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NYU Steinhardt EMAT Teaching Residency
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Elements of the Short Story


Language Arts  


12, 11  

Title – Elements of the Short Story
By – Melanie Marchand
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 11-12
The Elements of the Short Story – Lesson 1

Short Story Unit Contents:

Purpose ~ This lesson is the first of several which will introduce and explore the short story. The purpose of this lesson will be to introduce the short story to students, by exploring what a short story is, and what the elements are that makes it a distinct genre.

Objectives ~ Upon completion of this lesson students will have:
1. Discussed and demonstrated what the definition of the short story is, and its elements;
2. Established working definitions of the elements in a short story;
3. Discussed a well known fairy tale, and applied each of the elements to it;
4. Written a quiz about the elements of the short story.


Activities and Procedures ~
1. Ask the class to begin by giving some examples of what they believe to be short stories, ask them to back up their choice with what makes it a short story.
2. As a class brainstorm characteristics that define a short story, i.e. length (words), number of characters, time span, well-defined plot, etc. From this ask the class to then come up with a working definition of the short story, the short story is a piece of prose fiction, usually under 10,000, which can be read in one sitting (handout given by Michelle Forrest).
3. Next ask the students to further examine the uniqueness of the short story by listening to the children’s story “The Three Little Pigs”. Read aloud to class, and then ask them to point out any techniques or approaches that they see in this story, i.e. the title, introduction, characters, setting, plot, rising action, crisis, climax, conclusion.
Introduce any of the above that are mentioned and include the rest as the elements of the short story.
4. As a class read and discuss the elements of the short story, pay close attention to an applying the elements to “The Three Little Pigs” story.
5. Announce that there will be a quiz on the elements in five minutes, ask them to quickly look over their handout. The quiz will be very straight forward, it will be a matching quiz, students will be given to columns, one containing definitions, the other answers, they will simple have to match them, and then give an example of where this are found in “The Three Little Pigs”.

Homework: For next class, which is to read “A Ghost Story” by Mark Twain.

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