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American Literature (Course) Unit 4

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This page is part of the American Literature high school curriculum page. To see the entire curriculum, click here.


This page is a draft.

The information on this page may be outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete. Use this page with caution.

Unit 4: New Frontiers (1865-1914)

Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism

The Realistic Period in American literature began in 1865 with the conclusion of the Civil War and ended around 1900. The Naturalistic Period in American literature began at the close of the Realistic Period and ended in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I. Regionalism is a trend in literature to focus on the characters, dialect, customs, geography, and other features particular to a specific region.

Enduring Understandings

Essential Questions

Standards and I Can Statements

Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

  • I can identify elements of a story or drama (e.g., setting, events characters). (K)
  • I can analyze how elements of a story or drama are developed and/or interrelated. (R)
  • I can analyze the impact of an author's choices in presenting elements of a story or drama. (R)

Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

  • I can determine a complex set of ideas or sequence of events conveyed in a text. (R)
  • I can analyze how specific individuals interact and develop within a complex set of ideas or sequence of events. (R)
  • I can analyze how specific ideas interact and develop within a complex set of ideas or sequence of events. (R)
  • I can analyze how specific events interact and develop within a complex set of ideas or sequence of events. (R)

Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

  • I can use prewriting strategies to formulate ideas. (S)
  • I can recognize that a well-developed piece of writing requires more than one draft. (K)
  • I can apply revision strategies with the help of others. (S)
  • I can edit my writing by checking for errors in capitalization, punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.
  • I can analyze my writing to determine if my purpose and audience and have been fully addressed and revise when necessary. (R)
  • I can prepare multiple drafts using revisions and edits to develop and strengthen my writing. (P)
  • I can recognize when revising, editing, and rewriting are not enough, and I need to try a new approach. (R)

Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

  • I can identify the parts of my presentation, including findings, reasoning, and evidence, that could use clarification, strengthening, and/or additional interest. (K)
  • I can integrate appropriate digital media in a strategic manner to improve my presentation. (S)

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • I can determine when to capitalize words. (K)
  • I can apply common hyphenation conventions. (S)
  • I can recognize that there are many different rules concerning hyphens and use resources to assist me in hyphenating correctly. (R)
  • I can identify misspelled words and use resources to assist me in spelling correctly. (S)

Lesson Sequence





Literary Resources

New England

  • Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins (1852-1930)
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896)
  • Jewett, Sarah Orne (1849-1909)


  • Chopin, Kate (1850-1904)
  • Harris, Joel Chandler (1848-1908)


  • Harte, Bret (1839-1902)
  • Twain, Mark (1835-1910)

Great Plains

  • Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938)

Teaching Resources

Background Reading



Academic Language

Tier 2

Tier 3