Since my own co-taught World Studies class in 10th grade, I've wanted to co-teach a class. I haven't had a chance since years ago when a science friend and I invented Bio-English, a summer class to prep for two of the biggest tests in 10th grade. But I happened to have an extra slot this semester for collaboration, and 4th period U.S. History is the biggest class we have at the moment, so my gracious colleague is letting me butt in now and then. I feel like a student teacher again, enthusiasm and all!
This is actually the third lesson I got to prepare (be on the lookout for the Henry VIII dating game and maybe the Pilgrims picture notes), and what with my American Lit background and The Crucible remaining one of my all-time favorite texts to teach, the Salem witch trials seemed a natural fit!
Now we all get excited speculating about what drove those little girls to act possessed, and my compañera has a great video to introduce some of the possibilities. To add to that, I'm pulling in the trailer for the old movie version of the play. One of my goals when it's my turn is to help students make as many visual connections with the events as they can to help process what they read, so if they can get Winona Ryder's crazy face stuck in their head to associate with the scenario, all the better (hence the IMDB link in the activity).
While this is a history class, of course, Spanglish teacher that I am, I have to tie in a little fiction, because it still conveys some of the truth of the ulterior motives going on in, well, any time of mass hysteria. The trailer really hits on the twin motivations of fear and jealousy behind the witchcraft accusations, and a quick Ctrl+F of character names to find some quotes helps drive home what was really going on.
So I whipped up a quick infograph to lay out roles for a quick wanted poster assignment with links to IMDB, essays, and the script of The Crucible on the role icons to assist with the research for each role (sketch artists and police reporters were combined for groups of four).