“Summer Thunder” is a short story by Stephen King first published in his 2015 story collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
The world is in a nuclear war, and most of the population has been wiped out. The main character in the story is Peter Robinson, a man in his late forties, whose wife and daughter was in Boston when everyone was suddenly killed. Robinson also finds a stray dog, whom he names Gandalf, and his bonding with the dog helps him cope with the death of his family.
Bit by bit, it's revealed that Robinson has but one neighbor left, an old man called Timlin, who lives in a luxurious cottage called Veronica and who Robinson befriends over the course of time. The story narrates Robinson's emotions and musings, and the advice given to him by Timlin. Timlin has much more knowledge about the radiation crisis than Robinson and tells him how those who did survive will slowly die of radiation poisoning. He is proven right when Gandalf's health rapidly deteriorates.
Robinson later finds Timlin with a gun on his table. Timlin says he is dying because of all the radiation, but he doesn't want his death to come slowly and painfully, and hence has decided to shoot himself with the gun. He also gives Robinson a hypodermic needle and advises him to put Gandalf out of his misery and not let him suffer. Timlin later kills himself and Robinson, taking the advice of Timlin, injects Gandalf with the needle.
Robinson himself starts showing symptoms of dying the very next day, and he too decides to die, but in a much more spectacular fashion. He takes his favorite motorcycle, a Fat Bob (whose sound is described as being like summer thunder) and speeds toward a road sign. (Wikipedia)
This is teaching materials for a short story that would be considered untraditional. The assessments included vocabulary acquisition, critical thinking questions, and recall or comprehension questions on one sheet. These questions come in the form of a mixture of matching, short answer, and multiple-choice. By completing this sheet the student will demonstrate an understanding of the material on multiple levels.
The other assessment is a creative art sheet. The creative art sheet asks the student to use the details from the story and their own knowledge, experiences, and imagination to synthesize a totally new work, this is a picture that is a visual representation that recreates of a scene, character or maybe the student's use or view of an aspect of the story. Along with this picture the student will explain their work with a short explanation.
The materials provided
1 Short story worksheet
1 Creative Art Sheet
1 Answer Key
NOTE: I have decided to include the Word Documents that the PDFs are created from so that if you would like to customize the unit for your classroom you can. However, I have used formatting and custom fonts that are not standard with many versions of Microsoft office. This may mean that opening them with a different version of office or without the same fonts installed will throw the formatting off. If so it may take some work to adapt them in your class. I am including them as an extra and would ask that I am not rated on the usability of the Word Docs. Since they are not the finished product, but an extra.