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Networking Using Short Stories in the English Classroom

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Using Short Stories in the English Classroom Regional NET Coordinating Team NET Section CDI EDB August 20122 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:47Introduction About the Learning English through Short Stories elective module The Learning English through Short Stories module is designed to introduce learners to the world of short stories, encouraging them to read, write and tell them. The activities that learners engage in should aim to develop their understanding of the major features of short stories, their language skills, cultural awareness, critical thinking skills and creativity. By the end of the module, learners are expected to write a story or develop one from a given story outline. The module comprises the following three parts: Part 1: Students will identify and understand the key features of a short story and read short stories with appreciation. Part 2: Students will read and write specific aspects of a short story such as setting, character, theme, dialogue, opening and closing, and they will start writing their own story for the module. Part 3: Students will practise oral and storytelling skills by sharing a story with the class. They will also finalise the draft for their module story and perform it. (Adapted from the English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6), CDC & HKEAA, 2007) Rationale for this publication In NETworking: Using Short Stories in the English Classroom, you will find teaching resources that are designed to support the Learning English through Short Stories elective module in the Three-year Senior Secondary English Language Curriculum. Many of the materials in this book have been used in the professional development workshops for ‘Shorts’: A Short Story Writing Competition organised by the NET Section. The workshop materials have been revised and updated for this publication to be used more generally in the elective module on Short Stories. Although this resource package is designed to be a companion to the Short Stories elective module, it is hoped that teachers will also find the materials useful as an integral part of the school-based English Language curriculum 3 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48Acknowledgements The NET Section would like to thank the following writers for granting us permission to use their original short stories and ideas in this publication: Stuart Mead, NET Chong Gene Hang College Adrian Tilley, former NET Jockey Club Ti-I College For contributing ideas on the use of peer response groups, we are grateful to: Helen Wong, English Panel Chair United Christian College (Kowloon East) We also appreciate the many teachers who have shared ideas and materials with us on the teaching of short stories through regional cluster meetings and email exchanges. Although we are not able to use every idea, we appreciate all the good work that is happening in Hong Kong schools in preparation for the Short Stories elective module. The following prize-winning short stories from ‘Shorts’: A Short Story Writing Competition have been selected for this publication and are available on the Resource CD: ‘Shorts’ 2010: ‘The Magic Door’ by Alexandria Lee Yik-ki, Christie C. Cheng, Anthea Pang Yin-seng and Nicole Hurip from Marymount Secondary School ‘Shorts’ 2011: ‘The Machine’ by Felix Shih Y. Y., Jeremy Chan Chun-ming, Trevor Sham Tsz-ho and Cheung Chi-kwan from Wah Yan College, Hong Kong The following prize-winning films from ‘Clipit’: A Student-created Film Competition have been selected for this publication and are available on the Resource CD: ‘Clipit’ 2010: Untitled film by Sprindy Wong Yi-man, Sam Kok Man-chun, Ken Ho Cheuk-him and Watery Choi Chin-wa from Po Leung Kok Tang Yuk Tien College ‘Clipit’ 2010: ‘The Precious Thing’ by Hong Kiu, Tang Pui-shan, Kwan Siu-hoi, Lam Sze-wa and Wong Shing-lung from Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School 4 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48Contents page Introduction Acknowledgements Part 1: Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 2 History of the Short Story …………………………………………....…......….... 11 Selecting Suitable Short Stories ……………………………………………...…. 17 Supporting Student Reading ………………………………………………......... Part 2: Writing Short Stories Organising the Writing Activity …………………………………………..…....... 46 Planning a Short Story …………………………………………….………......... 55 Developing Characters ………………………………………………..……....... 58 Describing the Setting ……………………………………………………..…..... 70 Writing Dialogue ………………………………………………………………..... 73 Completing the Story …………………………………………………….…....... 78 Part 3: Telling Stories 82 Sharing Stories ……………………………..…………………….…………….... 90 The Module Story ……………………………………………………...……….... 94 Using ‘Clipit’ Films ……………………………………………………..……….... Appendix: ‘The Knock at the Door’ by Stuart Mead .………..........…...... 97 This icon indicates that a document is available on the Resource CD. 5 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48Resource CD Contents Part 1: Reading and Appreciating Short Stories Handouts Worksheets Answer keys PowerPoints Part 2: Writing Short Stories Handouts Worksheets Answer keys PowerPoints Assessment Forms Part 3: Telling Stories Handouts Worksheets Answer keys PowerPoints Assessment Forms Resources ‘Clipit’ Films Short Stories Publications and Websites 6 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48Part 1 Reading and Appreciating Short Stories History of the Short Story …………………………..................... 