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Historic Literature

Pre-Statehood Era: 1700-1818

Early Statehood: 1818-1861

Civil War Era: 1861-1865

Late 19th Century: 1866-1900

Early 20th Century: 1900-1914

World War I: 1914-1918

Roaring Twenties: 1918-1929

Great Depression: 1930-1941

World War II: 1941-1945

Cold War Era: 1946-1991

Millennium: 1991-Present

Lesson Plans


Across Five Aprils

Past Tracker brings you lessons covering Irene Hunt's award winning novel Across Five Aprils.


The story chronicles the Civil War through the eyes of Jethro Creighton, a young boy working on his family farm in Southern Illinois. With family members joining both the Union and Confederate armies, Jethro struggles with the rift created not just in the country, but also in his own home. 

While this book is a work of fiction, Across Five Aprils is rooted in fact. The main character, Jethro Creighton, was the author's grandfather and Irene Hunt used her grandfather's stories as a basis to write her novel. The book was published in 1964 and received various awards including the Charles W. Follett Award and the Newberry Honor.

Across Five Aprils Lesson Plan (Word)

Across Five Aprils Lesson Plan (PDF)

Across Five Aprils Lesson Plan 2 (PDF)


Spoon River Revisited

Grades 10-12

Spoon River Anthology, written by Edgar Lee Masters, is a collection of free verse poems that tell the story of a fictional small town in Illinois named Spoon River. Each of the 212 poems is an epitaph delivered by one the inhabitants. By piecing together the information in each short poem, the reader discovers a collective account of life in Spoon River.

Students throughout Illinois can imagine that they are Edgar Lee Masters, writing a unique Spoon River Anthology for their own communities. This challenge demonstrates the incredible amount of research required to to create such representative character studies. Students use both fieldwork in local cemeteries as well as primary document research in local repositories to complete their own anthologies. The "Spoon River Anthology Revisited" project is intended to be interdisciplinary across English and History curriculum.

Spoon River Revisited Social Sciences Lesson

Following the research undertaken in the History unit plan, English or American Studies teachers can follow the lesson plan below, which builds off of the research undertaken by the history students. With some adjustment, this lesson plan is also usable as a standalone lesson.

Spoon River Revisited English Lesson

Students are encouraged to publish their research and creative writing, as well as interact with each other, on the Wiki site at www.spoonriverrevisted.pbworks.com.

Supplemental Lesson plans

"Curriculum Materials" by Elizabeth H. Miller, Illinois History Teacher Volume 7:2- Activity 3 directly relates to the Spoon River Anthology, but there other great activities relating to Illinois poets as well. Accessed 09/22/2016. www.lib.niu.edu/2000/iht720002cm.html


Lesson plans on this webpage were developed by students in Dr. Charles Titus' Spring 2011 SOS 3400 Social Science Teaching Methods Course.