Short Story Unit Plan



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Short Story Unit Plan

By: Steve McCauley & Bruce Robinson

Subject: English

Unit: Short Story

Theme: Irony

Short Story Unit Contents:


  • Short Story Unit Overview

  • Lesson 1 – Elements of the Short Story

  • Lesson 2 – Cask of Amontillado

  • Lesson 3 – The Lottery

  • Lesson 4 – A & P

  • Lesson 5 – Gentlemen, Your Verdict

  • Lesson 6 – Short Story Workshop

  • Lesson 7 – The Big Snit

  • Lesson 8 – The Sniper

  • Lesson 9 – The Fall of a City

  • Lesson 10 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  • Lesson 11 – Two Fishermen

  • Lessons 12 & 13 – Sociograms

  • Lesson 14 – Writers/Artists Café – culminating activity


Short Story Unit Overview

It is important that students are exposed to many different aspects of writing. Exploring a unit of short stories offers students many opportunities to internalize and apply the knowledge they gain about reading and interpreting literature to the next story they read. They are more frequently exposed to the craft of using language, the literary devices that authors use, and how these can make a story work (or not work) for a reader. The short stories themselves contain underlying themes or motifs that challenge the students to draw broader conclusions from the material, encouraging students to think on a wider level about interconnected issues and themes that run throughout the materials.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • Explore the elements of the short story;

  • Practice oral reading skills;

  • Work collaboratively on a variety of projects;

  • Develop their own creative writing skills through writing their own short story.

Additionally, students will have read a variety of different short stories, and been exposed to several different styles of writing.

Resources:
Stories: Jon Scieszka: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

Edgar Allen Poe: The Cask of Amontillado

Shirley Jackson: The Lottery

John Updike: A & P


Michael Bruce: Gentlemen, Your Verdict


Liam O’Flaherty: The Sniper

Alden Nowlan: The Fall of a City

James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Morley Callaghan: Two Fishermen


Movie: Richard Condie: The Big Snit
Layout:

Short Story Unit

Class


Duration

Content

Introduction

1 – 2 classes

Short story elements; includes handout, brainstorm, and quiz.

E. A. Poe’s

The Cask of Amontillado

1 class


Short story elements; point of view; setting, character, theme of irony; rewriting the ending from a different point of view.

Shirley Jackson’s

The Lottery

1 class


Theme, setting, mood, ritual behavior

John Updike’s

A & P

1 class


Setting, character, values

Michael Bruce’s Gentlemen, Your Verdict

1 class


Theme of loyalty, moral dilemmas

Short Story Workshop

1 – 2 classes

Editing skills; peer editing of drafts of students’ short stories

Richard Condie’s

The Big Snit

1 class


Irony

Liam O’Flahery’s

The Sniper

1 class


Setting, character, irony.

Alden Nowlan’s

The Fall of a City

1 class


Character development, setting, mood

James Thurber’s

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

1 – 2 classes



Character, escapism, theme

Morley Callaghan’s


Two Fishermen

1 class


Character, theme, moral dilemmas

Sociograms

2 – classes

Construction sociograms; integrating all the elements from one story into a cohesive visual construct.

Concluding Activity: Writer’s/Artist’s Café

1 – 2 classes



Sharing the sociograms; celebrating the students’ creative writing.



Lesson 1 – Introduction to the Elements of the Short Story



Rationale:

This lesson is the first of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson will be to introduce the short story to students by exploring what a short story is, and what elements make it a distinct genre.


Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to:

  • discuss and demonstrate what the definition of the short story is, and its elements;

  • establish working definitions of the elements in a short story;

  • discuss a well known fairy tale and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copies of Jon Scieszka’s “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”

Quiz – attached.

Handout: “Elements of a Short Story” – attached.

Prelude:

Explain the unit to the students: read the Rationale for the unit to the students. Hand out the unit evaluation sheet so students understand the nature of the activities they will be participating in. Review each point with them: journaling, in-class writing, writing a short story of 500 – 1000 words, and sociograms.

Activities:

  1. Ask the class to begin by giving some examples of what they believe to be short stories. Ask them to support their choice with what makes it a short story.


  2. As a class, brainstorm characteristics that define a short story, i.e. length (# of words), number of characters, time span, well-defined plot, etc. From this, ask the class to then come up with a working definition of the short story: the short story is a piece of prose fiction, usually under 10,000 words, which can be read in one sitting. Pass out handout “Elements of Short Stories.”

