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https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/a-poison-tree-by-william-blake/paraphrase

Activity Overview


One way to increase student understanding of difficult poems is to ask them to paraphrase stanza by stanza. Storyboards can be a good way for struggling students to visualize the events in each stanza. For “A Poison Tree”, have students depict the main events of each of the four stanzas. Then, below each image, ask them to write a brief paraphrase of the stanza using proper grammar and appropriate transitional words and phrases.

“A Poison Tree” Paraphrase

1st Stanza

The speaker tells his friend what has upset him, they work it out, and the speaker is no longer angry. The speaker doesn't tell his enemy what makes him angry. When he bottles it up, his anger increases.


2nd Stanza

The speaker imagines reasons to fear his enemy. His fears and frustrations increase his animosity. But the speaker is not honest with his enemy. He smiles at him and acts friendly, building up a deceitful relationship lacking in trust.


3rd Stanza

The speaker’s anger is like a glittering poison that attracts both the speaker and his enemy. Anger and hate become appealing to the speaker, and his enemy is fooled by his deceitful behavior.


4th Stanza

The enemy tries to take advantage of the speaker, but the speaker is one step ahead of him. The speaker’s secret anger poisons and kills his enemy.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/8/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that paraphrases and illustrates each stanza of the poem "A Poison Tree".

  1. Click "Use This Template".
  2. Label each cell title with the stanza number.
  3. In each description box, paraphrase what the stanza is saying.
  4. Create an image to illustrate each stanza, using appropriate characters, scenes, items, and textables.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


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A Poison Tree





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