2 Selecting Suitable Short Stories ………………….................... 11 Supporting Student Reading ………………………................... 17 7 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48History of the Short Story Folklore Stories are an important part of every culture. Short stories have their roots in folklore, or the oral tradition of storytelling. In the oral tradition, stories were told to explain beliefs about the world (e.g. myths), to remember the great deeds of past kings and heroes (e.g. legends), to teach moral principles (e.g. fables and parables) or simply for the sake of entertainment (e.g. folktales and fairy tales). The following handout on the Resource CD contains information on myths and legends. Handout 1.1: Myths and Legends A myth is a traditional story that explains the beliefs of a people about the natural and human world. The main characters in myths are usually gods or supernatural heroes. The stories are set in the distant past. The people who told these stories believed that they were true. A legend is a traditional story about the past. The main characters are usually kings or heroes. Some examples of well-known legends include the tales of Odysseus from Ancient Greece, Beowulf from the Norse lands and King Arthur from Old England. Like myths, legends were thought to be true. Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 2 History of the Short Story 8 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:48This handout contains information on fables and parables. Handout 1.2: Fables and Parables A fable is a brief story intended to teach a moral lesson. The main characters are usually animals, objects in nature (e.g. mountains, lakes, stones) or forces of nature (e.g. the sun, the wind, the rain), which are given human qualities. The most famous fables in Western tradition are Aesop’s fables from Ancient Greece. There are also many well-known fables from China, India and other Asian cultures. A parable is a brief story that illustrates a moral principle through the use of metaphor. Unlike fables, the main characters of parables are human beings. The most widely-read parables in Western tradition are the parables of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. There are also many parables from the Buddhist tradition and from ancient Chinese philosophers like Confucius, Mencius and Han Fei Zi. Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 3 History of the Short Story 9 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:49This handout contains information on folktales and fairy tales. Handout 1.3: Folktales and Fairy Tales A folktale is an anonymous story passed on through generations by word of mouth. Folktales are often timeless and placeless, with formulaic openings like: ‘Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, there lived an old man and an old woman in a small cottage in the forest…’ Folktales were told as a form of entertainment. ‘Folktale’ is a general term that can include a wide range of traditional narratives, such as myths, legends, fables and fairy tales. A fairy tale is a traditional folktale involving imaginary creatures such as fairies, wizards, elves, trolls, gnomes, goblins and fire-breathing dragons. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” G. K. Chesterton Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 4 History of the Short Story 10 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:49This handout contains information about ghost stories and other tales from the oral tradition, such as tall tales, trickster tales and urban legends. Handout 1.4: Ghost Stories and Other Tales A ghost story is a story about ghosts or other supernatural beings. In cultures all over the world, ghost stories have been told and passed down orally from generation to generation. These stories reflect the superstitious fears and beliefs that people had in various cultures. Stories about witches, ghosts, goblins, vampires, werewolves and all sorts of land and sea monsters came out of the oral tradition of storytelling. A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements that are exaggerations of the truth. The characters are usually heroes that are ‘larger than life’. Many tall tales are based on actual people. The tall tale is a part of the American folktale tradition. Some famous examples include Johnny Appleseed, Davy Crockett, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Pecos Bill. A trickster tale is a story involving a character, usually an animal, who likes to play tricks on other characters. Trickster tales are common in many cultures. Cartoons like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner are based on trickster tales. Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 5 History of the Short Story 11 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:49An urban legend, also known as an urban myth, is a story that is thought to be true, but is usually not. Urban legends may contain elements of truth, but they are usually exaggerated and sensationalised. Television programmes such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not (1949-1950, 1982-1986, 2000-2003), Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction (1997-2002), Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed (2002-2008), Mythbusters (2003-present), and Urban Legends (2007-present) have helped popularise urban legends in recent times. Urban legends are also commonly spread by e-mail. The Early Literary Tradition The first stories to be written down were stories from the oral tradition, such as Aesop’s Fables and the many other fables, folktales and fairy tales recorded by storytellers and story collectors around the world. The following handout contains information about some of the earliest stories from the oral tradition to be preserved in writing as part of the literary tradition in English. Handout 1.5: The Early Literary Tradition These stories are available in illustrated children’s books and in simplified readers (e.g. Macmillan Readers, Oxford Bookworms Library, Penguin Longman Readers). Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 6 History of the Short Story 12 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:49The Short Story Develops In the 19th Century, the short story developed as a literary form as magazines became more popular and widely read. Many 19th Century writers contributed to the development of the short story as a literary form. These writers are frequently anthologised in collections of short stories. The following handout contains information about some of these writers and the short stories they wrote. Handout 1.6: The Short Story Develops Many of these stories are available in simplified readers (e.g. Macmillan Readers, Oxford Bookworms Library, Penguin Readers). Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 7 History of the Short Story 13 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:49The Early 20th Century By the 20th Century, the short story was a well-established literary form in the West, thanks to the influence of earlier writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Anton Chekhov. The short story continued to flourish throughout the 20th Century due to the proliferation of popular magazines. Writers began to use the literary form of the short story to explore a variety of genres, including love stories, fantasy and horror stories, crime and mystery stories, and science fiction. Many short stories written in the early 20th Century reflect issues related to the Age of Industrialisation. During this time, a growing number of people left their farmlands and moved to the cities to work in factories. Some short stories feature the lives of immigrants, who worked hard and learned to adapt to a new language and culture in an unfamiliar environment. Major historical events like World War I, the Great Depression and World War II form the backdrop to many of the best short stories written in the first half of the 20th Century. The following handout contains information about some of the most frequently anthologised short story writers of the early 20th Century. Handout 1.7: The Early 20th Century Part 1 - Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 8 History of the Short Story 14 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:50The Late 20th Century Short stories written in the latter part of the 20th Century often reflect the pressures of modern life and deal with issues that affect society, the family and the individual. The application of science and technology also becomes a major theme in many short stories written in the years after World War II. The genre of science fiction is popularised by writers like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. The following handout contains information about some of the most frequently anthologised short story writers in the latter part of the 20th Century. Handout 1.8: The Late 20th Century Many 20th Century short stories written by the authors listed in Handouts 1.7 and 1.8 are available in simplified form. Part 1 - Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 9 History of the Short Story 15 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:50The Short Story Today English has truly become a global language and there are more and more writers, both male and female, from countries and cultures all over the world writing their stories in English, even when English is not their mother tongue. F. Sionil Jose from the Philippines, Farida Karodia from South Africa and the Maori writer Witi Ihimaera are just a few notable examples. Ha Jin is another example. He is a Chinese writer living in the United States who writes short stories in English about the struggles of ordinary Chinese people. Some publishers of simplified readers are now including authors like these in short story collections under the category of ‘World Stories’. “The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” Harold Goddard, The Meaning of Shakespeare Part 1 - Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 10 History of the Short Story 16 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:50Selecting Suitable Short Stories Introduction The short stories you select for your students to read in the Learning English through Short Stories elective module will depend largely on the language and interest level of your students. The Suggested Schemes of Work for the Elective Part of the Three-year Senior Secondary English Language Curriculum (Secondary 4-6) recommends that teachers go over one short story with students at the beginning of the module to highlight the features of a short story, using ‘pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading activities’; students should then ‘be encouraged to read a couple of stories’ on their own and respond to them in a reading journal. (p. 14-15) Selecting Texts for Instruction For the first short story of the module, it is important to select a story that is at