Re 5730-Fall 2010 Multi-Text Unit Holly Tilley Explanation of Selection


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Unit Study: Fever 1793

7th grade

RE 5730-Fall 2010

Multi-Text Unit

Holly Tilley
Explanation of Selection
Fever 1793

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ages: 9-12 (5th-8th grade)
Why Fever 1793?

I chose to use this text because this was an event that really happened in the United States during the late 1700’s. There were many things going on during the 1700’s and some things get left out of discussions. I felt like this book would bring up a topic that students don’t really learn much about but yet is related to many other historical events. My main objective and goal is for my students to understand the impact that the epidemic of Yellow Fever had on society during this time period. This novel is told from a young girl’s point of view so students will be able to relate more and better understand where she is coming from. For a student to really realize the kind of impact it had on Philadelphia they need to be placed in the shoes of a child.


This novel is narrated by Mattie who is a young girl. She lives above the coffee shop that her widowed mother and grandfather own. The fever breaks out in town destroying everything that is in its path. Mattie is forced out of town with her grandfather; not knowing if she will ever see her mother again who has become sick with the fever. Mattie soon discovers no matter where she goes the fever is around and she too becomes sick. Mattie has to overcome many obstacles to make it back to Philadelphia. Once she arrives back she realizes it’s not the same town as before.

Explanation of Unit

This unit study of Fever 1793 has been developed to enhance students understanding of the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia during 1793. Students will be actively engaged in a number of activities that will enhance their reading, writing, thinking, and language skills.

The reading assignments are approximately 30 pages each. Some may be a little longer and some may be shorter; it just depends. Before each reading assignment students will have 10-15 minutes of pre-reading work to complete. This will include vocabulary as well, needed for the reading assignment. Students will also have work to complete while they are reading and after they are reading. While students are reading they will be responsible for another activity as well. After students complete each reading assignment they are to reflect on their reading in their reading journal (3-4 sentences) along with completing the assigned assignment for that reading. If the after assignment is a journal entry then the students do not have to do their small journal entry for the day.

Other Texts:

  • An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793; by Jim Murphy

This book is filled with facts, a timeline, and newspaper articles and much more related to Yellow Fever.

This book compares the different outbreaks of Yellow Fever through out the United States. Students would be able to compare 1793 to cities outbreaks.
  • African American fraternities and sororities: the legacy and the vision pp.71-72; by Clarenda M. Phillips

This section of the book will give students a better understanding of what a Free African Society means.

  • Internet Workshop:

Students will browse this website while learning about different facts about the Yellow Fever epidemic. They will even be able to read a journal entry from the time period.
Picture Books:

  • A picture Book of George Washington; by David A. Adler

Ages: 4-8

This picture book is a biography of George Washington. Students would be able to learn more of what he was really like before and after as President.

  • George vs. George: The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides

By Rosalyn Schanzer

Ages: 8 & up

There are two sides to every story and this book brings to life both sides of the American Revolution.
Historical Fiction:

    • If you lived at the time of the American Revolution; by Kay Moore

Ages: 9-12

With this book students can really see how people lived back in the 1700’s, for instance how they dressed. They can see the difference in the different classes of society. This book also helps give students a better understanding of the war.

Video clips:

    • Fever 1793

    • Fever 1793

    • Fever 1793

All three Fever 1793 video clips offer background knowledge on the subject. I would pick only one to watch before starting the novel.

    • American Revolution War

This video helps students to picture the Revolution War by showing images and sound effects to help enhance knowledge.

NCSCOS Goals for Unit

English Language Arts

Activities that meet goal

Goal 1: The learner will use language to express individual perspectives in response to personal, social, cultural, and historical issues.

1.02 Respond to expressive materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:

  • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard, and/or viewed.

  • summarizing the characteristics of expressive works.

  • determining the importance of literary effects on the reader/viewer/listener.

  • making connections between works, self and related topics.

  • comparing and/or contrasting information.

  • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.

  • determining the main idea and/or significance of events.

  • generating a learning log or journal.

  • maintaining an annotated list of works read/viewed.

  • creating an artistic interpretation that connects self and/or society to the selection.

  • constructing and presenting book/media reviews.

1.03 Interact in group settings by:

  • responding appropriately to comments and questions.

  • offering personal opinions confidently without dominating.

  • giving appropriate reasons that support opinions.

  • soliciting and respecting another person's opinion.

Goal 1:
All activities would fit under this goal. Every activity allows for students express individual perspectives in response and adding them to their journals.

Activities for 1.03

  • Literature Circles

  • Photo stimulation

  • Question exchange

  • ABC Chart

Goal 2: The learner will synthesize and use information from a variety of sources.

