The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry Complete Unit and Activities DIGITAL and PRINT

Grade Levels
7th - 9th
Formats Included
  • Zip
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This Digital and Print The Gift of the Magi unit works really well for both a Thanksgiving Unit or a Holiday/Christmas Unit for Middle School and High School students. An excellent, in-depth and evidence-based unit for students during the holidays!

All of the activities in this unit are meant to get students thinking more critically and logically as they provide solid evidence for any claims made. We've included plenty of fun and challenging activities, as well as a teacher annotated edition of the short story. This unit includes everything you would need to effectively teach this text in an engaging and highly academic way.



  • Teacher annotated text of "The Gift of the Magi"
  • Blank student copy of "The Gift of the Magi"
  • Pre-Reading Activities
    • Vocabulary Preview Crossword Puzzle with Answer Key: A great activity to do with students to get them acquainted with some of the more difficult vocabulary terms in the short story.
    • Vocabulary Preview Activity: Activity includes vocabulary boxes to complete with information that will help students remember the words!
    • Meaningful Gift Activity: Students will begin reflecting on the main theme of selflessness found in “The Gift of the Magi” so they better understand the story and have personal connections to share when they later discuss larger themes.

  • Post-Reading Activities
    • Character Traits Worksheet: In order to have students go deeper with the theme of selflessness in “The Gift of the Magi,” this activity has students looking for specific evidence to help support why Jim and Della are characterized as both selfless and generous. Includes Answer Key.
    • Plot Summary and Hashtag Help Activities: These activities require students to summarize “The Gift of the Magi” and respond to critical thinking questions. These activities are meant to help students organize their thoughts so when they are discussing the short story at the end of the unit, it’s not so daunting! Plot Summary Includes Answer Key.
    • 10 Task Cards for Discussions: Use these task cards to review, lead whole-group or small-group discussion, or a Socratic Seminar. All questions are thought-provoking and challenging.
    • Thank You Note Activity (with rubric for teacher): Students will choose to write a thank you note from either the point of view of Della or Jim, expressing their gratitude for the gift they have received.

  • Essay Question
    • Includes editable rubric and complete essay graphic organizer
    • Students will compose a response to literature focused on a challenging prompt that requires them to analyze the text in a deeper way. We've also included a complete essay graphic organizer for you as well.

  • Final Unit Test and Answer Key
    • Includes editable version of the test
    • The test includes 30 questions: Vocabulary Sentences, True or False, Matching, and Short Answer.



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Total Pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.


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