  3. Next ask the students to further examine the uniqueness of the short story by listening to the story “The True Story of The Three Little Pigs.” Read the story aloud to the class.

  4. In small groups, have the class discuss any techniques or approaches that they see in the story, such as the title, introduction, characters, setting, plot, rising action, etc. Reconvene as a class and share group findings.

  5. As a class, read and discuss the handout “Elements of the Short Story,” applying the elements to “The True Story of The Three Little Pigs.”

  6. Hand out the “quiz” and have them work with a partner to complete it using examples from “The True Story of The Three Little Pigs.”


Homework:

Watch a popular sitcom of choice and apply the short story elements, as applicable, from the handout. Include their observations in their journals for discussion in class the next day.



Elements of Short Stories



  1. Plot – sequence of events or incidents that make up a story.
    1. Exposition – designed to arouse reader’s interest; background is provided.


    2. Conflict – struggle between opposing forces (protagonist vs. antagonist)

      1. Person vs. Personexternal struggle between two or more individuals.

      2. Person vs. themselvesinternal struggle concerning emotion and decision.

      3. Person vs. natureexternal struggle between person and an element of nature or the environment.




    1. Rising action – complication or development of the conflict.

    2. Climax – turning point of the story; point of most intense interest.

    3. Falling action – (denouement) events that lead to resolution.

    4. Resolution – outcome of the conflict.



Parts of a Typical Plot






  1. Character – is generally the central or focal element in a story.

    1. Four types of characterization – techniques the writer uses to develop a character.

      1. Physical description.

      2. Speech and actions of the character.

      3. Direct comment from the narrator.

      4. Speech and other actions of other characters.

    2. Four types of characters

      1. Round – complex or presented in detail.

      2. Dynamic – developing and learning in the course of the story.

      3. Flat – characterized by one or two traits.

      4. Static – unchanged from the story’s beginning to end.




  1. Themes of literature / Analyzing characters
    1. Motivation – cause of / reason for actions.


    2. Behavior – actions of the character.

    3. Consequences – results of actions.

    4. Responsibility – moral, legal, or mental accountability.

    5. Expectations – what the reader expects.




  1. Mood

    1. Setting – the time and place in which the story is taking place, including factors such as weather and social customs.

    2. Atmosphere – the mood to feeling which pervades the story.




  1. Point of view

    1. Omniscient – the author tells the story using the third person. Author knows all of what is done, said, felt, and thought by the characters.




    1. Limited omniscient – author tell the story from the third person, but limits observations of thoughts and feelings to one character; the author presents the story from this character’s eyes.




    1. First person – one character tells the story in the first person. The reader sees and knows only as much as the narrator.




    1. Objective – the author is like a movie camera that moves around freely recording objects. However, the author offers no comments on the characters or their actions. Readers are not told the thoughts or feelings of the characters.




  1. Figurative language

    1. Similecomparison using like or as.

    2. Metaphor – comparison using is or a form of is.

      1. Implied metaphor
      2. Extended metaphor


    3. Personification – attributing humanlike qualities to inanimate things.

Short Story Unit Assignments

Journal Writing

Students are expected to briefly respond in a writing journal after reading each story. The writing journals are a place where you can record your reactions, no matter what they are. These journals will only be marked on completion, not on content, so have some fun and don’t worry about grammar, fancy vocabulary, or spelling.



In-class writing assignments

Throughout the unit, there will be a number of short in-class writing assignments based on the readings. They will be started during class time, and can be completed at home. All these assignments will go into a portfolio of writing from which you will choose 3 for polishing and handing in for marks.


Sociogram Assignment

Working in groups of 4, you will choose one of the short stories from the unit and create a sociogram of that story. There is a handout to guide you in constructing the sociogram, and it needs to include all the elements of short story craft that are applicable.


Short Story Assignment
Write a short story between 500 and 1000 words. You can write a narrative story about whatever you want; it’s your choice! You would be well advised to start your narrative as soon as possible as we will be taking part in a short story workshop in the middle of the unit. You will be asked to bring your rough draft to class so that we can team edit our stories to finish a final draft by the last lesson of the unit.
Now go forth and create!

