I teach advanced language arts at the middle school level, and my students are run through a battery of short story exercises over the three year period (as you can see below). Sometimes I like to give them a treat and see how well they can analyze with a story that isn't on the printed page.
Warn your students to be careful! As amusing as these exercises can be, it's not as easy as it looks!
Short Story Quizzes from My TPT site:
Wallace and Gromit - The Wrong Trousers (a video short story exercise) NEW July 2018
Wallace and Gromit - A Close Shave (a video short story exercise) NEW July 2018
Wallace and Gromit - A Matter of Loaf and Death (a video short story exercise) NEW September 2018
The Sound of Gunfire by John O’Reilly (a western) NEW July 2018
The Landlady - by Roald Dahl NEW July 2018
To Build a Fire - by Jack London
The Most Dangerous Game - by Richard Connell
The Possibility of Evil - by Shirley Jackson
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - by Ambrose Bierce
The Sound of Thunder - by Ray Bradbury
Through the Tunnel - by Doris Lessing
Lamb to the Slaughter - by Roald Dahl
Rikki Tiki Tavi - by Rudyard Kipling
The Monkey’s Paw - by WW Jacobs
The Ransom of Red Chief - by O. Henry
The Whole Town’s Sleeping - by Ray Bradbury
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - by James Thurber
To Serve Man - by Damon Knight
Fairy Tale - by Todd Strasser
School Spirit - by Jerry Spinelli
On the Bridge - by Todd Strasser
Hijack - by Robert L. Fish
Ethan Unbound - by Gary Blackwood
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - by Richard Matheson
Leiningen Versus the Ants - by Carl Stephenson
Beware of the Dog - by Roald Dahl FREE
It’s a Wonderful Life (The Greatest Gift) - by Philip Van Doren Stern FREE
User Friendly - by T Ernesto Bethancourt FREE
The Fable of the Three Princes - by Isaac Asimov FREE
Novel Tests from my TPT site:
Inherit the Wind - by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
I Am Princess X - byCherie Priest
Plague Year - by Stephanie Tolen
Dune - by Frank Herbert
The Prisoner of Zenda - by Anthony Hope
Enemy Mine - by Barry Longyear
SLOB - by Ellen Potter
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - by Roald Dahl
Dairy Queen - by Catherine Murdock
My Life in Dog Years - by Gary Paulsen
Whenever I set up short story exams for my students, I want to incorporate a number of demands on their reading comprehension efforts. For that reason, you will see a variety of challenges for your students to meet in the series that I’ve developed, and I hope that they serve you as well as they have served me. What follows is the make-up for each exercise.
Word Form or Adobe Format:
Unfortunately, these tests have to be sent to you in Adobe format, which means that you can’t change or tailor the tests to your specific needs. HOWEVER, once you’ve purchased the item, please don’t hesitate to email me and I will send you a reply with the tests and keys in Word format. This will provide you with some flexibility.
A and B Versions:
I tend to be something of a security freak, so all of my tests and quizzes are written in two different versions. It doesn’t stop cheating, but at least it makes it more challenging.
Free Answer Sheet:
Each quiz that you purchase (and the free ones as well) will provide you with a free answer sheet so that you don’t have to keep making copies of these short story exams. This means that you only have to make one set and the students can provide their answers on a single sheet of paper from there on. NOTE that because some short story quizzes come in different formats - that is to say that some have more true or false, multiple choice or vocabulary questions - that the answer sheet will often allow for extra spaces to supply answers. Once your students understand this, it won’t unnerve them to leave spaces blank.
40 Point or 100 Point Tests:
At the top of each test is a scoring area that indicates whether the test included the written portion or not. You can alter your demands each time you use the test. NOTE that not all of the quizzes will include a written response area.
This quiz will also include our Literary Terms 1 and Literary Terms 2 sheets for use with your class. Many of the multiple choice questions require students to know their figurative language well and these sheets will give everyone a common understanding.
I want my students to focus on the details of the material and I use Story Order as a means to check how throughly they are processing the plot. This portion of the exam asks that they place numbers from 1 to 7 next to plot statements to indicate the chronological order of the story. They must complete this for both halves of the story. Note that if their answer is one number away from the correct answer, their response is still acceptable.
A single point requires students to circle (or write down if they are using the one page answer sheet) the number that indicates the climactic moment within the plot. In other words - and it’s almost always the 5th, 6th or 7th occurrence in the second half of the story - the students have to place that story number on the single answer sheet OR circle it if you are using complete quizzes with your students.
We establish that moment as occurring when the main conflict in the story is resolved and no longer exists. You will note that in some of my exams I allow for two climactic moments as both points in the story arc can be seen as the climax of events.
True or False:
I like to include true or false statements, because it forces my students to truly examine what is being suggested within the statement. If they have thoroughly read their material then this area is not all that difficult, but if they have skimmed through it than this testing device can be their worst nightmare. We work under the understanding that unless a statement is completely true, it must, therefore, be false.
Multiple Choice (Inference):
This is a standard section for any test. I usually make sure that I sprinkle in a liberal amount of literary terminology along with questions that require students to draw conclusions based on the text. In addition, I will also include lower level questions as an additional means of confirming that my students have read the story.
As everyone across the country would be working with different short story anthologies or text books, I cannot place the page, paragraph or line number for each question. I have left you blanks so that you can supply the information that pertains to your own source.
Response to Literature:
My approach to writing is to incorporate as many small composition assignments as possible rather than a significantly small number of long, complex assignments. It’s not that my students don’t write their share of papers, but I keep that load to a minimum so that I can concentrate on the essentials of spelling, capitalization and sentence structure. To reinforce these skills you need as many small assignments as you can squeeze into your curriculum. It’s the constant repetition of writing tasks that forces students to pay attention to the details and improve their abilities.
That said, you will note that this portion of the test is completely optional - as is the task that you assign them to write about. For my part, I usually assign them a persuasive task that has them argue the merits - or deficiencies - of the short story. In this way they get the chance to put in their two cents on the assignment , yet they still have to use the story as evidence to back up their assertions.
Bonuses are optional. I like having them in place for my struggling students who could use a leg up. If you contact me for the Word form you can even remove them if you like.
If there is a short story test that you would like me to develop, drop me an email and I will work on it as soon as possible. Right now I’m not completely certain which short stories are most popular with teachers across the country, so I’m staying with the classics.