Activities for Teaching “The Monkey’s Paw.”

This short story about wishes-gone-wrong is a fun creepy story for Halloween.  It can also work well as a study of wishes at any time of the year!


Here are some activities for engaging and examining the story:

Write a prequel for the story.  There are two other people who made wishes– and regretted it– the story ominously foreshadows.  Students can choose one of those people and write a prequel about their experience, using details from the text combined with creative writing.


Reading Questions can help guide students in the reading, helping them look for specific information and to think about the text as they read.  Part of a close reading process, this can be used during reading, after reading, or as  a re-reading strategy.

Graphic Organizers provide another method to explore the text, which includes a visual component.  Compare the wishes.  Analyze life before and after the wishes are made.  Analyze different literary devices used in the story, such as foreshadowing and conflict.

Personal Writing about a time when it didn’t work out.  In the story, the wishes appear to be granted, but in a way that is disastrous for the characters.  As an anticipatory set or a culminating writing, students will write about a time when something didn’t work out as they wanted.  (Also works as a stand-alone writing activity.)


Movie vs. Book— there have been several film versions of this story over the years.  Choose one or part of one to analyze and discuss.  It’s a great method of engagement.  Having students evaluate, with support, is good higher-order thinking.  There is even a Simpson’s version.

Compare the wishes in “The Monkey’s Paw” with wishes in “Aladdin.”  Both are short stories, so it’s not too challenging to work in the partner story.  They each approach wishes in a completely different way, which is a fun and engaging comparison to make.

Write a 5 paragraph essay on “3 Wishes.”  This is a fun but effective short essay.  It works for writers of all levels as it’s structured to support lower-level writers while also helping higher level writers to practice form.  Works great with any story about wishes– and it’s free!  This goes well with the 5 paragraph essay model, which is a fill-in-the-blank template to guide students.

Check out some other stories good for Halloween time!

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1 Response to Activities for Teaching “The Monkey’s Paw.”

  1. Pingback: 5 Creepy Short Stories for Halloween – Ms. Dickson's Class

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