Three activities are included to help guide a unit on Kurt Vonnegut's short story, "Harrison Bergeron."
The first activity is an anticipation guide that can be used to kick off the unit prior to reading the story. Students are asked to read each statement, check whether they agree or disagree, and then write a sentence that defends their answer. Each question is designed to help students begin thinking about some of the central themes prior to reading. Follow this activity with a whole class discussion and then revisit these same questions after you’ve finished the story to see if their views have changed.
The second activity is a characterization chart. Students will practice pinpointing how this literary element is used in the story and what it reveals about the main character. Students are asked to write down quotes from the story and analyze what that quote reveals about Harrison Bergeron.
The third activity consists of three reader response questions to further the your students critical analysis of the story. Students are asked to consider their own reactions to the ending, as well as draw conclusions about Vonnegut’s theme.
My students had a great time with this unit while practicing two key literary elements and engaging in a sophisticated discussion. These handouts can even be a great mini unit to provide to a substitute if you are out for a few days.