Short Story Elements Quiz Name(s):


  1. Match the following definitions with the terms from II.


    1. The angle from which the story is perceived .

    2. Struggle between opposing forces .

    3. Similes and metaphors are examples of .

    4. The atmosphere or location of the story .

    5. Techniques the writer uses to develop the antagonist and protagonist




  1. Give an example of each of these elements in “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.”

    1. Point of view



    1. Characterization



    1. Setting



    1. Figurative language



    1. Conflict

Lesson 2 – Elements of the Short Story, continued



Rationale:

This lesson is the second of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to introduce the short story to students by exploring what a short story is, and what elements make it a distinct genre.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • discuss and demonstrate what the definition of the short story is, and its elements;

  • establish working definitions of the elements in a short story;

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copy of Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment.

Activities:

  1. Ask students to share some of their thoughts on the TV shows they watched the previous evening paying close attention to how the elements of short stories were observed.

  2. Present a brief biography of Poe, and discuss some of Poe’s views on short stories.


  3. Read “The Cask of Amontillado.” The teacher can read it, or have students read it aloud in sections.

  4. Have students journal their responses to “Cask” for 5 minutes paying close attention to what really grabbed them. What did Poe do that was particularly effective in this story?

  5. As a class, discuss the reactions to the story focusing on the elements of the short story. Pay close attention to the point of view and setting, and irony. Verbal irony arises from what the characters say, and situational irony arises from what the characters do. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.

  • What are some examples of irony in this story? Which of the examples is most ironic?

  • Poe believed that the first sentence of a story should communicate the effect that the author is trying to create. Does Poe achieve that aim in this story? Explain.

  • Describe the preparations and precautions Montresor undertook to achieve his goal. What do these tell us about Montresor’s character?

  • According to Montresor, what is necessary for the perfect revenge? By this standard, is Montresor’s revenge perfect?

  • How is the setting significant in this story?



  1. Students rewrite the ending from Fortunato’s point of view.




Student writing assignment


Oh no! As Fortunato, you find yourself being walled up in a crypt after being promised a cask of Amontillado. What is going through your mind as the bricks are stacked higher and higher? Rewrite the ending to express the final thoughts of Fortunato as the last bricks are set in the wall.
Homework:

Finish writing assignment.


Lesson 3- Analysis of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson



Rationale:

This lesson is the third of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on the ironic ending of The Lottery; this lesson also will explore theme of ritual and the cultural values of the story’s community. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding The Lottery in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding The Lottery;

  • establish a definition of irony and articulate its effects in The Lottery;

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copies of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment.

Activities:


  1. Introduce The Lottery; ask the students to pay close attention to how the mood develops throughout the story.




  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.




  1. Have students journal their responses to The Lottery for 5 minutes paying close attention to what really grabbed them and what they want to explore further. What was particularly effective in this story?




  1. Students get pair up and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.



  • What are your preconceived notions of a lottery? What is ironic about the name of the story?

  • How does the building tension of the story add to its effect?

  • Is the ending foreshadowed at all?

  • What effect do the descriptions of the town and its people from your view of the day’s happenings?

  • What is this an example of? What is a ritual?

  • How do you see this event? Do you think it is right? Why should they change their views on the lottery?

  • How do you view it from a cultural standpoint?

  • Do you feel sorry for Mrs. Hutchinson?




  1. Students will write the voice over narrative to the trailer of the movie or story blurb that entices a prospective reader to read the story. Read a story blurb and show a movie trailer to inspire creativity.

Student writing assignment

You have been asked to lend your creative writing skills to a movie company/publishing company to create a trailer/story blurb to entice prospective viewers/readers. They want you to create a mood that best captures the mood and building tension of the story. Narrative needs to be approximately 250 words.
Homework:

Finish writing assignment.


Lesson 4- Analysis of “A & P” by John Updike



Rationale:

This lesson is the fourth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on the themes and character development in A & P. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding A & P in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding A & P;

  • describe the different types of characters in the story;

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copies of A & P by John Updike.


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask students to keep previous days discussion in mind; ask students to link discussion to new story.


Activities:

  1. Introduce the story to the class and ask them to pay close attention to way the narrator describes the characters in the story. Ask them to pay attention to the voice of the narrator.


  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.





  1. Have students journal their responses to A & P for 5 minutes paying close attention to what really grabbed them and what they want to explore further. What was particularly effective in this story?




  1. Students get into groups of 4 and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.



  • How does the narrator describe the girls? What kind of language does he use to describe them?

  • How does the narrator describe the customers in the store?

  • How does the narrator describe the store manager?

  • What kind of character is Sammy?

  • Why doe Sammy quit his job?

