Sentient candies who revolt against their Maker. "Whole Human" packages sent straight to your doorstep. The real reason the Titanic sank -- (did somebody say zombies)? What do all of these have in common? Why, the makings of a great story, of course.
If you're studying literary elements and techniques with your kids, reading short stories can provide a clear view of the whole "narrative arc" in a more accessible, less lengthy format.
Supplement your study with the following classic short stories. Click on the Google doc below to read the stories, fill out plot diagrams, and answer comprehension and analysis questions for each. The document also contains links to tutorials on plot, conflict, flashbacks, and foreshadowing.
Writing stories can also get kids thinking about what makes a good plot, an interesting conflict, and a satisfying resolution.
Writing prompts can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing. We've used some of the ones listed here. For more ideas, head over to StoryToolz. The site has ideas for conflicts, (such as rivalry, temptation, revenge, ambition, etc.), and a random title generator that suggests all kinds of tantalizing possibilities. For example:
On the Far Side of the Intersection
Shadows of Symmetries
All Things Invisible
Nevermind if you or your kids don't know what any of the titles mean; they can work that out as they're coming up with intriguing storylines, tension-building conflicts, and awesome endings.
The following Google Docs lesson and worksheet about fables, folktales and myths includes links to each type of tale, with an area to fill in the theme of each one. Make a copy of it so you can edit it. Share it as is, or tweak it your own way, and then share it with others.
Fables, folktales, fairytales, myths; a section that tells the stories behind some well-known nursery rhymes, and a couple of tales from history: King Robert of Scotland, and Ashoka, great emperor of India.
Most of the stories on this site are from around England, but also include tales from other parts of the world. You can read the story or listen to it, access a story’s origins, and get teaching ideas for the stories. There’s also a story creator so you can tell your own tales.
The following online resources are free, quality materials that can be used as ready-made courses, or as components to build your own.
Full Courses: These high school literature courses have both literature analysis, and grammar and composition components. Some sites, such as Georgia Virtual Learning, offer a variety of literature courses, such as Contemporary Lit, or Mythology. These courses are organized as units that can be clicked into separately so you can choose the material you want to use.