2.01 Respond to informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:

  • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.

  • analyzing the characteristics of informational works.

  • summarizing information.

  • determining the importance of information.

  • making connections to related topics/information.

  • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.

  • generating questions.

2.02 Use multiple sources of print and non-print information in designing and developing informational materials (such as brochures, newsletters, and infomercials) through:

  • identifying and using appropriate primary and secondary sources.
  • comparing, contrasting, and evaluating information from different sources about the same topic.

  • evaluating information for extraneous details, inconsistencies, relevant facts, and organization.

Activities for 2.01

  • Characterization

  • Timeline

  • Symbolism/Themes

  • Memorable Character

  • Watch video clips

Activities for 2.02

  • Nonfiction Activity

  • Video clips

  • The Masque of the Red Death

Goal 4: The learner will refine critical thinking skills and create criteria to evaluate print and non-print materials.

4.02 Develop (with assistance) and apply appropriate criteria to evaluate the quality of the communication by:

  • using knowledge of language structure and literary or media techniques.

  • drawing conclusions based on evidence, reasons, or relevant information.

  • considering the implications, consequences, or impact of those conclusions.

Activities for 4.02

  • Literary Lumination

  • ToonDoo

  • Idea Completion

  • Quick Write

Goal 5: The learner will respond to various literary genres using interpretive and evaluative processes.

5.01 Increase fluency, comprehension, and insight through a meaningful and comprehensive literacy program by: reading literature and other related materials selected by teacher, and discussing literature in small groups.

Activities for 5.01

  • Characterization

  • Alpha Boxes

  • Final Projects

  • Question Exchange


Activities that meet goal

Goal 1:

    1. Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.

    1. Analyze evidence to: Explain observations, Make inferences and predictions, Develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.

1.08 Use oral and written language to:

  • Communicate findings.

  • Defend conclusions of scientific investigations.

    1. Use technologies and information systems to:

  • Research.

  • Gather and analyze data.

  • Visualize data.

  • Disseminate findings to others.

    1. Analyze and evaluate information from a scientifically literate viewpoint by reading, hearing, and/or viewing:

  • Scientific text.

  • Articles.

  • Events in the popular press.

The following activities from this unit are ones that meet these goals.

  • Internet Workshop
  • Personal Journal, what are you wanting to learn about Yellow Fever.

  • Non-Fiction Activity (Midway Project)

Internet Workshop
Students will complete internet workshop individually before reading novel. This is to help build background knowledge around the topic of Yellow Fever. Students will need to go to the following website and answer the questions on this sheet.
This link takes you to the contents page where you will need to start at.
1. Read about Dr. Rush under People and Events. What was one of his accomplishments and who did he recruit to help with the Yellow Fever?
2. Look under: Yellow Fever Epidemic

How many people died from the epidemic?

Why were the free blacks dedicated to helping the sick?
3. Look under: A Short Account of the Malignant Fever

The blame is always pointed to someone. Who did they blame for the


Read the short account of the Malignant Fever text and tell about one

thing you learned about.
4. Look under: Extracts from Journal of Elizabeth Drinker

Notice the language that is used throughout her journal. This should give you an insight to how they talked during this time.

What are people saying is the cause of the fever?
5. Under: modern voices; John Edgar Wideman

List two things that people did to help keep the fever out of their homes.

Outline for study

Reading Activities only
Before reading novel: Introduction to novel

  • Internet Workshop

  • Coffeehouse stimulation

  • Video clips

Reading Assignment #1: Ch. 1-4 (pgs. 1-23)

  • Before: Personal expectations/Background slips

  • During: Characterization

  • After: Wordle

Reading Assignment #2: Ch. 5-7 (pgs. 24-53)

  • Before: Entrance Slip

  • During: Literature Circle

  • After: Personal Journal entry

Reading Assignment #3: Ch. 8-11 (pgs. 54-83)

Reading Assignment #4: Ch. 12-15 (pgs. 84-112)

  • Before: Quick Write

  • During: Literature Circle

  • After: Letter writing

Discuss other issues during this time period in history.

  • Nonfiction Activity

Reading Assignment #5: Ch. 16-19 (pgs. 113-149)

    • Before: Reading Recap Quiz

    • During: Question Make/Swap

    • After: Literary Luminary w/image

Reading Assignment #6: Ch. 20-22 (pgs. 150-177)

  • Before: Idea Completion

  • During: ABC Chart

  • After: Haiku Poem

Reading Assignment #7: Ch. 23-25 (pgs. 178-208)

Reading Assignment #8: Ch. 26-29 & Epilogue (pgs. 209-243)

  • Before: Read; “ The Masque of the Red Death”

  • During: Symbolism/Themes
  • After: I am Poem/Timeline of Matilda’s life

After book has been completed we will have a class discussion in a socractic seminar format.

