Need a World Lit Curriculum Map? Use This Free Download!

Creating a World Lit. curriculum can be overwhelming. Especially if this is your first couple of years teaching it. Do you teach thematically or chronologically? Should you pace your units with the World History class, so that students have some overlap, or should you focus more on topics that feel more relevant to your students? 

Get the FREE DOWNLOAD of our curriculum map here. 

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After teaching World Lit. to high school students, I found a pace and method that worked pretty well to keep my students’ interest, however recently I’ve added one more layer to this curriculum, and that is the concept of using essential questions to guide your World Literature units. 

In this blog post, I’m sharing this full curriculum scope and sequence with you; you’re welcome to download it, and use it as your own. 

Ready do download? Go HERE and get the free PDF. 

How To Use EQs To Guide Your World Lit. Instruction

Essential questions came into vogue a few years ago in terms of purposeful pedagogy for the high school English classroom, and for good reason. 

When you use an essential question to guide your units, rather than using novels to guide your units, students will think more deeply and make more meaningful connections to thew real world.

pull out quote from article that says "When you use essential questions to guide your units, students will think more deeply and make more connections to the real world."

For this World Lit. curriculum map, I’ve created a year-long essential question to guide the entire school year. This will be a question that students come back to several times throughout the year, and that connects to each individual unit in some way. 

The year-long essential question is: To What Extent Should Others’ Stories Shape Us?

Students will get to think deeply about this question as they interact with many different pieces of literature from all over the world. 

Each unit also has an essential question that guides that unit. Each essential question allows students to consider how to answer that question using concepts presented in the anchor text as well as auxiliary texts. 

Example of How EQs and Anchor Texts Work Together

For instance, for the second unit in this curriculum map, students study excerpts from The Iliad. They will examine the essential question for that unit which is “What is the connection between a society’s heroes and that society’s values? 

This is a great question to help students consider the values of ancient Greek society as they examine Achilles and Hector. This society valued certain things (physical strength), but did not necessarily value other traits as heavily (such as humility). We can infer this by the heroes that this text applauds. 

Then, students can further examine the question of what a society’s heroes shows us about that society by examining more literature–both short and long works. The way we have this unit set up in the English Teacher Vault, allows students to do book clubs to further examine the question. 

picture of a world lit curriculum map that includes essential questions and anchor texts.

Students will get in groups of 4-5, and they will read a high-interest YA memoir that also has a key protagonist who could be considered heroic. 

By examining that protagonist and the society in which that person comes from, students will be able to more fully examine the essential question allowing for higher-level thinking, synthesis, evaluation, and more. 

This is the beauty of allowing essential questions to guide your school year and units. 

Grab that whole curriculum map here to download it today.

Choosing Anchor Texts For Your Units

The anchor texts you chose for your World Lit. units are almost as important as the essential questions you create to guide your units. 

It’s critical that you choose texts that your students can access (texts within their zone of proximal development), but that you also choose texts that can relate to our current world and students’ lives. 

On the topic of zone of proximal development, our friends at Adaptive Reader have a blog post all about what this is and why it’s important. Check that out here: Vygotsy’s Zone of Proximal Development: Understanding It’s Impact On Learning

Adaptive Reader also has many classics rewritten at different reading levels. If you’d like to purchase any of these titles for your students, use our code ETV10 and get 10 percent off your purchase! Check their listings out here: Adaptive Reader

picture of a curriculum map for semester two or a world literature course

This could seem like a herculean task when you staring at ancient tomes 🫠. Don’t worry though, because after years of reading horribly boring ancient texts, I’ve landed on quite a few texts that represent literature from around the world that students can still relate to, and that fit quite nicely with our year-long essential question. 

A few of the texts that work great in a World Literature course are:

  • Short stories from around the world
  • Dante’s Inferno (excerpts or the whole book)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (as a film study)
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Persepolis
  • Born a Crime

Each of these texts allows students to become familiar with a unique culture and society and gives them a chance to more fully wrestle with the question of how these stories from people in a society that is not their own can affect their beliefs, views, and actions. 

When you go here to download the full curriculum map, you can check out the essential questions that go with each anchor text.

A Skills-Based Approach To Your World Lit. Curriculum

Although essential question and anchor texts are the things that get us excited as English teachers, we have to consider the skills that each unit aims to achieve within students. 

Therefore before teaching anything, we have to think about what students will be able to do by the end of that unit. 

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Skills should typically be measurable to some degree (although this is not always cut and dry when teaching English), and specific. Depending on your teaching situation (the school, district, state, and country guidelines), you may need to consider the standards that you have been assigned to teach. 

In the US, many teachers are guided by state standards and the common core. 

In our curriculum map, we give a general idea of skills to focus on in each unit; the skills build as the year progresses. You will not find specific names of standards in this curriculum man, but inside the English Teacher Vault, we do include a listing of every common core standard that each lesson incorporates. 

For instance, if you are teaching one of our short story lessons on theme, we have all the common core standards listed that you will cover in that lesson. 

Get The Downloadable World Lit Curriculum Map Here

If you are new to teaching World Lit, or if you’ve taught if for years, and want to freshen up your approach with compelling essential questions, relevant anchor texts, and specific skills, please go here to download that free World Lit. Curriculum map. 

Beginning in July 2024, we will be putting all the units in this curriculum map inside the English Teacher Vault. 

When you join the English Teacher Vault, you will have access to everything in the curriculum map (all the units, lesson plans, slideshows, handouts, and assessments) as it is added to the vault. You can instantly download anything and everything, so that you do not need to spend your nights and weekends creating lesson plans to teach World Lit this year!

Join the vault here:

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