The Crucible

2009-2010 School Year

We spent nearly 5 weeks on this unit this year. We read almost the entire play aloud in class and I spent a great deal more time clarifying. In the future, I recognize that I need to keep seeking the “sweet spot” between over teaching (spoon feeding what events just read mean) and underteaching (expecting kids to just get it). I would like to work harder at asking students to clarify meaning and summarizing key sections and improve my wait time to encourage students to find/try to answer the questions on their own.

Before reading: Build background info on the Salem Witch Trials

During reading: 25 Double entry journals (will be an open note exam); also had students share their entries through “speed dating” style. Yeah, the name creeps them out but gets their attention. Any better names for that activity? 🙂

After reading: the Crucible PROJECTS – these were SO fun. (I only required 2, all students had to do one from column A and could choose anything from B or C; also, I made the technology component extra credit thoughwith more instructional time, I would have required it.)

Additional resources:

*Timeline (high quality) :

*Herblock’s political cartoons!

Notes from 2008-2009 school year (first time teaching unit)

I think it might be better to do this unit much earlier in the year (like when the kids are fairly new) because it has layers of interest and relatively easy language.

I think it would have been more enjoyable to add 1 to 2 weeks on to our BRIEF 3 week unit because all we had time for was reading and one discussion day (which, unfortunately, fell on the last day of our class before Christmas break!!!) so the discussion was a bit more of a struggle than I would have preferred.  With more time, we could have done more discussing/debating/role playing and maybe even some short in class writing to get them ready.  While the kids whined about their Double Entry Journals throughout the entire play, I maintain that if done properly, they are tremendously valuable in helping students SUPPORT their answers.

While it was not a great unit, it didn’t totally bomb and I can see how it could be a really great experience next time around! This is a rating system regarding movies that the author feels parallel the play.  I’m considering using the Pleasantville recommendation, but will be looking into it much further before committing.


HERE is what we DID accomplish for the 2008-09 school year (I would like to note that I am especially proud of the test I made for this unit! Email me if you want a copy.)

Witchcraft was hung, in History,
But History and I
Find all the Witchcraft that we need
Around us, every Day—

Emily Dickinson

Welcome to our unit on The Crucible!

The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1952 describing the Salem Witch Trials in Puritan New England.  Since we’ve already read The Scarlet Letter, we have a feel for the culture of this time period.  Check out these funny comics!

By Wednesday/Thursday (your last day of class with me this semester), this Crucible handout should be finished.  This website may help: Fact and Fiction.  It should also benefit you to have read “Why I wrote…” – I passed this out during class.  You must have 25-30 entries in your DEJ (Double Entry Journal) and all of these materials will be stamped so the Final Exam proctors know you can use them in class.   ALSO, for EXTRA CREDIT you may do a character list (all characters, all your own words) with descriptions and you will be able to use if for the Final Exam as well.

By Monday/Tuesday (B: 12/15   A: 12/16) You should have AT LEAST 20 Double Entry Journal responses.  You should have 25-30 by Wednesday.  If you want extra credit, your Character List (with brief descriptions) are due Wednesday as well.  And yes, they must be in your own words.  I will stamp ALL of these materials, including the handout mentioned below and you will be able to use them during your final exam.

In order to build additional background information for the Witch Trials, please follow this link.

As you peruse the website, keep the Salem Witch Trials in mind so you can answer the questions.  You should use a separate piece of paper; the responses do not have to be in paragraphs/full sentences.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jodi Allan on October 16, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Hey there! Love your site! I would also love a copy of The Crucible test you mention on this page, if you have the time to send it. Thanks for your hard work 🙂


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