This lesson plan provides a brief overview of Edgar Lee Masters's portrayal of Midwestern life in the early 20th century, with a focus on character analysis.
Students will take an active role in analyzing the poems and then have the opportunity to present their assigned poems to their classmates. I've included detailed lesson plans to guide you through the activities and suggestions on how to follow up with a culminating writing assignment.
Note: The lesson plan requires a little preparation on your part. You'll have to spend a little time preparing "Lucinda Matlock" for the introductory mix and mingle exercise (photocopying, color-coding, and cutting into strips).
You will also have to select your own copies of the other poems for the individual/small group activities. My English III textbook contains five other Spoon River poems, so I just use those, but if you need more than five (or don't have copies in your textbook), the entire text is in the public domain and is available for free download from numerous sites. (I've provided links in the lesson plan.)
My intensive reading/English III students appreciated the variety this lesson provided and didn't mind at all spending three days getting to know the inhabitants of Spoon River. I hope your classes will find this experience just as enlightening.