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All Summer in a Day

“A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.  And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the schoolroom of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.”

“All Summer in a Day” is one of my favorite short stories that I had a chance to teach recently.  It is short (less than four pages), has 9 years olds as the central characters, creates vivid characters and a poignant scene, and a deals with issues of group membership, how groups deal with difference, prejudice, and bullying. The characters, setting and theme create an safe topic for conversations of behaviors that may be common to students.

Activities:

  • Have students do a quickwrite activity framed in the discussion you want to explore: (This one is to look at how groups treat difference.) “Have you ever been in the company of a group of which you were clearly not a member?  What was the circumstance?  How did you act?  How were you treated?”  Pair share, then report out.
  • Read aloud with students – check for understanding and have students pick out words they are not familiar with.
  • There are many activities to do with this story (and a few guiding sheets in the resources section).  One interesting discussion might be to have students discuss who should be held responsible for Margot’s treatment and then discuss what those people might have chosen to do which would have led to a positive outcome.

Resources:

Enciendalo!

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  1. Aileen Wolfe
    April 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful lesson plan and idea. This is a different perspective and I love the ideas. I am tying it in to a play we are reading about the Holocaust. It ties in nicely as many can’t begin to understand how differences can lead to such events.

    • Jb
      April 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks Aileen. There is so much excellent work done by Facing History and Ourselves in the Holocaust and other genocides (as well as a new support connected to the movie Bully. I highly recommend this!

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