When I went about creating my 5 day short story lesson plan I knew I wanted to use author Kate Chopin’s work that we discussed in class. Her Story of an Hour is full of rich figurative language in a short amount of time, and she shows amazing pacing in the sequence of events she presents. What I didn’t expect was to find another of her shorter pieces of writing to use as a companion with Story of an Hour. I utilized the website Actively Learn, introduced to me by my clinical teacher, and found Ripe Figs.
Ripe Figs also focuses on women and femininity. I decided I wanted to highlight theme with my students in this unit, and I thought since these two stories had a connected theme they would be perfect to use together.
I began the unit by asking students the question, “What are the traditional roles for men and women in society, and/or in the home as husband and wife”. I thought this would be a great way to get their brains thinking and ready to read Story of an Hour. After we read this I then took them through the process of discovering the theme of the story. I used the Acrostic T.H.E.M.E-
Title- what is the significance of the title?
How- how does the main character change? How is this brought about?
Emotions-what emotions did you feel at the end?
Mood- what was the mood of the story?
Enduring- what message from the story applies to life?
Once students were able to discover the theme of this story we were able to discuss it. I ended the class by asking the students to create an alternate ending to this story as a way to practice creative writing.
The next day I took students through Ripe Figs and we discussed how these two works by the same author had a connected theme. I also wanted them to consider her writing style, or her voice as an author. I did this by asking them to think back to favorite pieces of writing they’ve created and to consider their writer’s voice. I think making them think in a metacognitive way is important to help the students develop as writers.
This consideration of Chopin’s works and their own led up to a summative assessment that required them to choose one of the following: create an I Am From poem or write an argumentative essay that agrees or disagrees with the traditional roles of men and women. After helping them compare the two works and their own, I taught them how to make an I Am From poem. Then, we used Freytags Pyramid to look at the plot of Story of an Hour and reviewed the theme to help them use the story as a source for their argumentative essay. Then, of course, I taught the basic elements of an argumentative essay. After that it was up to them which of the two choices of assessments they would complete. I believe this unit covered a good bit of academic and personal development. I wanted the students to consider their writing style by looking at the connections between two different works by the same author, and the final poem is something that shows off who they are, just like Chopin’s work showed a piece of herself.
Looking back I believe the one thing I’d change is the summative assessment. Instead of having students choose which one they would complete, I’d have them do both. The I AM From poem is not a difficult one to create, and I believe having them create both would show me their comprehension of the things we covered better than having them choose. I also know that students will choose the shorter assignments of the two and I didn’t want to present an ‘easy option’ and a ‘hard option’ I wanted to challenge them to think about their own writing, while looking deeply into the theme of a story and arguing for or against it. Overall though, I am happy with how this unit turned out in the end.