American Literature is a high school-level survey course of the works crafted by American authors, poets, speechwriters, and composers. By taking a close look at the writer, as well as their work, students begin to develop a better understanding of how literature reflects both the person who wrote it, as well as the time period in which it was written. Students are provided with a variety of authors who helped describe the challenges, joys, and perseverance that went into the building of this nation. Literary genres and techniques are explained so the reading that follows makes sense and students can begin to see patterns and then provide their own explanations of the meaning behind the stories they read. My goal is to make literature understandable and fun. Students are encouraged to ask question, offer comments, and find unique ways to respond to the works written by some of America’s well-known writers.
This is a 32-week course. Students will find all assigned work posted on our class Canvas page. Students will be given an assigned reading and related homework each week. When they attend our weekly live class, the work they read that week will be discussed. This offers students a chance to come to class prepared to engage with the teacher, as well as their fellow classmates, in analyzing that week’s selected reading. Twice a year, students will be given an opportunity to create a longer paper in response to their reading. Students will be able to choose the subject they would like to explore in this paper. On the weeks the larger paper is due, there is little or no other homework. Students can also expect to produce one creative project in this class related to something we have covered. Students in former classes have crafted art pieces, composed songs, performed skits, and built structures from wood in response to this assignment. Students find using their personal talents for this assignment makes it one of the highlights of the class. Students can expect to spend five to ten hours per week on this course.
Who should enroll?
Any student in grades 9 through 12 may take this course. There are no prerequisites.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Students can expect their homework to be evaluated and graded weekly. Since homework is due the day of our live class sessions, I try to have all homework graded before the next class. If the work is completed on time and questions are answered completely, full credit is normally awarded for the weekly assignments. For the larger papers, students should expect to have a grade and my comments back within two to three weeks. For t he larger papers I offer a deep evaluation of both style and content. Former students have said these evaluations have been most beneficial as they prepare for higher level writing in college. Students are welcome to communicate with me via email and I usually respond with 24 hours.
Once a student registers for my class they and their parent will receive an email welcoming them to American Literature. They will be added to the course and will be alerted when the Canvas page is open and they can begin their study of literature.