> The Things You Can Read: Teaching the Short Story: The Last Leaf By O. Henry, "Thank You M'am" by Langston Hughes, "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury

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Teaching the Short Story: The Last Leaf By O. Henry, "Thank You M'am" by Langston Hughes, "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury

The Last Leaf By O. Henry

One of the short stories I like to use to teach irony, foreshadowing, inferencing, characterization, (dynamic, static, flat), symbolism, and suprise endings is "The Last Leaf" by O. Henry.  Here is one of the  many activites we do to work with this classic short story:  I call it BE THE ILLUSTRATOR.  I have divided an abriged version of the story up into sections that each require an illustration.  Before we start, I let students know that "IF YOU ARE NOT GOOD WITH PEOPLE...DON'T DRAW PEOPLE!  Use things that represent the people (good time to talk about symbolism with your students too.).  I give them a few class session (maybe three 20 to 30 minutes segments of class) to work on it(where I can help) then what ever is left is for them to finish on their own before the test on the last leaf.  Enjoy!

More to come on "The Last Leaf"

Thank You M'am By Langston Hughes

Bio-Cube Langston Hughes

Biographical Information about Langston Hughes

Plot Diagram for Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes

Free Lesson Plan for Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes

Questions for Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes

Audio for Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes

Slide Show to Introduce and Teach Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes

"Thank You M'am" Vocabulary

"Thank You M'am" Questions

Historical Context: The Harlem Renaissance

FUN WAY TO PLOT "Thank You M'am":

Mrs. White's 4th Period's Plot Diagrams for "Thank You M'am"
Mrs. White's 4th Period's Plot Diagrams for "Thank You M'am"
Mrs. White's 4th Period's Plot Diagrams for "Thank You M'am"
Build Background

The author of “Thank You, M’am,” Langston Hughes, is one of several African 
Americans whose artistic and intellectual talents were recognized during a period 
in history known as the Harlem Renaissance. Spanning the decade of the 1920s, 
the Harlem Renaissance began when blacks living in the heart of New York City, 
Manhattan, fled to the northern reaches of the city to escape rising real estate costs 
and racial tensions. The northern end of the city was known as Harlem, and this 
two-square-mile neighborhood became the epicenter of a cultural explosion among 
African Americans.

In Harlem, African Americans, after years of oppression, found their voice 
and shared their stories through music, dance, art, theater, and literature. People 
like Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Countee Cullen, Louie Armstrong, Langston 
Hughes, Aaron Douglas, and Sarah Vaughn became well-known both inside and 
outside Harlem as these individuals—and many other literary, musical, and visual 
artists—fostered pride in the African-American culture and experience.


“Thank You, M’am” tells the story of a boy who tries to steal a woman’s purse. The
woman surprises him by what she does next. Like many stories by Langston Hughes,
this one is about African Americans living in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City. 

When a person does something wrong, such as lying or stealing, should he or she get
another chance? Would you forgive a person who stole from you? Why or why not?

A character is a person or animal in a story. There are only two characters in this
story, Mrs. Jones and Roger. Read to find out what the characters look like, what their
personalities are like, and what they say and do. Keep track of these details in the Venn
Diagram HERE.

Culture Note:

Dialect: The characters speak in a dialect, a different form of English. For example, they say ain’t 
instead of aren’t.  Use footnotes for help in understanding the Harlem dialect when you read the story.

The Story Elements

Subject Area: Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 7/8
Duration of Activity: Varies 
Description of Activity:

The teacher will introduce the lesson using Microsoft PowerPoint to present the different story elements, how they are identified, and what they do. At this point, Handout 1: Story Elements will be presented to the students. The teacher will distribute and use Handout 2: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions to introduce the students to the use of this presentation software and assist students in analyzing the short story "Thank You M’am" by Langston Hughes.  OPTIONAL:  In cooperative groups students will write and edit a short story using Handout 3: Story Map. Students then will develop Microsoft PowerPoint presentations of their stories showcasing the story elements.


The students will identify story elements and tell what they do.

The students will analyze the story "Thank You M’am" by Langston Hughes through the use of a story map.

The students will use selected details to create plot, setting, and characters for short stories.

The students will write short stories.

The students will edit the short stories.

The students will publish the short stories.

Only if Optional Objective is Used:  The students will create presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint or some other presentation software.


Copies of the short story "Thank You M’am" by Langston Hughes
Computers with Internet access
Computer software clip art or clip art downloaded from the World Wide Web

Handout 1: Story Elements

Handout 2: Story Map

Handout 3: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions

Handout 4: Storyboard Form

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

Some knowledge of accessing the World Wide Web


The teacher will introduce the lesson through the use of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation

The teacher will distribute Handout 1: Story Elements that includes definitions and examples.

The teacher will assign the short story "Thank You, Ma’am" by Langston Hughes for class reading and use as an example for analyzing the elements in a story.

The teacher will lead whole group discussion of this story.

The teacher will divide the class into cooperative groups of approximately four students each (depending on the size of the class).

The teacher will assign each group a specific short story to read and analyze .

