Teaching Ideas

Teaching ELA Concepts with Short Stories

An image of a stack of books, with a pair of glasses on top. There are two small succulent plants, one to the right of the books and one on top of the books. At the top of the image there is pink text reading "Teaching with Short Stories and Texts"

Need inspiration? This post has all of my tips and tricks for teaching ELA concepts like characterization, setting, symbolism, and much more!

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Over the past year, I’ve been working on a series of posts dedicated to teaching ELA concepts with short stories. Since the first post is from January 2021, I decided to assemble all nine of them in one convenient place, for easy reading and bookmarking ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re looking for a standards-aligned resource that uses diverse short stories to teach some of the most essential figurative language elements, check out this resource bundle we released in 2024!

Teaching ELA Concepts with Short Stories

Teaching Symbolism with Short Stories

This post also contains a FREE resource for teaching symbolism that your students will love ๐Ÿ™‚

Teaching Setting with Short Stories

From a futuristic hospital to the inside of a ’67 Chevy Impala, to the planet Venus, this wide variety of settings will help keep students engaged.

A photo of a brick walled room with antique looking barrels and wooden tables. There is a white border at the top with the pink text "Teaching Setting with Short Stories"
This image is a photo of a field of flowers, with a big sunflower in the foreground. At the top there is a white border with pink text that reads "Figurative Language in Short Stories"

Teaching Figurative Language with Short Stories

This post covers three ELA concepts; simile, personification, and hyperbole, and that’s not an exaggeration! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Teaching Suspense and Pacing with Short Stories

This post features texts that you can use in HS and MS ELA (in other words, they aren’t *too* scary). If you teach upper grades, you might also like this post on classroom-appropriate horror stories.

A photo of a foggy graveyard with a white border at the top and pink text reading "Teaching Suspense with Short Stories"
A dark blue background with a close-up of two sets of hands pulling a rope in opposite directsions. There is a pink box below the hands with white text that reads "Teaching Conflict with Short Stories"

Teaching Conflict with Short Stories

In addition to teaching conflict as a literary element, this post also offers some extension ideas for students to get into the realities that drive conflict in literature.

Teaching Irony with Short Stories

Teaching irony can be SO fun with the right texts! I have recommendations for middle and high school ELA.

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Teaching Characterization with Short Stories

5 short texts, plus resources and ideas for extension and enrichment.

Other Short Media for Teaching ELA Concepts

Songs to Use in ELA

Music has SO many applications in the classroom, but it’s an obvious choice for teaching poetic devices and ELA concepts. This post has song recommendations and teaching ideas.

A reel of film, partially unwound in front of a pink and red background. The overlayed text says Short Films for Secondary ELA.

Short Films for Teaching Literary Elements

Go beyond Pixar with these short films that will surprise, delight, and challenge your students.

Final thoughts:

An illustration of a castle, with the full moon shining above it a flock of bats. Below the castle there is a blue border with white text that reads "Teaching Elements of Literature with Short Stories"

I hope this post added to your teaching toolbox and gave you some fresh ideas for teaching ELA concepts! Make sure you are signed up for my Teaching Tips Newsletter so that you can receive ideas like these delivered right to your inbox ๐Ÿ™‚

Is there an ELA concept that you need help with and I haven’t covered yet? Comment below or reach out on IG @nouvelle_ela.

Happy teaching!