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George Orwell: Animal Farm and 1984 Teaching Materials


In our day and age when media plays such a large part in the way people think, everyone (and I do mean everyone) should read George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984. Orwell masterfully wraps his warnings about corrupt governments and the loss of human rights up inside intriguing and well-written tales. Below are some ways to make Animal Farm and 1984 more engaging and meaningful for your students.

KEY PLAYERS IN THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND THE SOVIET UNION (PDF) This presentation gives a general overview of the key players in the Russian Revolution as well as the first leaders of the Soviet Union. This is helpful when asking students to spot parallels for these historical figures in the novel.

ANIMAL FARM CHAPTER READING QUIZZES (SALE ITEM) This download includes a 10-question, multiple-choice reading quiz for each of the ten chapters of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I have used these quizzes in my classroom for years, and I can vouch that they keep students accountable for their reading.

INTRODUCTION TO PROPAGANDA PRESENTATION (PDF) This presentation showcases propaganda from the World War II and Cold War era. Some of the propaganda is pro-Nazi and antisemitic in nature, so teacher discretion is advised.

HUMOROUS PROPAGANDA EXAMPLES (PDF) These images spoof propaganda posters by using references to pop culture (Star Wars, Disney films, etc.)

AESOP'S FABLES  This collection of classic fables shows students the idea of using animal stories to demonstrate human problems. If time allows, it is always a fun assignment to have students dramatize one of these fables.

JAMES THURBER FABLES These excerpts from Fables For Our Time by James Thurber are hilarious parodies of the fable genre. They are also interesting comments on our society.

ANIMAL FARM ACTION FIGURE (PDF) This assignment asks students to design an action figure based on a character from Animal Farm. Each action figure must have actions it performs, accessories, a vehicle, etc. This is a non-threatening way to ask students to analyze the characters of the novel and incorporate a little artwork in the process.

STUDENT SCHOOL (PDF) This assignment asks students to imagine that they have been given absolute control of their high school. The teachers are driven away, and the student body is under their complete control. What now? (This assignment always gets some interesting responses from my students.)

Planet of the Apes film guidePLANET OF THE APES VIEWING GUIDE (SALE ITEM)  This classic science fiction film links themes with Animal Farm. The society set up by the apes in this story is just as corrupt and unfair as the one in Animal Farm. The film even quotes Animal Farm. My students begin laughing at the corniness of the film, but end up hailing it as on of their favorites. "It's a madhouse! A madhouse!" This viewing guide asks thought-provoking questions, provides background information on the time period (1960's), and lists interesting trivia about the film.

PLANET OF THE APES DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (PDF)  These discussion questions are a great post-film assignment.

ORWELL, ANIMAL FARM, AND PLANET OF THE APES QUOTE POSTERS (PDF) These are nothing fancy, but if you print them out on colored paper, they make nice wall decorations. Make sure your students realize they are examples of verbal irony!

"NOTHING TO ENVY" EXCERPTS:  LIFE IN NORTH KOREA (PDF) These excerpts from Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick give haunting glimpses into the Orwellian world of North Korea. This makes a great follow-up activity for the novel. Read the whole book if you have time! To purchase the book or read more about it, visit by clicking here.

"THE FIREBIRD AND PRINCESS VASILISSA" (PDF) This is a Reader's Theater script-story of a famous Russian folktale. This tale gives a glimpse into the culture of Imperial Russia.

STALIN: RED TERROR DOCUMENTARY QUESTIONS (PDF)  A&E Biography produced an excellent documentary on Stalin's rise to power. These questions progress in order and follow the details of the video. To purchase or read more about this documentary about Joseph Stalin, visit by clicking here.

RASPUTIN: THE MAD MONK DOCUMENTARY QUESTIONS (PDF)  A&E Biography has produced an excellent documentary on the life of Grigory Rasputin. These questions progress in order and follow the details of the video. Rasputin's life shows much of what was corrupt and unstable about Imperial Russia--flaws that led to the overthrow of the government. To purchase or read more about the A&E Biography of Rasputin, visit by clicking here.

"GOD SEES THE TRUTH, BUT WAITS" BY LEO TOLSTOY AND READING GUIDE QUESTIONS (PDF)  This classic short story introduces students to the world of Imperial Russia, the unfair treatment of Russian subjects, and the treatment of prisoners in Siberia.

"THE SIGNAL" (PDF) This classic short story shows the lives of two peasants--one who is content with being a peasant and another who considers terrorism as an alternative.

1984 READING QUIZZES (SALE ITEM) These 14 classroom-tested reading quizzes divide the novel up into manageable reading assignments and then assess the material. Each quiz has 10 multiple-choice questions (lettered A-D) that ask recall and inference questions related to the text. These are the same reading quizzes I have used in my own classroom, and they are as Sparknotes-proof as you can find. Keys with similar format are included as well for simple side-by-side grading.