  • Do perceive any tension between Sammy and the store manager? Why do you think there is tension? Do you think that it is generational? Can you give examples of this today?




  1. Students will perform a character study of Sammy; they will write for the remainder of the class and store it in their writing portfolio.


Student writing assignment

As unbelievable as it may seem, you are a fly on the ceiling of the A & P. You are absolutely captivated by Sammy and his fascination with the three girls. Describe Sammy and provide any information you feel necessary to describe him to your fly buddies. What is he wearing? What does he look like? What do you think he likes to do in his spare time? What are his mannerisms like? Remember, this is your description of Sammy.

Homework:

Finish writing assignment.


Lesson 5 – Analysis of Gentlemen, Your Verdict by Michael Bruce



Rationale:

This lesson is the fifth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on the moral dilemmas posed in Gentlemen, Your Verdict through flashbacks. Moreover, this lesson will ask the students to consider levels of responsibility and the idea of ‘duty’. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding Gentlemen, Your Verdict in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding Gentlemen Your Verdict;

  • articulate their thoughts about responsibility and duty;

  • identify a moral dilemma and examine possible repercussions in a group setting

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Tigers of the Snow


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment.


Activities:
  1. As a class, discuss fables, fairy tales and brainstorm the themes and values they are trying to project. Introduce Gentlemen, Your Verdict; ask students to keep brainstorm topics in mind as they read/ listen to the story.





  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.




  1. Have students journal their responses to Gentlemen, Your Verdict for 5 minutes paying close attention to the tension of the situation and sense of duty carried out by the soldiers. Moreover, ask them to explore the moral dilemma the Captain encounters.




  1. Students get into groups of 4 and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.




  • What type of story is Gentlemen, Your Verdict an example of?

  • What is a moral dilemma?

  • What is the moral dilemma the Captain faces? Do the submariners face any moral dilemmas?

  • What is a sense of duty? Do the submariners recognize their sense of duty?

  • How does the author create a sense of tension or urgency regarding the crash?

  • What effect doe the flashback sequence have on the reader?

  • Did the Captain make a good decision? Was it right?

  • Who decides what is right and wrong?




        1. Students will get back into their groups of 4 and decide whether or not the survivors are guilty. The groups must give a rationale for their verdict and present their ideas to the class.


Student writing assignment

Welcome to the Supreme Court of Canada. You are esteemed judges chosen to give a sentence to the surviving submariner. You must come to a verdict and give valid reasons for your group’s decision. Each group will present their findings to the class.

Homework:

Continue to work on Short story.

Remind students that they need to bring their rough draft of their short story to the next class, as we will be doing team editing.

Lesson 6- Short story workshop



Rationale:

This lesson is the sixth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on developing student writing. Moreover, in this lesson students will work together to proofread and edit their fellow students’ stories. The teacher will be available to help edit and formulate ideas. Furthermore, this provides students with a nice break in between stories as it gives them an opportunity to work creatively on their own project.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • Work with various students in a team editing environment;

  • Continue to polish their stories;

  • Proof-read fellow students’ stories;

  • Provide support for fellow students;


Resources:

Student writing portfolios.

Peer editing worksheet s
Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment


Activities:

  1. As a class we will discuss what the students have discovered make good stories. Our findings will be written on the board so that students can keep them in mind as they move to the next activity. Set out the agenda for the short story workshop.


  1. Students will pair up and share their drafts with their partner. Students will provide editing support by proofreading their partner’s story. Students will be asked to work together to improve their stories. Students will work with 3 sets of partners before they start to work independently on their stories. Teacher will circulate through the room and provide extra support to the students.





  1. 3 Students will work independently to improve their drafts. Teacher will be available to answer any queries and provide further editing support.


Homework:

Continue to work on their short story.


Lesson 7: “The Big Snit” by Richard Condie



Rationale:

This lesson is the seventh of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on themes and irony in the animated short film The Big Snit, as well as the need to be aware of larger issues in the world. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding The Big Snit in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding The Big Snit;

  • establish a definition of irony and articulate its effects in The Big Snit;
  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;



Resources:

One copy of the animated short film: The Big Snit


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment.


Activities:

Introduce The Big Snit; ask the students to pay close attention to the events that occur throughout the story.




  1. Play the video.




  1. Have students journal their responses to The Big Snit for 5 minutes paying close attention to what really grabbed them and what they want to explore further. What was particularly effective in this story?




  1. Students pair up and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates around the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical analysis.