the ‘instructional level’ for the majority of students in the class. An instructional level text is one in which a student is able to read at least 90% of the words accurately and understand no less than 75% of the overall content. If the text is too difficult, the teacher will spend too much time explaining vocabulary and scaffolding student learning. Students will spend too much time focusing on word recognition and will struggle to understand the meaning. To determine whether a particular short story is at the instructional level for the majority of students in a class, the teacher can conduct a quick reading test with a random sample of 10 students. For the test, the teacher selects one paragraph of roughly 100 words from the short story. Each of the 10 students then meets with the teacher individually and follows the procedures below. Suggested procedures 1. The student holds out two hands on the desk and reads the paragraph aloud. 2. The student puts down one finger for every unfamiliar word. 3. The teacher analyses the results: a. If the student puts down all 10 fingers before finishing the paragraph, the story is too difficult for the student; b. If the student still has at least one finger up at the end of the paragraph, the story is likely to be appropriate for instructional reading; c. If the student still has at least six fingers up at the end of the paragraph, the story is likely to be appropriate for independent reading. Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 11 Selecting Suitable Stories 17 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:50This table describes the three reading levels in terms of word-level accuracy. Reading Word Description level accuracy Independent 95% The student can read and understand at least 96% of the words. The text is relatively easy for the student. The text is a good choice for the student to develop fluency. Instructional 90%-95% The students can read and understand 90-95% of the words. The text is challenging but manageable for the student. The text is appropriate for instructional reading. Frustration 90% The student cannot read or understand more than 10% of the words. The text is difficult for the student. If the teacher expects students to read a short story and respond to it in a reading journal, the short story should be at students’ independent reading level. Short Story Genres To give students a more varied experience with short stories, teachers are encouraged to introduce stories from various genres. The following handout on the Resource CD contains information about the major short story genres. Handout 1.9: Short Story Genres Part 1 - Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 12 Selecting Suitable Stories 18 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:50Using Simplified Readers Many short stories are available in simplified readers for English language learners. The table below lists some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider when using simplified readers. Advantages Disadvantages The language is graded for English language The beauty of the language is often lost in the learners at various levels. simplified text. Students can read, understand and appreciate The stories are often reduced to plot summaries some of the best-loved stories written in so students may not be very interested in the English. story. Pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading The pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading activities are often provided. activities are not always well-designed. A CD is often provided so that students can Opportunities for students to practise reading listen to the stories as they read them. strategies may be reduced with a simplified text. If you choose to use a short story in a simplified reader with your students, also have them read excerpts from the original version of the story. By doing so, students will be able to analyse and appreciate the use of language in the original text. Several major publishers produce sets of simplified readers. More information is available on their websites. “No matter how busy you think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” Confucius Part 1 - Reading and Appreciating Short Stories 13 Selecting Suitable Stories 19 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:51Using Children’s Literature Children’s literature may also work well in the short story module. Handout 1.10 contains information about some of the most popular authors of children’s literature in English. Handout 1.10: Children’s Literature The table below lists some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider when using children’s literature. Advantages Disadvantages The stories are beautifully illustrated. The books are expensive. The language is rich and authentic. The language can be difficult for second language learners to understand and appreciate. The plot structure is usually simple. Secondary students may perceive stories from The themes are often thought-provoking. children’s literature to be too childish. Schools can buy children’s literature for the school library (see Handout 1.10 for suggestions) and students can be encouraged to read them on their own. Teachers can also read the stories with the whole class. A good story from children’s literature can serve to illustrate concepts like character, setting, plot and theme in a fun and interesting way. Part 1 - Reading and A ppreciating Short Stories 14 Selecting Suitable Stories 20 221204248_EDB_Text.pdf July 31, 2012 12:34:51