Three Core American “Ism’s” Lead Page

Welcome to the Three Core American Ism’s Project: An examination of three of the main literary time periods in American literature.

The lead page here is the lesson plan.

However, the next five pages are dedicated to instruction!

Page 2: How to use Evernote and Bubbl

Page 3: Enlightenment/Classicism

Page 4: Romanticism/Dark Romanticism

Page 5: Realism

Page 6: Final Project

Lesson Title: Three Core American Literary “Ism’s”

Grade/Age Level: 11th Grade

Subject Area: English (especially Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

Time allotted for the lesson: Three weeks

In this lesson, the learners will learn and use core concepts of literary analysis with video support instead of simple terms and handouts. These videos could be refined and potentially be replaced with student developed video projects to make them even more relevant to particular schools.

Common Core Curriculum Standards met in this lesson:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5 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.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.9 Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10  By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Instructional Objectives (SWBAT+ Student will be able to):

Understand three of the core “Ism” themes in American literature

Analyze the concepts of these isms (Enlightenment/Classicism, Romanticism/Dark Romanticism, Realism) through research and through literary analysis.

Develop  a portfolio of analysis for future study and for test prep.

Present evidence of their knowledge in project-based settings (infographics, videos, sketch/visual notetaking, blogs, timelines, etc.

Instructional Procedures

Lesson Set: Students will go through a step-by-step process reviewing the four elements as well as practicing the use of such web tools such as Evernote and

Techniques and activities

  • Get a journal (Composition book or Moleskine type journal) to use with this example.
  • Since students are already going to be doing Evernote, they may elect to do all of their research and note taking using it (they can still use handwritten approaches but can take photos and port them to the Evernote page.
  • Students will be engaging in internet activities including TED-ED and mini web-quests.
  • Have access to a computer, tablet, or even a smart phone.

Lesson 1: Using Evernote

  • Mr. Tyler will provide a video or two on the uses of Evernote.
  • Download the Evernote Web Clipper for your browser (Firefox for Mac, Chrome for Windows. Safari is an option for Mac users).
  • Students will need to acquire an Evernote account for this assignment (students may opt to use One Note –Microsoft- as well if they are versed in its application and use, but I highly recommend using Evernote). Directions for this will be provided by Mr. Tyler
  • Practice assignment via Evernote: (I will provide a short video showing students how to do this step-by-step)
  • Make a Notebook named English Practice.
  • Find something on American literature online (do not use Wikipedia for this exercise) and make a web clipping from it to Evernote. Save it to your English Practice notebook.
  • Type in a paragraph on what you learn from this clipping (you may do this directly underneath the web clipping); download the PDF (American Isms basics) I am providing you onto your desktop. Drag that PDF into Evernote.

Lesson 2: Enlightenment

  • Make a notebook in Evernote labeled ISM’s Project
  • Visit TED-ED site and review the video on the Enlightenment and do the assignments connected to the TED-ED site.
  • Add the link from the TED-ED page to your Evernote.
  • Your literary analysis assignment for the Enlightenment will go in the Evernote folder at a later time.

Lesson 3: Romanticism/Dark Romanticism

  • Students will download the Romanticism unit, which has been generously provided by Ms. Kimberly Hearne in Gilbert, Arizona.
  • Find at least one artifact on American romanticism and American Gothic (dark) romanticism from the web. Use Web Clipper and save it to your Evernote ISM’s Project notebook.
  • Develop a graphic chart of the key concepts concerning Romanticism, using
  • Do the Romanticism assignment (pp. 8-12) via Evernote and share your work with the instructor.
  • Your literary analysis assignment for the Dark Romanticism will go in the Evernote folder at a later time.

Lesson 4: Realism

  • Download the primary sources guide from the web site and then add it to your Evernote ISM’s Project notebook.
  • Students will research at least three source pieces of information on realism in American literature. TWO OF THESE sources must be primary sources. One source can be Wikipedia, but it is not your primaru source. Using your web clipper, save these to your ISM’s Project notebook. (If you find a PDF, video, or Word document, this counts as well. Download the text file and/or embed the video into your Evernote ISM Project notebook.
  • Write a two paragraph summary (with MLA citation) on Realism.
  • Your literary analysis assignment for Realism will go in the Evernote folder at a later time.

Lesson 5: Literary Analysis Review

Pick one story from each of the following isms and do a readers journal.


Download the literary analysis/reader’s journal sheet provided by Mr. Tyler  and  do a two-page analysis of the piece, remembering to focus on elements of the ISM the text is connected to. Feel free to include historic context in your analysis. A rubric will be provided.Your literary analysis assignment for Modernism will go in the Evernote folder at a later time. Teachers; Pick one or a variant of the next two:
1) Divide students into three groups and then divide the three stories among the groups. Have students do these readings and journals, compile them in one presentation, and then give their presentation to the class.OR
2) Have students choose the stories they wish and then present their findings in presentation form (Evernote, infographic, and/or online discussion.


Dark Romanticism: Murky tales which emphasize individuality and imagination. Also, freedom from political constraints and social conventions.

Realism: The representation of characters, actions, or social conditions as they actually are (that is, concrete and accessible), without idealization or presentation in abstract form.

Modernism: Stories include post World War I concerns with social deterioration, individual powerlessness, fear, and disorientation. Besides the War, also influenced by urbanization, immigration, economic instability, and industrialization.

Lesson 6: Modernism (alternate lesson not included in this plan)


  • Students will complete a TED-ED assignment on Modernism.
  • Find at least two artifacts on Modernism from the web. Use web clipper and save it to your Evernote ISM’s Project notebook.
  • Students should do a on the elements that contributed to Modernism, based on research and/or the TED-ED assignment.

Adaptations for special learners:

Students need to keep these handouts or make sure they maintain the link to these assignments. Students who are struggling with these assignments will be assigned student mentors and also will have opportunities for instructor tutoring.  Handouts can be copied into the Open Dyslexic font to assist those students with sight issues read the materials better.

Lesson Closure: AP practice tests on each of these time periods. This may take several days.

Supplemental Activities: Extension and remediation:

Pre-AP/AP students may be asked to construct a PBL (Problem Based Learning) project that will help not only show mastery of these isms but also develop more artifacts to boost across the class learning.

Remediation will occur based on assignments.

Assessment/Evaluation :

  • At least three journal checks (formative)
  • Successful use of the terms in context during the course of other activities.
  • Use of the terms within AP Practice assignments and in literary analysis
  • Use of these concepts in connection with deeper novel readings.
  • Completion of TED-ED assignments (where applicable)

Learner Products (What artifact(s) or products will result from the lesson?

An online portfolio that can be used for studying these terms in the future. Students will be encouraged to add to the portfolio.

Students will also learn how to use cloud/presentation technology to organize their research and assignments.


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