The “Witch Hunts & ‘The Crucible’” sequence was contributed by Jessica Herring, an 11th and 12th grade teacher at Benton High School in Benton, Arkansas. You can follow her at @JessicaRae929 or her blog “Wisdom from the Middle”. To find & assign this sequence, get Writable!
The goal of this sequence in Writable is to show students that our world, unfortunately, is still filled with intolerance. We live in a global society, and I believe the first step to ending injustices and creating greater understanding of all people is to recognize the problems in our society. Students often see research writing as a burdensome, boring task. My hope for this sequence is that students see the importance of research reading and writing as a means of becoming more informed citizens and stronger supporters of justice for all people.
I find that students are often shocked at the ways certain groups of people are still targeted or “witch hunted.” Students tend to think that we’ve evolved so much from our past, and they are surprised to see that we still allow fear to play such a role in our perceptions of those that are different from us. I’ve found that this writing sequence can be incredibly eye-opening for many students.
I think high school teachers have such an awesome opportunity to guide students toward building their own understandings of the world in which we live. This is a time in many students’ lives when they’re most concerned with their own problems, but this sequence guides students toward a broader worldview. Giving students this opportunity can be empowering and scaffolding their writing in this way allows them to focus on the content of their research while lessening the stress of the actual writing process. Embrace the writing workshop model! It’s a great way to help our students focus and flourish as writers!