Gary Hanna
The Monkey's Paw

This delightfully creepy play, based on a classic horror story by W.W. Jacobs, is paired with an informational text about how to make wishes come true.

By Jennifer Dignan
From the October 2017 Issue

Learning Objective: to draw on ideas in a drama and an informational text to form and support an opinion

Lexiles: 930L (captions); 940L (info text)
Other Key Skills: mood, character, inference, text structure, theme, close reading, critical thinking

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Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

Close Reading, Critical Thinking, Skill Building

1. PREPARING TO READ

2. READING AND DISCUSSING THE PLAY (30 minutes)

3. READING AND DISCUSSING THE INFORMATIONAL TEXT  (15 minutes)

4. SKILL BUILDING

Header icon Differentiated Writing Prompts
For On Level Readers

Imagine that a friend has just found the monkey's paw and is seeking your advice about whether to use it. What would you say? Is there a better way for your friend to achieve his or her goals? Answer both questions in the form of a letter, play scene, or 1- to 2-minute video.

For Struggling Readers

If someone gave you the monkey’s paw, would you use it to make a wish? Why or why not? Support your answer with details from the play.

For Advanced Readers

Compare the points of view expressed about wishes in The Monkey’s Paw and in “What Do You Wish For?” Support your ideas with evidence from both texts.

Header icon Customized Performance Tasks
For Creative Writers

Write your own short story or create your own short film with the same theme as The Monkey’s Paw: Be careful what you wish for.

For Go-Getters

Set one goal that you want to achieve in the next year. Write out a plan for how you will achieve it, based on the advice given in the article “What Do You Wish For?”

Literature Connection: Other tales about why and how our choices matter

Midas and the Golden Touch 
(Greek myth)

“The Road Not Taken” 
by Robert Frost (poem)

Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt (novel)

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