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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry

Pixton Lesson Plan on The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry

Make short stories come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Plot Diagram
  • Character Map
  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings short stories to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings short stories to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings short stories to life with comics and storyboards.

Main Characters

The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry

When you import any of the activities below, you can choose to share these ready-made characters with your students.

  • Della Young from The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry
    Della Young

    The young female protagonist

  • Madame Sofronie from The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry
    Madame Sofronie

    Owner of the hair-goods shop who buys Della's hair

Featured Props

The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Building
    Building
  • Chest
    Chest
  • Heart
    Heart
  • Manger
    Manger
  • Money
    Money
  • Present
    Present
  • Prop Dollar Sign
    Prop Dollar Sign
  • Scissors
    Scissors
  • Sofa
    Sofa
  • Stable
    Stable
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

The Gift of the Magi by O' Henry

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

There are several difficult vocabulary words in "The Gift of the Magi" that are essential to comprehension. Review the following uncommon vocabulary words with students before reading:

  • Parsimony: Extreme unwillingness to spend money or use resources.
  • Imputation: An accusation of a fault or crime.
  • Mendicancy: The practice of begging or the state of being a beggar
  • Meretricious: Deceptively attractive when in reality having no value or integrity; attractive in a flashy or vulgar way

Finally, discuss with students that the "magi" refer to the three wise men in the Bible, famous for bringing gifts to the infant Jesus.

Opening Discussion

Introduce the following themes to students:

  • Inner vs. outward beauty and value
  • Love and sacrifice vs. material wealth
  • The importance of intention over action

Pre-reading discussion questions:

  • What do people mean when they say "the true spirit of giving" or "the true spirit of the holidays?"
  • Do you agree with the common expression: "It's the thought that counts"? Why or why not?
  • Brainstorm holiday or Christmas-themed books and movies. What themes or central messages do these stories have in common?
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Plot Diagram
    Conflict and Plot

    Complete at the end of the story.

    View Activity
  • Make a Character Map
    Character Map

    Begin at the start of the novel, and make additions throughout the unit.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard
    Types of Conflict

    Complete at the end of the story.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Storyboard (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Storyboard to illustrate one cause and effect situation in The Gift of the Magi.

  • Extension / Modification
    Mind Map (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Mind Map to illustrate the definition of four vocabulary words in The Gift of the Magi.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • What is the author's tone throughout the story? Cite specific evidence to support your answer.
  • Why was the story titled The Gift of the Magi? Do you agree that this is an appropriate title? Why or why not?
  • What is the central message or moral of the text? How does the title enhance this message?
  • In your opinion, does The Gift of the Magi have a happy or sad ending? Cite specific evidence to support your answer.
  • O' Henry refers to Della and Jim as "foolish children" and "the wisest." How can Della and Jim be both foolish and wise?
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Pixton Activity: The Gift of the Magi 1 Conflict and Plot

Featured Layouts

  • Plot Diagram

Intro

Complete at the end of the story.

Instructions

Summarize The Gift of the Magi using a Plot Diagram:

  • Include a brief description and an illustration of each point on the plot diagram (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion).
  • Identify the key points that are important to that specific point in the story.
  • Think about quotes that could be used to help create meaning in each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Conflict and Plot

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The plot diagram is focused, with advanced use of language/ideas. The plot diagram is accurate, well developed, with consistent use of details. The plot diagram is complete and accurate; lacks consistent use of specific details. The plot diagram is basic; has several errors,or lacks detail. The plot diagram is inaccurate and difficult to follow.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • varies language to develop meaning
• varies sentence structure for effect
• images and characters have impact on the meaning of the panel
• language is clear with some variety
• varies sentence structure
• makes attempts to use descriptive language
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structure with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• some variety in sentence length and type
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (beginning, middle, end) • proper organization
• sequence is highly effective and has purpose
• all panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• logical sequence
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• consistent attention to sequence
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some attention to sequence
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• no attention to sequence
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Plot Diagram

Conflict and Plot in "The Gift of the Magi" by Student

Here's the link to share this comic:

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Pixton Activity: The Gift of the Magi 2 Character Map

Featured Layouts

  • Character Map

Intro

Determining character traits is an important skill necessary to understanding the conflicts and themes of the plot. The characteristics that make up the main character and supporting characters help shape the outcome of the narrative.

Instructions

Create a Character Map for both Della and Jim from The Gift of the Magi:

  • It's important to add as many details as you can to all the parts of the map.
  • Include an appropriate illustration based on the character traits outlined in the novel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Character Map

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The character map is thoughtful; descriptions are detailed and informative. The character map is fully developed; accurate details and insightful descriptions. The character map is complete; descriptions are simple and settings are accurate. The character map includes basic details, but is not fully developed. The character map does not accurately reflect the characters.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• significant details that make characters unique and dynamic
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• characters are similar; includes relevant details
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• characters similar to description
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• characters vaguely looks like description
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
• characters do not look like description
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: The Gift of the Magi 3 Types of Conflict

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard

Intro

There are four main types of conflict:

  • Man vs. Man
  • Man vs. Self
  • Man vs. Society
  • Man vs. Nature

Instructions

Identify the types of conflict in The Gift of the Magi. There may be more than one type, so it is important that you thoroughly analyze your selection.

Using a Storyboard format, identify three examples (one panel per example) for each type of conflict.

  • Provide a brief description as to why you believe that this is a good example.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Types of Conflict

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview Multiple types of conflict are fully discussed: all examples are thoroughly discussed. More than one type of conflict is fully discussed; examples are well developed and precise. More than one type of conflict is briefly discussed; examples provide sufficient support. One type of conflict is briefly discussed; examples show limited support. One type of conflict is poorly discussed; lacks supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

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