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Animal Farm by George Orwell

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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Animal Farm Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Animal Farm By George Orwell Include:

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a dystopian vision of society based on the early years of communist Russia. It is an allegory filled with elements of what can happen in the wake of a popular revolution. Like many dystopias, the society's goal was to build a utopia where its members live in harmony, but these ideals quickly transformed into something darker.

Animal Farm By George Orwell Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | Animal Farm Summary


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A common activity for students is to create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, it also helps to reinforce major events, and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

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



Example Animal Farm Plot Diagram

Exposition

On the Manor Farm, a venerable boar named Old Major, gathers the animals for a meeting and inspires them to revolt. although he dies, two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, vow to continue his work, and lead the others in driving off the unfit, drunken farmer. The pigs of the farm begin to establish a new government where animals have rights. They adopt "The Seven Commandments of Animalism", the most important of which is: "All animals are equal."


Conflict

The animals begin to read and write. They use the commandments to educate all the young. Food is plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. However, when the pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership, a struggle for power begins between the two successors of Old Major. Napoleon wins by having his dogs chase Snowball off the farm.


Rising Action

As supreme leader, Napoleon enacts changes to the governance of the farm, replacing meetings of all animals with a committee of pigs who will run the farm. Eventually, Napoleon's supremacy has him paranoid that someone will try to overthrow him.


Climax

Napoleon begins to blame Snowball, the pig he chased away, for incidents happening on the farm. Using Snowball as a scapegoat, Napoleon begins to purge the farm, accusing other animals of conspiring with his old rival, and attacking them with dogs.


Falling Action

The animals become convinced that they were better off with the farmer, Mr. Jones, than the tyranny that has come to be. Things get progressively worse on the farm. Animals are worked to the point of collapsing, and it is clear that the commandments have been rewritten.


Resolution

Animals are no longer equal. The pigs are beginning to take on human qualities, like walking upright. As the animals gaze at pigs and humans, they realize they can no longer tell the two apart.


(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 Animal Farm.


  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.



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





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Animal Farm Vocabulary Lesson Plan


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Another great way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that use vocabulary from Animal Farm. Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the story, and an example visual vocabulary board.

Vocabulary Words From Animal Farm

  • inscribe
  • ration
  • harvest
  • pasture
  • quarry
  • ensconce
  • knoll
  • huddle
  • gambol
  • whinny
  • superannuated
  • cryptic
  • maxim
  • accumulate
  • piebald
  • ignominious
  • abolish
  • disinter
  • shirk

In the vocabulary board, students can choose between coming up with their use of the vocabulary word, finding a specific example from the text, or depicting it without words.

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


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Animal Farm by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



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





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Animal Farm Conflict


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Storyboarding is a great way to focus on the various types of literary conflicts. Have students choose some examples of literary conflict, and depict them using the Storyboard Creator!

Examples of Conflict from Animal Farm

MAN vs. SELF: Boxer vs. Himself

Boxer worries about the farm, and blames himself. When Napoleon starts killing other animals, he says, "I would not have believed that such things could happen on our farm. It must be due to some fault in ourselves."


MAN vs. SOCIETY: The Animals vs. Humans

Old Major begins the ideology of "Animalism", which goes against the current way of life.


MAN vs. MAN: Napoleon vs. Snowball

These two pigs have it out for each other. As Napoleon becomes a tyrannical dictator, Snowball struggles to find order. Napoleon eventually uses brute force to run Snowball off the farm.


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


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in Animal Farm.


  1. Identify conflicts in Animal Farm.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.



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





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Animal Farm Allegory


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Allegories rely on extensive symbolic meaning to convey their messages. For students to decipher and understand these extended metaphors, it is helpful to track parallels between the text and the larger issues it is representing. Check out our lesson on Allegory!

In Animal Farm, Orwell uses the allegory of animals revolting on a farm to condemn Stalinist Russia. Orwell creates many parallels between the farm and communist Russia. For example: the Commandments of Animalism mimic ideas that Karl Marx outlined in "The Communist Manifesto." The various animals in the novel were used to symbolize important figures of the Russian communist movement such as Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.

As a lesson, have your students create a storyboard that shows the parallels between the events and characters of the farm and those during and after Russia’s communist revolution.

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


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows examples of allegory in Animal Farm.


  1. Identify instances of allegory in the text.
  2. Depict and describe the example of allegory from the text on the left side.
  3. Depict and describe the reference to the larger issue or event on the right side.


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





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Animal Farm Characters


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Before or during reading, it is helpful to review the ways that this novel is allegorical. Students will need knowledge of important Russian figures, and how they relate to the characters of Animal Farm. If starting this assignment while reading, students can complete this character map to help keep track of important attributes of each character. If completing before reading, internet research may be helpful to establish prominent figures and characteristics of particular communist leaders that play a significant role in the allegory.

Be sure to check out our teacher guide on the Russian Revolution and Communism!

