Short Stories: “Olikoye”

Goals for the Week:

  1. Follow along with the daily readings of short stories.
  2. Continue working on your Choice Board project
  3. Continue to collaborate with teachers and classmates

Today’s Checklist:

  1. Read “Olikoye” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2.  Understand how viruses infect the body and how vaccines prevent infection.
  3.  Consider how you feel about vaccines, particularly new and untested ones.

Today’s Lesson!


  • ELAGSE9-10RI1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Learning Target: 

I can read and understand a short story about vaccination and apply that knowledge to articles about the coronavirus vaccine, so that I can discuss my feelings about vaccines with my family.


Today we’re learning about viruses and vaccines! To understand some of the science we’re talking about today, take a look at this episode of Ask The Storybots, Season 2 Episode 8, “How Do People Catch a Cold?”

The full episode is here on YouTube, or you can watch it on Netflix 🙂

Work Session: 

Your assignment for this unit!

You will have one major assignment for this unit, and you get to choose it! Visit the choice board and select one project to complete about one story. In other words,

Today’s Story: “Olikoye” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Olikoye” is a very short little story about a mother giving birth to her baby, telling her midwife how she picked the child’s name. The baby is named after a famous doctor who brought vaccination to Nigeria in the 1970s. Before this, as you will read in “Olikoye,” many, many babies died of vaccine-preventable diseases. The doctor referenced in the story, by the way? He was a real person! So while this story might be fiction, it is very much based on reality!

Let’s pause here for some important background reading! Check out this website explaining the science behind vaccines: “Understanding How Vaccines Work”

Next up: You might have heard talk about another vaccine being developed right now – one for the coronavirus. Check out this article, “More Coronavirus Vaccines and Treatments Move Toward Human Trials” from the  New York Times. Read through it, and consider your thoughts:

  • Obviously, a vaccine for the coronavirus would be a welcome miracle. But what should we sacrifice in terms of safety testing to develop the vaccine faster?

For another perspective, read this article from National Geographic: “Why a Coronavirus Vaccine Could Take Way Longer Than a Year”. This one discusses some more complex science about how the vaccines currently under development work, and why they are different from the vaccines we currently use for other diseases.

  • Does this information change your perspective on how quickly scientists should push a vaccine through to the public?

Closing Session:

These are big heavy questions we’ve dealt with today, and I know they’re on everyone’s mind. For today’s closing session, I want you to discuss this with a family member or a friend (socially distantly, of course) your thoughts on the coronavirus vaccine. Will you be first in line to get it? Would you rather not get it at all? Consider these questions and your opinions, and discuss them with your friends and fam!

Looking Ahead: Tomorrow’s Story

If you want to get ahead on things, here is the story we’re reading tomorrow:


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