Paired Texts - Gift of the Magi & How Do I Love Thee? - Distance Learning

Grade Levels
7th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
27 pages
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This lesson with paired passages encourages students to explore themes of love through close readings of the O.Henry story “The Gift of the Magi” and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.” Students synthesize their understanding of the texts, consider and compare themes, and complete a prose constructed response.

In addition to the printable lesson, this resource can now be used for distance learning with the TpT Digital Layer Tool!

This 27-page resource includes the following:

-explicit lesson plan with identified Common Core ELA Anchor Standards

-anticipation guide


-contextual reading guides

-think aloud with sample annotation passage

-texts of the poem and story

-graphic organizers

-Venn diagram

-literary analysis essay prompt

-short literary analysis rubric

-key (with detailed responses for all activities and a sample essay)

Incorporating all strands of the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Anchor Standards, this "paired passages" lesson encourages students to practice skills in annotation, story and poetry analysis, and synthesis. Students complete handouts with before-, during-, and post-reading strategies, which provide scaffolding for diverse learners. Afterward, students respond to a literary analysis writing task that imitates the style of a standardized assessment and asks them to consider universal themes. Use as a formative assessment to prepare students for state tests or for any students needing practice with literary analysis essay writing.

With its detailed instructions and samples, this resource would make an excellent lesson for a substitute if you will be out for a couple of days. Furthermore, these texts would be excellent for the winter holidays or for Valentine's Day.

Do you use Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive? You may be interested in the digital version of this lesson along with other digital resources:

Digital Writing Task Resource Gift of the Magi & How Do I Love Thee?

Digital Writing Task Resource Road & Harlem

Digital Writing Task Resource Ain't I a Woman? and Phenomenal Woman

If you like this lesson, you may be interested in these other Paired Passages lessons with classic texts:

The Tell-Tale Heart and Sonnet 100

A Raisin in the Sun and Mother to Son

The Man He Killed and The Sniper

And here are poetry prompts if your students would benefit from more practice analyzing poetry:

Poetry Bell Ringers 3

Poetry Bell Ringers 2

Poetry Bell Ringers 1

Poetry Bell Ringers for the Winter Season

Meaningful and Memorable English Language Arts by © OCBeachTeacher

All rights reserved by author.

Limited to use by purchaser only.

Group licenses available.

Not for public display.

Total Pages
27 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


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