Ch 1: Classic American Literature Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The short and useful lessons in this chapter provide you with lesson plan outlines for several classic works of American literature. These outlines are particularly useful for planning your American literature classes.

Classic American Literature Lesson Plans - Chapter Summary

This series of lessons will help you create a comprehensive classic American literature syllabus. You'll learn how to present the themes, symbols, characters and analysis of several classic American novels, including:

  • The Scarlet Letter
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Crucible
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Additionally, the chapter provides multimedia lessons and activities that you can assign your students for homework or use during class time.

How It Helps

  • Student activities: Incorporates pre-reading activities to assign students before they explore these works
  • Learning objectives: Looks at important literary elements for classic American novels, including themes, symbols, characters and literary analysis
  • Additional resources: Includes novel-specific lessons you can use as an effective teaching tool during class time

How It Works

This helpful resource offers teachers lesson plan outlines with relevant tools to make planning classic American literature lessons easy.

  • Find lesson plans for specific literature topics you want to cover in class.
  • Formulate your American literature class outline using the suggested classroom tools offered in the lesson plans.
  • Share the related literature lessons for each lesson plan with students in class to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Use related lesson quizzes to ensure your students understand the most important classic American literature concepts from the lessons.
  • Engage your students with relevant literature-related activities, discussion questions or other materials found in the lesson plan outline.

39 Lessons in Chapter 1: Classic American Literature Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
To Kill A Mockingbird Lesson Plan

1. To Kill A Mockingbird Lesson Plan

This lesson plan on 'To Kill a Mockingbird' will help students better understand one of the most famous works by the late Harper Lee and its criticism of life in the South.

To Kill a Mockingbird Essential Questions

2. To Kill a Mockingbird Essential Questions

Get a list of essential questions for To Kill a Mockingbird so that you can encourage your students to use higher order thinking skills to analyze this Harper Lee novel. Questions are organized by chapter.

Ethan Frome Lesson Plan

3. Ethan Frome Lesson Plan

Preparing to read the short novel 'Ethan Frome' by Edith Wharton? Use this lesson plan to get students ready by previewing characters, themes, setting, and reading a brief summary of the book, then extend thinking with a prediction activity.

Moby Dick Lesson Plan

4. Moby Dick Lesson Plan

Teaching students the key elements of Moby Dick is no simple task. This lesson plan streamlines instruction by featuring a group activity that is supported by two informative video lessons.

Transcendentalism Lesson Plan

5. Transcendentalism Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about transcendentalism. Students will watch an engaging video that defines the terms, outlines key ideas, then explains its impact on American literature. Follow up with a fun activity.

Kate Chopin Lesson Plan

6. Kate Chopin Lesson Plan

Author Kate Chopin was a trailblazer in the literary world. This lesson plan uses an engaging and informative video lesson to summarize her life and work for students while small group activities allow for deeper analysis of her significance.

American Romanticism Lesson Plan

7. American Romanticism Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to introduce American Romanticism to students. Students will watch a video lesson, discuss the key characteristics of American Romanticism, and research a work of literature.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Lesson Plan

8. Uncle Tom's Cabin Lesson Plan

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe presents the plight of slaves in pre-abolitionist America. This lesson plan uses a text lesson to summarize the book for students. A hands-on activity solidifies understanding.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Lesson Plan

9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Lesson Plan

Educate your students about ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' with this lesson plan. Your pupils will view a video lesson, take a follow-up quiz to demonstrate mastery, and partake in three activities that will increase comprehension of the story.

My Antonia Lesson Plan

10. My Antonia Lesson Plan

This lesson plan will help students examine the themes of the story and extract meaning from unknown words as they read ''My Antonia'' by Willa Cather.

Shirley Jackson Lesson Plan

11. Shirley Jackson Lesson Plan

This lesson plan will help students analyze the author's craft, including the structure and use of literary devices while studying the author, Shirley Jackson. The lesson will culminate in an activity that looks at her different stories.

Shirley Jackson: Biography, Works & Influences

12. Shirley Jackson: Biography, Works & Influences

Shirley Jackson's talent for writing haunting stories was so immense, that she inspired some of the greatest horror authors writing today. Read on to learn more about the woman who gave rise to the horror genre.

The Awakening Activities

13. The Awakening Activities

If you're teaching Kate Chopin's novel, 'The Awakening,' then these activities will help your students develop a deeper understanding of the text. The activities included here cover a wide range of teaching approaches and learning styles.

James Thurber Lesson Plan

14. James Thurber Lesson Plan

Dive into the life and times of author James Thurber with this lesson plan. Two text lessons guide students to a deeper understanding of the man and his work, which students will use to create a biographical project.

James Thurber: Biography & Quotes

15. James Thurber: Biography & Quotes

Known for his hilarious stories and cartoons, James Thurber was an American cartoonist and writer who worked during the middle of the twentieth century. In this lesson, we will learn about James Thurber's life.

James Thurber: Short Stories, Books & Cartoons

16. James Thurber: Short Stories, Books & Cartoons

A writer, an illustrator, and a cartoonist all wrapped into one, James Thurber had a talent for drawing and writing that was well-known both during his lifetime and today. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at his short stories, books, and cartoons.

