YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2005/2006




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An American Plague, The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

by Jim Murphy


Fever 1793

by Laurie Halse Anderson


YAL Presenter Unit 2005/2006

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 7th
Posted: 2005
Units Created by: Beverly Rowls, Karen Boran and Khadeejah Lasuc

What makes this a good YAL choice...

As I read Fever 1793, I noticed that contemporary history books for middle and high school students leave an empty gap between 1776 and 1820. What happened during that early period of American history and why was it not important enough to find its way into the middle and high school curricula? I chose An American Plague and Fever 1793 as complementary texts because they tell a story from American history that few people know occurred. A great plague nearly destroyed the newly formed United States of America. The newly elected president and vice-president fled the nation’s capital in Philadelphia, leaving the citizens to fend for themselves. What a story to capture the attention of young people! These books tell the story of people, not just the generals and leaders, but the common people, just like them. As a plus, the authors wrote the texts for a middle/high school audience. The American Plague provides the facts within a narrative about a killer disease, how it came to the city and how the inhabitants were cured. It identified the people, the places and the events that overcame great odds in order to survive. The two books together tell a story of how people of two races worked to save each other as well as both the city and the new nation. These books truly fit the criteria for young adult literature. — Beverly Rowls


YAL Conference Workshop Description & Documents
Making Historical Fiction Real: Connecting Fever 1793 with the CRI (workshop 1)
Beverly Rowls, Presenter

Many events from history tend to be decontextualized in textbooks used in the classroom. Students try to learn the “facts” but lose them once the test is over. This workshop will explore the use of historical fiction as a way to support students in connecting with the realities of history. We will use strategies from the components of the Chicago Reading Initiative (CRI) to examine Fever 1793 as it relates to the realities of life and culture in the post-American Revolutionary era. We will also explore why historical events, such as the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, are missing from our history books. You are invited to explore these issues during this interactive workshop showcasing the standards-based CRI in the classroom. — Workshop Description for YAL 2005

Bring Out Your Dead (workshop 2)
Karen Boran and Khadeejah Lasuc, Presenters

The alternative title to this workshop is An American Plague: Using experiential and discovery methods to frontload difficult texts. Partnering with Fever 1793, we'll draw on a multi-disciplinary approach to unit planning, modeling the use of experiential (adventure education) and discovery (drama) instructional methods to draw struggling readers into expository text. This is a hands-on, interactive session that explores frontloading as a key component to student comprehension before, during and after reading primary source documents (both science and social science). — Workshop Description for YAL 2005


Unit Cover Sheet


Unit Plan


Lesson Plan