Also, pass out copies of KWL charts so that students can take notes with the teacher directed discussion.

2. Next, ask students if they have ever heard of the author, Edgar Allan Poe. What do they know about him (biographical or the titles of literary works)? Again with the class, list answers on a KWL Chart as students generate information. Have students take notes with the class on a second KWL chart.

3. Distribute highlighters and one page Poe biography to students.

4. Have the class read the biography of Poe and highlight significant biographical information. Pay special attention to the family losses and failures that filled Poe’s life. Return to the K-W-L chart and add to the Learned section.

5. Next, distribute copies of the poem, “Annabelle Lee.” Read the poem aloud to students as they follow along. Explain that the poem is a narrative, so students should listen to the story. Be sure to remind students that narrative writing tells a story. Narratives can be in the form of essays, short stories, or even poems - like -Annabelle Lee.-

6. Have students answer the study guide questions about the story of “Annabelle Lee.”

DAY 2:

7. Review the study guide questions on “Annabelle Lee.” Be sure that students have copies of their study guides and the poem.

8. Distribute copies of the Story Diagram to students.

9. Identify four words from the poem that are unusual and that are most likely unknown to the class. Ask the students to look at the words in context and generate a working definition for each word. Suggested words are listed and defined on the teacher copy of the Story Diagram in the associated file. Give students a few minutes to complete this section on their own.

10. Next, have class members share their definitions. Note: Students should be working at their desks with the class throughout this modeling procedure.

11. Together with students, brainstorm picture ideas for the box in the upper left-hand quarter of the worksheet. These should be pictures that represent a main idea of the story or a major action in the story. Have students complete their pictures on their own, then share with the class.

12. Choose a picture to draw on the board. Then have the class help create a sentence to explain the picture. Again, students should be working at their desks on their own diagrams with the class throughout this modeling procedure.

13. Now, pick one character from the poem (i.e. the narrator, the angels, Annabelle Lee). Generate five complete sentences that describe the character. I like to challenge my students to follow this guideline: N2SSWTSW (No two sentences start with the same word.) Have students work on their own and then share answers with the class.
14. Generate a summary paragraph web with the class. See -Suggested Criterion for Paragraph Summary Web- on the associated file. If you are not familiar with the -Elements of the Story- Graphic Organizer, go to the website and go to Free Work Sheets, then Graphic Organizers and Elements of the Story. Teachers can print the summary web from this site.
16. Students will produce their own paragraphs based on information in the web.
17. Collect completed Story Diagrams.


Through the use of the Story Diagram, students will use a variety of strategies to analyze text. Collect the completed K-W-L charts and the Story Diagrams generated by students to be used as pre-writing tools for the paragraph. Make sure that student statements are on target (see associated file). The observation statements on the diagrams will serve as the formative assessment for this lesson.


1. Find the poem on audiotape or create your own audiotape and play the poem as students follow along. The audio tape would also assist sight impaired students.
2. As the teacher reads the poem aloud, play some music in the background to create a mood.
3. Assign the story, “The Tell Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe, and have students create their own Story Diagram.
4. For students who need ESE accommodations/modifications, this assignment can be broken down into smaller sections or quarters on the diagram.
5. Share charts orally or display colorful charts on a class bulletin board.
6. For ESOL students, the oral retelling of the story can serve as a formative assessment of their understanding.

Web Links

Web supplement for Diagramming Annabelle Lee
Biography and works of Edgar Allen Poe

Web supplement for Diagramming Annabelle Lee
Work of Edgar Allen Poe

Web supplement for Diagramming Annabelle Lee

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