How to Create an Awesome Short Story Unit for Your Middle School Students Part 3 - EB Academics

Grab Your Free Writing Guide

Become an EB Insider Today

How to Create an Awesome Short Story Unit for Your Middle School Students Part 3

November 23, 2018 2 min read

How to Create an Awesome Short Story Unit for Your Middle School Students Part 3

November 23, 2018 2 min read

We’ve into part 3 now of how to create a short story unit for your middle school students – and an awesome unit at that! If you missed Parts 1 and 2 where we talked all about the hook and a high-interest story, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Part 3 to Creating an Awesome Short Story Unit is all about …

When designing our short story units, we focus on a few key standards. In this particular unit (“The Lottery”), we highlight how specific lines of dialogue or incidents in the story move the action and reveal character traits (CCSS RL.8.1 and RL.9-10.1) and writing arguments to support claims with strong evidence and justification (CCSS W.8.1 and W.9-10.1).

Of course, you naturally address other standards (speaking and listening standards are plentiful!), but centering on a few standards helps give our students a clear vision of what we expect them to focus on as they annotate the text and participate in all the activities we’ve set up. With “The Lottery,” our standards-aligned activities include:

1. A Setting Activity

Students work with the social environment and irony of the text, using evidence from the short story to support their claims.

2. Traditions and Behavior Activity

Students write from the perspectives of two characters from the story to answer interview-like questions.

3. Suspense and Foreshadowing Activity

Because “The Lottery” is filled with contrasts, students will prove that the author sets the reader up for false expectations.

4. Focusing on Theme Activity

Students work closely with the text to identify various themes and support their claims with justification.

All of these activities are the exact ones we’ve included in our short story unit for “The Lottery.” Time and time again, these are incredibly engaging and effective activities for our students!

So our suggestion for creating standards-aligned activities? Pick maybe 1 or 2 KEY standards that you want to focus on for a specific story, and start there. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to cover too many standards (you’ll see that a lot of standards are inherently covered anyhow!).

You can even pick and choose from our four suggestions listed here, as a lot of them can be applied to other texts beyond “The Lottery” as well!Looking for more ideas for a short story unit in your middle school classroom? Check out this short stories resource we use every year with our middle schoolers!

Ready to dive into Part 4 for how to create an awesome short story unit. You can do so here

Save this short stories post for later!
Easily create a short story unit for your middle school english classroom


All posts


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Hi there! We're two middle school ELA teachers with a mission to share ideas, tips, and tricks for effectively teaching reading and writing in the secondary classroom. We're so happy you stopped by!

Caitlin + Jessica

Your 15 Free Resources Are Waiting!

Immediately receive access to our
Free Resource Library

We promise we won't spam you.

Let’s Connect

Popular Posts

Our Latest Posts



  • You guys!! 🥳🎉 ⁣⁣
Our FREE ebook is done and ready for you!! 😘😘⁣⁣
We’ve included over 25 pages of content that includes tips, strategies, structures, free lesson plan ideas, activities, and links to even MORE free content! ⁣⁣
... plus a special link to our Balanced Teaching Approach Facebook Group where we have ANOTHER free resource download for you as well ♥️ ⁣⁣
Come join us on this journey to find more balance in your teaching life 😘 ⁣⁣
LMK in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link!
  • I put our new office together with a few things in mind: calmness, brightness, and functionality ♥️ I have to say, we really love getting to work in this space each day!
  • Surprise!! 🥳🎉 ⁣
... and no, I’m not back in the classroom (although I kind of wish I was!) ...⁣
But even more exciting for YOU is that our ELA Masterclass Mini Series from last year is coming back!! ⁣
I’ve teamed up with @buildingbooklove @readitwriteitlearnit @readingandwritinghaven and @doccopteaching to bring you some AMAZING virtual Professional Development!⁣
Registration opens tomorrow and the virtual sessions will be released on Sunday, September 15th! ⁣
Make sure to register as soon as we open registration because I know so many of you were bummed to have missed this last year! We can’t wait! 😘♥️
  • Enough said 🍎
  • I’ve gotta be honest in that I am really missing moments like this at the end of a successful teaching day ... 🥺 ⁣
And this isn’t to say I’m asking for sympathy in any way! I’m very happy and loving supporting teachers and students in a different way this year outside of the classroom!⁣
But it is to say, I LOVE teaching, and I always will, and I hope at some point in the future to be able to be back in my own classroom doing what I absolutely was put on this earth to do ♥️♥️⁣
In the meantime, however, Jessica and I have SO much incredible stuff coming your way (free online PD, a free ebook, and so much more!) 😘⁣
Tomorrow, when you turn on the lights to your classroom and are getting everything set up for your day of teaching, just know that you are making a difference in children’s lives!! 🤗😘♥️
  • Freebie!! Woo hoo!! 🎉🥳🤩 (And yes, Jessica is making an appearance on the gram!!). If you haven’t grabbed our three free weeks of bell ringers from us yet, what are you waiting for?! LMK in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link to grab them 🤗🤗 I’ll get back to you tonight and over the weekend!

Follow @ebacademics