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Teaching Setting in Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains"

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

Ray Bradbury is my favorite author. You should like him too. This lesson plan on teaching setting allows me to enjoy my favorite author while teaching students to analyze setting.

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    It was my first year teaching and Mr. Brogologadu sat in the back of the room writing my teacher evaluation. Things were going well until Sam Stanlankadanka in the third row asked a question. "Mr. Lackstonadoo," he said, "These are great Ray Bradbury lessons and the stories are pretty good, but why are you teaching setting? When will I ever use this?"

    I could have said that a working knowledge of literary terms is necessary in a literature class much like a knowledge of tools would be necessary in an auto mechanics class. I could have explained how analyzing literature develops critical thinking skills, communication skills, and writing skills--important skills in the real world.

    Instead, I started shaking and crying, collpased, and peed my pants. Mr.Brogologadu fired me on the spot and this lesson on teaching setting has remained dormant ever since.

    Until now.

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    Lesson Plan on Setting

    In Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains, setting is the most crucial element. Help students understand its importance with these procedures:

    1. Discuss the elements of science fiction. Be sure to mention that in science fiction, setting has no boundaries.
    2. Create a chart on the board and have students copy it. The chart should include the following:
      • three columns
        1. Label column 1 Time of Day.
        2. Label column 2 What Seems Ordinary?
        3. Label column 3 What Seems Unusual?
      • at least 5 rows
    3. As you read the story, find five examples where Bradbury explicitly gives the time.
    4. Write the time in the left hand column.
    5. Write what seems ordinary in the middle column. Use as many specific details as possible.
    6. Write what seems unusual in the right column. Use as many specific details as possible.
    7. After the chart is completed, assign an essay or a paragraph analyzing setting. Use the following prompts, if necessary:
      • How would the story be different if the setting were ___________________
        (Choose a random setting, such as the Dominican Republic next summer, or a golf course in Canada, or anything else that strikes your fancy.).
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    You can find additional lesson plans on Ray Bradbury by clicking here. I've also provided a first semester 9th grade standards-based curriculum map.