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American Studies - English: Home

This course offers an in-depth exploration of the American experience through the study of seminal literary works, including literature, journalistic writings, and speeches.

Grade 10 - American Studies


American Studies Honors Challenge #1 - Mark Twain

Students will compose argumentative essays focused on a Mark Twain topic. Topics will be provided in class. Responses should be 750 to 1,000 words in length. Essays should include references to three to five sources, using MLA format. 

In your VoiceThread, take a position on whether or not Mark Twain was a "man of his times" with regard to his views and actions concerning the rightful place of African Americans in American society as a whole.

American Studies Honors Challenge #2

Your task is to create a family tree going as far back in time as you can. There is no date in history to aim toward here but it should be evident that it took you both considerable time and effort to research your ancestry and create your family tree. Additionally, you will compose two pieces of writing: one on information gathering and one on information processing. Your information processing essay will explain the life experiences of at least two relatives, as case studies, by describing how history and/or culture impacted their lives. You will present you family tree and its information gathering component to the class. You will also present your essay as an electronic VoiceThread as well as submit a hard copy. Essay should include references to three to five sources, using MLA format. These sources may include information about events in history, events in culture, or famous figures in history and/or culture. Personal interviews count as sources of information as well.

American Studies Honors Challenge #4 - Decades

In a PowerPoint, Prezi, or Google presentation, each student will select one decade to research and design a museum representative of that decade which will be presented to the class. Decade selection must be approved by the teacher. Museums must include three exhibits on each of the following: literary movement(s), popular writers, and popular works. Each exhibit will include 3-5 artifacts as images. Additionally, students will compose 750-1,000 word informational reports on their decades. Students will present essays as electronic VoiceThreads as well as submit hard copies. Essays should include references to artifacts as well as sources of research, using MLA format.  

America's Story

American Studies Honors Challenge #3 - Ads in the 1920s

Students will create original “Roaring 20s” ads and present them to the class, explaining what their ads are for and the research that influenced their creations.  Additionally, students will compose 750 -1,000 word essays, where they will analyze visual texts with respect to a particular topic or theme of their choice. The topic or theme must be approved by the teacher. Students will present essays as electronic VoiceThreads as well as submit hard copies. Essays should include references to images as well as sources of research, using MLA format.

Literature Databases

The man who does not read good books has no
advantage over the man who cannot read them.

~Mark Twain

Virtual Reference Books Available 24/7

Click here for a list of  e-reference books 
to help in your research.

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.

Helpful Databases

Best of the Free Web

There's a book for that!

The SVS Library owns many books about specific authors
and literary 
movements. Be sure to check
the SVS LIbrary Catalog to see if there are books
about the specific writer(s) or movement(s)
that you are researching.


Helpful Databases for Researching Decades and Authors

Books in the SVS Library

The SVS Library has several books
that can help you complete
your honors challenge.

Click here for a list.

Primary Sources

E-Reference Books


Click on the book images to access these e-reference books.
Look for the Source Citation at end the end

of each article that you use.
Citations can be cut and pasted into your works cited page.

Recommended Links