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Spar Lit Short Story Masterpieces: Understanding Modern Stories Through Debate

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Cindy Frank
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In this 4-week multi-day class we will study some of the finest modern short stories from some of the best-known writers of our time from John Cheever to Alice Munro to Lauren Groff, through discussion and Spar Debate. ESL friendly, CEFR level C1, C2 #academic

Class Experience

US Grade 7 - 10
Advanced Level
8 lessons//8 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Inner Workings of the S. Story, Discussion of Boys and Girls by A. Munro
Discussion of Boys and Girls by Alice Munro and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Question: How do boys and girls find their place in the world? Position 1: Boys and girls find their place in the world by subtle — and sometimes not so subtle— messages that influence their behavior and choices. Explain. Position 2: Boys and girls find their place in the world through sheer force of will and a hard won discovery of self—whomever that self may be. Explain.
 Week 2
Lesson 2
Inner Workings...Discussions of There Will Come Soft Rains by R. Bradbury
Discussion of There Will Come Soft Rains and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: Technology is taking over our lives and blunting our ability to relate to and understand Nature. Position 1: Agree Position 2: Disagree
 Week 3
Lesson 3
Inner workings...Discussion of Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
Discussion of Harrison Bergeron and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: Making certain everyone is exactly equal is just and fair. Position: 1: Agree with this statement. Equality under the law should be both celebrated and cherished. Explain. Position 2: Disagree with this statement. Not only is this goal not viable but it’s deeply unfair to each and every person no matter their levels of intelligence or expertise. Explain.
 Week 4
Lesson 4
Inner workings... Discussion of The Swimmer by John Cheever
Discussion of The Swimmer and Spar Debating sparked by the story: Spar Statement: When faced with true upset or trauma many of us revert to fantasy to protect ourselves and our illusions. Position 1: Agree with the above statement. Explain. Position 2: Disagree with the above statement. In spite of dishonor and possible humiliation, people should work to face issues head on, confront them, and deal with them to move forward.
 Week 5
Lesson 5
Inner workings...Discussion of The Rules of the Game by Amy Tan
Discussion of The Rules of the Game and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: The pride that our parents feel for our accomplishments often supersedes the pride we feel for our own accomplishments. Position 1: Our accomplishments should please our parents as we are a reflection of our families and our own family story. Position 2: Our accomplishments should be our own, for ourselves without being tethered to family connections.
 Week 6
Lesson 6
Inner workings...Discussion of A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri
Discussion of A Temporary Matter and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: Is there any way we can protect and shield ourselves from tragedy and its effects? Position 1: Yes, sometimes. Explain. Position 2: No, never. Explain.
 Week 7
Lesson 7
Inner workings...Discussion of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Discussion of Crying in H Mart and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: It’s sometimes easier to communicate through a shared love of food and cooking than it is to simply say what needs to be said. Position 1: Agree with the above statement. Explain. Position 2: Disagree with the above statement: There are times when nothing else will do but simply saying what we need to say from the heart so there is no question about our intention and our meaning.
 Week 8
Lesson 8
Inner workings of the Short Story and Discussion of The Wind by Lauren Groff
Discussion of The Wind and Spar Debating sparked by the story. Spar Statement: The stories we tell ourselves help us heal. Position 1: Agree with the above statement. Explain Position 2: Disagree with the above statement. We never heal from trauma but we tell ourselves the stories to cling to memory and hope for the future.
  • *To gain confidence in speaking and organization *Understand all the basic ideas of debate and rhetoric *Gain deeper understanding of literature through debate * To communicate effectively through speaking, thinking adroitly and responding fluently * Improve memory retention and organizational skills * Gain confidence and poise in oral presentation * Expand vocabulary and word usage *To gain deeper understanding of the nuances of literature and the short story format
Longtime teacher of literature for both middle and high school students. Founder and former coach of an award-winning Speech and Debate team that competed at local, state and national levels, long-time speech judge for local, regional, national speech events for NCFL and National Speech and Debate Association, former teacher of high school debate and rhetoric, art history, literature, and AP Language and Composition. 
Homework Offered
Students will be required to read the upcoming short story we will be considering for the upcoming week. In addition, optional writing assignments will be made available after each session for students who wish to expand writing abilities. Detailed written responses will be sent individually to each learner upon completion of assignments.
0 - 1 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Learners will receive both oral and written feedback throughout the sessions. Detailed written responses will be sent individually to each learner upon completion of assignments.
Grades Offered
 1 file available upon enrollment
All short stories will be sent to students via pdf prior to each class session over the classroom page. It is not necessary to purchase books for this class.
The superb short stories we will be studying in this class are chosen for mature students who love  and can truly engage with great writing.   The short stories we will discuss and debate deal with topics such as interpersonal relations, the goals and frustrations of the writer, and class issues. Certain of the stories also deal with spousal and child abuse (The Wind), nuclear war (There Will Come Soft Rains), anxiety and mental illness (The Swimmer), complex parent/child relations (The Rules of the Game, Crying in H Mart, and Boys and Girls), government control (Harrison Bergeron).  It is stressed that we will be considering these modern short stories as works of literature - sensitive questions that may arise from the issues presented will be explained as literary devices essential to the overall understanding and  meaning of the story. If you have questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to me.
The Art of The Short Story: 52 Authors, Their Best Short Fiction, and Their Insights on Writing by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn  will be referenced throughout the class sessions. 
Joined July, 2020
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605reviews
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Teacher expertise and credentials
Bachelor's Degree
Hello, Everyone, I'm Cindy Frank!

*Proud ACE Educator and INDEPENDENT TEACHER
*Classes limited to 6 students--all have a voice in the classroom
* All classes taught, written, and created by me for my learners
*Each session a full 55 minutes of... 
Group Class

$225

for 8 classes
1x per week, 8 weeks
55 min

Completed by 8 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 12-17
3-6 learners per class

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