Having carried out a number of different writing exercises last week, I’ve taken one flash fiction story (Sticks by George Saunders) and created a simple lesson plan that focuses on the use of adjectives, details and ‘showing’ instead of ‘telling’, while incorporating technology. It needs a bit of work, but here are the bare bones:
Teacher (T) plays a short clip of American students during a Show and Tell presentation. T asks students (ss) if they have heard about the American ‘Show and Tell’ concept. What do they know? What is it about? What’s the difference between showing someone and telling someone something? Is showing better than telling? Group discussion.
T tells the ss they will be reading a flash fiction story. T provides students with a picture saying that it represents the story. The picture shows a man standing by a pole (possible with sticks in the ground). T and asks ss to make assumptions about who the man is, where he is and what he is doing. Ss brainstorm their ideas in pairs using popplet on any available mobile device. T monitors. Each pair takes it in turn to present their ideas. Group feedback and discussion.Teacher asks each pair to decide which story is most plausible and why. Group discussion.
T hands out a worksheet of pictures and definitions of blocking lexis from the text. Ss complete the matching activity individually, before peer checking. T provides the answers on a ppt. T selects some of the new words and asks ss to provide synonyms and/or antonyms. Group feedback and discussion.
Reading For Gist
T hands out the story and asks ss to read out loud to each other in pairs and then discuss what the story is about. T monitors. T asks each pair to describe the story in two sentences. Group feedback and discussion. Delayed error correction.
Reading For Detail
T asks ss to read the story again, individually, and make note of who the main characters are. Teacher asks ss to use three adjectives to describe each character and give examples from the text to support your answer.
Ss present their ideas and compare them with a partner. Teacher asks the pairs to discuss if they use the same adjectives. Do you agree or disagree with the adjectives chosen? Why? Group feedback.
T asks each pair to work with another pair and answer the following questions:
What themes appear in the text? How is detail used in the story? What title would you give to the story? Did you like the story? Why/why not?
T asks ss to draft their own story taking into consideration the use of adjectives, attention to detail and the same length as the flash fiction they have read. T hands out three pictures of random images to each st. T asks ss to use the pictures for inspiration. T monitors and edits the first draft.
T asks ss to write a second draft, including corrections, and publish it on the class blog. Ss must also read at least two other stories and post comments before the next class.