The teacher will create a sample story map using a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

The teacher will pass out Handout 2: Story Map, to be used in analyzing the story "Thank You M’am," by Langston Hughes

The teacher will allow each group time to fill in the blank story map.

The teacher will distribute copies of Handout 3: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions for the students to use when creating their presentations

The teacher will distribute multiple copies of Handout 4: Storyboard Form for students to use in planning their presentations

OPTIONAL: The teacher will allow enough time to write their stories in Microsoft Word and complete Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

The teacher will assist students in completing the assigned activities.

Integrity and "Thank You, M'am"
PDF Version With Materials

Interactive Reading Guide for "Thank You, M'am"
Based on a lesson by Laurie Wielenga

Interactive reading strategies place the responsibility on students for constructing their own meaning from the text. Teachers or students read the story, stopping frequently to change readers and to have students summarize, predict, make connections, make judgments, ask for clarification, make inference, and ask on-the-surface and under-the-surface questions.

End of paragraph 1
Summarize what has happened so far in the story. If necessary, have the students list what they remember and then ask them to choose the most important five events.
Predict what will happen next. Accept all answers, but ask for grounds for the prediction, as appropriate.
Make connections: What would you do if you were the boy? If you were the woman?
Make judgments: Was it okay for the woman to kick and shake the boy until his teeth rattled? Can you think of a case where the boy would be justified in doing what he did?
A Graphic Organizer for Facts and Inferences

Have students use a donut-shaped graphic organizer for fact and inference responses. Write the character’s name in the donut hole. For example, place the woman in the center of the donut and facts about her around the outside of the big circle. (She carries a very large and heavy purse. She is out at 11:00 p.m. alone. She kicks him and then reaches down and picks him up by the shirt front.) What can you infer about the woman or the boy from this passage? Place inferences on the donut ring some of which may not be accurate. (She is physically strong and the boy is small. She’s a street walker. She’s not afraid.)

End of paragraph 2
Are there any items needing clarification? (If no one asks, ask a student what a pocketbook is.)
What can you infer about the woman from this paragraph?

Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5
Make a judgment: Is the boy being honest? Give evidence.
Should an adult ask the question the woman did and expect an honest answer?
Make connections: What would you do in a situation like this when you are being questioned by an adult?

End of paragraph 9
Make a judgment: Is the boy being honest now? If so, why do you think he is being honest?

End of paragraph 11
Make a judgment: Is the boy now being honest?
Predict: What will the woman do next?

Paragraph 15
Ask for items needing clarification: If students do not ask about the term “willow-wild,” discuss it.

Paragraph 16
Ask for on-the-surface and under-the-surface questions. Someone should ask what she means by “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong.”

Paragraph 20
Summarize Mrs. Jones’s comments.
What can you infer about her marital status from her name?
Predict what she will do to make the boy remember her.

Paragraph 21
What can you infer about Mrs. Bates marital life, family life, and financial status from where she lives?

Middle of paragraph 24
Predict: What will Roger do when she turns him loose?

End of paragraph 24
Ask for both on-the-surface and under-the-surface questions. Why did Roger go wash his face? (under the surface)

End of paragraph 28
Make a judgment: Is Roger now telling the truth? What is the evidence?

End of paragraph 30
Ask for both-on-the-surface and under-the-surface questions. They should include:
Was Mrs. Bates correct that he was hungry? (on the surface)
Is Roger telling the truth about wanting the blue suede shoes? (on the surface)
What reasons would he have to lie? To tell the truth? (on the surface)

End of paragraph 31
Infer using the same donut at the end of paragraph 1:
What facts do you know about Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones?
What can you infer from these facts?
Ask for questions, which should include, “Is she telling the truth when she tells Roger he could have asked her for blue suede shoes?”

End of paragraph 34
Predict: What do you think Mrs. Jones will say next?

End of paragraph 36
Infer: What do you, the reader, know about her because she says, “Well, I wasn’t going to say that”?
Student-generated questions should include what she means by “neither tell God, if he didn’t already know.” (This is a crucial question.)
Infer: Why does she feed him and have him comb his hair?

Middle of paragraph 37
Infer: What has changed so that Mrs. Jones does not protect her purse or try to keep Roger in her apartment?
Make a judgment: Why does Roger want to be trusted?
Questions the students should ask: What does it mean, “He did not trust the woman not to trust him?”

End of paragraph 38
Infer: Why does Mrs. Bates not have Roger work for his dinner by running an errand for her?
What difference would it make if Roger had somehow “earned” his supper? Why?

End of paragraph 41
Predict how the evening will end when she calls him “son.”

End of paragraph 42
Clarify: “Shoes come by devilish like that will burn your feet.”
Clarify: What does she want (wish) from him?
Predict: Will he give her what she wants?

End of story
Make judgments: Would it have been a better story if she had stayed in his life?

