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Short Story Lesson Plans: Teaching Short Stories with Poetry

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

Teaching short stories with poetry engages students and saves you from reading the same shallow essay 223 times.

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    I felt good about my short story lesson plans. They involved answering questions, small discussion groups, plot diagrams, and characterization charts. I showed them to my principal. He took out a match and burned them. I made new short story lesson plans. These involved teaching short stories with poetry. My principal didn't burn them. He even liked my short story lesson plans that involved teaching short stories with poetry.

    I hope you like them too.

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    Look What I Found

    A found poem consists of direct quotes from a literary work to form a poem. Found poems are ideal for creating a desired effect.


    The commander's voice was like thin ice breaking.

    Dr. Mitty, "I've read your book on streptothricosis."

    The District attorney suddenly thrust a heavy automatic at the quiet figure on the witness stand.

    "I could have killed Gregory Fitzhurst at 300 feet with my left hand."

    He turned and waved to the sergeant.

    His wife would be through at the hairdressers in 15-minutes.

    He faced the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful,

    Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.


    1. Brainstorm a list of passages from the story that create a desired effect.
    2. Select the ones that work and arrange them accordingly.
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    A Diamante When it's Rough

    A diamante is a seven line poem, shaped like a diamond. Line 1 contains a noun that contrasts a one word noun in line 7; line 2 contains two adjectives that describe line 1; line 6 contains 2 adjectives that describe line 7; line 3 contains three action verbs that relate to line 1; line 5 contains three action verbs that relate to line 7; line 4 contains four nouns, the first two relate to line 1 and the second two relate to line 7.

    Example: "Gift of the Magi"


    caring, shocked

    selling, giving, admiring

    watch, combs--hair, chain

    saving, giving, sacrificingg

    loving, stunned



    1. Choose a topic.
    2. Decide on its opposite.
    3. Create two adjectives for each.
    4. Create three action words for each.
    5. Make two nouns for each.
    6. Put them together using the above formula.
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    For a complete semester 1 curriculum guide for Freshmen English, follow the link.