Teaching “To Build a Fire” by Jack London

In today’s episode of the Teaching ELA Podcast, I discuss a classic short story from one of America’s most famous short story writers, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London. I’ve got an emergency lesson plan you can get on the board right now involving imagery and sensory details. If you’re going to teach one thing from this story that will make teaching this story easier, teach students Naturalism and get them to cite textual evidence to support literary analysis. I discuss this along with suspense, theme, cause and effect and writing a literary analysis.

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3 Takeaways

  1. “To Build a Fire” provides excellent examples of imagery–especially touch sensory details.
  2. If you’re going to teach one thing from this story, go with Naturalism. It will naturally lead to the story’s themes and other elements.
  3. “To Build a Fire”  provides opportunities for a good cause and effect breakdown.


  1. Naturalism Lesson Plans Collection
  2. “To Build a Fire” at ELACommonCoreLessonPlans.com
  3. “To Build a Fire” Movie
  4. “To Build a Fire” Movie Lesson Plan
  5. Overview of Naturalism

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