Discussion Questions

These questions can be used for a teacher-led discussion, to guide independent reading, or for a Socratic Seminar:
What do you know about Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones from her name and from what she says?
Why does Roger say he tried to steal Luella Jones’ pocketbook?
Is this the real reason? (inference, not in text)
Why does Luella Jones not lecture the boy about stealing?
Why did Luella not have Roger work for his dinner? (inference, not in text)
Why did she not invite him to come back to see her? (inference, not in text)
Why did she take Roger home and give him the money? (inference, not in text)
Is Luella Jones a person of integrity? Has she always been?
Why does Roger wash his face instead of running away? (inference, not in text)
Why does Roger sit “on the far side of the room where he thought she could easily see him”?
Why did Roger not steal her pocketbook when he was in her apartment and she had gone behind the screen to cook? (inference, not in text)
What does Langston Hughes mean when he writes, “He did not trust the woman not to trust him”? How does this relate to integrity?
Does Roger change in the course of his encounter with Luella Jones? (inference, not in text)

Extension of Lesson

Family Involvement

Use a Family Journal activity with these interview questions:
Tell me about someone you trust to be honest or fair.
Tell me about a time when it was difficult to be honest, fair or to act with integrity.

Teacher Notes or References

Socratic Seminar is an open-forum style discussion in which the instructor does not lecture and students discuss the reading. Students are not to interrupt each other nor criticize each other’s responses. They are to build on each other’s ideas. They should make specific references to the texts rather than generalizations or guesses. Grade them based on the quality of their contributions, the support they cite for their assertions and how well they listen to others. For more information on the Socratic Seminar process go to:

Family journals are designed to include adult family members in the students’ academic and character education. The students interview adult family members and record in their journals what the family members say. Student instructions for completing a family journal are also available.

  Lesson: The Purpose of Thank You Ma'm

All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury

Resource Links:

Teaching Portfolio-Raindrop Activity


Short Story Lesson Plan-Directed Reading Questions, Theme Worksheet, Metaphor and Simile Worksheet

Wonder You-Extension Activities for the short story

Mrs. White
Class Level:
Average/ Colab/PACE
7 Class Days 

SOL Objectives:

7.1       The student will give and seek information in conversations, in group discussions, and in oral presentations.
7.4       The student will read to determine the meanings and pronunciations of unfamiliar words and phrases.
7.5       The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry.
a)      Describe setting, character development, plot structure, theme, and conflict.
b)      Compare and contrast forms, including short stories, novels, plays, folk literature, poetry, essays, and biographies.
c)      Describe the impact of word choice, imagery, and poetic devices.
d)      Explain how form, including rhyme, rhythm, repetition, line structure, and punctuation, conveys the mood and meaning of a poem.
e)      Draw conclusions based on explicit and implied information.
f)       Make inferences based on explicit and implied information.
g)      Summarize text.

7.8       The student will develop narrative, expository, and persuasive writing.
a)      Apply knowledge of prewriting strategies.
b)      Elaborate the central idea in an organized manner.
c)      Choose vocabulary and information that will create voice and tone.
d)      Use clauses and phrases to vary sentences.
e)      Revise writing for clarity and effect.
f)       Use a word processor to plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish selected writings.
7.9       The student will edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and paragraphing.

Short Story
Elements of Fiction

Genre Review followed by Point of View Review
Specifically concentrating on Science Fiction
Writing-Art Safari finish up “Rikki Tikki Tavi”
Main Idea
Learning Objectives:  Student will be able to –
Identify one genre from another.

Define Science Fiction

Participate in pre-planning for a piece of imaginative/creative writing

Create an original piece of writing from a work of art.

Discuss/summarize the short story “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury.

Research/Collect biographical information on an author.

Select the main idea in a piece of writing.

Select the topic of a piece of writing.

Select details that support the main idea in a piece of writing.

Students will complete a “DO NOW” on QuizStar to review the topic Main Idea in preparation for the

SOL test at the end of the year.

Students will research Ray Bradbury the author of “All Summer in a Day”.

Students will research factual information about the planet Venus and the Sun.

Students will use descriptive imagery to describe the Sun.

Students will read and discuss "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury.

Students will analyze "All Summer in a Day" using the story elements reviewed in class.


Day 1


Prepare to read the story with author research-Ray Bradbury and planet research-Venus and Sun.  Students will also view introductory videos on the planet Venus and the Sun.  Links to these videos are posted on the teacher’s weblog.

Pre-Reading Activities

Science Fiction

Use an online dictionary to find the definition of science fiction.


: fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component
— sci·ence–fic·tion·al \ˈsī-ən(t)s-ˈfik-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective

Ray Bradbuy



Born: August 22, 1920

Still living 91 years old

American writer of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery

Literary Style rich with Metaphor, figurative language such as imagery, and vivid vocabulary

Novels include:

Dandelion Wine (1957)
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

2004 President George W. Bush awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists by the U. S. Government









Review of Genres

PowerPoint review

Definition of Genre


genre noun
\ˈzhän-rə, ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə\

Definition of GENRE
1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
2: kind, sort

·       PowerPoint on Genres

·        Activity on Genres-worksheet


"All Summer in a Day" is set on Venus, the second planet from the sun. Thanks to advances in space exploration and technology, we now know more about Venus than we did in 1954, when Ray Bradbury's story was first published. How much do you know about Venus? How much do you know about the Sun?

Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet

Day 3


Review PowerPoint Genres
     Students will write down answers to review excerpts

Have students look over their homework before we go over it.

Review Homework

Begin Ray Bradbury's Short Story "All Summer in a Day"
Can you create the image of the Sun in someone’s mind’s eye?  Pretend you will have to describe the Sun to someone who is blind.  Write your description.  Use vivid language…use your five senses…What does it feel like?  What does it smell like?  What does it look like?  What does it sound like?  What does it taste like? 

Have students pair up and read their descriptions.  Read some of aloud to the whole class.
Explain Quizlet to the class

Go over vocabulary words for “All Summer in a Day”

Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet

Day 4


Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet

Review Vocabulary

Read/Listen to “All Summer in a Day”

Judgment-What punishment should be handed down to the children for their actions toward Margot?

Group activity-have them present their sentence to the class

Worksheet-review questions from short story

Questions based on the short story "All Summer in a Day" 


Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet-A



Continue work on descriptive writing activity using imagery-Sun Activity

Review of Genres-If needed

PowerPoint review Practice 1

Worksheet-review questions from short story

Questions based on the short story "All Summer in a Day" 


Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet Identification of Genre, Subgenre and Author’s Purpose



Continue work on descriptive writing activity using imagery-Sun Activity

Check Homework-Worksheet “All Summer…”

Review of Genres-If needed
PowerPoint review Practice 2

Quiz-Genre Identification

Homework-Genre Identification Worksheet



Continue work on descriptive writing activity using imagery-Sun Activity

Main Idea Test-QuizStar


PowerPoint Presentation on POINT OF VIEW

Test on Genre Identification

Homework-Point of View Identification Worksheet

Day 8

Tie up loose ends on “All Summer…

Finish all work on descriptive writing activity using imagery-Sun Activity

Test on “All Summer…”

Move on to Drama

Evidence of Learning (Assessments):



Students will be asked to reflect on the activities they have participated in and write a reflective journal entry that expresses what they have gained personally from this unit.

Possibly a unit project-to be decided


Review Information PowerPoint Review Lesson 1

         Genre and Subgenre
         Categories of Writing
         Genre = Category
All writing falls into a category or genre.
We will use 5 main genres
and 15 subgenres.
         5 Main Genres
  1. Nonfiction: writing that is true
  2. Fiction: imaginative or made up writing
  3. Folklore: stories once passed down orally
  4. Drama: a play or script
  5. Poetry: writing concerned with the beauty                   of language
         Nonfiction Subgenres
         Persuasive Writing: tries to influence the reader
         Informational Writing: explains something
         Autobiography: life story written by oneself
         Biography: Writing about someone else’s life
Latin Roots
Auto = Self    Bio = Life                  Graphy = Writing
         Fiction Subgenres
         Historical Fiction: set in the past and based on real people and/or events
         Science Fiction: has aliens, robots, futuristic technology and/or space ships
         Realistic Fiction: has no elements of fantasy; could be true but isn’t
         Fantasy: has monsters, magic, or characters with superpowers
         Folklore Subgenres
            Folklore/Folktales usually has an “unknown” author or will be “retold” or “adapted” by the author.
         Fable: short story with personified animals and a moral
            Personified: given the traits of people
            Moral: lesson or message of a fable
         Myth: has gods/goddesses and usually accounts for the creation of something
         Folklore Subgenres (continued)
Tall Tale
         Set in the Wild West, the American frontier
         Main characters skills/size/strength is greatly exaggerated
         Exaggeration is humorous
         Based on a real person or place
         Facts are stretched beyond nonfiction
         Exaggerated in a serious way
         Folklore Subgenres (continued)
Fairytale: has magic and/or talking animals.
         Often starts with “Once upon a time…”
         Like fantasy but much older
         Often has a human main character
         Fables also have talking animals, but fables are VERY short
         What are Dramas?
Stories written in script form.
Teacher: Everyone take notes.
Student A: I don’t have a pen.
Drama Subgenres
Comedy: has a happy ending.
Tragedy: ends in death and sadness.
Nonfiction: persuasive writing, informational writing, autobiography, and biography
Fiction:  historical fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy
Folklore: myth, legend, tall tale, fairy tale, and fable
Drama: comedy and tragedy
Poetry: many subgenres we will not study…
            You will be graded on participation and completion, not on accuracy.
  1. On a separate sheet of paper, number one through ten.
  2. I will describe a piece of writing.
  3. You will write the genre and subgenre.
“Dogs and Cats” by Bob Brady
                        A five paragraph essay where the student Bob Brady compares and contrasts dogs and cats.  He provides a lot of information about both.
Write the genre and subgenre on your paper.
Your Science Textbook
                        Your science textbook contains much of the human knowledge of Earth and the universe.
Write the genre and subgenre on your paper.
In My Own Words by Eva Perón
                        Eva Perón writes the story of her life from childhood to her rise in political power in Argentina. 
Write the genre and subgenre on your paper.
They Came from the Sun by Tom Mitchell
                        The story of a race of aliens that come to enslave the residents of Earth with their advanced weaponry.  Only one teacher can stop them, but is it too late?
Write the genre and subgenre on your paper.
            “The Ant & The Grasshopper” Adapted by Chad Peplum
            The really short story of an Ant who works hard all summer to prepare for winter and a Grasshopper who just plays.  Winter comes and the Grasshopper freezes to death.  The moral is “prepare today for tomorrow’s needs.”
            The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
                        It is the fictional story of an African American family living in Flint, Michigan who go to their grandmother's home in Birmingham, Alabama in the year 1963. The story is told around the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, an actual event in history.
            “Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind” retold by Tom Cranes
            Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind was the toughest girl in the wild West. Right when she was born, she looked up and said, "Hello! I'm Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind! And I am amazing!" She once made a lasso out of live rattlesnakes, and then she caught a tornado with that lasso. 
            “Going, Going ... Green!” By Angela Gaimari
            In this essay, Gaimari tries to convince people to do small things to help the environment.  She gives readers many suggestions on how to live more eco-friendly and asks readers to make the change.
            Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
            The first book in the Harry Potter series.  Harry goes to wizard school and becomes a Gryffindor.  He learns to play quidditch, a soccer like game played on flying broomsticks, and he fights an evil within the school with his newfound magic powers.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
            In his first year of middle school, the main character Greg Heffley deals with “cooties,” learning to wrestle, Halloween, acting in the school play, and other problems that many middle school students face. 
  1. Nonfiction ; Informational Writing
  2. Nonfiction ; Informational Writing
  3. Nonfiction ; Autobiography
  4. Fiction ; Science Fiction
  5. Folktale ; Fable
  6. Fiction ; Historical Fiction
  7. Folktale ; Tall Tale
  8. Nonfiction ; Persuasive Essay
  9. Fiction ; Fantasy
  10.   Fiction ; Realistic Fiction