  • What is your impression of the characters? How does the animator portray them?

  • What is the theme of The Big Snit?

  • What is the relationship between the actions of the characters and the actions going on outside the house? Is this irony? What type of irony is this?

  • What is the attitude of the characters towards the events occurring outside their house? How are they affected by those events?

  • Why is it important for us to pay attention to larger issues in the world?




  1. Students will write briefly about discerning why it is important to have a healthy awareness of broader issues.


Student writing assignment

Imagine you have two very good friends who are always bickering over little insignificant things. It is starting to affect their friendship with each other and with you. Not wanting your friendships to be ruined, you decide to remind them that their differences are petty compared to the larger issues in the world. What would you say to them to get them to put their differences in perspective and move beyond them? Maximum 250 words.


Homework:

Finish their writing.


Lesson 8- Analysis of The Sniper by Liam O’ Flaherty



Rationale:

This lesson is the eighth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on the conflict between the two enemy snipers and how the author separates them in the setting. Moreover, this lesson will ask the students to look at character development and how the knowledge or lack of knowledge of the characters skews their perspective of the story. This lesson will also revisit the concept of irony and how it affects the reader at the end of the story and leaves them with questions about war and conflict. Furthermore, this lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding The Sniper in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding The Sniper;

  • articulate their thoughts about responsibility and duty;
  • identify a moral dilemma and examine possible repercussions in a group setting


  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copies of The Sniper


Review :

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment


Activities:

  1. As a class, brainstorm about some of the ongoing conflicts of war. Introduce The Sniper; ask students to think about personal conflicts as they read/listen to the story.




  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.




  1. Have students journal their responses to The Sniper for 5 minutes paying close attention to the characterization of the two snipers.




  1. Students get into groups of 4 and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.




  • How does the ending shape your perspective about the story? Conflict? War?

  • Describe the setting.

  • How does the street separate the two snipers? What does the street represent?

  • How does the setting add to the story? How do the killings add to the story?

  • Is there any resolution at the end of the story? How is this representative of real life?

  • What is ironic about the ending of the story?

  • Why does the sniper want to see who his enemy is/was?

  • Does it have more significance that it is his brother?





  1. Students will draw a representation of the scene in which the sniper recognizes his brother, or write a poem about the scene, or a write a diary entry from the sniper’s point of view after he sees his brother.


Student writing assignment
You may draw a picture to represent the scene in which the sniper recognizes his brother, or you may write a poem about the scene, or you may write a diary entry from the sniper’s point of view. In this assignment, I encourage you to consider how the situation of war creates conflicts between people who don’t know who they are fighting against
Homework:

Finish assignment.

Continue to work on their short story.

Lesson 9- Analysis of The Fall of a City by Alden Nowlan



Rationale:

This lesson is the ninth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on character development and setting in The Fall of a City. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding The Fall of a City in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding The Fall of a City;

  • contrast the fantasy world Teddy creates with the real world of his aunt & uncle;

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;



Resources:

Tigers of the Snow


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment


Activities:

          1. Introduce The Fall of a City; ask students to keep brainstorm topics in mind as they read/listen to the story.




          1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.




          1. Have students journal their responses to The Fall of a City for 5 minutes paying close attention to the tension of the relationship between Teddy and his aunt and uncle.




          1. Students get into groups of 4 and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.




  • What do we know about Teddy’s character from this story?

  • How does Teddy’s character devolve through the story? What are the reasons this happens?

  • How are the characters in Teddy’s fantasy world related to his real world?
  • How is the setting representative of the “real world” downstairs?


  • Teddy is eleven. How would the story be different if he was older or younger?

  • Why does Teddy destroy his “kingdom” at the end of the story?

  • How do you think Teddy’s aunt and uncle will react to his destroying his kingdom?




        1. Students will get back into their groups of 4 and collaborate on a different ending to the story.


Student writing assignment
Working in groups of 4, students will write an alternate ending to the story. Their ending can carry on from the original ending, or they can rewrite a new ending and tie it in at a point earlier in the text. Max 250 words.
Homework:

Continue to work on Short story.


Lesson 10- Analysis of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

by James Thurber



Rationale:

This lesson is the tenth of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson focuses on Thurber’s use of humour of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, daydreaming as a form of escapism, and the short story element of character. This lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in a class discussion;
  • journal their responses regarding The Secret Life of Walter Mitty;


  • contrast the real Walter Mitty with the dream Walter Mitty;

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Copies of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment.


