The Crucible Unit Plan Arthur Miller | Salem Witch Trials | American Literature

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
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  • Internet Activities
  • Google Apps™
200 pages
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Are struggling to teach a unit on The Crucible that is both rigorous and fun?

If your students’ experience of Miller’s classic play involves filling out meaningless worksheets, sitting silently while you give powerpoint lectures, or waiting for you to explain the play to them, you’re doing them a great disservice. You're encouraging them to accept your answers rather than seeking them out themselves. In fact, by giving your classes the message that their ideas don't matter, you're helping to create the kind of compliant, defeatist citizens that caused actual historical atrocities to occur.

Students today can learn so much from The Crucible—how Puritan ideas have influenced American society, how envy and comparison can damage friendships, how to stand up for what they believe and speak out against corrupt authority.

But if they are going to fully experience Miller’s classic play and apply those lessons to their own lives, your students need a unit that challenges them to engage independently with the text and make connections to contemporary and historical issues and themes. Your classes need to get the message that their ideas matter and that they have the responsibility to take action to direct the course of their own lives.

The writing prompts, paired texts, and interactive notebook activities included in this resource have been honed over years of teaching this classic play and are all designed to empower students to work independently and value their own ideas.

These lessons also make great choices for online teaching because the clear instructions and structured questions are written for students to tackle independently. The concrete text-based questions and unique sources discourage cheating and encourage students to answer for themselves.

The variety of materials, real-life connections, and innovative approaches to the information will keep students engaged and excited about learning while they learn from home. I’ve also curated my many suggestions for teaching the play and chosen the essential elements as well as the pieces that I think will serve your classes best as they work from home and updated those elements for easy use with Google documents, google forms, links, and easy-to-paste instructions.

Now included in this resource: a unit that ties together panic thinking, cognitive bias, and the COVID 19 pandemic.

When you teach The Crucible with these powerful resources you will:

  • Help your students to better understand the Puritan world view on which this country was founded when they examine classic texts from the period using the no-prep handouts.

  • Begin each class period with engaging freewrite prompts designed to get your classes calm, focused, and thinking about the essential questions of the unit.

  • Explore the play together with your students as you read manageable sections, increasing the volume of reading as they are more comfortable with the text.

  • Empower your students to engage with the text independently when they utilize the rigorous but accessible handouts.

  • Give your students the scaffolding they need to improve their close reading skills when you utilize the no-prep close reading handouts focusing on passages from the play.

  • Easily discuss the questions for close reading and discussion when you refer to the extensive answer keys which quote the important passages so their is no guessing on your part.

  • Easily teach the unit online using the ready-to-go instructions, links, handouts, and forms all optimized for google classroom.

  • Give assessments that you actually look forward to reading when you choose from the four different options including a straightforward test, a creative cooperative project, and writing projects.

  • Help your students to better understand why they need to speak out against injustice even when the majority seems so bent on suppressing dissent.

In all, there is enough here for over one month month of rigorous but accessible reading, analysis, discussion, and writing; this unit includes 125 questions on the individual acts, 50 bellringer writing prompts, 5 different writing assignments, 4 quizzes, 1 test, 5 paired non-fiction and poetry texts with questions, and a guide to close reading with 7 passages for close reading.

The following resources are included in this bundle, all at a discount when you buy them together:

The Crucible Literature Guide: Questions, Lesson Plans, & Worksheets, (normally priced at $17.97) This resource is designed for students to read the play out loud in class or to read it on their own. The 125 questions on act 1, act 2, act 3, and act 4 are divided into seven days of reading. I have taught the play using these questions and had great success. Extensive answer keys for every question means that you can teach the play without having to do much prep at all. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking here .

The Crucible Writing Prompts: Bellringers, Essays, and Group Creative Writing, (normally priced at $9.97) This unique resource gives you five different ways to get your students writing and thinking about Arthur Miller’s powerful play. With 50 bellringer freewrite prompts, a guide to writing reading logs, a cooperative play project, an evidence based essay, and a comparative essay, students will get engaged and stay engaged in learning how to improve their writing skills. All assignments come with rubrics for easy grading. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking here .

Salem Witch Trials Unit | Non-Fiction Paired Texts | Poetry Close Reading (normally priced at $9.68) This thematic unit on the Salem Witch Trials will engage your students to think about the bigger themes of colonial and Puritan America. From their world view to their religious beliefs to their daily life, the people of the early colonial period lived lives very different from those of contemporary Americans. The texts included in this unit will give students a glimpse into those lives. Three of the pieces included in this resource were written during the time period, and two are contemporary writing on the events of the witch trials in Salem. You can read more about this resource by clicking here .

The Crucible Passages: Close Reading and Essay Test With Teacher Guide, (normally priced at $6.97) With six selections for close reading, a guide to close reading, a handout for students to complete when they do a close reading, an extensive explanation of the first chosen passage, and an essay test with rubric and prompt based on four selected passages, this resource will teach your students to complete a close reading of a passage independently. Teaching students to complete a close reading of a literary passage is a great way to prepare them for the SAT or AP tests, and it is also a great way to get them to think critically about what they read. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking here.

Additional Texts and Sources Covered in this Resource:

“Half-Hanged Mary” a poem by Margaret Atwood

"To My Dear and Loving Husband” a poem by Anne Bradstreet

"Upon the Burning of our House" a poem by Anne Bradstreet

“The Author’s Defense” an essay by Cotton Mather

“The Trial of Martha Carrier” by Cotton Mather

“Of Beelzebub and His Plot” an essay by Cotton Mather

Total Pages
200 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.


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