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Teaching Short Story Elements

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/14/2012

Teaching short story elements works best when using...short stories. These classic short stories with lesson ideas will help you focus on specific elements of a short story.

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    Teaching Short Story Elements

    Teaching short stories is an integral part of the high school English curriculum. Teach the elements of a short story with the following:

    1. "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell - Ship Trap Island claims another victim, world famous hunter William Rainsford. Will the island's lone inhabitant, General Zaroff get his prey or will Rainsford turn the tables.
      • "The Most Dangerous Game" provides the perfect example of man vs. man conflict. Create a three-column chart with Rainsford on top, Zaroff in the middle, and student on the bottom. Include four categories at the top--views on hunting, views on animals, views on humans, and other important characteristics.
    2. "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant - Mme. Loisel will do anything to be a part of the upper class. She borrows a necklace from her friend, loses it, and spends the rest of her life paying for it.
      • The theme of "The Necklace" is relevant today. After reading the story, instruct students to write the theme of the story at the top of their paper. List 5-10 specific facts about the story that supports the theme.
    3. "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst - Break out the tissues as Doodle's brother explains what happened many summers ago.
      • "The Scarlet Ibis" provides an excellent example of first person point of view. Discuss why this story would lose its power if it were written in third person. Instruct students to write a passage from the story in third person to show them why author's choose to write how they write.

    For more excellent examples for teaching short story elements, check out these.

  • slide 2 of 2

    Teaching Short Story Elements

    Teaching short stories is an integral part of the high school English curriculum. Teach the elements of a short story with the following:

    1. The "Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe - A crazy narrator murders an old man, gets away with it, goes crazy, and confesses
    2. "The Interlopers" by Saki - Ulrich and Znaeym resolve their feud, but will anyone hear of it?
    3. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber - Walter Mitty is a brow-beaten middle aged man who dreams of so much more. Join Walter on his life-and-death adventures in James Thurber's most popular short story.
      • Walter Mitty is one of the most popular short story characters in American Literature--even inspiring the formation of Walter Mitty societies shortly after its release. Teach characterization by instructing students to find specific facts from the narrative that characterize Mitty.
      • This characterization lesson plan is my favorite.

    In addition to these wonderful short stories teach the elements of a short story with these classics.