Activities:

  1. Introduce The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and explain the following:

    1. Most people daydream and use daydream as some form of escape, entertainment or vicarious experience.

    2. Authors write about universal behaviors in order to create characters and situations that have universal appeal. Humorists do this with absurdities or incongruities that they observe in human nature. James Thurber was a humorist who liked to write about peculiarities and quirks of behavior he found in humanity.

    3. In this short story, Thurber created a character whose daydreams contrast dramatically and comically with his actual life. In reading "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the class will investigate how Thurber creates humor.




  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class, or a few students share the reading load.




  1. Have students journal their responses to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for 5 minutes paying close attention to what really grabbed them and what they want to explore further. What was particularly effective in this story?




  1. The teacher conducts a whole class discussion using the following key questions:

  • How does the imaginary Walter Mitty differ from the real Walter Mitty?

  • Which of his daydreams appealed to you most? Why?


  • Why did Walter Mitty imagine himself facing a firing squad? Evaluate what he was saying about his life with such a statement.

  • Why would Thurber end the story with a fantasy sequence?

  • Besides daydreaming, what other things could Walter Mitty do to change his life?

  • How are Walter Mitty and Teddy (the main character in “The Fall of a City”) similar? How are they different?

  • Does “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” contain a climax and/or a resolution? Speculate on why Thurber did or did not include these conventional story elements.




  1. This story contains some obvious stereotypes of male and female roles and behaviors that were common in 1942 when the story was written. In groups of 5, have students identify and comment on the stereotypes. Do they think the stereotypes would appear in an updated version of the story? Why or why not? Discuss with the class.




  1. The students create an additional daydream for Walter Mitty.



Student writing assignment

Put yourself in Thurber’s place and create an additional daydream for Walter. It can occur at any place in the story, but you need to capture Thurber’s sense of humour, drama, and mood in Walter’s daydream. Maximum of 250 words.


Homework:

Finish writing assignment.


Possible additional activity for double block class:

The teacher divides the class into five groups. Each group is assigned one of the five daydreams that Walter Mitty experiences. The groups do the following:



  • Reread the assigned daydream and discuss what happens.
  • Prepare and perform a brief dramatization or pantomime of the daydream. (The dramatization doesn’t need to encompass the entire dream sequence; a quick scene or bit will suffice!)


  • Explain what happens to Mitty in the daydream, what happens to him immediately after he awakes from his reverie, and why this is comical. (Don’t forget to explain the significance of the group’s dramatization.)

Lesson 11- Analysis of Two Fishermen by Morley Callaghan



Rationale:

This lesson is the eleventh of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to work as a collaborative to explore and discuss the elements and thematic meaning of short stories. This lesson builds upon many of the issues that we have been exploring as a class in this unit. Moreover, this lesson will explore the relationships between people and our pre-conceived notions. This lesson will also challenge the students to explore how many elements of a short story work in concert to create a rich tapestry. Furthermore, this lesson will continue to encourage students to further explore the short story through class discussion and writing.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • articulate their thoughts and concerns regarding Two Fishermen in a class discussion;

  • journal their responses regarding Two Fishermen;

  • identify how our preconceived judgments can veil reality;

  • identify and discuss the paradox of Michael’s moral dilemma

  • discuss a well known short story and apply each of the elements to it;


Resources:

Tigers of the Snow


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding. Ask the students about their experience with the writing assignment


Activities:
  1. Introduce Two Fishermen; discuss the meaning of the cliché, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”





  1. Teacher reads the story aloud to the class or a few students share the reading load.




  1. Have students journal their responses to Two Fishermen for 5 minutes paying close attention to the how the relationship of the two fishermen is represented on the lake and how it is represented at the end.




  1. Students get into groups of 4 and share their responses with one another. Teacher circulates the room and facilitates the discussions when necessary. After 5 minutes, the class refocuses and participates in a large class discussion regarding the story and the students’ findings. Teacher provides guiding questions to facilitate discussion and critical thought.




  • How does the cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover” apply to the story?

  • How did Michael view his relationship with Smitty? What kind of characters are they?

  • What do we know about stereotypes? What judgment did Michael make of Smitty?

  • How did the setting add to the story? How did the calmness of the lake add to the story?

  • What was Michael up to by hanging out with Smitty? How did his intentions change as he got to know Smitty?

  • Why didn’t Michael stand up for Smitty? How did that make you feel?

