After reading "Mars is Heaven," the students are ready for a nice, short story. The Pedestrian is a good one to read aloud, so that's what we did (using my preferred "bump" strategy whereby everyone reads a paragraph and then chooses someone else to read.)
To support the students and help them to understand the text better, I put some guidance on the board for them to follow while making annotations. We will be following up on these annotations when the students talk through the questions, later in the lesson.
Also, before the students answered the questions, we talked through the story a little bit.
I found this nice set of study questions online (the citation is at the bottom of the page.) I used them two ways, with two different classes. In my first class, I put them under the document camera and we discussed them. That was okay, but the kids really stayed on the surface.
The second time, I had the kids work on them in partners and just answer them in shorthand or using bullet points. I allowed them to keep them and add to them as we watched the show (though it is different in some ways, that didn't matter.) I liked that much better, plus the theme question, which we got to later, was already there in front of them.
Then, we watched "The Pedestrian," which is an episode of Ray Bradbury Theater. I purchased the set, but you can also find it on YouTube.
The dreaded question...which is also the last question on the study question sheet.
I asked the students, "You've read it. You've watched it. You've annotated it. You've talked about it. So, what's the theme?"
I wrote down their responses on the SmartBoard. More about that in my reflection.