Surprising Short Stories

Whitfield sixth graders surprised their English teacher by coming up with an additional creative writing assignment after reading short stories by H.H. Munro, better known by the penname Saki.

“We had just read several ‘twilight zone-esque’ stories by Saki which always have a major twist at the end,” said faculty member Tom Herman. “This inspired my students to start writing their own, really cool short stories just for the heck of it!”

Mr. Herman had not planned to introduce a short story writing assignment at this point in the trimester but seized on the tremendous creative energy and initiative of his students.

“I had also just participated in a webinar offered by the National Gallery of Art on connecting art to imaginative storytelling, so I decided to ask the class to consider a work of art as creative inspiration for their stories,” said Herman. “The painting used in the webinar, Sir Edwin Landseer’s Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler, is full of mystery and provides a great creative vehicle for the students.”

In addition, Mr. Herman provided general guidelines specific to story length (no more than five pages) as well as character development. Each story had to have a character who speaks in metaphors, a character who speaks in similes, a character who speaks in alliterations, and a character who speaks in rhyme (or one character who does all four).

Students are reading their stories aloud in class and assigning specific characters to their classmates to read. The stories range from humorous to hilarious and everything in between. Click here to read one of the stories.