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Lesson developed by Andrea Shanafelt

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1 Lesson developed by Andrea Shanafelt
“All Summer in a Day” By Ray Bradbury First published in 1959 Lesson developed by Andrea Shanafelt

2 What makes “All Summer in a Day” a science fiction story?
Write About It: What makes “All Summer in a Day” a science fiction story? Record all of the scientific details on your worksheet. Students will have a worksheet that accompanies this slide show on which they can do the writing activities and take notes. Key scientific details: the setting (Venus), the climate (constant rain), the plant life (a tropical jungle that is constantly beaten down by the rain and then grows up again) The plants are the color of ash (rather than green) because there is no sun. The plants bloom briefly when the sun comes out. The people have adapted to the climate by living primarily underground.

3 Talk About It: Have you ever been jealous of one of your peers? How did these feelings make you act toward that person? Give students a minute to talk with people at their table before sharing as a class.

4 Talk About It: Have you ever known somebody who just didn’t fit in? Have you ever been that person? Why do you think this happens? Same procedure.

5 Who is the protagonist of “All Summer in a Day”?
Write About It: Who is the protagonist of “All Summer in a Day”? Here’s a hint: The protagonist is the main character. Students will record the protagonist on their worksheet. My hope is that they will all recognize Margot as the main character, but they might not be familiar with the term “protagonist.”

6 Getting to know Margot Authors use a variety of techniques to develop their main characters: Description (including metaphors!) Dialogue and thoughts Actions Reactions Before I reveal all the characterization techniques, I will ask the students for their ideas. I think that they will come up with some of these on their own.

7 With A Partner: Skim the story, looking for all the different ways that Bradbury characterizes Margot. Use one color to underline descriptions Use a second color to underline dialogue and thoughts Use a third color to underline Margot’s actions And, use a fourth color to underline how the other children react to Margot. I will give students minutes to complete this activity. If colored pens aren’t available they can come up with some kind of code for themselves, such as underline, dotted line, squiggly line, and double underline.

8 For Example “ Margot stood alone. She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair.” Yellow = Margot’s actions Green = description This example will ensure that every student understands the task.

9 Now write five adjectives to describe Margot that ARE NOT USED in the story!
There will be a place on their worksheet to do this task. This will probably be the final task of day one.

10 How do authors do that? Authors often develop their characters through INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION. This means that they SHOW us who the character is, rather than TELLING us. Most likely, this slide will be the start of day 2. After a brief review of the adjectives they wrote the day before, we will launch into characterization. There will be a place on their worksheets to write the definition of Indirect Characterization.

is DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION This is when the author explicitly tells us what the character is like. There will also be a place to write the definition of Direct Characterization.

12 With A Partner: Find a place in the story where Bradbury uses DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION Here’s a hint: This method is often used to describe a character’s appearance. I will only allow about three minutes for this activity, since they have already gone through the whole story carefully.

13 Talk About It: Which method of characterization do you think is best?
Which method is most interesting to you as a reader? Which method is most challenging for you as a writer? This will be a class discussion. Students can share ideas by raising their hands.

14 Writing Practice: Choose one of the following sentences and change it from DIRECT to INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION: Fred is nervous around women. Janie is depressed about her parents’ divorce. My brother loves to eat. Stacy has a lot of confidence in her athletic ability. I will give them approximately ten minutes for this writing activity. The sentences will also be on their worksheet.

15 For Example: Fred is nervous around women. - OR -
Beads of sweat start to form on Fred’s temples whenever he talks to the pretty brunette teller at the bank, and often his hands shake so badly that he struggles to put his cash into his wallet. This example should show them the possibilities of “showing” rather than “telling.”

16 Talk About It: Why is characterization important to a story?
What message does Bradbury send with the story “All Summer in a Day?” (In other words, what is his THEME?) How is Margot’s character an important part of the story’s theme? This will be a whole class discussion. Students can participate by raising their hands. If it isn’t going well, I’ll ask them to have the discussion at their table groups, with one person acting as a recorder. My goal is for the students to recognize that Margot is an outsider; Bradbury consistently characterizes her as somebody who is different and stands apart from the group. His theme is about how other people react to outsiders – often with jealousy and cruelty. Although the ending is ambiguous, I think it’s safe to assume that the other children’s guilt has taught them a valuable lesson. Without Margot, the story wouldn’t be able to convey the theme of how we treat those who are different. I want the students to see that individual aspects of a story (in this case, theme and character) often go hand in hand.

17 Fun Facts Ray Bradbury was born in 1920, and is still alive and writing today. In 1950 he published The Martian Chronicles, which established his reputation as a science fiction writer. In 1953 he published Fahrenheit 451, which is considered his masterpiece. These slides come at the end, just so the students know a few facts about the author. Perhaps they’ll be interesting in reading more of his work.

18 In his own words… “People call me a science fiction writer, but I don't think that's quite true. I think that I'm a magician who is capable of making things appear and disappear right in front of you and you don't know how it happened.” -from I really like this quote, and I’d like to ask the students for their ideas about how a writer is like a magician. Is that an apt metaphor? Why or why not? Also, the link at the bottom can be followed to a video of Bradbury talking about short fiction. I think it can be very interesting for students to actually see an author talking about writing.

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