There are a lot of materials out there for teaching The Witch of Blackbird Pond, but when I was thrown into a long-term sub position where the students had already begun to read the book, I did not have access to any of them nor any money to purchase some. This unit is a compilation of the materials I created in a pinch.
The Notes by Chapter Worksheet was created as a scaffold for students who found the task of creating a bulleted list of events per chapter too daunting. I had the students who could write a bulleted list of events by chapter in their reading response journals. Students were offered the choice to fill out the worksheet and glue or tape it into their journals instead. I don’t grade these notes so much as check them off for completion as a check to ensure students actually did their assigned reading.
You can choose to have your students read the novel in whatever format works best for them. Whatever method you choose, I have found it helpful to facilitate a discussion with the students – during which they can use their notes for reference, add to, or for some students with accommodation plans, even create their notes – before asking them to write paragraphs responding to the Questions by Chapter.
I have taught (and re-taught) mini-lessons on writing proper paragraphs using the handout on page 4 before asking students (in grades 3-8) to write paragraphs. I typically require a minimum of five sentences that cite evidence from the text in order for students to receive full credit. I always encourage students to use their notes and the novel when composing their paragraphs in response to literature.
I also wrote a series of short answer quizzes for every four chapters. I scored each question based on the number of lines provided for each answer. If you have to teach the novel at a faster pace, you could give these quizzes as reading checks and then use the final projects as your summative assessment.
Finally, I created several end of book projects, each with a 50 point scoring guide. If time allows at the end of a novel, I prefer to have each student do one project alone and another one in a small group of no more than four students. While these projects certainly can be cut if time is tight, I encourage you to make time for students to reflect on the novel as a whole before moving on. I wrapped up by showing the History Channel’s documentary on the Salem Witch Trials at the end of teaching this novel, which could be used to facilitate a discussion reflecting on the novel.