Question Detail

Need ideas for teaching American Literature

Jan 29, 2013 1:20pm

I would like some ideas on how to teach American Literary periods (realism, naturalism, modernism) to unmotivated/unengaged students who are not on a college track (do not aim/desire to go to college). Any suggestions on how to engage them?

  • English Language Arts
  • 9-12
  • Engagement


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    • Mar 16, 2013 9:54pm

      I teach a "Lost Generation" (Modernist Lit) Unit. The students compare and contrast their generation to The Lost Generation. Students read the poem "The Hollow Men," Ernest Hemingway's short stories "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and "Hills Like White Elephants." I teach alternative education and my students really enjoy these pieces. Most of my students are male and they really get into Hemingway.

      Right now my students are looking at Southern Gothic Literature. We read Flannery O'Conner's "A Good Man is Hard to Find," portions of "A Streetcar Named Desire," and William Faulkner's "Dry September" and "A Rose for Emily."

      To help keep students engaged I create annotated reading questions. Student highlight answers and write the number of the question that corresponds to the answer in the text. I have also used Sarah Wessling's "Pattern Folders" video lesson.

      • Mar 17, 2013 6:07pm

        Thanks so much! The "Lost Generation" seems like it would interest my students as well. I tried using traveling concept maps to analyze (close read) the text, pointing out the most important quotes to get to the main idea and to themes, and this has worked well. The students have been engaged and seem to understand more with this approach. I am definitely going to teach the Southern Gothics (we are in a small, rural, Southern town), so I think they should be able to relate well with that literature. This really helps!

        • Apr 25, 2014 4:53am

          This is a wonderful idea. I especially like the idea for the Ezra Pound essay.
          Sherrie Marshall