http://www.storyboardthat.com/teacher-guide/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Teacher Guide by Kristy Littlehale

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our High School ELA Category!

Student Activities for The Lottery Include:

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson was so controversial that after its publication on June 26, 1948 in The New Yorker, readers canceled their subscriptions and peppered Jackson with hate mail and threats. The story began an important discussion of what happens when old traditions don’t evolve.

Published just three years after the end of World War II, the story echoes the frightening conformity that existed in Germany during the previous decade. It is rumored that the basis for Jackson’s story was rooted in her concerns about lingering antisemitism.

This story brings up several important themes for students to discuss, including the dangers of blindly following tradition, mob mentality, and the inversion of our culture’s family dynamics.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




Start My Free Trial

The Lottery Summary

In a small village, somewhere in America, on a warm summer day (June 27th to be exact), the 300 citizens begin to gather in the square. The young boys of the town, fresh out of school for the summer, gathered stones into piles. Slowly, the families trickle into the square, and there is an air of expectation for this annual event, something that is rooted in deep tradition started by the founders of this town years ago. Mr. Summers places a black box filled with slips of paper, on a stool in the square. The box is as old as the town, and while Mr. Summers talks about making a new one every year, the people are reluctant to change such an important symbol of their tradition, even though they’ve forgotten many of the other pieces of this annual ritual.

As the lottery commences, the heads of each household walk up to the box and pick out a slip of paper from it. They then go back to their spot and wait for all of the names to be called. Typically, the heads of households are the men; however, if a woman is widowed, she becomes the head of the household, at least until her eldest son reaches 16.

When Mr. Summers reaches the end of the names, the heads of households unfold their papers. There are whispers that, “Bill Hutchinson’s got it.” Bill’s wife, Tessie Hutchinson, begins to yell and accuse Mr. Summers of not giving Bill enough time to pick the paper he wanted. The other women chide her, telling her that they all took the same chance, and that she should be a good sport. This is the reader’s first indication that the lottery doesn’t involve winning a fortune; there’s something more sinister behind this particular ritual.

Tessie, Bill, and their three children, Bill Jr., 12-year-old Nancy, and toddler Little Davy, are called up to the box. Mr. Summers takes Bill’s paper, and puts in four other blank ones. He stirs them up, and each member of the family draws a paper. Bill, and the children’s papers are all blank, but Tessie’s is marked with an ominous black spot. She begins to scream that this isn’t fair, or right. The reader begins to understand the purpose of the stones the children have been gathering. Within moments, the entire town gathers their stones and surrounds Tessie. Tessie continues to protest, perhaps realizing for the first time the barbarism behind this ugly tradition. She isn’t able to scream for long, however, as the story closes with the townspeople “upon her”.

Essential Questions for "The Lottery"

  1. How important are traditions for a community? What kinds of purposes do they serve?
  2. Under what circumstances should a tradition be reconsidered or discontinued?
  3. What is conformity? When is it good to conform? To not conform?
  4. What is inhumanity? How do we know when something is inhumane?

The Lottery Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | "The Lottery" Summary


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.


The Lottery Plot Diagram

Exposition

The crowd in the small village has gathered for an annual lottery that takes place each year at the end of June. Every head of household is called to grab a slip of paper from the box in the center of the village square. Mr. Summers is in charge of the lottery.


Conflict

The conflict arises when Tessie Hutchinson realizes her husband, Bill, is the center of the villagers’ attention. The slip of paper he took has something on it. Tessie begins to yell that it isn’t fair, and that Bill wasn’t given enough time to choose the paper he wanted by Mr. Summers.


Rising Action

The entire Hutchinson family, Bill, Tessie, Bill, Jr., 12-year-old Nancy, and toddler Little Davy, are called up to the box. Mr. Summers puts five slips of paper into the box, including the one Bill Hutchinson had been holding when he was chosen.


Climax

Each member of the Hutchinson family draws a slip of paper from the box. All of the papers are blank, except for Tessie’s, which has a black dot in pencil on it.


Falling Action

Tessie begins to scream that it’s not fair, it’s not right. The villagers begin to pick up the stones they’d gathered earlier and form a circle around Tessie. They want to get this over with before noon dinner.


Resolution

As Tessie screams, a stone hits her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, urges the villagers on. The villagers descend upon Tessie with the stones.


The Lottery Plot Diagram

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of The Lottery.


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Story Outline Storyboard Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

"The Lottery" Themes, Symbols, and Motifs


Copy Assignment



Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text. As a classroom activity, students can track the rich thematic writing Jackson uses throughout "The Lottery".

Themes, Motifs, and Symbols to Look For and Discuss

The Dangers of Blindly Following Tradition

The lottery is held every year on the same day, and the people know the process so well that they only half-listen to Mr. Summers’ instructions. The children are so excited that they gather stones. It seems that the people have forgotten most of the other pomp and circumstance that goes along with this event, other than the importance of the box and the stoning. As the names are called, Mr. Adams remarks to Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, that other villages are giving up the lottery tradition. Old Man Warner replies, “Pack of crazy fools. Listening to young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. … There’s always been a lottery.” Old Man Warner’s comments seem to encompass the importance that all of the villagers place on this tradition, despite the seemingly progressive villages nearby.


