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Here is a lesson on foreshadowing and its contribution to a story’s plot


Language Arts  


6, 7, 8  

Title – If You Had Paid Attention to the Clues, You Would Have Known Something Bad Was Going to Happen
By – Charlene Burroughs
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-8

Concept / Topic To Teach: Foreshadowing and It’s Contribution to A Story’s Plot

Standards Addressed:

      NCTE and IRA Standards for the English Language Arts:

        6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

      Texas Education Agency’s Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for 8th Grade English Language Arts and Reading:

        (12) Reading/text structures/literary concepts. The student analyzes the characteristics of various types of texts (genres). The student is expected to:

          (G) recognize and analyze story plot, setting, and problem resolution (4-8);


        (J) recognize and interpret literary devices such as flashback, foreshadowing, and symbolism (6-8);

General Goal(s):

    Students will be able to discuss the contribution the literary technique of foreshadowing makes to the development of a short story’s conflict.

Specific Objectives:

      Students will be able to:


      1. Identify five specific examples of foreshadowing in the text


      2. Complete graphic organizer on conflict with a partner.


      3. Complete a graphic organizer on resolution independently


    4. Apply their understanding the elements of conflict by contributing to class discussion that leads to the completion of a plot map.

Required Materials:

  • 1 copy of The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs for each student
  • A spooky music clip
  • 1 copy of a conflict map for each student
  • 1 copy of a resolution map for each student
  • 1 transparency of a plot map

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

    Play the music clip. When it has finished, ask the students, “When you hear this kind of music in a movie, what does it usually mean to you?” Allow students time to respond. Define the music as the moviemaker’s use of foreshadowing. Define foreshadowing. Tell the students that the story the class is about to read is full of foreshadowing and ask them to be prepared to identify some examples.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

      1. Ask students to silently read Part I of the short story and take notes on the examples of foreshadowing.


      2. After students have had time to read the first section of the story, discuss the examples they noted. Have the students make predictions about what they think the foreshadowing means will happen and chart the responses.


      3. Conduct an oral reading of Section II of the story.


      4. Discuss the story. During the discussion, students will return to the partner with whom they worked earlier and continue to identify examples of conflict in the text.


      5. Refer to the chart that was prepared in step 2. Have students identify other examples of foreshadowing and add the additional examples to the chart.


      6. Ask students to identify examples of foreshadowing in Section 2 of text.


      7. Divide students into pairs. Have each student begin a conflict map with their partners. Students will write responses to the following questions on their individual graphic organizers.

        a. What are examples of the conflict or conflicts in the Sections I and II of

The Monkey’s Paw

        (another person, thing, thoughts, or feelings of the character)?


        b. Why does this conflict occur?


        c. What are some ways this conflict could be resolved?


        Allow five minutes for this activity.

      8. Once the graphic organizers are compiled, lead a class discussion about the link between the foreshadowing and the conflict that followed.


    9. Finish reading the story orally.

Plan For Independent Practice:

      Students will independently respond to the questions related to the resolution map. The questions are as follows:

        a. How was the conflict resolved?


        b. What happens after the conflict is resolved?


      c. How does the conflict and its resolution affect the characters?

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

      As we prepared to read

The Monkey’s Paw

    , I played some scary music for you to remind you of how filmmakers use music to foreshadow a terrible event. Today, in the story, you found examples of how an author uses foreshadowing for the same reason.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

    1. Display plot map. Lead students through the exercise of discussing each element.

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