To revise the key themes and ideas in The Crucible, we started by looking at a variety of words cut out from newspapers and magazines. It was surprising how many words in the headlines were suited to key ideas in the play

After this, we took 3 words each and stuck them onto a piece of paper. The next step required us to annotate each word, thinking about the following ideas:

  • Why is that word significant?
  • How does it relate to ideas in the play?
  • Are there any characters who relate to that word?
  • Does it link to any ideas or action from the play?

We were encouraged to analyse, thinking about Miller’s purpose and our own responses to these ideas. Some students were assigned extra words by Miss Ryan when they had finished. Here is some of what we came up with:

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When we had finished this activity, we were randomly put into pairs and had to share our words and ideas with each other. We then had to stay in those pairs to present ideas on a specific theme. We made quick-fire revision posters, with a focus on content rather than appearances. Nishita patrolled the class to check on pupil progress and help those out who were struggling. The themes we looked at were:

  • Author’s Life
  • Witchcraft
  • Salem (17th century)
  • The Cold War and McCarthyism
  • Tyranny
  • Bigotry
  • Conflict
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Envy
  • Courage

Our focus was to:

  • Define the theme.
  • Find quotations that display the theme in the play.
  • Think about key characters and action related to the theme.
  • Explore what Miller was saying about the theme/How his ideas are linked.
Here are some of the results:
During the last 10 minutes of the lesson, Miss Ryan treated us to some Michael Jackson action. This was a result of Shruti admitting that she had never heard the song ‘Smooth Criminal’, Miss Ryan thought that it would be a crime not to educate her on the matter! Here it is for your enjoyment: (It is a very tenuous link, we know, but we’d worked hard all lesson!)
We also watched ‘Man in the Mirror’: