Students close read biographies of the accused and the accusers and primary source transcripts of the Salem Witch Trials to accompany their reading of The Crucible. By examining the historical documents as well as literature, students grapple with the question of how mass hysteria occurs and what makes historical events worthy of dramatic interpretation. Students read and act out key scenes in the play as they research the historical figures. A final project asks students to come up with an idea for dramatizing a past event and to describe, in writing, why the event would make good drama and how it could be dramatized. A separate blog post entitled "Arthur Miller's The Crucible: Witch Hunting for the Common Core" provides further resources for teachers. http://edsitement.neh.gov/blog/2014/10/28/arthur-millers-crucible-witch-hunting-common-core
In this lesson, students will perform a comparative close reading of select informational texts from the Scottsboro Boys trials alongside sections from To Kill a Mockingbird. Students analyze the two trials and the characters and arguments involved in them to see how fictional â€œtruthâ€ both mirrors and departs from the factual experience that inspired it.