The Inversion of Family Dynamics

This story turns the dynamics of family on its head. Before the lottery, the families seem quite normal, standing together or wives gathered together discussing their husbands. When Mrs. Hutchinson discovers that her husband Bill has drawn the bad slip of paper, she immediately yells to Mr. Summers that he didn’t allow Bill enough time to draw the right slip of paper, seemingly defensive of her husband. However, when Bill is asked if there are any other households Tessie tries to offer up her eldest daughter Eva, and Eva’s husband Don. When Tessie discovers the black dot on her slip of paper, even her children become a part of the mob. They are gleeful when they see that they have drawn blank papers, and they do not seem to show concern about their mother’s fate. Someone even hands little Davy pebbles to throw.


The Mob Mentality

The townspeople are governed by a mob mentality that pushes them to willingly participate in the barbaric tradition. The teenage boys carefully select the roundest, smoothest stones at the beginning of the story, and seem to enjoy the camaraderie that the lottery event creates. At the end, when Tessie is chosen as “the winner”, the women with whom she was just having conversations happily pick up stones to throw at her. Mrs. Dunbar is upset that she can’t keep up with the crowd, Old Man Warner urges the crowd on, and even Tessie’s children stone their own mother.


The Box

The box represents tradition for the villagers. Even though it is deteriorating and Mr. Summers discusses making a new one every year, the villagers do not like to upset tradition. Ironically, when it is not in use, it sits as a dust collector in Mr. Graves’ barn, or Mr. Martin’s grocery store. It is also a symbol of fear; the villagers make sure to keep their distance from it as it sits on the stool in the square. They know that in the box are the slips of paper that will decide their fates. That makes it a symbol of power over life and death as well.


The Stones

The children take great care in collecting the most perfect murder weapons, stones that are the roundest and smoothest they can find. They put them in piles and guard them, like treasure. The stones give them the power over someone’s life and death, which is a significant moment in their lives. The stones are a source of fear as well as power and camaraderie, both for the person who is chosen and for those who are anxious to be part of the mob that grows from the tradition.The switch from this very orderly, structured lottery drawing with paper to the stones also represents the village’s frightening change from civilized to utter brutality in the matter of moments.


The Black Dot

The black dot represents impending death. For Tessie, the dot means she has been chosen to die in this twisted, festive event. The dot also brings to an end the “fairness” she found in all of the other lotteries she’s participated in before now.


The Lottery Symbols and Motifs

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in "The Lottery". Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the theme(s) from "The Lottery" you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.



Template: Theme

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

"The Lottery" TWIST Graphic Organizer


Copy Assignment



Another great way to engage your students, is through the creation of storyboards that examine Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme. This activity is referred to with the acronym "TWIST". In a TWIST, students focus on a particular paragraph or a few pages, to look deeper at the author’s meaning.


Using an excerpt from the second page of the story, where there’s a hint that there’s something more going on with this “lottery” than just good luck, students can depict, explain, and foreshadow what will happen in the story, while getting a good idea of the author's voice.

TWIST Example for "The Lottery"

The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool, and when Mr. Summers said, “Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?” there was a hesitation before two men, Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.


T

TONE

Mysterious and foreboding: the villagers are keeping their distance from a box that is supposed to be a part of a lottery. Normally, a lottery is an exciting event.
W

WORD CHOICE

Distance, space, hesitation
I

IMAGERY

“...Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.”
S

STYLE

The author is very descriptive, leaving a feeling of foreboding and uncertainty, when she writes, “The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool…”
T

THEME

There is more to this box that holds these papers than meets the eye. Perhaps this lottery isn’t such a good thing after all. Perhaps the theme will point to the dangers of depending on luck.

The Lottery TWIST

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Perform a TWIST analysis of a selection from "The Lottery". Remember that TWIST stands for Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, Theme.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TWIST.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
  5. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.



TWIST Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

Help Share Storyboard That!

Looking for More?

Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!


All Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans Ed Tech BlogElementary SchoolMiddle School ELAHigh School ELAForeign LanguageSpecial EdUS History and Social StudiesWorld History

Our Posters on ZazzleOur Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers
http://www.storyboardthat.com/teacher-guide/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson
© 2017 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
Want a Free Trial? Learn More about our Educational Edition     Start My Free Trial
Explore Our Articles and Examples

Teacher ResourcesTeacher Guides and Lesson Plans Ed Tech Blog
Business ResourcesAll Business ResourcesProduct DevelopmentNegotiationBusiness Frameworks
Film ResourcesFilm and Video Resources
Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class – Search for School-Safe, Creative Commons Photos! (It Even Cites for You!)
Quick Rubric – Easily Make and Share Great Looking Rubrics!
Prefer a different language?

•   (English) The Lottery   •   (Español) La Lotería   •   (Français) La Loterie   •   (Deutsch) Die Lotterie   •   (Italiana) La Lotteria   •   (Nederlands) De Loterij   •   (Português) A Loteria   •   (עברית) הלוטו   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) اليانصيب   •   (हिन्दी) लॉटरी   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Лотерея   •   (Svenska) Lotteriet   •   (Suomi) Lottery   •   (Norsk) Lotteriet