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Second Semester Assessment

  1. Element of the Short Story
  2. Make a résumé





SETTING -- The time and location in which a story takes place is called the setting.  For some stories the setting is very important, while for others it is not.  There are several aspects of a story's setting to consider when examining how setting contributes to a story (some, or all, may be present in a story):

a)  place - geographical location.  Where is the action of the story taking place?
b)  time - When is the story taking place? (historical period, time of day, year, etc)
c)  weather conditions - Is it rainy, sunny, stormy, etc?
d)  social conditions - What is the daily life of the character's like? Does the story contain local colour (writing that focuses on the speech, dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place)?
e)  mood or atmosphere - What feeling is created at the beginning of the story?  Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?


PLOT -- The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his basic idea;  It is the sequence of events in a story or play.  The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end.  The short story usually has one plot so it can be read in one sitting.  There are five essential parts of plot:

a)  Introduction - The beginning of the story where the characters and the setting is revealed.

b)  Rising Action - This is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed (events between the introduction and climax).

c)  Climax - This is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story.  The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?

d)  Falling action - The events and complications begin to resolve themselves.  The reader knows what has happened next and if the conflict was resolved or not (events between climax and denouement).

e)  Denouement - This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the story.

It is helpful to consider climax as a three-fold phenomenon:  1)  the main character receives new information  2)  accepts this information (realizes it but does not necessarily agree with it) 3)  acts on this information (makes a choice that will determine whether or not he/she gains his objective).

CONFLICT--   Conflict is essential to plot.  Without conflict there is no plot.  It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move.  Conflict is not merely limited to open arguments, rather it is any form of opposition that faces the main character. Within a short story there may be only one central struggle, or there may be one dominant struggle with many minor ones.

There are two types of conflict:
1)  External - A struggle with a force outside one's self.
2)  Internal - A struggle within one's self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.

There are four kinds of conflict:
1)  Man vs. Man (physical) - The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals.

2)  Man vs. Circumstances (classical) - The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.

3)  Man vs. Society (social) - The leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people.

4)  Man vs. Himself/Herself (psychological) -  The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.

CHARACTER -- There are two meanings for the word character:
1)  The person in a work of fiction.
2)  The characteristics of a person.

Persons in a work of fiction - Antagonist and Protagonist
Short stories use few characters.  One character is clearly central to the story with all major events having some importance to this character - he/she is the PROTAGONIST.  The opposer of the main character is called the ANTAGONIST.

The Characteristics of a Person -
In order for a story to seem real to the reader its characters must seem real.  Characterization is the information the author gives the reader about the characters themselves.  The author may reveal a character in several ways:
a)  his/her physical appearance
b)  what he/she says, thinks, feels and dreams
c)  what he/she does or does not do
d)  what others say about him/her and how others react to him/her

Characters are convincing if they are:  consistent, motivated, and life-like (resemble real people)

Characters are...
1.  Individual - round, many sided and complex personalities.
2.  Developing - dynamic,  many sided personalities that change, for better or worse, by the end of the story.
3.  Static - Stereotype, have one or two characteristics that never change and are emphasized e.g. brilliant detective, drunk, scrooge, cruel stepmother, etc.


Point of view, or p.o.v., is defined as the angle from which the story is told.

1.  Innocent Eye - The story is told through the eyes of a child (his/her judgment being different from that of an adult) .

2.  Stream of Consciousness - The story is told so that the reader feels as if they are inside the head of one character and knows all their thoughts and reactions.

3.  First Person - The story is told  by the protagonist or one of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using pronouns I, me, we, etc).  The reader sees the story through this person's eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels.

4.  Omniscient- The author can narrate the story using the omniscient point of view.  He can move from character to character, event to event, having free access to the thoughts, feelings and motivations of his characters and he introduces information where and when he chooses.  There are two main types of omniscient point of view:

a)  Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc).  We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.

b)  Omniscient Objective – The author tells the story in the third person.  It appears as though a camera is following the characters, going anywhere, and recording only what is seen and heard.  There is no comment on the characters or their thoughts. No interpretations are offered.  The reader is placed in the position of spectator without the author there to explain.  The reader has to interpret events on his own.

THEME -- The theme in a piece of fiction is its controlling idea or its central insight.  It is the author's underlying meaning or main idea that he is trying to convey.  The theme may be the author's thoughts about a topic or view of human nature.  The title of the short story usually points to what the writer is saying and he may use various figures of speech to emphasize his theme, such as: symbol, allusion, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, or irony.

Link to Mrs. Gallant's info. on figures of speech  & figurative language

Some simple examples of common themes from literature, TV, and film are:
- things are not always as they appear to be
- Love is blind
- Believe in yourself
- People are afraid of change


Elements of Short Stories Notes

I. Plot - series of related events that make up a story

A. Conflict - struggle between opposing forces
1. Man vs. man - external struggle between two or more individuals

2. Man vs. himself - internal struggle concerning emotion and decision

3. Man vs. nature - external struggle between man and an element of nature

B. Complication - mini-conflicts that contribute to the rise in action

C. Climax - turning point of the story; emotional high point

(for the character, not the reader)

D. Falling action - events that lead to resolution

E. Resolution - outcome of the conflict

II. Four types of characterization - techniques the writer uses to develop character

A. Physical description

B. Speech and actions of the character

C. Direct comment from the narrator

D. Speech and actions of other characters

III. Themes of literature/Analyzing characters

A. Motivation - cause of actions

B. Behavior - actions of the character

C. Consequences - results of actions

D. Responsibility - moral, legal, or mental accountability

E. Expectations -

 IV. Setting/Description

A. Sensory details - words that appeal to the senses (sight/hearing/taste/touch/smell)

B. Figurative language

1. Simile - comparison using like or as

2. Metaphor - comparison using is or form of is

a. Implied metaphor

b. Extended metaphor

3. Personification

Make a Resume

In 10 minutes - Make a Resume

Make a Resume in 10 Minutes!
Yes. It is possible to make a resume and a fairly readable one, in just 10 minutes or less. In fact, we've had resumes come in that looked like the authors were used to spending less than 5 to make a resume. Anyway, read on and you'll know how you can make a resume in the shortest time possible. Whether or not you should, is really the question.

