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Does anyone have any good suggestions for short stories to assign to high school freshmen? Anything that would work well as a first day assignment would be great -- something that they might enjoy reading and will generate interesting discussion on day 2 of the school year. Thanks!

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Hey Kimberly,
I'm not sure if you guys use this book somewhere else in the curriculum, but the "My Name" passage from The House on Mango Street is a good short piece for the kids to analyze writing and they can write in her style (or not) to talk about their names, which makes for a good "get to know you" kind of activity. The title vignette from the book is also good for looking at goal setting, dreams etc.
All the best,
Dan
How about Sandra Cisneros' short story "Eleven"? Students usually have strong reactions to Rachel's situation and can look at her classroom and readily identify how they want their classroom to be different. You can even have students brainstorm roles/responsibilities for individual students, the class, and the teacher. Another interesting short story is Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day". Again students can look at how a student gets scapegoated and talk about what they would do if that happened to them or someone they knew - and how to not have that happen in their classroom community.


Dan Mindich said:
Hey Kimberly,
I'm not sure if you guys use this book somewhere else in the curriculum, but the "My Name" passage from The House on Mango Street is a good short piece for the kids to analyze writing and they can write in her style (or not) to talk about their names, which makes for a good "get to know you" kind of activity. The title vignette from the book is also good for looking at goal setting, dreams etc.
All the best,
Dan
Agreed on Cisneros. I personally also love "The Rocking-Horse Winner" and I think reading only the first paragraph with students and asking them to predict the ending could be very interesting. In fact, you could take several long short stories such as that, "The Lottery," one of the Cisneros stories, Charles Baxter's "Gryphon" and Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" and have students make predictions on the first paragraphs of each. Then choose which story they'd like most to pursue.

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