The Great Gatsby: Chapter 1, 2, and 3 Lessons & Activities {EDITABLE}

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
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  1. From the giltz and glam of flappers to the longing of painful heartbreak, The Great Gatsby has captured teachers and students alike for generations. If you've been following along with me on Instagram @mudandinkteaching, you have probably caught some of my stories where I'm sharing a video-journal
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When it's time to start The Great Gatsby, you'll need some lessons to get you going at the beginning of the novel. I like to start the unit focusing on both color symbolism and the way Fitzgerald establishes the gender roles in Chapter 1. Next, we work through several exercises in comparison and contrast between West Egg, East Egg, and the Valley of Ashes. This product includes a wide variety of lessons to help students through close reading and literary analysis and even gives students graphic organizers to better categories the places, events, and characters in these chapters. These lessons and activities are COMPLETELY EDITABLE on Google Drive and can be used to supplement your current plans, as homework assignments, or in any other capacity! For these LESSONS IN ACTION, check out my Instagram Highlights! I discuss using many of these lessons and you can see them for yourself!


Chapter 1

  1. Tracking Color in Gatsby {Free download available here!}
  2. Gatsby: Chapter 1 Gender Roles Analysis: In this activity, students will look at small passages from chapter one and examine what they reveal about Fitzgerald's depiction of gender roles (at least at the very beginning of the novel - we revisit this later in the novel as well!).
  3. Teacher annotated guide: These are the things students most frequently point out about gender.
  4. Analysis Tool - Divided Venn Diagram: This is a new type of Venn Diagram that divides the circles into parts to help students more closely examine specific elements of a piece of writing. I've included both a blank copy and one ready to copy.
  5. Gender Roles Body Paragraphs - Revision Time: Here is an example of the writing that I collected from students AND a sample paragraph to help them make improvements.

Chapters 2-3

  1. Reading Quiz: Chapters 2 & 3: These questions are "sesame street" style. Students receive four items. Then, they must explain HOW three of them are connected and WHY the remaining item does not belong. I've included an answer key and rubric for you to use!
  2. Reading Quiz Answer Key
  3. Close Read Analysis: The Valley of Ashes & Gatsby’s Mansion: Using two distinctly different sections of the text, students will close read and annotate for the different colors, textures, sounds, and other descriptions they notice in each of the two scenes.
  4. Chapters 1- 3 Comparison and Reflection: Now you can put major details and moments from the first three chapters into a chart so that they can be seen side by side
  5. Formative Argument Writing Assessment: According to chapters 1-3, is the American Dream more likely to inspire or destroy the characters in The Great Gatsby?
  6. The Great Gatsby: Living the Dream in the Valley of Ashes (John Green Vlog video - I used it with these lessons!)


First and foremost, this product is 100% editable. Each of the resources is shared with you via Google Drive and you are welcome to make whatever customizations you need to best fit your students.

I've worked hard to make each of these lessons rigorous, engaging, and creative. There are lots of "cute" ideas out there as well as some really tough and challenging ones: I strive to balance these two spectrums. I take literary analysis seriously, but I work hard to create visually appealing and collaborative handouts and lessons to help facilitate critical thinking.

You might also be interested in these other resources for teaching The Great Gatsby:

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© Mud and Ink Teaching Please note - this resource is for use by one teacher only. Additional teachers must purchase their own license. If you are interested in purchasing several licenses, please let me know. Good luck on your adventurous teaching journey!

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