Short Story Unit: 3+ Weeks of Literary Terms & Classic Stories!

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Need an engaging, student-driven way to teach short stories and/or literary terms? Use this unit as a high-accountability way to scaffold students into tougher literature!

In this unit, small groups of students are assigned to one short story (so you can differentiate to students by difficulty level); then, each small group takes a turn PRESENTING the short story to the rest of the class before everyone takes a reading comprehension quiz on that short story. (The process is repeated for all 8 stories, gradually building up students’ ability to understand difficult fiction.)

In addition to showing comprehension through quizzes and presentations, students will also be gradually taking notes on the stories by using a Literary Terms glossary, collecting examples of the devices as they appear in the short stories; these 28 terms are assessed on the unit test.

The stories include a combination of American, British, and World authors with varying lengths, genres, and difficulty levels, which includes:
Dystopian Sci-Fi: “The Lottery” (Jackson) and “All Summer in a Day” (Bradbury)
Horror: “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Poe) and “The Monkey’s Paw” (Jacobs)
Ethics: “The Lady or the Tiger” (Stockton) and “The Bet” (Chekov)
Plot Twists: “The Story of an Hour” (Chopin) and “The Most Dangerous Game” (O’Connell)

Originally designed for a mixed-ability 8th grade classroom as high school prep, this unit will work best for grades 7-10, but the EDITABLE docs can be adjusted to best suit your classroom.

You can complete this in a compressed unit (approx. 2-3 weeks) or spread it out over a longer span of time (such as one short story per week over the span of a quarter, which is what we did).

This 80-page/slide download includes:
• Unit Plan and Teacher’s Guide, including suggested calendars and extensive tips for teaching
• Pre/Post Test on Literary Terms
• PowerPoints: One introducing the unit, one as a sample PPT that students should strive to imitate, and one template for students to make their own!
• Student Packet: includes directions, unit/presentation rubric, literary terms dictionary (with answer key), and access to a Quizlet set of online flash cards of the terms
• Quizzes: One quiz per short story with a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions, plus answer keys
• Unit Test: assesses literary devices as well as concepts like theme, symbolism, and quote analysis using multiple question types
• Essay: general prompts AND options for each short story WITH rubric!

NOTES about the unit:
• Multiple Common Core standards for speaking and reading literature are used in this unit.
• Since some of the stories are not yet in the public domain, copies of the texts are not included; however, all can be found easily in a Google search if needed.
• My students had already completed my Literary Analysis "Case File" Project and my Chapter Study Guides assignment for previous whole class reads; check those out for more options to collaboratively learn about literature!

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My other literature materials:
Banned Books: Individualized Reading & Writing Project
Movie vs. Text Activity Bundle

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1 Month

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Short Story Unit: 3+ Weeks of Literary Terms & Classic Stories!
Short Story Unit: 3+ Weeks of Literary Terms & Classic Stories!
Short Story Unit: 3+ Weeks of Literary Terms & Classic Stories!
Short Story Unit: 3+ Weeks of Literary Terms & Classic Stories!