This lesson plan helps students explore the different elements of a short story. By the end of the lesson students will be able to come up with a definition of the short story and know the elements that  constitute it. On line materials may be used to carry out the lesson plan. More than one session can be needed to deliver it.

 The activity

  • Ask students what a short story is.Write any suggestions on the board.
  • Present in the form of a work sheet the characteristics that define a short story:
    1.  Length: a classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting.
    2. Prose as opposed to poetry
    3. Fiction, narrative.
    4. Concise: information offered in the story is relevant to the tale being told.  This is unlike a novel, where the story can diverge from the main plot
  • Ask students to come up with a definition that might look as follows:
    “A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas  and novels.” (Wikipedia)
  • Next ask the students to further examine the uniqueness of the short story by reading a short story like The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
  • Students make a first report on:
    1. the title,
    2. characters,
    3. setting,
    4. plot,
    5.  climax,
    6.  and conclusion.
  • Let the students answer questions about the short story. Here is an online copy of questions about The Necklace:
    “The Necklace” – Questions
  • Assign more short stories to be read and studied as extensive reading.