The Happy Prince Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan accompanies the reading of Oscar Wilde's short story 'The Happy Prince.' Students will watch a video lesson, identify themes, and make text connections.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize 'The Happy Prince'
  • identify themes of 'The Happy Prince'
  • make text connections to the themes in the story


This lesson will take approximately 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Lesson Instructions

Materials needed: slide show of people of all walks of life

Activate prior knowledge by showing students the slide show and asking students to list assumed character traits by what they see in the pictures.

Watch the lesson The Happy Prince: Themes & Analysis as a class. Pause at 0:58. Ask students:

  • How does the prince change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?
  • Is he happier at the beginning or the end? Why?

Continue watching the lesson. Pause at 1:44. Ask:

  • What is meant by the phrase, 'Don't judge a book by its cover?'
  • How does this change the way you identified the people in the pictures we reviewed before the lesson?

Continue watching until 3:97. Ask students:

  • How are sacrifice, love, and compassion punished and rewarded in the story?
  • What are some news stories or characters in other books you have read that remind you of the swallow or the prince?

Watch the rest of the video lesson with students.

Ask students the following:

  • When the Prince lived in the Palace of Sans-Souci, what was he blind towards?
  • How does sacrificing his eyes help him see more clearly?
  • What do you think it will take for the townspeople to see clearly?

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