*Extension Activities: (2-3 days)

    • Write a newspaper article

    • Write a letter to a friend or relative

    • Animoto Video

*After Unit activities and discussions have been completed students will complete their unit assessment.

Student Activity Packet
Reading Assignments are not expected to be completed in one day. They may take 2-3 days. If a student does not finish the required reading they may take it home and read. Activities are to completed at school unless otherwise noted.

  • Before Reading Assignment: Introduction to novel

  • Objectives:

    • To introduce the Fever 1793 unit and discuss activities.

    • Distribute materials that will be needed for the unit: book, study questions, set up reading journal.

    • To get students in the mind set of the novels setting.

Activity 1: The room is set up like a coffee shop with snacks and tea in cups, (pretend its coffee). Once everyone has entered the room and got their snack and tea then we will start discussing, what is the purpose of a coffee shop? Think about what happens or takes place at coffee shops today; like Starbucks, Java, etc. Why do people go there? Talk about how these places are regular meeting spots or hangouts for many people all through out the day.

Once we have discussed the purposes of coffee shops I will bring in the novel, Fever 1793. Tell the students this novel takes place in Philadelphia when it was the capitol of the US. This novel takes place a lot around the family owned coffee house. During this time coffee houses were very popular. Many prestigious people meet in coffee houses to discuss politics. Discuss this is a historical fiction novel; meaning that the events and facts are true but the names and story is made up.

Activity 2: After discussing the novel students will watch a couple of short clips to give them insight on the novel. After watching these clips and focusing on some of the images separately students will reflect on what they saw and felt in their reading journals.

Show video clip(s):
Activity 3: Students will have separate journals for this unit. They will have a piece of construction paper with their name and 40 sheets inside where all their work will be kept. Inside their journal they will have an outline of the unit so they can keep track. Talk with students how their journals should be used through out the unit. Students need to make sure they date and label each activity with the reading assignment number as well. Everything is to be recorded in their Fever journal notebook. Before and during activities can be on the same page, but students need to always put their after activity separately. There should be at least 3 pages per unit in their journals; 1 page is for the before activity, one for during and the other for after.
Remainder of time students can work on their cover for the journal for the unit.

Reading Assignment #1

Ch. 1-4 (pgs.1-23)

  • To look more closely at the importance of the coffee house and its role in this novel.

  • To become familiar with the characters and their characteristics.

Before Reading: (Individual)

Students will be able to reflect on the video clips and other texts from the previous day to help build background knowledge about Fever 1793. Students will write a personal response to what they are hoping to learn from this unit study or what they want to learn. Students will refer back to this at the end of the unit. This will be recorded in their Fever journal.

During Reading: (work with a partner)

While students are reading the beginning of the novel they need to complete the character chart below. For each character they need to have 2 words to describe that character in their role in the novel. Students will need to copy this chart into their Fever Journal. If student’s happen to finish early then they may use other text that have been pulled for this unit to learn more about this time period and yellow fever.


One word to describe

Another word to describe character





After Reading: (Individual)

For their after reading activity for this assignment, students will be choosing one character that we were introduced to and create a wordle to describe them. Students will need to compose as many words as possible to describe their character. Words may be used as many times as a student would like as well. If there is a word that just really stands out then you would want to repeat it many times so it is seen in the wordle. We will go together to the computer lab to work on creating this. We will print this out in the lab and glue them into student’s journals to have with the rest of our work.

Reading Assignment #2

Ch. 5-7 (pgs.24-53)


  • Review Chapters 1-4

  • For students to be active learners and to participate in a literature circle.
  • Students begin creating a journal entry of their reflections on the reading.

Before Reading: (Individual)

Before this reading assignment students will be asked to complete an entrance slip. Students will be given a slip at the door when they walk in and they are to return it when it is completed. The entrance slip will be dealing with information that students read in the previous assignment.

Entrance Slip: Reading Assignment 2 Date:_______________

What historical event sparked an increase in Matilda’s family business? _________________________________________________________

Eliza is a black woman living freely. Explain how she is treated in society and how she was able to earn her freedom._________________________ _________________________________________________________


During Reading: (small reading groups)

During this reading assignment we are going to be using literature circles. The class will be spilt up in to groups of 5 to 6 students depending on class size. Each person will have a specific role to fulfill in their group. The roles that we will be using are the following:

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