When we think fall, many of us think of leaves changing colors, days getting shorter or trick- or- treating in our favorite costume. For the eleventh graders at Perkins, the season signifies the annual high school reading of “The Crucible.”
The Crucible,” written by a Frameworks recommended author and American Playwright Arthur Miller, is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. This area is now known as Salem, Massachusetts.
Terri Crowley, along with her fellow eleventh grade teachers Sarah Christiansen and Phil Borghi, decided a trip to Salem in the heart of the season may be a great way to help the students better grasp two concepts early on in their reading–the often difficult language, and the fact that this story is based in truth. The three teachers felt it would be a great help to their 20 students to witness the area first hand and experience the reality for themselves. This second annual trip was funded in part through a generous grant bestowed upon Perkins through the Schwartz Foundation.
While traveling, the students visited the Salem Witch Dungeon. Here, they watched a live action portrayal of a pivotal scene from Miller’s popular play, and they visited a re-creation of the dungeon cells where some of the “accused” were housed during that time.
“The trip was great“ Terri said. “The students really enjoyed it and look forward to being able to go each year. We believe having the chance to visit the area really helps to bring the book to life. We set up the trip at this time – before getting into the meat of the story – to give the students a chance to better understand what they are reading.”
According to Terri, traveling to the scene of the crime helps to enrich the students understanding of the history of the witch trials as part of the multi-modal curriculum which includes reading the play, listening to audiotape, and watching a version of the adapted screenplay.
“This will enable the students to see and experience the actual sites written about in the literature and bring their learning to a new level,” Terri said.
Upon returning to Perkins and their reading, students not only have a better understanding of the book they are being asked to read, but likely the concept of witches and warlocks portrayed at Halloween, as well.