Classic Short Stories

Christine Bernard

Classic Short Stories
Course Outline


This is an intensive writing course which is centered around addressing the question, "What does this say about Humanity/Society?" This, being the issues that arise during our explorations of the texts. Some of the issues that are tackled in the readings are tradition, transformation, struggle, faith, love, greed, justice, friendship, etc. We will be using four lenses that, according to James Moffett, writers work from to generate a piece of writing: recollection, cogitation (thinking it over), investigation and invention. Through these four lenses, students will develop and analyze these themes that recur during the assignments and they will be developing their own frame of reference for language, technique, style, voice, etc. that will help them produce the final writing project. Hopefully, students will carry what they learn in this course into their other courses and in life to better understand the world around them.


Ethics & Values - Students will brainstorm a list of moral lessons from which they think today's children, teenagers and/or adults should learn. From this brainstorm, students will create modern day fables or parables that would capture the attention of the reader to make them think twice about whatever issue is addressed. For example,what happens to someone who is greedy; who steals; who is envious; who is vindictive.

Literature & Writing - The final project to the course has four parts: the first two done by each individual, and the second two done by a partner. Firstly, students will go through all of the processes developed in the course in order to create their own typed expository pieces, five - seven pages in length, that reflect the style, techniques and language they have chosen to model from the readings completed during the course. Secondly, the students' metatexts will follow which will be written reflections on the processes they went through to write the pieces. This should be a half page to one page in length. Thirdly, partners will compose an "About the author" brief which is approximately a third to a half page in length. Partners will have interviewed the authors in order to compile and determine "relevant" information to the piece or the reader. Fourthly, partners will do a review of the piece in the manner of a book review to serve as a brief, critical, peer analysis of why someone should read this piece. The last three sections will accompany the final products as a type of "foreword(s)" or "after word(s)" to the work.


Reading - To improve speaking skills and understanding while reading, students will practice reading aloud to theirselves via a cassette recorder which they will play back in order to evaluate pace, tone, diction, emotion and involvement. What areas should be worked on in order to improve the skill of reading aloud to a group or another individual? The students will focus on how to feel more at ease with reading aloud, as well as how to make the text flow orally as easily as it does written.

Analyzing, Deconstructing & Redefining - After reading selected texts, students must produce typed literary essays, two to three pages in length, that critically analyze the texts, in-depth. In-depth means that the students utilize the techniques demonstrated in the course, as well as, the literary language that will be developed as the course progresses to dissect the text in order to address the foci of the writer, reader, the society at large in connection with what happens within the text. The frame-work for each essay is loosely based upon answering the question - What does this text say about "human nature"?

Writing - Students must complete all of the Mastering Essential English Skills assignments (MEES) which will be worked on every week. An MEES will be given each week and students have a week to complete it. These MEES will be used to evaluate a student's understanding of the technicalities involved in the writing process that are being developed.

Revision - Students must provide documentation to the revision strategies that are set up in the course. This will be demonstrated by maintaining all drafts from rough outline to rough draft to nth number of drafts to final copy.

Mastering Essential English Skills assignments (MEES)
- After learning or reviewing the specific lesson in class, students are expected to practice (depending on the assignment) identifying and correcting or utilizing the appropriate forms of the following:
Shifts in tense and voice - appropriate and inappropriate
Conjugation of verbs - Present, gerund, past, past participle and future tenses
Regular and irregular verbs ex. Forms of Be
Choppy sentences/Run-on sentences
Comma, Semicolon, colon
Apostrophe for possession
Indirect/direct quotations

-Students are first expected to work on the practice assignments individually, then they are to work in groups to discuss and explain their understanding and reasoning behind their choices. After each assignment is completed, the essential skill is then applicable to the list of the "editing process" by which students should be gauging the editing of their work.

Building Vocabulary
A functional vocabulary is a critical part of the writing process, and so it is imperative that the students commit to working on improving and expanding their word base so that there are more of a variety of words and meanings at hand to express their points of views. The vocabulary for this course will come from two main sources: the vocabulary that comes from the texts that are read in the course and the technical language that will be taught and studied such as the following: Atmosphere , Open/close ended, Critical Lens, Intent, Purpose, Realism, Moderism, Romanticism etc.

Forms of Assessment

*One literary essay on The Metamorphosis, two to three typed pages in length
*HyperStudio Metamorphosis Response Log Project
*Four to Five Literary Critiques, three typed pages
*Two cassette recordings: a "Before and After" of reading skills + self-evaluations
*One Short Story piece, five to seven pages + Metatext
*One peer created "About the author" + peer "book review" of the expository piece
*One set of Directions - a "How to..." done in speech format, possibly videotaped and analyzed
*Reader Responses - Handwritten, half a page
*All Mastering Essential English Skills assignments (MEES)
*Weekly Vocabulary, Sentences, Quizzes

Student Expectations

Part I

*Come to class on time - Punctuality is important. If a student is late or absent, it is her/his responsibility to bring the appropriate documentation to class, and to find out what assignments s/he has missed. Work must be made up within the week s/he is absent.

*Come to class prepared - Students will need a notebook and a pen. Folders will be supplied for handouts. Students are expected to keep their work neat, organized, legible and up-to-date. To be prepared for class also means that the assignments are completed, especially those that are given as homework.

*Commitment to Community! Ideally, this class will be a forum for lively debate, and an atmosphere that fosters individual creativity while maintaining a sense of community. This is also a commitment to sharing feelings, fun and risk-taking in a safe environment.

Instructional Materials

Emerging Voices , Pathways to Speech , Literature Across Cultures, Points of View, Norton's Anthology of Short Fiction , Cassette Recorder, Internet