WITNESS by Karen Hesse is a unique story set in the 1920s. It deals with racial tension, KKK and a small town in Vermont. The free verse is different and will help introduce students to some unique styles. Also the POINT of VIEW is one that is not as common either, so this is a great chance to share with your students.
The study guide includes Literary terms, character trait cards, figures of speech, Venn diagrams for comparison, point of view, and retelling facts. In addition, there are small group discussion questions, and written responses for students to practice siting sources and writing comprehensive paragraphs.
A project of a clothespin doll is provided to add a tactile dimension to the learning. Students also engage with play acting, so a like to making a flapper dress may encourage some to explore that time period. Music is able to reach people on various levels and a passage about John Philip Sousa offers a unique opportunity to tie in an auditory component.
A comparison of Calvin Coolidge is in the book and while it was written in 2001, some wisdom from his may be tied into this political season! A letter writing activity may even allow your students to impart some wisdom from a child's eyes.
I've even included an illustration of the PACKARD for your car enthusiasts.
Finally, a nonfiction element is added in the reference section. This topic deals with the trial discussed in the novel, and it was based on the real life murder of a young boy. The reading passage and lawyers arguments lend itself to a discussion on the topic of the death penalty. (You can determine if your students can gain from this discussion.)