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Short Story Fair: Responding to Short Stories in Multiple Media and Genres
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Unit|
|Estimated Time||Seven 50-minute sessions|
Yankton, South Dakota
In this activity, students read short stories from a collection in small groups then prepare responses in multiple media and genres that are shared in a culminating Short Story Fair. Students’ presentations in the fair focus on communicating basic information about the story and encouraging others in the class to consider reading the piece. Students choose from a list of possible projects to demonstrate their knowledge of the story’s literary elements, such as bringing in representative physical artifacts, writing poetry, creating collages, illustrating comic strips, and more. On the days of the fair, the class explores the displays for the short stories, responding to related questions as they move from presentation to presentation. By the end of the activity, students have been exposed to dozens of short stories and their literary elements.
Literary Elements Map: This online tool can be used by students to create a character map, conflict map, resolution map, or setting map, for stories they are reading or writing.
The Elements of Fiction: This online tutorial defines and describes setting, characterization, plot, point of view, theme, and symbolism.
In her article "Using Short Story Collections to Enrich the English Classroom," Diane Mitchell writes: "When we teach something, we learn more than the students. We have to think deeply about the material, extract important ideas and concepts, and figure out how to involve students. We look for points of connection, figure how it's related to other things in class, and how we can have students respond through writing and talking.
Instead of remaining the chief learner in the classroom, why not let the student be part of this kind of critical thinking and learning? Short story collections, especially since there are more collections than the teacher can read and know well, offer an excellent opportunity to introduce this kind of thinking and creating." (73)
This lesson plan is based on an idea from: Mitchell, Diana. "Using Short Story Collections to Enrich the English Classroom." English Journal 86.8 (December 1997): 73-77.