CONTENT AREA: Language Arts
Grade Level: 7-12
Objective 1: Students will identify the themes of The Monkey's Paw using textual evidence as support.
Objective 2: Students will use newly acquired vocabulary to understand the author's word choice and gain deeper insight into the meaning of the text.
Objective 3: Students will make inferences and predictions based on information in the text.
Objective 4: Students will use knowledge of theme, foreshadowing, and irony to develop a prequel to "The Monkey's Paw."
Full text with annotations. Unfamiliar words are clickable.
ASL Video introduction
Discussion: If you had three wishes what would they be (wishing for more wishes doesn't count!)?
Alternative Digital Activity: Flipgrid Response
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If you have your own free Flipgrid account, click here to access the topic and copy it to your own grid. You can create your free account here.
Background Activity 1: Presentation 1
Display and discuss the presentation above to ensure students have the facts they need in order to fully understand some of the details in the story.
Background Activity 2: Prezi Presentation
Display and discuss the information related to the author and his background.
Background Activity 3: Historic Timeline
Display and discuss the timeline of historic inventions and discuss what life must have been like in the early 1900s when the story is thought to have taken place.
Background Activity 4: Individual or paired Activity
What is the difference between and pound and a dollar? How much was a pound worth in 1900? Assign students to complete the Conversion Riddle to find out how much 200 pounds would be worth today.
Click here to create a copy of the activity for your own Google Drive in order to capture student answers.
ASL "The Monkey's Paw"
Or to use this worksheet as a Google Form, click here to create a copy for your Google Drive. Note: You will be prompted to save the form in your own Google Drive. Once saved, it will appear as a Google Sheet. Click on the "Form" menu, and click “Edit Form.”
Now you have a copy of the form that you can edit if necessary and share it with your students.
Reading "The Monkey's Paw"
Full text with annotations. Unfamiliar words are clickable.
Guided Reading Questions to ask during the reading of the story
Critical Thinking Questions (Note: the link will require you to copy the document to your own Google Drive)
In the short story "The Monkey's Paw", the author provides ample evidence that the paw may be cursed. You will write a paragraph using textual evidence to prove the paw is cursed. First, identify three pieces of evidence (direct quotes from the story). After identifying the evidence, explain how each piece of evidence proves that the monkey's paw is cursed. The paragraph must follow the guidelines below:
- Indent the paragraph
- Include the story title and topic in the topic sentence
- Include three "evidence" sentences
- Explain evidence sentence must be followed with an explanation sentence
- Concluding sentence must include the topic of the paragraph and story title
- 8 sentence minimum
Worksheet: Use the worksheet to find examples of foreshadowing and to explain those selections.
Irony and Foreshadowing: Use this copy of the manuscript to cover irony and foreshadowing as you re-read the story.
Need an introduction to Foreshadowing? Here's a video using Disney Movies as examples.
This video can be used to spark discussions about irony.
Insert Learning is a Google extension that allows teachers to annotate web pages with notes, highlighting, and questions. The video above shows just a few of the options for students to interact with a web page.
By signing up for a free account, teachers can "insert learning," assign it to their students and capture the learning on the back end. You can monitor student responses in real-time and respond to students who need help the most.
If you already have the Google extension, you and your students can see the annotations that have been added to the text of "The Monkey's Paw" by clicking here. The page includes explanations of the text, open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions, a Google map showing India and England, and even a Flipgrid response at the end.
Sign up for a free account and access the Google extension by clicking here.
How to Find the Theme of the Story
Teaching Theme with Dr. Seuss
Access The Cat in the Hat online here.
Use the same handout to determine the theme of "The Monkey's Paw.'
Examples of themes:
- Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
- Be satisfied with what you have, because greed can lead to tragic consequences.
- Don't interfere with fate, or tragedy may occur.
- You also might be interested in this free resource from Dominic Carrozino: The Monkey's Paw: Determining Theme
Display and discuss the video above. Brainstorm with students together to create different story ideas.
The Story Arc
Display and discuss the video above.
How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful
Write a prequel, sequel, or alternate version of "The Monkey's Paw."
Differentiation: You could differentiate this assignment by having the students create a comic, act out a scene, or create a storyboard for their stories.
Character text messages: Have students create conversations between the characters at http://iphonefaketext.com/.
Fate or Coincidence Debate: Students debate whether things happen in life because of fate or coincidence and use examples from their own lives to support their beliefs. Here is a great lesson plan for this activity.
Have students find another of W.W. Jacobs' short stories, read it, and write a brief analysis comparing and contrasting it to The Monkey's Paw.
Watch "The Monkey’s Paw" Reenactment. Students will write a comparative analysis in which they discuss the similarities and differences that exist in how the film and text develop the tone, events in the plot, complex characters, and setting. Students should take a position in their responses about how the film causes them to interpret the actual events in the short story.
The Monkey's Paw Escape Room Use your knowledge of the story to escape the room before the 45 minutes have elapsed.
Watch an adaptation. This is not a full list, as there are several adaptions that appear even in sitcoms (like Gilligan's Island) that are not listed, but it's a good start.
More Activities and Ideas
For more ideas on The Monkey's Paw activities, including writing tie-ins, bulletin board ideas, art projects and more, visit our Monkey's Paw Pinterest board.