Review Information PowerPoint Review Lesson 2
         Genres and Subgenres
         Classifying Stories
         Genres and Subgenres
Texts can be separated into groups
called genres and subgenres.
Fiction: creative or imaginative writing.
Nonfiction: writing that is true or factual.
Folklore: stories once passed down orally.
*Usually will say “retold by” or “adapted by”
Dramas: plays or scripts.
Poetry: writing concerned with the beauty of language.
We will focus on the first three.
         Fiction Subgenres
Realistic Fiction: stories that could be true, but aren’t.
Science Fiction: has aliens, advanced technology, or is set in the future.
Historical Fiction: a made up story set around a real event or person from history.
Fantasy: has monsters, magic, or super powers.
         Nonfiction Subgenres
Informational Writing: provides facts or information.
Autobiography: one’s life story written by oneself.
Auto = Self    Bio = Life            Graphy= Writing
Biography: one’s life story written by someone else.
Persuasive Writing: meant to influence the reader.
         Folklore Subgenres
Fable: short story with talking animals & a moral.
            Moral: lesson of the story (clearly stated).
Myth: has gods & goddesses; may account for the creation of something.
Tall Tale: Funny story set in the Wild West; main character’s size or skill exaggerated.
Fairy Tale: has magic and/or talking animals.
Legend: a story that might be true, but is exaggerated. 
Usually says “Retold by” or “Adapted by”
         Fairytales & Fantasies
Both have monsters, magic, or talking animals.
What’s the difference?
         Fairytales are part of the oral tradition.
         Usually it will say “retold by” or “adapted by.”
         Fairytales often start “Once Upon a Time.”
         Tips for Identifying
  1. Find the main genre first
  2. Look for details that reveal subgenre
            The Lion and the Mouse
            Retold by Jerry Pinkney
                        A Lion was sleeping when a Mouse woke him up.  The Lion was about to eat him when the Mouse said, “Free me and I shall never forget it: who knows?  I may help you some day."  The Lion laughed so much at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he let him go. Some time later the Lion was caught in a hunter’s trap. The little Mouse happened to pass by and, seeing the trapped Lion, he gnawed through the ropes and freed him.   Little friends can be a big help.
War Brides
By Helen Bryan
                        1939: as Britain prepares for war with Germany in World War II, the lives of five young women are about to collide in the sleepy Sussex village. Together they will face hardship, passion and danger, forming bonds of friendship that will inspire a desperate plan, And, fifty years later, an act of revenge ...
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Adapted by Howard Pyle
                        In this work, Pyle sorts through the many folktales concerning the mythical Robin Hood, who may have been a real person, and made them suitable for children. Robin Hood's dashing acts of wealth redistribution (from the rich to the poor) have captured the imagination and fascination of millions of delighted readers through the ages.
The Best Book of Sharks
by Claire Llewellyn
                        This beautiful book offers insight into the deep-sea lives of one of nature’s deadliest killing machines.  Learn where sharks live, what they feed on, how they bear their young.
Escape From Earth (OASIS)
by Ivis Bo Davis
                        LEAVE EARTH OR DIE–  the electromagnetic field around the Earth is fading away. Soon the planet will burn, and everything and everyone on the planet will die. Deep Space Vessel Trisznov is the first human interstellar colony ship, and she is nearly ready to launch in search of a new habitable planet to colonize among the stars...
In My Time: A Personal & Political Memoir
by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney
Pecos Bill
by Steven Kellogg and Laura Robb
                        After falling off his parents wagon as a baby, Pecos Bill is raised by coyotes.  He then becomes the toughest cowboy in the Wild West by wrestling giant bulls and outrunning a daemon horse.
by Stephenie Meyer
                        The story of Bella Swan and her vampire love, Edward Cullen. The novel explores Bella's choice between her love for Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob Black, along with her dilemma of leaving mortality behind in a terrorized atmosphere, a result of mysterious vampire attacks in Seattle.
Perseus: The Hunt for Medusa's Head
Adapted by Paul D. Storrie
                        Could a monster whose very look turns men to stone be too perilous even for the son of Zeus? King Polydectes wants to get rid of young Perseus. So he tricks the young hero into performing an impossible task: slaying the snake-haired monster Medusa. But as the son of Zeus, king of the gods, Perseus has many powerful allies. Will Perseus' strength and courage allow him to do the impossible?
A People's History of the United States
by Howard Zinn
                        Zinn tells the untold history of the United States by focusing on the unrepresented minority groups: women, Native Americans, and African Americans.  He covers the Bill of Rights to Clinton’s presidency and everything in between.

Practice 1 PowerPoint Information
         Warm Up
  1. Write the genre and subgenre for each of the five items.
  2. Explain how you know your answer.
  3. You will have one minute to complete each item.
“Hansel and Gretel” Retold by Ruth Bevel
                        The story of a young girl and boy who get lost in the woods and stumble upon a gingerbread house.  They eat a bunch of it, until they find out it’s a magical witch’s house.  She enslaves them and cages them, feeding them candy to fatten them up and eat them.
Your History Textbook
                        Your history textbook contains much of the known history of civilization.
Write the genre and subgenre on your paper.
            The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
                        It is the fictional story of an African American family living in Flint, Michigan who go to their grandmother's home in Birmingham, Alabama in the year 1963. The story is told around the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, an actual event in history.
“Going, Going ... Green!” By Angela Gaimari
                        In this essay, Gaimari tries to convince people to do small things to help the environment.  She gives readers many suggestions on how to live more eco-friendly and asks readers to make the change.

Practice 2 PowerPoint Information

         Identifying Genre
         Practice 2
         On a separate sheet of paper, write the following as I go through the items:
         Genre and Subgenre.
         How you got your answer.
         Betsy and the Emperor by Staton Rabin
                                 Betsy Balcombe is a 14 year old who must watch famous French general Napoleon Bonaparte, who is exiled on after his capture at Waterloo. Betsy strikes up an unlikely friendship with him and the reader is given an interesting look at the life of one of history's most famous men.  Follow Betsy in many thrilling escapades, from a hot-air balloon flight to a horserace.  An author's note fills in some of the details about the real Betsy Balcombe.
                     Containment by Christian Cantrell
                                 As Earth's ability to support human life diminishes, the Global Space Agency is formed to protect humanity from extinction. Arik Ockley is part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth. After a puzzling accident, Arik wakes up to find that his wife is three months pregnant. Since the colony's cannot support any increases in population, Arik immediately resumes his work on AP, or artificial photosynthesis, in order to save the life of his unborn child.
         “The Lion and The Mouse” Retold by Jerry Pinkney
                                 A mouse is almost eaten by a lion, but he begs for his life.  Being entertained, the lion lets him live.  Later, the lion is caught by a hunter in a trap.  The mouse hears the lions cries and chews through the ropes of the trap.  The moral is that one good turn deserves another or “what goes around comes around.”
         Running Away by Sherri McGuinn
                                 A young girl gets pregnant and finds that her mom is unsupportive.  Now she doesn’t know what to do.  Should she run away, keep the baby, and try to get a job, or deal with the blame that her mom puts on her.
                     Chemistry Concepts and Problems by Clifford Houk
                                 Have you ever wondered about the differences between liquids, gases, and solids? Or what actually happens when something burns? This is chemistry.  Whether you are studying for the first time on your own or need a little help for a course, this interactive guide gives you a fresh approach to this fascinating subject.
         Identifying Genre

"All Summer in a Day" TEST
"All Summer in a Day" TEST

Monday, November 21
Tuesday, November 22


Click Here:


Or use the short story text below...

