This is the End: Writing a Science Fiction Ending

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SWBAT: write an ending for a short story to demonstrate their knowledge of resolution.

Big Idea

By using the Science Fiction short story "Little Brother," students will write their own ending to the story, and then create their own story to demonstrate "resolution."

Guiding Question

5 minutes

Because my students had not read many examples of short stories so far this unit, it was important that I asked them in the Guiding Question what makes a short story interesting to read. We hadn't gotten around to the idea that there are different kinds of genres in short stories, just like there are in books, so I had no idea how they were going to answer this.

This student example of the guiding question shows me that my students are beginning to think that short stories are a bit different than novels.



30 minutes

For the Work Time, my students were given the first part of Little Brother. They were asked to read and annotate the story. As they finished, I asked that they write the ending. I think it's important they be able to predict what happens in a story--it's part of what makes readers proficient.

I did not give anything away about the real ending. I gave them plenty of time to create what might happen. 

Here is an example of a student ending that uses the dialogue we've been working so hard on this year!

After the students had time to write their endings, I gave them time to share at their tables and, if begging commenced, I allowed them a few minutes to share out to the class. When they were finished, I read aloud Little Brother's ending and we discussed what made it so good! Now the idea of using a cliffhanger is on all of their radars, which is good.

I adapted this lesson from Texts and Lessons for Teaching Literature, from Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Nancy Steineke.

Work Time

20 minutes

This Story Starter was adapted from our SpringBoard work text. It asks the students to intentionally focus on resolutions for two reasons; one, it is important for students to understand that resolution is an important and necessary part of narrative writing. Secondly, students seem to forget to write resolutions when they write their stories. Their stories just end--and it's not that they're intentionally leaving the reader hanging, or creating a cliffhanger. They are just not sure how to resolve the conflict they've created. By centering a prompt around a conflict, then forcing students to resolve that conflict, I'm hoping to build their capacity for sufficient resolution.

Here's a student example.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

Generally I use our reflection stems to get the students thinking about the whole of the lesson, but sometimes I want them to be really intentional about understanding how their thinking has changed throughout the course of a lesson. To this end, sometimes I have them answer the Guiding Question again for their Wrap-Up, or they can go back and revise their response to the Guiding Question as part of their reflection.

Here is a student reflection that shows the student's thinking has changed, and here's another student reflection that shows what she thinks is most important (she draws an arrow).