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Ch 7: Short Stories Lesson Plans for High School

About This Chapter

Teaching short story analysis is essential to building your students' reading comprehension skills. In this chapter, find pre-designed lesson plans and other resources for short stories that you can use in your classroom today.

Short Stories Lesson Plans for High School - Chapter Summary

The lessons within this chapter have been designed by literature educators, and the information will guide you through various techniques for teaching students about short stories. You'll find innovative techniques for instructing students how to summarize texts, in-class activities to help your students explore characters and symbols and tips for leading in-depth classroom discussions about plot analysis. Some of the short stories covered in this chapter include:

  • 'A Retrieved Reformation'
  • 'Young Goodman Brown'
  • 'A Rose for Emily'
  • 'The Devil and Tom Walker'
  • 'Lamb to the Slaughter'

For each short story, our instructors pair lesson plans with discussion questions and a short lesson. While there are resources on our site to help you come up with activities and lessons, some of the resources can be utilized by your students as well, such as our short lessons and accompanying quizzes.

How It Helps

  • Sparks student interest: Instead of using the same old techniques, these lessons provide instruction for new strategies you can use to engage your students.
  • Increases teacher tools: By going through the materials in this chapter, you can add to your growing file of lesson plans, plus you could modify our plans to work with other short stories.
  • Invigorates teacher excitement: It's easy to get bored teaching the same short stories every year, but with this chapter you can review ideas to help you change up your lesson plans.

How It Works

This helpful resource offers teachers lesson plan outlines with relevant tools to make planning literature lessons easy.

  • Find lesson plans for specific literature topics you want to cover in class.
  • Formulate your literature class outline using the suggested classroom tools offered in the lesson plans.
  • Share the related literature lessons for each lesson plan with students in class to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Use related lesson quizzes to ensure your students understand the most important literature concepts from the lessons.
  • Engage your students with relevant literature-related activities, discussion questions or other materials found in the lesson plan outline.

41 Lessons in Chapter 7: Short Stories Lesson Plans for High School
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
A Retrieved Reformation Lesson Plan

1. A Retrieved Reformation Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to help you increase your students' understanding of 'A Retrieved Reformation' by O. Henry. Students will use text lessons to summarize plot, then analyze setting, characters and theme in an interactive way that will make tricky concepts stuck.

A Retrieved Reformation: Summary & Themes

2. A Retrieved Reformation: Summary & Themes

Do you think everyone is capable of change? In this lesson, we'll take a look at the short story, ''A Retrieved Reformation'' by O. Henry, and you can decide for yourself as we follow a convicted burglar's journey.

A Retrieved Reformation: Characters & Setting

3. A Retrieved Reformation: Characters & Setting

What would it take to reform an ex-con? O. Henry explores just that question in 'A Retrieved Reformation'. Let's meet the characters and see the setting in O. Henry's short story, 'A Retrieved Reformation.'

The Devil and Tom Walker Study Questions

4. The Devil and Tom Walker Study Questions

Teachers, utilize this lesson to confirm students read the book. These questions will also enhance their critical thinking and analysis skills. You may use this lesson in a traditional classroom or online environment.

Lamb to the Slaughter Lesson Plan

5. Lamb to the Slaughter Lesson Plan

If your students thought that Roald Dahl was only known for peaches and chocolate factories, this lesson plan on 'Lamb to the Slaughter' will have them thinking again! Students will watch two videos, participate in discussion questions, complete an activity and take two quizzes.

Lamb to the Slaughter: Theme & Analysis

6. Lamb to the Slaughter: Theme & Analysis

You might know Roald Dahl for his delightful children's stories, but 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is definitely not for the kids! Find out why in this lesson when we analyze this darkly comedic short story.

Lamb to the Slaughter: Summary, Setting & Characters

7. Lamb to the Slaughter: Summary, Setting & Characters

From giant peaches to kids with telekinesis, Roald Dahl has brought us some fascinating characters and settings over the years. Visit some new and not-so-kid-friendly people and places in this lesson on Dahl's short story, 'Lamb to the Slaughter!'

