Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Around the Room Short Story

Laura Childers
Santa Rosa District Schools


Once students are taught the elements of a short story, they will demonstrate their understanding by collectively creating stories within a group. This lesson will develop/ solve conflicts and show short story elements through listening skills.


The student uses effective strategies for informal and formal discussions, including listening actively and reflectively, connecting to and building on the ideas of a previous speaker, and respecting the viewpoints of others.

Analyzes the effectiveness of complex elements of plot such as setting, major events, problems, conflicts and resolutions


-Writing utensil
-Stop watch
-An example of a plot line (See attachment.)
-Overhead projector (optional) but may be used to display plot line


1. Teachers should previously have taught and assessed the elements of a short story.
2. Teachers should prepare a diagram of a plot line making sure that students understand that the introduction consists of setting and characters, rising action is a possible conflict, climax is the height of the story, falling action is the possible solution, and resolution is the conclusion of the story indicating what happened to the characters. (See attachment.)
3. Teachers can make a transparancy of plot line to be used on the overheard if they wish or a diagram on the blackboard so it is visible for students to see throughout the assignment.


Pre-requisite: Students should understand the basic elements of a short story: setting, characterization (rounded, stereotyped), plot line, theme, point-of-view, foreshadowing, and conflict.

1. Place students in groups of no more than four members. Each student should have his/her own sheet of paper.

2. Inform students that after being taught the short story elements, they will use what they have learned to write their own short stories. Remind them to keep their ideas classroom appropriate (no drugs, alcohol, etc.)

3. Tell students that all instructions will be oral; therefore, they must use auditory skills in order to follow directions. Tell them this is a timed assignment and give them the lengths of time designated for each segment. Students need to complete their jobs in the allotted time, and additional time will not be given to complete the previous direction. Students need to realize that following directions is vital to their overall grade.

4. Tell each student to write one sentence on his/her paper creating a setting including time, place and conditions. Stress that this sentence should not include the introduction of a character. For example: The steam rose off the hot surface as the pitter -patter of rain slapped down on the cracked concrete. Students have 3 minutes to write a sentence creating an introduction.

5. When the time limit has been reached, tell students to stop. Referring to your plot line diagram, explain they are still in the introduction stage of writing a story.

6. Tell students to pass their papers to the person to their right within their group. Explain that the next phase of story development is to create two sentences introducing two characters. Students should be sure they describe the appearance and behavior/actions of the two characters. Students should begin by reading what the person previously wrote on the paper they now have in front of them and continue the direction just given. They have 5 minutes to read the original and write their character development sentences.

7. Say -stop;- explain that students are now finished with the introduction of the story and will continue going up the plot line toward rising action. Continue to explain that the rising action is the POSSIBLE development of a conflict in the story, stressing that the full conflict has not occurred yet. Students write two more sentences creating the possible conflict after they pass their papers to the right again. Read what the two students wrote previously and continue with this phase of the exercise following these directions. Give 8 minutes for completion of these sentences.

8. When the time has expired, tell students to stop and decide what type of conflict (man vs. man, man vs. nature, or man vs. self) they want to have BEFORE they look at the paper they are going to receive.

9. After passing their papers to the right (you can vary directions so students will not assume the direction is to the right), students write their decision at the top of the paper, read what the previous students wrote, and write 3 sentences developing a definite conflict. They have 12 minutes to develop the conflict of the story.

10. Tell students to stop when the time limit has been reached. Referring to the plot line diagram, show students that they are now concentrating on falling action or a POSSIBLE SOLUTION. Stress that this isn’t the conclusion yet. Tell students that in this section, they should find a way to get their characters out of the conflict. After passing their paper to the right (again you may vary directions); they read what the previous students wrote and create 2 sentences finding a POSSIBLE solution. They have 14 minutes to read the first part of the story they have inherited and write their portion of the story.

11. Tell students to stop writing when the time limit has been reached. Explain that they are now to the resolution or conclusion phase of their story. Explain that this is where the story ends as well as where the reader finds out what happened to the characters as a result of the conflict. After passing papers to the right again, students have 14 minutes to finish their stories.

12. When all phases of the stories are finished, students should return the stories to the original owner. The owner will read the story, come up with an appropriate title for the story, and come up with a theme or moral for the story. Stories should be turned in to the teacher before the end of class.

13. The next day, teachers should return the stories to the owners for revision. Ask students to rewrite the story with everyone’s input adding foreshadowing in the rising action, adding dialogue between the characters, and making one character stereotyped and one rounded. (This will indicate an understanding of the difference between the two types.)

14. Revised stories should be turned in to the teacher before the end of class.


Grading Rubric

1. Around the Room Short Story

Followed directions of the plot development for:

Setting: Do you understand where the story is located? 10 points
Characters: Did they create two characters? 10 points
Rising Action: Is it only a possible conflict? 10 points
Climax: Is there a definite conflict? 10 points
Falling Action: Is it only a possible solution? 10 points
Conclusion: Is there a solution? 10 points
Creative: 10 points
70 points

2. Re-writing the original including individual details

Created foreshadowing within the paper 5 points
Correct use of dialogue 5 points
Created an appropriate Title 5 points
Contains an appropriate theme/moral 5 points
Paper is free of errors 10 points
30 points
Total possible points for entire assignment: 100 points

Attached Files

A plot line for students to refer to.     File Extension: pdf

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