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Character Analysis and the Crucible

Utah Education Network

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Note that this resource was reviewed during the Spring 2013 review period. The resource may or may not have been updated since the review. Check with the content creator to see if there is a more recent version available.


This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2013. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

The version reviewed was: 7/12/2012.

Background from OER Project Review Team
This unit is available on the Utah Education Network (UEN). UEN connects all Utah school districts, schools, and higher education institutions to a network and educational resources. The main curriculum tie in this unit was called out by developers as CCSS Reading Informational Text Standard 1.

Publishers' Criteria (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 3 (Strongly Agree). Quality of Text: 0.83, Quality of Questions and Tasks: 1.88, Writing: 2.5.

EQuIP (Learn more)

Needs Revision (1.3)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 2.0, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 1.75, Instructional Supports: 1.25, Assessment: 2.0.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.25, Interactivity: 0.0, Exercises: 1.75, Deeper Learning: 1.75.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Moderate (1.25)

Impressed with: treatment of character analysis, focus on textual evidence requirement, tie in with theme, how the lesson develops, use of SATDO characterization, clear intended learning outcomes, partner and group work around interpretation charts/statements.

Challenged by: difficulty of text used; AP level strategies; accessibility for all students; rubric alignment and clarity.

Overall evaluation – While impressed with the overall intention of this unit, I recommend with many reservations. I feel the strategies, activities, and assignments included in this unit are extremely well done, applicable, accessible, and treat the stated objectives in a meaningful way. My reservations come from the choice of text. Perhaps a treatment of literature circles with a choice of texts which cover similar themes at a variety of Lexiles could meet the same goals?

Further – while many CCSS standards were indicated, this unit is limited in the actual application of reading literature standards (which appears rather ironic given the text selected).

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

This unit does a very good job of teaching students how to analyze characters and then write an argumentative character analysis essay, integrating quotes, and following MLA format. The developer has included activities and charts where student input data and share information. There are teacher materials with the suggested responses. The format of some charts leads students to find concrete details within the play and then enter their interpretations. The unit begins with modeling of these activities followed by student pairing, group sharing, and class discussions. The culminating project is the essay which is clearly defined and includes the rubric that the students must target.

CCSS Standards addressed are these: RL.11-12.3, SL.11-12.4, SL.11-12.1.a-c, L.11-12.1, L.11-12.2b, W.11-12.1 A-E, W.11-12.9.a

The developer suggests pre-teaching with some background knowledge on the conventions of drama, Puritans, Salem Witch Trials, McCarthy, etc. None of this material is provided.

The unit has a very narrow focus: character analysis. As such, the unit works.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Support for the ELL/SpEd students would be helpful but this is not a deterrent for using this unit.

There is some scaffolding and ELL strategies in the unit, but they are not billed as such.

Daily interaction with the text and use of evidence to support all ideas is a plus.

I would include more informational and background text to familiarize students with the time of publication and the time of setting.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

In this unit students read The Crucible as they prepare to write a character analysis. There are some good materials for a teacher working specifically with character analysis and using the text to provide interpretations, but the teacher would have to do a moderate amount of work to align this material to the CCSS.

Although the unit lists some curriculum ties to the CCSS the connections are not specific. For example, students write a character analysis using a rubric that assesses how well students incorporate quotations in their papers. The assignment does not incorporate CCSS language. To align the unit the teacher may consider using the specific language from the informative or argumentative writing standards (Writing Standard 1 or 2). The unit states students work on close reading, but it does not give short sections of the play to close read while working on specific CCSS reading standards. The unit does not list support for struggling readers either.

There are areas in the unit some teachers may find valuable. The teacher models how to examine a character in-depth by providing quotations, interpreting the text, and giving a rationale on why the quote was included. Students work toward independence on this skill as the unit progresses. There is a focus on textual evidence and the use of interpretation throughout the unit.

The unit does provide supports for teachers and is easy to follow. A teacher with limited resources, i.e. computer and internet access, could easily use the sources in the classroom. The unit does include some ideas for extension, although the extension is to watch a movie version of the play with some corresponding activities. There is a link to a website on using quotations too.

Although I would not use this material in my class I could see a long-term sub use the materials as they are very clear and easy to follow.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Disagree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Creative Commons License
This work by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.