There’s something about Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” that continues to haunt students across generations. Perhaps it’s the gothic imagery, the eerie repetition, or the shadow grief that captivates the dark side of imaginations. Whatever it is, you’ll have no trouble engaging your students with this spooky poem, especially with a few fresh ideas for teaching “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. Read on for five poetry activities that will help your students closely read, discuss, analyze, and connect this classic poem.
Fun Activities for Teaching “The Raven”
Hook Students with Poe Themed Ambience
The first step in any successful lesson is to hook your students. It’s no secret that I love using ambient media to set the mood of a lesson and grab students’ attention. While there are lots of spooky ambient media to choose from, I was thrilled to find a Nevermore Academy option.
If you haven’t watched The Addams Family spinoff, Wednesday, then oh my goodness, you are in for an English teacher treat! There are so many literary references, especially for Nevermore Academy’s most famous alumni, Edgar Allan Poe. It’s likely your students love the show and will recognize the scene, but if not, this hook serves as a perfect opportunity to add a little pop culture to your Poe lesson.
Do a Close Reading of The Raven by Poe
Once you have their attention, it’s time to dig into the text. While most students will be immediately interested in the spooky vibe, there are definitely some parts of the poem that will challenge them. This is where close reading comes into play. Consider using a “what good readers do” close reading approach to help students unpack the language, symbolism, and themes of “The Raven.” This involves breaking down the stanzas into smaller chunks, using annotation and highlighting to identify important details, and encouraging students to ask questions and make connections as they read. If you need a close reading guide to “The Raven,” you can download that here: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Activity: Close Reading + Fun Raven Feather Mural
Listen to a Podcast Text Set for The Raven
To add more depth and complexity when teaching “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, pair the poem with a podcast about the intelligence of ravens in the wild. The podcast pairing comes from a student favorite, The Wild. The “Brain of a Raven” episode is fascinating and right on theme with concepts in the poem. Was the raven empathizing with the speaker of the poem, manipulating them, or simply mirroring their depression?. This podcast episode will not only engage your students in the poem but also spark their interest in science. If you want coloring pages and questions to help you create this text set, download them here: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Activity: Close Reading + Fun Raven Feather Mural
Write Poe Inspired Imagery
Once your students have a good understanding of the poem, it’s time to get creative. Have them write their own Poe-inspired imagery using “The Raven” as a mentor text. Their writing can be a paragraph, a poem, or even a song. Encourage them to use vivid, sensory language, and to focus on the dark and spooky themes of the poem. If you need some helpful prompts, you can get them here: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Activity: Close Reading + Fun Raven Feather Mural
Create a Raven Wing Mural
Finally, it’s time to wrap up the lesson with a fun and artistic activity. Mural responses are a great way to create student buy-in and classroom displays. To make a raven wing mural, students color and cut out their raven wings responses. Once they’re all complete, arrange them on a wall or bulletin board to create a raven wing mural. This will not only showcase their creativity but also serve as a reminder of the lesson long after it’s finished.
Teaching “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe can be challenging, but these fun and spooky poetry ideas are sure to be a hit in your classroom. From setting the mood with ambience to creating an artful response to end the lesson, these ideas and resources will keep your students engaged and energized throughout the lesson. Happy teaching!