Important Figures in Animal Farm and Communism


BOOK CHARACTERSDESCRIPTIONHISTORICAL FIGURES
Old Major He is the first of the animals who stands up for the working class. It is his original suggestion to revolt against the humans.Karl Marx/Lenin
Snowball A true leader of the revolt, the other animals look up to him. He is the one who comes up with the plans for a windmill.Leo Trotsky
Napoleon After Old Major's death, Napoleon uses Snowball to continue Major's dream. After the rebellion, he seizes control, becoming a tyrant.Stalin
Squealer Squealer often speaks for Napoleon and is excellent at using rhetoric to manipulate the animals.Russian Media
Boxer & Clover Boxer is a working horse who believes wholeheartedly in the cause. He works himself to death for "Animalism".The Russian Working Class
Mollie A horse who was never for the rebellion, she eventually is lured away from the farm because she does not believe in the animals' ideology.Russia's Upper Classes/Loyal to Czar
Benjamin A smart, wise, old donkey who can read and write just as well as the pigs. He continuously remarks that donkeys live a long time, suggesting that with age comes wisdom.The Older Generation of Russians
Moses A raven who speaks of a lost paradise for animals called "Sugar Candy Mountain."Russian Orthodox Church
Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher These dogs are Napoleon's enforcers. He uses the dogs to run Snowball off the farm.The Police/Military
Mr. & Mrs. Jones The drunk farmer that owned the farm before the animals took over. He dies with hopes to regain the farm but never does.Tsar Nicholas II and the Former Aristocracy
Mr. Whymper A capitalist that Napoleon hires to work deals with neighboring farms for him.Capitalism in the Soviet Union
Mr. Pilkington A landowner of a neighboring farm who sells Napoleon some land. In the end, he oddly cheers Napoleon's success, which seems fake!Leaders of England
Mr. Frederick Owner of Pinchfield Farm, who is notorious for "driving hard bargains", swindles Napoleon by buying timber from him with counterfeit bills. He later tries to take Animal Farm forcibly, but is unsuccessful.Leaders of Germany

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


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in Animal Farm and type their names into the title boxes on the left side of the chart.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Identify the corresponding historical figures for each of the literary characters.
  5. Use Search at the top for appropriate images from Photos for Class to represent each historical figure.
  6. Fill in Textables for Characteristics, Beliefs/Ideals, and Alliances & Enemies for both literary characters and historical figures.
  7. Save and submit the assignment.


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





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Animal Farm Plot Summary

On the Manor Farm, a venerable boar named Old Major, gathers the animals for a meeting and inspires them to revolt. Although he dies, two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, vow to continue his work, and lead the others in driving off the unfit, drunken farmer. The pigs of the farm begin to establish a new government where animals have rights. They adopt "The Seven Commandments of Animalism", the most important of which is: "All animals are equal."

The animals begin to read and write. They use the commandments to educate all the young. Food is plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. However, when the pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership, a struggle for power begins between the two successors to Old Major. Napoleon wins by having his dogs chase Snowball off the farm.

As supreme leader, Napoleon enacts changes to the governance of the farm, replacing meetings of all animals with a committee of pigs who will run the farm. Eventually, Napoleon's supremacy has him paranoid that someone will try to overthrow him. He begins to blame Snowball, the pig he chased away, for incidents happening on the farm. Using Snowball as a scapegoat, Napoleon begins to purge the farm, accusing other animals of conspiring with his old rival, and attacking them with dogs. The animals become convinced that they were better off with the farmer, Mr. Jones, than the tyranny that has come to be.

Things get progressively worse on the farm. Animals are worked to the point of collapsing, and it is clear that the commandments have been rewritten. Most ominously, the first commandment now reads: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." The pigs begin to take on human qualities like walking upright and dealing with other farmers. As the animals gaze at pigs and humans, they realize they can no longer tell the two apart.


Essential Questions for Animal Farm

  1. What responsibilities do individuals have in society?
  2. What makes a good leader?
  3. How can we avoid making the same mistakes that history has made?

Don’t Let the Fun Stop There! Check Out Our Other Lesson Plan Ideas

  1. Use storyboards that show specific causes and effects of events in the story.
  2. Create a storyboard depicting the rising action to demonstrate how the author built suspense.
  3. Add a presentation to any storyboard project.

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•   (English) Animal Farm   •   (Español) Granja de Animales   •   (Français) Animal de Ferme   •   (Deutsch) Tierfarm   •   (Italiana) Fattoria di Animali   •   (Nederlands) Dieren Boerderij   •   (Português) Fazenda de Animais   •   (עברית) חוות חיות   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) مزرعة الحيوانات   •   (हिन्दी) पशु फार्म   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Ферма Животных   •   (Dansk) Animal Farm   •   (Svenska) Djur Farm   •   (Suomi) Animal Farm   •   (Norsk) Dyregård   •   (Türkçe) Hayvan Çiftliği   •   (Polski) Farma Zwierząt   •   (Româna) Ferma de Animale   •   (Ceština) Zvířecí Farma   •   (Slovenský) Zvieracia Farma   •   (Magyar) Állatfarm   •   (Hrvatski) Životinjska Farma   •   (български) Животинска Ферма   •   (Lietuvos) Gyvunu Ferma   •   (Slovenščina) Animal Farm   •   (Latvijas) Dzīvnieku Ferma   •   (eesti) Loomafarm