Robert W. Chambers: Biography & Quotes

17. Robert W. Chambers: Biography & Quotes

Do you enjoy gothic horror, a genre in fiction in which horror and romance are exaggerated to fantastic levels? If so, thank Robert W. Chambers, one of gothic horror's 20th century experts.

Cornell Woolrich: Biography & Books

18. Cornell Woolrich: Biography & Books

Have you ever seen the Alfred Hitchcock classic ''Rear Window''? If so, you should thank Cornell Woolrich, who, while little known today, made significant contributions to the mystery novel and short story, including writing the story that inspired Hitchcock's film.

The Tiger Who Would Be King: Summary & Analysis

19. The Tiger Who Would Be King: Summary & Analysis

James Thurber's ''The Tiger Who Would Be King'' uses animals to tell the story of war and destruction in the wake of the power-hungry. In this lesson, we'll summarize the story and look at Thurber's deeper message.

The Tiger who Would Be King: Theme & Moral

20. The Tiger who Would Be King: Theme & Moral

In this lesson we discuss James Thurber's fable, 'The Tiger Who Would Be King.' We discuss the plot of the story, its moral, and the overarching theme.

Southern Gothic Literature Lesson Plan

21. Southern Gothic Literature Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is designed to help teachers teach their students about Southern Gothic literature. Students will be able to identify characteristics and provide examples of this genre of literature.

Washington Irving Lesson Plan

22. Washington Irving Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about Washington Irving's life, style, and major works. They will interpret and perform some of his short stories in groups.

St. Jean De Crevecoeur Lesson Plan

23. St. Jean De Crevecoeur Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is designed to help teachers teach their students about St. Jean de Crevecoeur. Students will learn about his life and literary contributions and then mimic his writing style.

The Discourager of Hesitancy Lesson Plan

24. The Discourager of Hesitancy Lesson Plan

Deepen understanding of the story ''The Discourager of Hesitancy'' by Frank Stockton with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson, discuss and analyze content, form and argue opinions on the plot, then take a quiz and do an activity.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Lesson Plan

25. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Lesson Plan

This lesson plan explores the setting, characters, and themes of 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood' using whole class and small group work. Optional components include a writing assignment and a presentation piece.

The New Colossus Lesson Plan

26. The New Colossus Lesson Plan

This lesson plan provides teachers with ideas about how to teach students about 'The New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus. Students will analyze the structure and author's purpose of this sonnet.

The Monkey's Paw Lesson Plan

27. The Monkey's Paw Lesson Plan

After reading ''The Monkey's Paw'' by W.W. Jacobs, your students will examine the story's themes and structure, and use this to help them write their own fictional prequel to the story.

The Minister's Black Veil Lesson Plan

28. The Minister's Black Veil Lesson Plan

After reading 'The Minister's Black Veil,' students will analyze this story and its themes. They will then apply Hawthorne's style to their own creative short stories.

A Worn Path Discussion Questions

29. A Worn Path Discussion Questions

These discussion questions will help your students tackle the themes, ideas, and structure of the 1941 short story ''A Worn Path'', which has remained popular and influential for decades.

As I Lay Dying Discussion Questions

30. As I Lay Dying Discussion Questions

Here are a variety of questions that can help students comprehend and conceptualize the text of 'As I Lay Dying.' Questions cover the entire novel and can be used in an in-class to further discussion or through homework.

The Devil and Tom Walker Discussion Questions

31. The Devil and Tom Walker Discussion Questions

''The Devil and Tom Walker'' is an incredibly strong folk story. This asset offers many discussion questions to get your students talking about some of the most salient aspects of this classic work.

Gift of the Magi Discussion Questions

32. Gift of the Magi Discussion Questions

O. Henry's ''The Gift of the Magi'' is an interesting read that will get your students talking. This asset offers discussion questions to help your high school students stay on target as they explore the concepts in this beautiful short story.

Ellison's Invisible Man Discussion Questions

33. Ellison's Invisible Man Discussion Questions

'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison is a 1952 novel about racial issues in the United States from the perspective of an African American man. This asset provides classroom discussion questions about this novel.

My Antonia Discussion Questions

34. My Antonia Discussion Questions

Students will consider concepts of race, religion and relationships as they discuss Willa Cather's work, ''My Antonia''. Discussion questions are organized to focus your students on the most salient topics of the novel.

East of Eden Discussion Questions

35. East of Eden Discussion Questions

''East of Eden'' is a novel by John Steinbeck, and is a work filled with metaphor and Biblical allusion. These questions can help your students work through the themes and plot of ''East of Eden''.

Transcendentalism Discussion Questions

36. Transcendentalism Discussion Questions

Centered around American transcendentalism and its effect on society, these questions delve into the complexity of the topic. Use these discussion questions to help your high school students engage in meaningful conversations about the topic.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Discussion Questions

37. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Discussion Questions

This story superbly depicts an epic battle of wills between two stubborn characters. This lesson provides teachers with discussion questions to use for a class that has finished reading the novel.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Movie Discussion Questions

38. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Movie Discussion Questions

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is the 1976 Academy Award winning film by director Milos Forman about a criminal who is placed in a mental institution after pleading insanity. This asset provides discussion questions about the film.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Activities

39. Uncle Tom's Cabin Activities

''Uncle Tom's Cabin'' remains a widely read and referenced work of American literature to this day. These activities can help students to delve deeper into this novel and its place in history.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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