Welcome to Part Two of the Short Story Unit. This is where we transfer and apply skills we learned about in Part One of the unit.
So far this year, we have reviewed narrative techniques and literary devices. We closely read and analyzed multiple short stories, songs and poems looking for ways writers develop and convey themes through their storytelling. We communicated our findings through writing and revising essays.
Now, students will apply what they learned about using narrative techniques to develop themes by writing their own original short story.
Poem A Day:
One thing in my class that I love to emphasize is that humans tell stories in all sorts of ways, and we always have. Creating narratives is a way our brains make sense of the chaotic world of sensation around us. We don’t just write novels. We sing. We dance. We paint. We sculpt. We build. We create entire civilizations rich with complexity.
Today’s poem a day is special. It tells the story of a life. Of all lives, really. Through lyrics and dance. This is a cool one in particular as this dance features two former students, and probably a few future ones too!
As per the usual, I will ask students to identify the theme, and how they knew (evidence from the text). I think the theme is to live in a way so you aren’t lonely.
Objective: Students will develop a message they are passionate about that they want to share with the world in order to create an authentic goal for their short story.So often, students do not see the purpose in writing, unless it is “because the teacher told them to.” In these situations, students don’t really want to share what they write, because they didn’t write it for any audience. Today. we are going to talk about the different purposes of communicating, and we are going to explore a lot of different strategies for coming up with story ideas.In the first part of our unit, we focussed a lot on finding “Themes”. These are universal messages or experiences that we can all relate to and empathize with. We asked ourselves, “what does this author believe about humanity? or life? or what does he want me to learn or think about?”Today, we become the writers. So we will think about what WE believe about humanity, or life. What we want others to learn about or think about.Students are going to brainstorm in their notebooks for a few minutes when I ask them these questions.
Once students have identified a few ideas for issues or ideas they want to explore with their stories, we will begin to think about what kind of story we could tell. In order to help students do this, I am going to walk them through a few different strategies for generating ideas.First, I like to talk about how writer’s write what they know. So the first strategy asks students to think about people and moments in their life that can lead to meaningful and entertaining stories. We make a three column list: people, moments and issues. I model for students by filling in the list myself. I write a name down for people- like my best friend in 8th grade, Amanda. Then I tell stories about her- moments we shared. Then I try to tie those moments to bigger issues- or themes that other readers can relate to or learn from.Students engage in the strategy in their notebooks.Next, I will model a strategy called “mapping”. This is a good one for students who are more visual thinkers. You draw a map of places you have been that evoke vivid memories which can build great stories.Students engage in this strategy and have fun with it.
I will remind students that we have two goals to accomplish with the narratives we are about to write:
1.) To convey a meaningful and relevant theme
2.) To use multiple narrative techniques to convey that theme.
This week, we will focus on themes. Next week, we will work with narrative techniques.
Homework tonight (10/18 B day, 10/19 A day): Choose 3-5 themes you may want to convey in your story. Write them in your notebook and bring to our next class.