Lesson Plans: Best Short Stories for Middle School

Supplementing our free PDF of the Best Short Stories for Middle School, we have created a complete set of Lesson Plans for all eight stories:

  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  • The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs
  • The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl
  • The Hitch-Hiker by Lucille Fletcher
  • The Veldt by Ray Bradbury
  • The 9 Billion Names of God by Arthur C Clarke

Over 90 pages of material available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Short Story Intro

Each of our lesson plans begins with a short intro page giving a brief review of the story and its publication history: when it was first published and where.

In Context

Brief background is provided for certain concepts that students may be unfamiliar with. Enough to encourage class discussion, but not enough to be distracting to the story itself.

In these lessons we explore the history of black cats and big game hunting, contemplate the reasons behind “lucky” rabbit feet, ponder harvest rites, discuss radio dramas are a precursor to podcasts, and ask if anyone can know the true name of God.

Stories in Conversation

Stories do not exist in a vacuum. Our lesson plans try to connect the dots between the story itself and other stories, movies, and media that came before and after.

In these lessons we draw connections between a wide range of stories and movies from Jorge Luis Borges to Stephen King, from The Twilight Zone to Ian Fleming and even The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

Interrogating Characters

Interrogating Characters presents students with a way to engage with specific characters in the story. We select characters other than the main character or narrator so that students can ponder other points of view.

In these lessons we interrogate a madman’s wife, a sergeant major returning from India, a police detective, a hitchhiker who gets more than she bargained for, and a man whose work brings about the end of the world.

Missing in Action

Every story has gaps or missing points of view. In Missing in Action, we ask students to consider those neglected viewpoints in order to gain a better understanding of what the author has left out.

In these lessons we ponder why there are no women in a civilized society, examine the thought process of the perfect mechanical home, debate the existence of a ghostly hitchhiker, and wonder about the future of a baby whose mother murdered its father.

Analyzing Language

Analyzing Language provides 6 questions that look specifically at the language the author has used and asks students to consider those choices to better understand the story.


Each lesson plan has one Activity. Some are solo projects, others are done with partners or in groups. Activities engage students with the text in ways that are analytical but not based on essay responses.

In these lessons we craft maps of a deadly island in the Caribbean, prepare a legal defense for an insane murderer, modernize a deadly tradition, plan the perfect crime, and write our own radio play.


Launchpad asks students to write their own stories using the story selection as a starting point. Usually this is a continuation of the tale that asks students to use their imaginations.

In these lessons we contemplate the future of two children who sacrificed their parents for technology, pen a tale about the very end of existence, consider the reasons a man seeks a divorce, and write a story from the point of view of a misunderstood feline.

Get Lesson Plans for All 8 Stories

Get the full lesson plans with all sections described above for all eight stories:

  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  • The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs
  • The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl
  • The Hitch-Hiker by Lucille Fletcher
  • The Veldt by Ray Bradbury
  • The 9 Billion Names of God by Arthur C Clarke

*Stories are not included. Download stories for free.

Reluctant Reader Books