- Course type: Self-paced
- Available Lessons: 114
- Average Lesson Length: 8 min
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Watch a preview:chapter 1 / lesson 1How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide
Course SummaryThis American Literature Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course is a fully developed resource to help you organize and teach American literature. You can easily adapt the video lessons, transcripts, and quizzes into your classroom and take full advantage of the comprehensive and engaging material we offer. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.
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Course Practice TestCheck your knowledge of this course with a 50-question practice test.
- Comprehensive test covering all topics
- Detailed video explanations for wrong answers
How It Works
You can use this American literature course as a template for designing and implementing your course. Here are the key components of the course and how you can use them:
- Chapters - Each chapter covers a unit of American literature, from literary analysis and modernist poetry to the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary American prose. Use these chapters as mile markers as you map out your course. We recommend planning to spend a week on each chapter, but you can always allocate the chapters according to the length of your specific American literature course.
- Lessons - Within each chapter are video lessons that further break down topics into bite-sized chunks. These lessons cover single topics like Native American oral tradition or The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Each one is often appropriate for a single class.
- Key Terms - Within each lesson are key terms. These are emphasized on screen and in the transcript. As you develop your syllabus, these key terms help you focus on the most important learning objectives. For example, the lesson on analyzing American poetry includes key terms like simile, metaphor, personification, and symbolism.
As you work on your American literature lesson plans, save time by incorporating video lessons from this resource. Here's how:
- Introduce Topics - Your students will be in the right mindset for understanding topics like modernist prose if you begin class with a short video. It can be a jumping-off point for a lecture, group activity, or class discussion.
- Break Up Lectures - The video format, which often includes animation, helps students visualize works like 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and 'The Bridge'.
- Assign For Homework - Each lesson in the course, from an overview of literary periods to the use of common rhetorical devices, can be assigned to your students as homework.
Each video lesson includes a complete transcript. You can utilize these transcripts in several ways:
- Lecture Notes - Do you need a guide as you plan a lecture, such as one on colonial literature or modernist poetry? The transcripts cover each topic in depth, with key terms highlighted for quick reference.
- Student Reading - Perhaps you'd like your students to learn about Edward Albee's short stories, but you don't have class time available. Assign the transcript as extra reading.
- Study Tools - When it's time for a unit exam on realism in literature, you can point your students to the transcripts on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and related topics to help them study.
Each video lesson has a corresponding quiz. Here's how to use the quizzes:
- Homework - Assign a quiz to your students as homework. You'll receive an email with the results, which enables you to verify they've completed the assignment and that they've understood the material. Questions cover everything from recurring themes in Melville's work to key literary terms, like allegory, archetype, hyperbole, and onomatopoeia.
- Tests - You can meld the material in the quizzes into your own student assessments, saving you valuable time. Need a few questions on transcendentalism in literature? There are plenty!
- Discussions - Jump-start a discussion with questions like: What are some of the characteristics of Hemingway's writing style?
Below is a sketch of the American literature syllabus modeled on an 11-week course. This sample can be adapted based on your course schedule. Navigate the chapters and lessons for more detail.
|Week||Unit||Sample of Topics Covered|
|Week 1||Literary Analysis||Literary periods and movements, methods for analyzing a literary passage, literary terms for poetry and prose|
|Week 2||Colonial and Early National Period in Literature||Native American oral tradition, the works of James Fenimore Cooper, The Federalist Papers, poetry by Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley|
|Week 3||Romantic Period in Literature||Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow|
|Week 4||Dark Romantics||Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado' and 'The Raven,' Herman Melville's life and works, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter|
|Week 5||Transcendentalism in Literature||The transcendental poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience, poems by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman|
|Week 6||Realism in Literature||Mark Twain's short stories and novels, My Antonia by Willa Cather, Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Edith Wharton's major novels|
|Week 7||Modernist Prose and Plays||The life and works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, novels and short stories by John Steinbeck, Eugene O'Neil's plays|
|Week 8||Modernist Poetry||The imagist movement, William Carlos Williams' poetry, free verse in the work of E.E. Cummings, poems by Hart Crane and Sylvia Plath, T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land|
|Week 9||The Harlem Renaissance and Literature||Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, works by Countee Cullen and W.E.B. Du Bois, the poetry of Langston Hughes|
|Week 10||Literature of the Contemporary Period||Tennessee Williams' major works, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, poetry from the Beat Generation|
|Week 11||Analysis of American Literature||Poetic forms and plot techniques in American literature, tips for analyzing short stories and drama, common rhetorical devices|
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