  • What does friendship mean to you? What does loyalty mean to you?

  • Does Michael have a moral dilemma? What does the author do to set up the conflict of loyalty?




  1. Students will write a newspaper article based on the title, “Man leaves friend hanging during street brawl”


Student writing assignment

Here is your big chance! You have been hired on as a new news writer. Your first big assignment is to write an article about a shamed friend who sold out his friend when he needed him most. The title of the article is, “Man leaves friend hanging during a street brawl”

Homework:

Continue to work on Short story.

Finish assignment.

Lesson 12 & 13 – Sociogram of one story



Rationale:

These two lessons will bring together the elements of the short story in a sociogram. The purpose of these lessons will be for students to work collaboratively to graphically articulate the elements of one of the short stories from the unit. Listening carefully to students’ explanations of their sociograms helps to provide insight into their comprehension and their ability to make inferences from texts. The sociograms will be created during two classes, giving students plenty of time to do a draft and then create a full-sized final copy to share with the class.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • Demonstrate their insightful understandings of the elements of a short story;

  • Collaborate creatively on a visual interpretation of short story elements;

  • Articulate relationships between the relevant elements of a short story;


Resources:

Handout: Sociograms – attached.


Review:

Review the previous days work and field any questions students may have. Check for understanding.


Activities:

  1. Show some example of sociograms to the class. Ask students for their observations of what they see in the sociogram.

  2. Hand out the sheet “Sociograms” to students. Review the elements of a sociogram with the students.
  3. Working in groups of 4, the students will create a sociogram from one of the stories covered in the unit. Students should take a few minutes in their group to share ideas about which story to use from the unit, and then use the remainder of the class to create a draft of their sociogram.


  4. The following class will be for completion of the final draft of the sociogram.


Homework:

Continue to work on writing their short story.



Sociograms
What is it?

A literary sociogram is a graphic organizer that represents the relationships among characters in a literary text.


What is its purpose?

It helps you to think more deeply about the literary texts you have read or viewed.


How do I do it?

There are many variations, but for our purposes the central character is placed at or near the centre of the page and the other characters are placed in relation to it. Write the names of the characters on pieces of paper. Manipulate pieces of paper on the page with the names of characters, until you feel you have arranged them in the best way to reflect your understanding of the text. Then, attach the names to a piece of paper and the rest of the sociogram sorted out.


A number of conventions may be useful in developing sociograms:

  1. Place the central character/s at or near the centre of the diagram. Enclose the character’s name with a circle so that it is readable and may have arrows drawn to and from it.

  2. Let the physical distance between characters reflect the perceived psychological distance between characters.

  3. Let the size of the shape representing a character vary with (a) the importance, or (b) the power of the character.

  4. Show the direction of a relationship by an arrow, and its nature by a brief label. Arrows can be one-way, two-way or a boomerang effect.

  5. In any order, use labeled arrows going from one character to another to indicate relationships, motivations, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, etc.
  6. Think of as many arrows as possible indicating motivation, action, feelings, beliefs, or attitudes between each central character. A full and interesting sociogram will have many lines running between the characters. Think of how a plate of spaghetti looks.


  7. Represent substantiated relationships by a solid line and inferred relationships by a broken line.

  8. Circle active characters with a solid line. Circle significantly absent characters with a broken line.

  9. Place the characters who support the main character on one side of a dividing line, and antagonistic characters on the other (goodies vs. baddies).

  10. If you wish, you may also include localities and significant objects in the sociogram. These too may have arrows running between them and central characters.

Lesson 14 – Artist’s/Reader’s Café



Rationale:

The final lesson in this unit is for class presentations of the sociograms and for celebrating students writing through the reading of their short stories. Make the ambience of the classroom more suited to a “reader’s café,” or an art show opening, and invite the students to bring in food to share.


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • read their creative writing;

  • demonstrate an increasing level of confidence in reading aloud;

  • demonstrate an appreciation for oral reading;

  • listen attentively to the other students reading their stories aloud.


Activities:

  1. Students present their sociograms to the rest of the class. They must be able to articulate why they chose the story, and the relationships between and among the elements of the short story.

  2. Students read their short stories to the class. Reading order can be determined any number of ways.

  3. Students must provide one or two positive comments about the previous reader’s story. The last reader receives feedback from the first reader.

Depending on class size and the number of students who want to read their stories aloud, the teacher may elect to spread this activity over 2 classes.








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