Get, Set, Make a Resume

Step 1: Personal Stuff
Put down your name and structure of your resume ie Profile, Professional experience, Qualifications and Interests. This should only take you about 30 seconds.

Step 2: Profile
Write an introduction about yourself including the following details - level of position or years of work experience, currently occupied and Functional/Industry specialization (eg: Trainee Merchandising Executive), your main skills and strengths. (if possible, include any relevant to role). This will take another minute.

Step 3: Professional Experience
Time frames under which you worked in different companies, the place and organization you worked for, the job title, and key accomplishments in each role. Start with your current work experience. Take upto 5 minutes on it.

Step 4: Qualifications
A fairly simple section to tackle. Institute, and name of Degree will be adequate. Mention any additional qualifications relevant to your work or job applied for. This section should take you another minute.

Step 5: Interests
Think of 2 or 3 interests that are fairly genuine yet do not sound alarming (not something like testing nuclear ammunition in your backyard please If you have achieved something related to your interest, that can go in as well. This should take you 45 seconds at the most.

Your last 1 minute and 45 seconds should be spent formatting the resume, including Bullets, Highlighting of titles and subtitles, use of italics etc and also for running a spell check and making corrections.

A Parting Shot
Ensure this is the last time that you make a resume in 10 minutes! Your career deserves more thought and planning, don't you think?

Developing a Teaching Resume & Cover Letter
By Amanda Post

Guidelines especially for student teachers or recent graduates -- An alternative resource on creating a teaching resume and cover letter. Find samples, and a few tips.

Y ou've built your background knowledge, gained job experience, and are on your way to a career in teaching! You probably know how to write a resume, but have you ever written one especially for a career in teaching?  When I set out on the task to find a teaching job last year, I found myself re-examining all of the resume writing skills I had previously learned... and now, I'll share that experience with you.  I'll follow up with example of my teaching resume and cover letter.

The Resume

These are the things I found most important in writing my resume. 

  • Make it look professional.
    Don't use cutesy paper, or casual font for your resume.  Use a neutral paper color and a professional looking font such as Times Roman, Arial, or Helvetica.  The font should not be too large.  Generally, keep the font size within 10-12 points.  (Your resume is your first impression, and it must reflect that you are a professional.  Remember who your audience is.)
  • Focus on your teaching experience.
    You haven't ever taught before? Yes, you have!  Document all of the hours you spent in practicums, volunteering, student teaching, aiding, sunday school & bible school, etc.!  It doesn't have to be paid experience. 
  • Choose areas that most reflect your abilities & interests in the teaching field.
    Indicate your membership in teaching organizations for students, add a section including your professional goals, etc.  You make the resume work for you.  There are not categories you have to use in resume writing--make up your own to fit your needs. Sell yourself!
  • Gain some experience or extra qualifications related to your career.
    If you are in your last year of college, or haven't been able to obtain a job yet, consider taking on a job working with children or attending a educational workshop.  This will show your commitment to the field, plus you'll be more knowledgeable in the profession.  I worked with an after-school latchkey program for a short time, and at
    Sylvan Learning Center, which provides tutoring for kids to adults.  Check your area for these types of opportunities.  I also attended a Wright Group Shared Reading workshop during my student teaching.  A workshop provides a lot of information that can be applied directly to the classroom, unlike most education courses. 
  • Make your resume the one that stands out.
    There are many ways to do this, but I don't think they all would be recommended.  (You wouldn't want to use fluorescent paper.)  I heard of someone making his resume like a trifold brochure.  Therefore, each time the administrator put the resumes in a stack, his would have to be on top due to it's size.  I didn't try that, but a safe recommendation would be to use a slightly off-color paper.  I used a very faint speckled blue.  Don't stress on this too much because the content of your resume is what should ultimately make your resume stand out.
  • Never make your resume more than one page???
    This is the recommendation you always hear. If you want, I believe it's okay for a teacher to have a longer resume. However, if you choose to do two pages, here is a nice way to do it:
      Don't staple 2 pages together.. turn them into one big page!
      • Take 2 pages and copy side by side onto an 11 X 17 piece of paper. 
      • Fold the paper in half so that the 2 pages are facing one another.
      • On the cover, copy an additional page that has your name, address, and phone number.  (It reminds me of a professional looking title page for a research paper.)

      Now, open up, and you'll have an attractive, detailed resume all in one glance.  If it's organized, the administrator can quickly look over your experience and qualifications.

    • Don't forget those basic resume writing skills!
      Use good grammar, have at least 2 people proofread it for you, and keep the phrases short and simple.  The person reading your resume will look at it quickly.  You don't have to use complete sentences, except where it seems appropriate.

    The Cover Letter

    The purpose of the cover letter is to let the administrator know what kind of job you're looking for, your connections and/or interest with his or her school, and to point out why you are the teacher to hire.  Keep it very short, refer to your resume, and indicate where and when you can be reached for an interview.  Ask for an interview and write the letter as if you anticipate talking with him or her soon.

    If you have already made contact with the administrator, refer to your talk to refresh his or her memory.

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    María López Ponce Elementary School of Puerto Rico