Let’s set the scene- Your students show up. Everyone has first day jitters. You’ve printed and dispensed the syllabus. Your students go over the class rules. You are looking shiny and new. The kids have new hair cuts. Your newly decorated classroom is the cleanest it will be all year.
Why should you re-think the back-to-school novel? September should be a time to hook your students on your curriculum. A fast paced short story unit will give your students timely satisfaction and opportunities for success.
You can also take this time to assess your students’ needs and strengths. Guided novel reading is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it opens the year for some usual suspects feeling:
- NOT INTERESTED
You can stretch it out for the entire months of August and September. By adding student centered activities with each story your students can explore literary devices (great for covering irony, sarcasm, satire, and characterization), the plot diagram, author’s purpose, and thematic response.
A generous selection within your unit – Need to have variety! Native American creation myths, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, background information on legends and myths, could be very cross-curricular.
Where can you find short stories?
There is such an amazing selection of short stories available in the public domain. I find my short stories online in full texts. I also use a text book. At home, your students can access the stories online through website links you can provide.
One of my favorite short stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow can be found online, for free! I recommend using audio and your students will love concluding the unit with viewing the film Sleepy Hollow (1999).
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Reading, Writing, Craftivity, and Flip Book provides you with organized pages that cover it all. Secondary students “aren’t too big,” to enjoy some creative expression. The cover of this flip is also a craftivity!
Here are some more short story unit ideas!