Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Lovin Lit
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92 pages
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The Gift of the Magi: Complete Differentiated Bundle

Your upper elementary and middle school students will love reading the classic Christmas story, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry and you'll love the differentiated options for you and your students!

This packet includes 5 different versions of this text ~ See Preview File for samples of each:

Original Version - unaltered text, The Gift of the Magi

Modified Version - The Gift of the Magi re-written in clear, easy-to-understand language

Annotated Version - The Gift of the Magi in unaltered text on the left, vocabulary and phrase meanings on the right to help students decode independently

Notetaking Version - same as above with clear right side so students can annotate as you read together

Double Version - original in the left column, modified on the right column, so that students can read the original while referring to the "easy-to-understand" version on the right

*UPDATE Dec 2018: All student pages are now available in Google Slides!* See info on last page of PDF.

There are several activities included in this packet. I have included everything you need so that you can choose to do each of the activities in a number of different ways:

worksheets – Quick and easy activities or assessments, or do in small groups

craftivities – Give your students a little something fun to do, or use this option to make sure that the “rest of the class” is engaged while you are working with small groups or RTI.

centers – Does your school require that you do centers or stations in the upper elementary grades? Are you looking for something “different” for your students to do while you are working with groups? Do you want your students to be more active? The last portion of this packet includes printables and instructions (and photos!) for easily assembling the centers.

Each activity requires students to refer back to the text. By completing all 5 activities, students will read and interact with the text multiple times. Here is an overview of the activities that are included:

Vocabulary Ornaments – For this activity, students will complete a graphic organizer and identify a synonym, antonym, definition, and original sentence for vocabulary words. Students can choose which words to do themselves based on the unfamiliar words in the story, or they can choose from the provided list. The list matches the annotated version of the story and includes definitions for your convenience. Choose between worksheet, graphic organizer, and center versions.

Stocking Up on Figurative Language - Twelve excerpts are included along with 5 types of figurative language (and definitions) for students to match. Students are also asked to explain why they chose each type of figurative language. Full answer keys are included – even sample answers for the “Explain” portion. You might use these to allow students to check their own answers in centers or while working independently. Choose between worksheet, craftivity, and center versions.

Theme Gifts – Guide your students to discovering the theme of “The Gift of the Magi.” Students will come up with several abstract concepts/ideas that relate to the story, then write a theme statement. Examples of abstract ideas/concepts and theme statements are included to scaffold students or provide a review. Choose between worksheet, craftivity, and center versions.

Plot Trees – Students analyze the plot of the story and identify the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of the story. I have included full answer keys for your convenience and so that you can use them to scaffold your students if necessary. Choose between worksheet, craftivity, and center versions.

Merry Couples – This activity is my (and my students’!) favorite. Several “celebrity” couples are provided (Barbie & Ken for example) and students must analyze and decide what items each character might sell to buy for the other if they were in “The Gift of the Magi.” To lead up to this activity, students will watch one or two alternate versions of “The Gift of the Magi” (Mickey & Minnie Mouse and Bert & Ernie). After brainstorming, students will choose one couple and write their own alternate version of “The Gift of the Magi.” Choose between worksheet, craftivity, and center versions.

**NOTE** This unit will be part of a Christmas Lesson Bundle.


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Total Pages
92 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.


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