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The creation of their own personal life story map is the guide for students in developing a writing portfolio of three to five episodic short short stories, a sub-genre of short stories using only 500 to 1,000 words. The students begin the unit through the exploration of cartography, centering on the decorative mappae mundi and portolan charts of the Medieval period. The short short story sub-genre is simultaneously introduced through classic and modern examples. The unit shifts to a writing focus with exercises that illustrate the specific characteristics of the sub-genre, but can be used for any story writing. These exercises include: the development of a motif, use of tension, dialogue, story prompts, and revision cues. Included in the unit are assignment sheets, rubrics, a brief early history of cartography with a vocabulary list, and suggested maps and short short stories to use in the classroom.
(Developed for English IV, grade 12; recommended for English, grades 10-12)