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Great short stories appropriate for 5-6th graders?


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#1 Matryoshka

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:30 PM

They could be written at a higher level, but the content should be appropriate for that age.

It does not look like can completely extract myself from writing class purgatory, but I had a long talk with my mom and the latest idea is to slow down what she's doing, and maybe do a second story. She loves the idea of modeling/imitating good writing, and says the curriculum she's using gives examples of what to use - but I'm sorry, they're all picture books. I know picture books aren't written at the level of the kids they're read to, as they're meant for the parents to read to them, but still... Poppleton as an example of good character development??? She'd rather have whole stories than excerpts, though and I see her point too (and where to find the excerpts?)

So we thought maybe short stories? The one I always hear used is O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, but we'll need more than one. Any really well written, content-appropriate short stories we could use to model different writing elements (description, characterization, etc etc) to a group of 5th-6th graders?

#2 KAR120C

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:38 PM

They have anthologies of short stories by grade level, and each year goes through a set of things-to-look-for (meant for a reading and discussion group, but it could be adapted...)

#3 OhElizabeth

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:38 AM

Well I've missed your prior posts about writing class purgatory, so I don't know your whole situation... but what you're describing is WT2. It would be perfect for that age group and uses the length and types of stories you're talking about. It would be all done for you and easy to implement. But I assume you weren't looking for a whole curriculum, just the stories. In that case you might look at Baldwin's 50 Famous Stories Retold. WT2 draws from Baldwin's writings quite a bit, and I think they're available free online. (no copyright, meaning you could print them out for the class)

#4 Lori D.

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:49 AM

Here are two free, online units on teaching short story elements to 7th/8th grade students -- I'm sure you could adapt to fit 6th graders.

- Elements of the Short Story: http://www.yale.edu/...83.03.09.x.html
- Glencoe: http://www.glencoe.c...hortstory.shtml
- Interpreting a short story: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/3544


Below are ideas for short stories that would work well with 5th-6th grade students. BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.


- The Hundred Dresses (Estes) -- realistic
- Sounder (Armstrong) -- novella
- Peter Rabbit (Potter) -- adventure/moral tale
- The Twelve Dancing Princesses (or other fairy tale) (Grimm) -- fairy tale
- The Fox and the Grapes (or other fable) (Aesop) -- fable; moral tale

- Rikki Tikki Tavi (Kipling) - "epic" adventure
- The Open Window (Saki) - "ghost" story with a humorous twist
- The Most Dangerous Game (Connell) - action/adventure
- The Lady or the Tiger (Stockton) - cliffhanger ending
- The Monkey's Paw (Jacobs) - horror story
- The Red Headed League (or other Sherlock Holmes short story) (Doyle) -- mystery/detective
- A Child's Christmas in Wales (Thomas) -- biography


These might be a bit above 5th/6th grade:

- Farmer Giles of Ham (Tolkien) -- humorous; chivalry
- The Happy Prince (Wilde) -- tragedy
- The Ransom of Red Chief (Henry) -- comedy
- How the Leopard Got His Spots (or other from Just So Stories) (Kipling) -- fable
- Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (Crane) -- western
- a chapter out of A Day of Pleasure (Singer) -- autobiography
- There Will Come Soft Rains (Bradbury) -- sci-fi; tragedy

#5 LanaTron

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:25 AM

What about one of the Book of Virtues titles? These are the ones by Bill Bennett. We own The Children's Book of Virtues, and there are some great tales that my dc love to hear.

#6 elegantlion

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:49 AM

Abeka also has some short stories in their literature for 7th and 8th grade. The books are called "Of People" and "Of Places".

#7 Matryoshka

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:00 PM

Well I've missed your prior posts about writing class purgatory, so I don't know your whole situation... but what you're describing is WT2. It would be perfect for that age group and uses the length and types of stories you're talking about. It would be all done for you and easy to implement. But I assume you weren't looking for a whole curriculum, just the stories. In that case you might look at Baldwin's 50 Famous Stories Retold. WT2 draws from Baldwin's writings quite a bit, and I think they're available free online. (no copyright, meaning you could print them out for the class)



Sorry, I wrote about writing class purgatory in another thread where I was considering Write with the Best - my mom (retired ps teacher) is teaching a writing class my kids are in, and the workload is killing us. It's not that the curriculum is bad, but it's very hard to parse (this is her first time using it, and it's killing her too), and I think we just need to slow down the pace and let the kids really work with it before rushing them ahead - I think she's been feeling some kind of pressure to "keep up" with what her teacher friends in the ps are doing in their classes (one of my friends said it's like she's a first time homeschooler).

I think we've all agreed now to slow down but I'd still like to improve the quality of writing they're sampling - I'll take a look at the Baldwin project stories, that sounds promising! And free is always good. :)

#8 Matryoshka

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:29 PM

Below are ideas for short stories that would work well with 5th-6th grade students. BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.


Thanks, Lori - those look like great suggestions!

If anyone else is looking, I also found this anthology on Amazon -

Little Worlds : A Collection of Short Stories for the Middle School
This one seems to have at least a few of the stories Lori suggests, and it's grouped by literary terms they can be used to teach - must get this one.

Thanks so much, everyone!

#9 Lori D.

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 07:21 PM

Oo, Matroyshka! Love the looks of this anthology! Thanks for sharing! : )


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