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Title – Culminating Activity
By – Melanie Marchand
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 11-12
by Jay Phillips
Short Story Unit Contents:
- Short Story Unit Overview
- Lesson 1 – Elements of the Short Story
- Lesson 2 – A Ghost Story
- Lesson 3 – Modern Fear and Suspense
- Lesson 4 – Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery
- Lesson 5 – The Most Dangerous Game
- Lesson 6 – Conclusion
- Culminating Activity
Overview: This is the culminating activity of the unit. It is linked to lesson three, ‘Modern Fear and Suspense – Stephen King’s “The Reaper’s Image”‘. The activity requires the students to come up with a short story detailing the events that led to one of the follow incidents with the DeIver mirror: 1) during the school tour, when Sandra Bates brother saw the reaper’s image; 2) during the party that the English Duchess was attending in 1709; or, 3) during the evening in 1746, when the Pennsylvania rug merchant first acquired the mirror.
Motivation: This activity will test the students’ knowledge of the short story (i.e. format, development, etc.), as well as their ability to use that knowledge to create a original piece of work. At the same time, the exercise will require creativity, writing skills, and grammar skills.
Activity: The students’ will each come up with an original piece of work based on the short story “The Reaper’s Image”. The story should be approximately 3-4 (although the students may go over, within reason) typed pages in length, and time may be given in class to work on their story. The students will be informed that the following grading scheme will be used:
30% Format (rising action, climax, etc.)
20% Creativity – characterisation
20% -convention usage
20% Flow & Grammar
Grading Scheme Explanations:
Format – The student is asked to use proper short story format as discussed in earlier classes.
Creativity – The student is asked to demonstrate a certain level of creativity. This will be the most subjective of the marked areas. The student will be informed that characterisation and use of conventions will be the focus areas of creativity.
Flow and Grammar – Organisation of the story (flow) and proper sentence and paragraph structure.
Breakdown – Following the story, the student is expected to give a critique of his/her story. They should include such things as: what is the critical incident, what is the nature of the conflict, what is the climax of the story, etc., etc.
Emphasise to the students that this is a creative exercise, but that they must adhere to the format studied. Any obvious failings to do so will affect the students’ mark on this project. The students’ should choose one of the following plot lines for their story to follow:
1. A group of high school students are taking a tour of the Samuel Claggert Memorial Private Museum, when one of the students notices something strange in the DeIver mirror. Suddenly, the student finds himself wishing he was back in his class.
2. An English Duchess has just been given the DeIver mirror as a present from her fiancé. Tonight, she and her future husband are throwing a party. However, their celebration will take a turn for the worse.
3. A Pennsylvania rug merchant has just had a successful business trip to New York. So successful, in fact, that he decided to celebrate his earning buy acquiring a new piece of art. Unfortunately for him, he chose the DeIver mirror. As he settles in for an evening of quit relaxation he notices something strange about his new piece.
4. Alternately, the students may approach you individually with their own ideas. Emphasise that original plot concepts must be past by you first.
Reflection: Have the students discuss whether or not they believed that this project helped them to further understand the concept of the short story. Did it clarify how some of the conventions of fear and suspense function? Overall, did they enjoy the activity? If not, what would they change?
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