All Summer in a Day
by Ray Bradbury

"Ready ?"
"Now ?"
"Do the scientists really know? Will it happen today, will it ?"
"Look, look; see for yourself !"
The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds, intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.
It rained.
It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the schoolroom of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.
"It's stopping, it's stopping !"
"Yes, yes !"
Margot stood apart from them, from these children who could ever remember a time when there wasn't rain and rain and rain. They were all nine years old, and if there had been a day, seven years ago, when the sun came out for an hour and showed its face to the stunned world, they could not recall. Sometimes, at night, she heard them stir, in remembrance, and she knew they were dreaming and remembering gold or a yellow crayon or a coin large enough to buy the world with. She knew they thought they remembered a warmness, like a blushing in the face, in the body, in the arms and legs and trembling hands. But then they always awoke to the tatting drum, the endless shaking down of clear bead necklaces upon the roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests, and their dreams were gone.
All day yesterday they had read in class about the sun. About how like a lemon it was, and how hot. And they had written small stories or essays or poems about it:

I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour.

That was Margot's poem, read in a quiet voice in the still classroom while the rain was falling outside.
"Aw, you didn't write that!" protested one of the boys.
"I did," said Margot. "I did."
"William!" said the teacher.
But that was yesterday. Now the rain was slackening, and the children were crushed in the great thick windows.
Where's teacher ?"
"She'll be back."
"She'd better hurry, we'll miss it !"
They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot stood alone. She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. Now she stood, separate, staring at the rain and the loud wet world beyond the huge glass.
"What're you looking at ?" said William.
Margot said nothing.
"Speak when you're spoken to."
He gave her a shove. But she did not move; rather she let herself be moved only by him and nothing else. They edged away from her, they would not look at her. She felt them go away. And this was because she would play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the underground city. If they tagged her and ran, she stood blinking after them and did not follow. When the class sang songs about happiness and life and games her lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and the summer did her lips move as she watched the drenched windows. And then, of course, the biggest crime of all was that she had come here only five years ago from Earth, and she remembered the sun and the way the sun was and the sky was when she was four in Ohio. And they, they had been on Venus all their lives, and they had been only two years old when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and heat of it and the way it really was.
But Margot remembered.
"It's like a penny," she said once, eyes closed.
"No it's not!" the children cried.
"It's like a fire," she said, "in the stove."
"You're lying, you don't remember !" cried the children.
But she remembered and stood quietly apart from all of them and watched the patterning windows. And once, a month ago, she had refused to shower in the school shower rooms, had clutched her hands to her ears and over her head, screaming the water mustn't touch her head. So after that, dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was different and they knew her difference and kept away. There was talk that her father and mother were taking her back to Earth next year; it seemed vital to her that they do so, though it would mean the loss of thousands of dollars to her family. And so, the children hated her for all these reasons of big and little consequence. They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and her possible future.
"Get away !" The boy gave her another push. "What're you waiting for?"
Then, for the first time, she turned and looked at him. And what she was waiting for was in her eyes.
"Well, don't wait around here !" cried the boy savagely. "You won't see nothing!"
Her lips moved.
"Nothing !" he cried. "It was all a joke, wasn't it?" He turned to the other children. "Nothing's happening today. Is it ?"
They all blinked at him and then, understanding, laughed and shook their heads.
"Nothing, nothing !"
"Oh, but," Margot whispered, her eyes helpless. "But this is the day, the scientists predict, they say, they know, the sun..."
"All a joke !" said the boy, and seized her roughly. "Hey, everyone, let's put her in a closet before the teacher comes !"
"No," said Margot, falling back.
They surged about her, caught her up and bore her, protesting, and then pleading, and then crying, back into a tunnel, a room, a closet, where they slammed and locked the door. They stood looking at the door and saw it tremble from her beating and throwing herself against it. They heard her muffled cries. Then, smiling, the turned and went out and back down the tunnel, just as the teacher arrived.
"Ready, children ?" She glanced at her watch.
"Yes !" said everyone.
"Are we all here ?"
"Yes !"
The rain slacked still more.
They crowded to the huge door.
The rain stopped.
It was as if, in the midst of a film concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something had, first, gone wrong with the sound apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting off all noise, all of the blasts and repercussions and thunders, and then, second, ripped the film from the projector and inserted in its place a beautiful tropical slide which did not move or tremor. The world ground to a standstill. The silence was so immense and unbelievable that you felt your ears had been stuffed or you had lost your hearing altogether. The children put their hands to their ears. They stood apart. The door slid back and the smell of the silent, waiting world came in to them.
The sun came out.
It was the color of flaming bronze and it was very large. And the sky around it was a blazing blue tile color. And the jungle burned with sunlight as the children, released from their spell, rushed out, yelling into the springtime.
"Now, don't go too far," called the teacher after them. "You've only two hours, you know. You wouldn't want to get caught out !"
But they were running and turning their faces up to the sky and feeling the sun on their cheeks like a warm iron; they were taking off their jackets and letting the sun burn their arms.
"Oh, it's better than the sun lamps, isn't it ?"
"Much, much better !"
They stopped running and stood in the great jungle that covered Venus, that grew and never stopped growing, tumultuously, even as you watched it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of fleshlike weed, wavering, flowering in this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the color of stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.
The children lay out, laughing, on the jungle mattress, and heard it sigh and squeak under them resilient and alive. They ran among the trees, they slipped and fell, they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek and tag, but most of all they squinted at the sun until the tears ran down their faces; they put their hands up to that yellowness and that amazing blueness and they breathed of the fresh, fresh air and listened and listened to the silence which suspended them in a blessed sea of no sound and no motion. They looked at everything and savored everything. Then, wildly, like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles. They ran for an hour and did not stop running.
And then -
In the midst of their running one of the girls wailed.
Everyone stopped.
The girl, standing in the open, held out her hand.
"Oh, look, look," she said, trembling.
They came slowly to look at her opened palm.
In the center of it, cupped and huge, was a single raindrop. She began to cry, looking at it. They glanced quietly at the sun.
"Oh. Oh."
A few cold drops fell on their noses and their cheeks and their mouths. The sun faded behind a stir of mist. A wind blew cold around them. They turned and started to walk back toward the underground house, their hands at their sides, their smiles vanishing away.
A boom of thunder startled them and like leaves before a new hurricane, they tumbled upon each other and ran. Lightning struck ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile. The sky darkened into midnight in a flash.
They stood in the doorway of the underground for a moment until it was raining hard. Then they closed the door and heard the gigantic sound of the rain falling in tons and avalanches, everywhere and forever.
"Will it be seven more years ?"
"Yes. Seven."
Then one of them gave a little cry.
"Margot !"
"What ?"
"She's still in the closet where we locked her."
They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced out at the world that was raining now and raining and raining steadily. They could not meet each other's glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.
One of the girls said, "Well?"
No one moved.
"Go on," whispered the girl.
They walked slowly down the hall in the sound of cold rain. They turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible. They walked over to the closet door slowly and stood by it.
Behind the closet door was only silence.
They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out.