Lamb to the Slaughter Comprehension Questions

8. Lamb to the Slaughter Comprehension Questions

Teachers utilize this lesson to confirm your students read the book. Assign It's All About What You Think questions to further probe their critical thinking skills. This lesson may be used in a traditional classroom or online environment.

Lamb to the Slaughter Discussion Questions

9. Lamb to the Slaughter Discussion Questions

Teachers, utilize this lesson to confirm your students read the book. Enhance their critical thinking skills with It's All About What You Think questions. This lesson may be used in a traditional classroom or in an online environment.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Lesson Plan

10. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Lesson Plan

Analyzing a complicated text like 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' can be challenging. Guide your students through this process with this lesson plan. Students watch a video that helps them summarize and identify themes. Enhance understanding by looking closely at word choice.

An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge: Theme & Analysis

11. An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge: Theme & Analysis

How can such a long and harrowing event be crammed into such a short story? Find out in this lesson when we explore and analyze the profoundly human thematic elements of Ambrose Bierce's 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.'

By The Waters of Babylon Lesson Plan

12. By The Waters of Babylon Lesson Plan

Use this lesson to teach elements of the short story 'By the Waters of Babylon' by Steven Vincent Benet. After reading the story, students will summarize the tale, then analyze and discuss theme before doing an activity to make comprehension long-lasting.

By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet: Summary, Theme & Analysis

13. By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet: Summary, Theme & Analysis

This lesson provides a summary and analysis of Stephen Vincent Benet's 'By the Waters of Babylon.' The story focuses on the dangers of knowledge that is obtained too quickly.

By The Waters of Babylon Questions

14. By The Waters of Babylon Questions

Are you reading 'By the Waters of Babylon' with your students? Use these questions to spark discussions and check comprehension. The questions range from recall to high-level application and can be used for students on all levels.

The Gift of the Magi Lesson Plan

15. The Gift of the Magi Lesson Plan

Wrap up your students' unit on 'The Gift of the Magi' using this lesson plan. Students view a video summarizing key plot points and analyze theme. Finish up with a writing activity.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: Summary, Theme & Analysis

16. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: Summary, Theme & Analysis

This lesson covers O. Henry's famous short story, ''The Gift of the Magi.'' We'll cover the story's plot, analyze some of its major themes, and finish with a brief quiz.

The Scarlet Ibis Lesson Plan

17. The Scarlet Ibis Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to increase comprehension of the short story 'The Scarlet Ibis' by James Hurst. Students apply pre- and post-reading summarizing strategies, analyze story elements and discuss theme, then apply concepts to an activity to increase retention.

The Scarlet Ibis: Summary, Setting & Themes

18. The Scarlet Ibis: Summary, Setting & Themes

This story is a dark and beautiful tale of brotherly love. In this lesson you'll learn the major events and ideas in the story and how the setting makes it both sad and lovely.

James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Lesson Plan

19. James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to guide your instruction of James Thurber's 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.' After reading the short story, students will read a summary of the short story and write their own stream of consciousness story.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Short Story Summary

20. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Short Story Summary

Walter Mitty is just your average man. Until he starts daydreaming, that is. In this lesson, we will learn more about what makes Walter special in a summary of James Thurber's 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.'

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Lesson Plan

21. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan as your students read 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson. Students will read our text lesson summarizing plot, then discuss and analyze themes and key components before completing an culminating activity to reinforce concepts.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: Summary & Analysis

22. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: Summary & Analysis

'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson, a twisted tale of village culture, has been thrilling audiences for three generations. In this lesson, we'll review this classic short story from 1948 and analyze the thematic elements.

The Lady or the Tiger Lesson Plan

23. The Lady or the Tiger Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan as students read 'The Lady or the Tiger' by Frank R. Stockton to help them with summarizing and analysis. Students use a text-based lesson to review key concepts and prompt high-level questions, then apply concepts to an activity.

The Lady, or the Tiger? - Summary & Analysis

24. The Lady, or the Tiger? - Summary & Analysis

'The Lady, or the Tiger?' by Frank R. Stockton is one of the most popular short stories of all time. In this lesson, we'll explore this unusual story and learn about why it is so widely read.

