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"The Witch of Blackbird Pond" is a historical fiction novel about a young girl moving to colonial Connecticut. Kit, the main character, finds out that life in the Puritan town of Wethersfield is much different from her life in Barbados. The endless chores, religious services and strict rules are almost too much to endure.
In this second article of the unit series on "The Witch of Blackbird Pond", students will participate in several activities -- present a small group research project, draw a map, complete an assessment paper and play a review game.
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To find out more about daily life in colonial New England, assign topics to small groups to research. Then have each group give a presentation in front of the class. Use books and encyclopedias from the library and Internet sites to gather information. Each group should include visual aids or props.
Suggested Research Topics:
- Clothing of the Puritans
- Medical treatments in the late 1600s
- Husking Bees and other social events
- Thoughts about witches
- Homes of the day
- Types of ships/sailing vessels
- Candle making and/or Carding wool
- Food preparation and kinds of food
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Assessment Tool and Review Game
- Download the document "The Witch of Blackbird Pond Novel Activity Paper" by clicking here and make copies for each student.
- Instruct students to write a statement for each person or event on the paper. You will use this for an assessment tool, so encourage students to write a complete, informative and even obscure fact.
- Collect papers and use them to assess the students on accuracy of book details.
- Then cut the papers along the horizontal lines and place the strips in a large basket or box.
- Divide the students into teams.
- Read a statement from a strip and call on a student from one team.
- If the student answers who or what the statement describes, they earn a point for the team.
- Follow the same procedure going back and forth between teams.
- Set a predetermined time to end the contest.
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- Use a blank map of North America and label Barbados, Connecticut, Boston, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea.
- Using the Internet, find information to calculate the mileage between Connecticut and Barbados.
- Using descriptions from the book and information from the Historic Wethersfield website, draw a map of the town. Label important buildings and landmarks.
- Using a blank map of Northeastern United States, label the Connecticut River, Saybrook, Wethersfield.
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- Roleplay the trail. You may choose to do this in groups. Students can choose parts, write out the dialogue, gather props and perform for the class.
- Roleplay a scene from the "dame school" (for the younger children in the summer months) that was held in the home of the Matthew Wood family. Mercy had a group of students and Kit had a group. Kit used an unorthodox form of teaching for that time.
- Create, draw and label a timeline of Kit's story in the book. Include the sail from Barbados, meeting Hannah, seasonal events, husking bee, meeting William Ashby, arrest of Nat, town illnesses, burning Hannah's house, Kit's arrest, wedding of friend, trial engagements of Judith, Kit and Nat plan a future.
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These "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" activities will give you ideas to help round out the unit on this famous book. The work incorporates social studies and language arts.
Activities for The Witch of Blackbird Pond Lesson Unit
This series includes chapter summaries, activities and more for cross curriculum work in language arts and social studies. The Witch of Blackbird Pond is an award winning historical fiction piece by Elizabeth George Speare.