How to Create A Killer Short Story Unit for Your Middle Schoolers: Part 4 - EB Academics

How to Create A Killer Short Story Unit for Your Middle Schoolers: Part 4

We’ve made it! We’re at the end of our 4-part series where we’re walking you through 4 easy steps to creating an awesome short story unit for your middle school students! If you missed the previous posts you can read them here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

As mentioned in the previous three posts, when creating our short story units for middle school, we always aim to include four main elements:

  • A hook
  • A high-interest story (see our list of favorite story stories in this post)
  • Standards-aligned activities
  • An assessment
Our final post to creating an awesome short story unit is all about …

We always like to give our middle schoolers various ways to demonstrate their knowledge and grasp of the content and objectives for our units. Short story units are no exception.

Instead of just giving students a standard “assessment,” we like to give them THREE.

Now, we know this sounds like a lot, but hear us out.

You will always have students who struggle with test taking. You will also always have students who are incredibly creative. And then you will have those students who love to write, but can’t draw to save their life (that’s me!).

So why wouldn’t we want to provide each type of learner with a different way to show what they have learned? Which is precisely why we provide students with three summative assessments at the end of any unit.

Those three assessments are:

1. Your Basic Test
Yep! You read that right. We do give students one of those “basic tests,” and we actually think they’re quite important. But they’re not the end all be all. On a test, you’ll find reading comprehension questions, short answer analytical questions, matching characters to quotes, true or false, etc.

2. A Project-Based Assessment
We always find it important to give students who are more project-based learners a way to express what they’ve learned. Which is why we this resource this Project Bingo Board (which also allows for excellent differentiation).

Just check out some of the incredible work our students have produced in the past!

Easily create a short story unit for your middle school english classroom
Easily create a short story unit for your middle school english classroom

3. An In-Class Essay.
Always the final formative assessment, the in-class essay in a staple in our curriculum. Because we follow the framework we have developed over the years (which we call Evidence-Based Writing, and you can read more about here), we want to be continuously assessing our students on their ability to write a Response to Literature.

Which is precisely why they write an in-class essay at least 7 times a year.

The in-class essay prompt that we provide students will always be focused on them analyzing the text, forming a claim, citing evidence, and forming justification. Hitting those standards, right? But also preparing them for much more in life than just writing an essay. Forming claims and providing evidence to support those claims is an incredible skill for so many areas in life!

Want to provide differentiation for this type of an assessment? You can use this same Response to Literature graphic organizer that we developed and have fine tuned over the years.
Would you like to use the short story unit we do? You can grab it here.
Do you have another idea for creating a short story unit? Please let us know in the comments below or by sending us an email.
Want to learn more about joining The EB Writing Program or how to start the purchase order process for your school district?

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Easily create a short story unit for your middle school english classroom


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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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