Lunch with Lenin Lesson Plan

25. Lunch with Lenin Lesson Plan

Through the use of a text lesson, discussion questions, mini-research activities and a final research activity/presentation project, this lesson plan helps students explore the effects of drug use in a non-judgmental manner.

Lunch with Lenin: Stories & Summary

26. Lunch with Lenin: Stories & Summary

'Lunch with Lenin' is a book of ten short stories addressing drugs and their affects on teenagers today. This lesson summarizes the individual stories within the book.

Cemetery Path Lesson Plan

27. Cemetery Path Lesson Plan

If you're discussing bullying or peer pressure, this lesson plan explores a short story, Cemetery Path by Leonard Q. Ross, that deals with those issues. Students will read a text lesson, answer questions, complete an activity and take a quiz.

Cemetery Path by Leonard Ross: Summary & Analysis

28. Cemetery Path by Leonard Ross: Summary & Analysis

In this lesson, we'll look at the short story 'Cemetery Path' by Leonard Ross. There's a summary and an analysis of the story, which examines various plot points and elements of the story.

An American Childhood Lesson Plan

29. An American Childhood Lesson Plan

''An American Childhood'' by Annie Dillard is a memoir that captures life in 1950s-60s Pittsburgh. This lesson will help your students to analyze the themes and figurative language of the book.

An American Childhood: Summary, Themes & Analysis

30. An American Childhood: Summary, Themes & Analysis

This lesson introduces Annie Dillard's memoir, ''An American Childhood.'' We will explore the author's prose style and themes through passages from the novel.

The Third Level by Jack Finney Lesson Plan

31. The Third Level by Jack Finney Lesson Plan

This lesson plan will help students analyze the author's word choices and text structure to establish the tone and mood of a story as they read 'The Third Level' by Jack Finney.

The Third Level by Jack Finney Summary

32. The Third Level by Jack Finney Summary

Where would you go if you could go anywhere? In this summary of the short story, 'The Third Level,' by Jack Finney, we find out where main character, Charley, would go, and who beats him there.

The Open Window Lesson Plan

33. The Open Window Lesson Plan

Students should have already read The Open Window by Saki. This lesson plan includes two lessons, discussion questions, an activity, and two quizzes to ensure students' understanding of the characters, scenes, and themes.

The Dead by James Joyce Discussion Questions

34. The Dead by James Joyce Discussion Questions

'The Dead' is a short story by James Joyce that is featured in the 'Dubliners' collection. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this story.

The Rocking Horse Winner Discussion Questions

35. The Rocking Horse Winner Discussion Questions

''The Rocking-Horse Winner'' is a compelling and tragic short story that fosters lots of room for discussion. These questions can help guide your students through the plot and themes of this story.

The Things They Carried Project Ideas

36. The Things They Carried Project Ideas

'The Things They Carried' by Tim O'Brien is a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories about the Vietnam War. Students will make text connections through the projects in this asset.

The Red Convertible Discussion Questions

37. The Red Convertible Discussion Questions

'The Red Convertible' by Louise Erdrich is the story of a Native American man who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Vietnam War. This asset provides discussion questions for classrooms about the short story.

The Birthmark Discussion Questions

38. The Birthmark Discussion Questions

'The Birthmark' by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story about human imperfections and the moral questions related to using scientific methods to correct them. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this story.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Discussion Questions

39. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Discussion Questions

When literature is steep with hidden meaning and strong themes, it is necessary to allow students to freely discuss the material. These discussion questions deal with Le Guin's 'The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.'

The Life You Save May Be Your Own Discussion Questions

40. The Life You Save May Be Your Own Discussion Questions

'The Life You Save May Be Your Own' is a 1955 short story by Flannery O'Connor about a wanderer who disrupts a family farm. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this story.

A Christmas Memory Discussion Questions

41. A Christmas Memory Discussion Questions

Middle and high school students will benefit from discussing the plot and analyzing the events of ''A Christmas Memory'' by author Truman Capote. Use this guide after students have finished the short story.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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