"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty Close Reading & Narrative Writing Task Unit

Grade Levels
6th, 7th, 8th
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102.72 MB   |   72 Pages of Instructional Materials and 101 Slide Presentation (including 27 editable slides) pages


Are you looking for a short story that will pique your students’ interest and engage them in critical thinking skills? How about a short story that takes place during the Irish Civil War and features a pair of snipers? Look no further than “The Sniper” by Liam O'Flaherty. This engaging and rigorous close reading unit is full of high quality and critical thinking activities to accompany this thought-provoking short story. Students will LOVE that they are engaged in an on-going discussion of the impact of war on humans and given the opportunity to voice their opinions on what happens after the tragic conclusion. Teachers will LOVE that this unit contains scaffolded and differentiated close reading activities that are designed to help students deeply analyze the characters and events in this short story as well as the big question of “How does warfare impact humans?”. This will help students not only tackle complex texts and skills, but also create a narrative writing response that is based upon what they have learned from reading the short story. In addition, everything that teachers needs to implement this unit, from teacher models, teacher tips, and a detailed presentation, is included in this download.

☞ ☞ This resource covers the following Common Core Standards:
•RL.6-8.1 •RL.6-8.2 •RL.6-8.3 •RL.6-8.5 •W.6-8.3 •W.6-8.4 •W.6-8.5

The following files are included in this download:

“The Sniper” Anticipation and Reaction Guide (2 Pages): Students will read a series of statements about a soldier's duty. They must decide if they agree or disagree with each statement. In addition, they will need to explain their reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with each statement. In the reaction guide, they will be required to use specific text evidence from the story to support why they agree or disagree with each statement.

“The Sniper” Probable Passage (1 Page): Students are given several words from the short story and must categorize them into one of five categories: Setting, Character, Conflict, Outcome, or Unknown Word. Once students have categorized their words, they will develop questions that they have based on the words or the story. The final step in this pre-reading activity requires students to use their categorization to create a prediction on what they think will happen in this short story.
•••Teacher Model has been provided.•••

“The Sniper” Differentiated Vocabulary and Context Clues Activity (4 Pages): Students will use context clues to identify unfamiliar words from the short story. The activity uses the actual text from the story where the word is used. After students select the correct multiple choice answer, they are required to write a one sentence justification using text evidence.

“The Sniper” Close Reading Activity (19 Pages): During this scaffolded close reading activity, students will first read the story to get the gist of what is happening and will use this information to write an objective summary of the short story. In the second read, students will dig deeper into the story using some guiding questions and will culminate with students explaining and inferring the sniper's reaction to who he killed. There are two options for the Second Read. A 2nd option that includes the use of Two Column Notes Organizer and chunked text has been included for struggling readers. Next, they will analyze warfare and the impact that it has on the characters. This activity culminates with students creating an extended writing response where they use the information they have gathered to analyze the theme of the short story.
•••Teacher Model has been provided.”•••

“The Sniper” Assessment (2 Pages): This assessment contains six multiple choice questions that cover context clues, theme, story elements, and the role of tone/mood in the story. Students must write a one sentence justification to support their answer choice. In addition, there are two constructed response questions. This allows students the choice of which constructed response they want to answer.
•••Answer Key is provided.•••

• “The Sniper” Narrative Writing Task (13 Pages): The Narrative Writing Task contains everything needed for both teacher and students to complete this task. Students will write a narrative response that explores what happens after the conclusion of the short story.
Task #1-Prewriting: There are three different pre-writing options included for this task to best fit the needs of your students/classroom.
Task #2-Rough Draft: Students will use the teacher models as well as the criteria that they have created to guide them as they write the rough draft of their narratives.
Task #3-Self and Peer Assessment: Students will use the Self Assessment Guide to help them self-assess their rough draft and identify anything that their narratives may be missing. Once students have finished the self-assessment, they will switch narratives with their writing partner and complete the Peer Assessment guide to give academic feedback to their partner.
Task #4-Final Draft: Once students have finished editing/revising their rough draft using the feedback from the self and peer assessment, they will begin to write the final draft of their narratives.

“The Sniper” Narrative Writing Reference Sheet (2 Pages): The reference sheet includes criteria, a writer’s checklist, transition words/phrases, and students tips to beef up their writing.

“The Sniper” Narrative Writing Task Rubric (1 page): This 7 point rubric can be used to evaluate the narratives. It also includes a section for teachers to leave written academic feedback for students.

“The Sniper” Choice Board Activity (2 Pages): This activity can be used as an alternate assessment activity or as an early finisher for students who finish any part of this unit before other students. It includes four tasks for students and clear specific criteria for each task. In addition, teacher models for each task have been included to help students know what their work should look like to be high quality.
•••Teacher Models for each task have been provided.•••

Teacher Models and Answer Keys (16 Pages): Teacher models and answer keys have been provided for each step/task in this unit.

“The Sniper” Lesson Presentation (101 Slides): This presentation comes in PDF and Powerpoint Versions. It is designed to help guide both teacher and students through this week long unit. There are 27 blank/editable slides that you can us to customize the presentation to better suit the needs of your students/classroom.

“The Sniper” Lesson Outline Notes (67 Pages): This lesson outline is a PDF version of the activities from this unit. It includes suggested modifications/explanations, teacher tips, and more to help guide teachers through setting up and effectively organizing this unit.

Please be sure to download the preview file to see exactly what you are getting when you purchase this product!


Created by Stephanie M. Icenogle, The Creative Classroom © 2016
All rights reserved by author.
Permission to copy for single classroom use only.
Electronic distribution limited to single classroom use only.


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Total Pages
72 Pages of Instructional Materials and 101 Slide Presentation (including 27 editable slides)
Answer Key
Included with Rubric
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks

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"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty Close Reading & Narrative
"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty Close Reading & Narrative
"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty Close Reading & Narrative
"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty Close Reading & Narrative
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