Introduction to short stories

This is a basic lesson that I made to teach the features of short stories. The students must learn and understand the features before they start reading a short story/novel. As I was in an all girls school, I used the plot diagram example of Cinderella.
Remember it is important to tailor your lesson to your students. Picking something relevant to them will deepen their understanding of the topic.

relevant

In every English lesson, it is VERY important to incorporate a balanced mix of the four language skills:

  1. Reading

  2. Writing

  3. Listening

  4. Speaking 

Learning outcomes:

  1. The pupils will be able to display their knowledge already of short stories.
  2. The students will be able to convey their understanding of a Youtube video about short stories.
  3. The students will be able to show their knowledge and understanding of the elements of short stories

Assessment of learning outcomes:

  1. The pupils display their knowledge already of short stories by filling out a mind map and participating in a class discussion.
  2. The students will convey their understanding of a Youtube video about short stories by completing a worksheet.
  3. The students will show their knowledge and understanding of the elements of short stories by answering higher and lower order questions.

You can access the power point by clicking here: Introduction to short stories. lesson plan 1. week 1. I used this lesson in another school which did not have power point so I made a handout instead. It went really well so either way works well as long you interact with the class!

Phase 1: Introduction 

I will introduce the lesson topic of short stories to the class. I will state my learning outcomes for the class on slide two of the power point.

On slide three of the power point, I will ask the pupils ‘Do you know what a short story is?’.

I will then put the students into groups and I will ask the pupils ‘What can you tell me about short stories?’ by filling out a mind map on a handout.

I will tell the groups of four to divide jobs between their group members. The jobs will be time keeper, writer and two speakers. I will give the students four minutes for this task. I will then ask the groups for their answers and I will discuss the groups answers with the class.

Phase 2: Power point 

I will show the students a power point on the main concepts of short stories.

Tip: Get your students to read the slides off the power point.

On slide three and four of the powerpoint, I will show the students that a good story must have the right ingredients.

On slide five and six and seven, I will introduce the students to elements of a short story.

On slide eight, I will show the students an example of these elements in use in the short story of ‘Cinderella’.

On slide nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen I will talk to the students about theme, setting, characters, characterization, point of view, plot and types of conflict.

On slides sixteen and seventeen, I will show the students images of the plot diagram to deepen their understanding.

Phase 3: H and L order questions

I will ask the students higher and lower order questions about the content of the power point. It is important not to use worksheets all the time throughout your lessons. Incorporate higher and lower order questioning into all of your lessons alongside worksheets. Assessment for learning throughout your lessons is very important! 

Lower order questions

What are the five elements of a short story?

What is the theme?

What is the setting?

What are characters?

What does characterization mean?

What is the plot?

Can you name some common conflicts in short stories?

What does point of view mean?

Higher order questions

Do you think there are any other elements of a short story?

What element do you think is missing?

Can you name the theme of another short story?

How would you describe the characters in the short story you have read?

Phase 4: Video clip and worksheet – Elements of a short story example- ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ by Dr. Seuss.  

I will give the pupils a handout with pre questions. The pre questions will ask the students questions about the Youtube video that I will show them. I will ask the students to read the pre questions. The students will get one minute for this task. I will then show the pupils a Youtube video on the six elements of short stories using the example of ‘The Grinch’.

The worksheet will ask the students:

  1. How does the video clip describe character?
  2. What is the example the video clip gives for setting?
  3. What does point of view mean?
  4. What does plot mean?
  5. What is the conflict in ‘The Grinch’?
  6. Theme is the message of the story, what is the message of ‘the Grinch’?
  7. Name the six elements of short stories in this video clip?
  8. _____________
  9. _____________
  10. _____________
  11. ______________
  12. ______________
  13. ______________

After the video is over, I will give the pupils one minute to go over their answers. I will then ask a number of students for their answers. I will discuss the students’ answers with the class.

Video clip

‘How the Grinch stole Christmas: Elements of a short story’.

I used this video clip on the 5th of January so the theme of Christmas suited.

I will attach the worksheet for the video clip here: short story video clip worksheet. lesson 1. week 1.

Here is another video clip that can be used in this lesson.

Homework worksheet

short story video clip worksheet. lesson 1. week 1. worksheet

book elements-of-a-story duck TMP_plotdiagram_large

images (24) cinderlla

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English- creative writing- Character boxes

Today I want to post a lesson that I have used a number of times in schools. It is called Character boxes. I have used this lesson a number of times over the years. Each time it worked brilliantly. All of the student’s loved it. This lesson is great for developing the students’ essay writing skills and also developing their creativity/imagination. The characters need to think creatively to develop a character using the five images on their handout. The students’ find this lesson fun too! I first tested this out on my 12 year old cousin, and her first response when I told her what the task was ‘cool’!. My best advice when using this lesson is know your class well etc.. what they like and then you can pick you can the most suitable images for your class. However, if you do not know your class well, five random images work just as well.

I am not posting my full lesson plan here as I write really long lesson plans (3-5) pages long each but I will post a general gist of my lesson plan.

What do you need for this task? Coloured paper and handout with five random images each. 

Lesson objectives

  1. The pupils will be able to define the term character.
  2. The students will be able to portray their ability to develop a character.
  3. The students will be able to develop their creativity skills.

Assessment of Learning outcomes

  1. The pupils will be able to define the term character as they will think pair share the definition of character
  2. The students will portray their ability to develop a character by working in groups and developing a character.
  3. The students will develop their creativity skills by using their imagination and creating a  character.

Phase 1.

Greet the pupils.

Take a roll call.

Review what was learnt in the last lesson.

Phase 2. Think-Pair-Share

I will put the students into pairs.

I will ask the students ‘What is a character?’.

I will ask a number of pairs for their answers.

I will discuss the students’ answers with the class.

Phase 3:Group work: Five random images to develop a character

I will ask the students to develop a character by using five random images.

I will then put the students into groups.

I will give each group a handout with five random images.

I will ask the students to work together in their groups and use their group’s five random images to develop a character.

Phase 4: Coloured card: Draw and write about your group’s made up character

I will give each group a coloured card.

I will ask the groups to work together and use their group’s five random images on their handout.

I will tell the students to draw their character and write about their character on their group’s coloured card.

I will tell the groups they have eight minutes for this task.

I will use a countdown timer to motivate the students and let the students know how much time they have left.

After the time is up, each group will present their work to the class.

We will have a class discussion about each group’s work.

Phase 5: Wrap things up. Give homework and end the class well.

Character boxes

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 Character boxes

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 Character boxes example

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