ELT Lesson Plan
Requiring a short text I goggled ‘the short story’ and up popped, from some loathsome comic, ‘the greatest short stories in the English language.’ I think it was the Atlantic Quarterly and these tales – or riddles, were actually, in fact ‘American,’ short stories..? Naturally I persevered in the belief that the students might benefit from the simpler language, structure and general, more basic sense of ideas, emanating from the ‘folks’ across the pond. [haw haw haw, haw haw haw]
I chose only the stories that were labelled as ‘4 minutes’ or less [the link] and yes, goodness knows it is challenging enough to listen to my own family for thirty seconds – let alone some nasal bore pen lick with his IQ and wild pubic
beard eyes. Yes again. The first story was called ‘The School by … …….’
This was my favourite of the stories, much preferable to that barrel chest Hemingburg, or the Atwood woman moaning on about the human condition and men wanting sex all the time and women having dreadful lives. I wanted to scream:
‘Have I not read you, your Prisoner Cell Block H Maid Tale…and is that not enough…for you? Go roll…you, away you, you…clever dick.’ [what..?]
Anyway Maggie was tipped into the rejection, ‘ha ha slusher ha ha you’ pile. Yes…
The School, a wonderful little tale where everybody dies – in a funny way, it is funny, although LLarsson – in class – became
extremely agitated, frustrated:
‘But, vis is tragic, no?’
‘No, it is funny: it is called, they call it…homor. Read it properly, they are all dead,’ I said.
Also, next I spoke to the kids, in my voice, spoking: ‘If you can get through this next one, you can say for the rest of your lives that you have read Ray Bradbury books.’ Which they did – read the extract. I lost the back page of my copy so never found out what really happened at the ‘End of the World,’ though tried asking several of the students, but none of them was none the wiser.
By far the greatest success had been the day before – for narration and comprehension, I recommend the Brothers Grimm story about the girl sitting on the rabbit’s tail. It might be ‘Clever Gretel’ or something else. It has the lines
‘Come sit on my tail, girlie,’ said the rabbit.
‘No, no’ said the girl.
‘Come sit on my tail.’
‘Sit on my tail.’
‘Yes, yes. yes,’ which was a true crowd-pleaser, both inside and outside in the corridor where the prefects, and all the other teachers, had gathered.
The girl marries the rabbit. She misses her mother so builds a straw version of herself to fool the bunny. The rabbit beats the straw girl, and believes that he has killed his wife. He has straw on his hands. Gretel never returns to clear up the misunderstanding.
The Rabbit’s Bride
There was once a woman who lived with her daughter in a beautiful cabbage-garden; and there came a rabbit and ate up all the cabbages. At last said the woman to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive out the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” But the maiden would not. Another day, back came the rabbit, and ate away at the cabbages, until the woman said to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive away the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” But the maiden would not. Again, a third time back came the rabbit, and ate away at the cabbages, until the woman said to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive away the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” And then the girl seated herself on the rabbit’s tail, and the rabbit took her to his hutch. “Now,” said he, “set to work and cook some bran and cabbage; I am going to bid the wedding guests.” And soon they were all collected. Would you like to know who they were? Well, I can only tell you what was told to me; all the hares came, and the crow who was to be the parson to marry them, and the fox for the clerk, and the altar was under the rainbow.
But the maiden was sad, because she was so lonely. “Get up! get up!” said the rabbit, “the wedding folk are all merry.” But the bride wept and said nothing, and the rabbit went away, but very soon came back again. “Get up! get up!” said he, “the wedding folk are waiting.” But the bride said nothing, and the rabbit went away. Then she made a figure of straw, and dressed it in her own clothes, and gave it a red mouth, and set it to watch the kettle of bran, and then she went home to her mother. Back again came the rabbit, saying, “Get up! get up!” and he went up and hit the straw figure on the head, so that it tumbled down.
And the rabbit thought that he had killed his bride, and he went away and was very sad.
Serious – for intermediate and up – Rabbit’s Tale/the School/ Bradbury. The Atwood is too heavy – there’s Hemingway too – worth a check: Narration, comprehension, reading, speech…I asked students to transform 19c fairy to 21st grit – (follow the stages of the tale, like steps) great results with their bloodthirsty CW, lovely…