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Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

When Less IS More—Understanding Minimalist Fiction

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When Less IS More—Understanding Minimalist Fiction

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susanne Rubenstein

Susanne Rubenstein

Princeton, Massachusetts


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • “Cat in the Rain” in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner’s, 1987)

  • “Little Things” in Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories by Raymond Carver (Vintage Contemporaries, 1989)

  • “The Bath” in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver (Vintage Books, 1989) (optional)

  • McInerney, Jay, 1989. "Raymond Carver: A Still, Small Voice." New York Times Book Review (August 6): 1, 24–25. (optional)

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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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  • Obtain copies of "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway and "Little Things" by Raymond Carver.

  • If you would like to use more than one Carver story in this lesson (see #11 under “Instruction and Activities - Session One”), obtain copies of another short Carver story. One excellent choice is "The Bath."

  • Familiarize yourself with biographical information on Hemingway and Carver in order to talk about the different time periods in which each story was written. Some useful Websites are listed in the Resources section.

  • Prepare copies of the Reflection Sheet for students’ self-assessment.

  • Test the Venn Diagram on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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