Literature does not have to be long to be great. This online literature class introduces classic and contemporary short stories to junior high students (9th-10th graders and advanced 8th graders).
Over the course of a year -- a 13-week fall semester followed by a 14-week spring semester -- students will read ~40 language-rich short stories from around the world. We will be exploring key elements of a short story, learning about literary analysis, enriching our vocabularies, and discussing questions posed by the story.
This online class is interactive but asynchronous to better accommodate families' busy and complicated schedules: students can work across time zones, submit assignments, and discuss the week's readings as their schedules permit throughout the day. "Bite-Size Literature" is not self-paced, though: there are weekly deadlines with different assignments each week. Our classroom is a private Google Group forum.
In addition to the reading assignments, which assume above-grade reading skills, students are expected to engage in timely, thoughtful online discussion. Although this class does not involve any papers unless a student chooses the honors option, throughout the class students will be responding to short-answer questions related to the readings and to each other's ideas, giving students ample opportunity to practice putting their ideas into writing. The use of short-form writing assignments, rather than papers, makes "Bite-Size Literature" a helpful bridge to later high school English classes, including AP and dual-enrollment classes.
As an added bonus, at least once a semester students will have the option of gathering online to participate in a real-time game -- Jeopardy, trivia, an escape room... -- based on our most recent short stories.
Honors option: for students who would like to extend their learning, students who register for the honors option will write two three- to five-page papers, one each semester, reflecting on our short stories.
"Just wanted to say thanks for the bite-sized literature class. It has been a good challenge for [my son] and [my husband] and I have enjoyed reading the stories and his answers to the questions."
"Thank you for providing a large range of author voice's for your students to read from. Thanks for challenging them in their vocabulary and comprehension skills too."
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