Lesson Plan

Setting and Mood in W. W. Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw"

Grade Levels

7th Grade

Course, Subject

Related Academic Standards


mood: a distinctive atmosphere or context

voice: an instrument or medium of expression

tone: accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion

atmosphere: a surrounding influence or environment <an atmosphere of hostility>

ambiance: a feeling or mood associated with a particular place, person, or thing


Students will:

  • identify how the elements of setting impact upon the interpretive mood of the story
  • analyze how the setting contributes to the mood

Lesson Essential Question(s)

How does the setting of "The Monkey's Paw" contribute to the mood of the short story?


40-60 minutes / 1-2 class periods


Online copy of The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer


"The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs


Setting and "The Monkey's Paw" graphic organizer

     \\bobcat\faculty\McGuireJ\Monkey's Paw - Setting GO.docx

computer and projector

printed copies of "The Monkey's Paw" (see link above)

printed copies of the Setting and "The Monkey's Paw" graphic organizer (see link above)

Optional / as needed:


computer to play audio version of the story


Suggested Instructional Strategies

W:   During this lesson students will identify the elements of setting and analyze how setting contributes to the mood of a short story.

H:   Students will experience setting visually through the painting, The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer.  Students will have the opportunity to verbalize what they see visually before they analyze setting in a written work.

E:   Students explore powerful words in the setting of the story and analyze how these words (the setting) affect the mood of the story.

R:   Student will reinforce the verbalization of the elements of setting (from the painting) through analysis of the written work "The Monkey's Paw."  Students will reinforce the analysis of how the setting of the work affects the mood.

E:   Students will apply the skills they have learned by completing the graphic organizer (powerful words sections) in a group setting.  Students will then participate in the group discussion where they will have the opportunity to express their understanding of how the setting affects the mood.

T:  The instruction attached to the lesson can meet each child's needs.  For those who need more support, model with examples.  During the planning portion of the lesson, note specific points that certain students can make.  Allow supported students to be one of the first comments/questions to boost confidence.  For the writing portion (graphic organizer), provide an adaptation that contains benchmarks such as a skeletal supports.  If needed, model the first few examples or provide a sample graphic organizer.

O:   The lesson begins with students connecting with a visual work of art, works through the analysis of a written work in a small group setting, then in a large group setting.  The lesson ends with individual analysis.  


Instructional Procedures

  1. Upon entry to the classroom the students' attention will be directed to the Please Do Now.  A picture (The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer) will be displayed (using a projector) with the following directions and 5 minutes to complete the task:

1. Look at the picture.

2. Write at least 3 words that describe the setting of this picture.

3. If this picture was a snapshot, what would happen next?

  1. Students will have 90 seconds to do Round Robin share to discuss descriptive words with their table grouping. 
  2. Student #1 from each grouping will share 2 setting words from their group.
  3. Group discussion: How does the setting of this picture affect the mood?  How does the setting affect what you think will happen next?
  4. Divide class into 6 groups.  (Depending upon class size the class could be split into 3 groups.)  (Divide the copies of the story and 'Setting and "The Monkey's Paw"' graphic organizers among the groups.)  2 groups will analyze Part I, 2 groups will analyze Part II, and 2 groups will analyze Part III.
  5. Groups will have 10 minutes to work together to read their respective part and complete the 3 powerful words sections of the graphic organizer.
  6. Class will come back together to share the words thay have chosen.
  7. Whole group discussion - How do these powerful words set the mood for the story?
  8. Individual assessment - complete the question, "How does the setting of "The Monkey's Paw" contribute to the mood of the short story?" on the graphic organizer.


Formative Assessment

Observation of the completion of the first portions of the graphic organizer. (formative)

Completion of the question, "How does the setting of "The Monkey's Paw" contribute to the mood of the short story?" on the graphic organizer.  The graphic organizer will be collected and graded for display of understanding of the concept. (summative)

Related Materials & Resources

Setting Map Graphic Organizer


Audio version of "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs



Date Published

March 01, 2010
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