Practice Vocabulary Activity from "All Summer in a Day"




Vocabulary Flash Cards





Questions based on the short story "All Summer in a Day"


Classwork Genre and "All Summer in a Day" Wednesday, November 2 and Thursday, November 3


The Main Idea is the essential message of a passage.

Some times the main idea is stated in a passage, meaning you can actually put your finger on a sentence or two expressing the main idea.

Other times the main idea is not stated and you have to determine it from the information in the passage. This is called inferencing.

Supporting details explain and expand upon the main idea.

Supporting details provide more information about the main idea.

Supporting details might me facts, examples, or description.

Test questions about the main idea might ask you what the passage is mostly about or to choose the best summary of passage.

Test questions might also ask you to identify the main idea of a paragraph in the passage.

Test questions may even ask you to identify or correctly interpret important supporting details.


Review of Genres

Definition of Genre


genre noun
\ˈzhän-rə, ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə\

Definition of GENRE
1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
2: kind, sort  
PowerPoint Presentation
PowerPoint Notes given to students in class-pasted in Journals
Begin Ray Bradbury's Short Story "All Summer in a Day"

"All Summer in a Day" is set on Venus, the second planet from the sun. Thanks to advances in space exploration and technology, we now know more about Venus than we did in 1954, when Ray Bradbury's story was first published. How much do you know about Venus? How much do you know about the Sun?






Questions based on the short story "All Summer in a Day"


SUN description Activity
Imagine how you would feel seeing he sun if it had been raining for seven years!

SUN description activity-journal activity to be used for project

SUN description Project-instruction in separate Weblog
Sentencing Activity

You be the Judge and the Jury:

Students will pronounce sentence on the following characters:


Other students in William's class who watched and did nothing to help Margot


Sentence must fit the crime!  Use the knowledge you gained through your attendance of Officer Baxley's presentation to assist you in your sentencing.

"All Summer in a Day"-Video

Part 1


Part II


Part III



Main Idea VIII


The main idea of a reading selection tells what the reading selection is all about. Usually the questions, who, what, when, where, why, and how will help you to identify the main idea of a reading selection. The main idea can be found in one of these five places:

-in the first sentence
-in the last sentence
-in the middle of the paragraph
-in two sentences of the paragraph
-not stated in the paragraph directly (implied)

Extra Practice:

Main Idea



Tuesday, November 29
Wednesday, November 30
Parent Information for Team Meetings
FYI for parents requesting a team meeting:

For scheduling reasons all teacher meetings are scheduled through guidance. The Hurricane meeting time is 9:00-9:23. At that time you will meet with all your child's core teachers. We take a team approach to addressing your child's needs so it is very important that all teachers are part of the meeting. Please call 733-2740 to schedule a meeting. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wenesday, November 30, 2011

Students will have 10 passages to read and identify the MAIN IDEA. Students have been preparing for this TEST through the daily DO NOWS and MAIN IDEA homework for the past 6-7 weeks. Student can use the QUIZSTAR DO NOWS to review. Just an FYI to parents: Students can easily Login using their username and Password and review previously taken DO NOWs. Students should have written this information in their agendas on the same page as their AR information.

Over the next three weeks each class will continue to have homework and DO NOWs in preparation for this TEST. Please encourage your child to complete his/her homework and review old DO NOWs in preparation for the upcoming TEST.


Extra Practice:






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