Since it’s mid-September and I saw orange leaves today while I was out, what could be more fitting than a witchy story?
Halloween is coming, my friends, and the Lit Mama is all in.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare is a beautiful story about friendship and staying true to oneself set in 1687 Connecticut. When 16-year-old Kit is orphaned, she has to travel to America to live with relatives she’s never met. Suspicious and unfriendly, the Puritan community in which she finds herself soon begin to whisper ‘witch.’ And when Kit finds a friend in Hannah Tupper, a widow known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, things become downright dangerous.
There are so many lessons to learn from this book. And it’s incredibly absorbing. Plus, autumn. Did I say that already?
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a powerful statement about mob mentality and the hysteria of the colonial witch hunts that plagued the United States in its youth. Seriously, this is an excellent addition to a Colonial history lesson.
As such, I have lots of activities you can do to help your kiddos understand the novel better. So let’s get to it.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond Activities
- Think about Kit’s first impressions of Connecticut and Saybrook Harbor. Write about how you would feel if you knew you had to live in such a place.
- A time when you noticed people looking at you strangely. What were the circumstances? How did it make you feel?
- If you had an ability (like Kit’s swimming) that no one else around you had, how do you think others would react? Imagine a scenario and write about it.
- A time when you said something to a friend (or a friend said something to you) that was unintentionally insulting).
- Imagine a world in which all you were allowed to read were religious texts. Would you miss stories and poetry and plays? Write about it.
- List the chores you have to do at home. Do they take every second of your day? How would you feel if all you did was work all day?
- What would it be like to live in a town with only a few houses and no shops nearby
- A time when you envied a friend or relatives because you wished you had something that belonged to them
- Something you have to do but don’t particularly enjoy–can you think of reasons why it’s good to do it anyway?
- A time when you have helped prepare dinner for a guest
- A time when someone you liked decided they liked someone else more than you
- A guest who made you feel awkward or uncomfortable
- A favorite place you like to be–your room, a forest, a meadow or some other place that you feel is just yours
- A time when you got into trouble for something you didn’t know was wrong
- Kit feels very different from the people around her and out of place. Have you ever felt that way? Write about it.
- Where you go when you are very upset and want to be alone
- The person who taught you to read
- Imagine you are Prudence and your parents told you that you were too stupid to go to school. How would you feel?
- Have you ever spent time with someone just because you thought they were lonely? Write about it.
- What it would be like to love someone the way Mercy loves John Holbrook
- Your favorite season and why you like it so much
- A friend you’ve had that no one else liked very much
- A secret you know or have known about. Was the secret kept or told? How did it turn out?
- Uncle Matthew’s land is of utmost importance to him. Is there anything in your life that you feel is so important?
- A time you heard a rumor about a friend or yourself that you knew wasn’t true
- Imagine the government cancelled Thanksgiving or another holiday that you love. What would you do?
- Has a friend ever had to leave or move away from you? How did it make you feel? What did you do?
- Imagine you are Kit and describe a day of taking care of the house when everyone was sick.
- Pretend you are Hannah and write about the night the townspeople came
- Imagine you are Kit, standing trial for being a witch, and all the neighbors making false accusations. How would you feel? What would you do?
- A friend you can depend on no matter what
- What you think it would be like to live on a ship
Write a letter
- From Kit to her American relatives telling them she’s been orphaned and is coming to stay with them
- From Kit to Mistress Eaton thanking her for her kindness on the Dolphin
- From Kit to Nat Eaton asking him to explain his abrupt change in behavior toward her
- From John Holbrook to Kit telling her why she should be careful with her words and actions
- From Kit to Captain Eaton explaining that she doesn’t want to eat with Goodwife Cruff anymore and why
- From Prudence Cruff to Kit thanking her for saving the doll
- From Kit to her grandfather telling him how much she loved him and how grateful she was to have him
- From Kit to Mercy thanking her for her kindness when Kit firshttp://litmamahomeschool.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpt arrived
- From Judith to her father asking him to please let her keep the peacock blue dress
- From Aunt Rachel to Kit explaining why she and the girls can’t have such fine clothes
- From Kit to her grandfather’s friend telling him why she wouldn’t marry him
- From Kit to Uncle Matthew telling him why she didn’t want to go to another Meeting
- From Kit to Aunt Rachel asking why she has changed so much since she came to America
- From Dr. Bulkeley to Uncle Matthew explaining why war is bad and why revolutionary thoughts could lead to war
- From Kit to Dr. Bulkeley berating him for mentioning Mercy’s lameness
- From Kit to Mercy telling her all she does for the family and how much Kit appreciates it
- From Kit to William Ashby telling him she doesn’t want him to come courting
- From Uncle Matthew to Kit telling her how losing his two boys had changed him
- From Kit to Mr. Kimberly explaining that the play-acting was all her idea and Mercy shouldn’t be punished for it
- From Mercy to Mr. Kimberly begging his forgiveness for the play-acting and explaining that she and Kit did not realize they were doing something wrong
- From Kit to Hannah Tupper thanking her for being there for her when she ran away to the Meadow and telling her how she helped
- From Kit to Aunt Rachel telling her what Hannah Tupper is like and why Kit won’t promise not to see her again
- From Nat to Hannah Tupper thanking her for taking care of him when he ran away at 8 years old
- From Nat to Kit telling her why Hannah needs her
- From Prudence to Kit thanking her for teaching her to read
- From Hannah to Prudence, Kit, and Nat thanking them for their friendship
- From Judith to John Holbrook telling him why she’s so interested in the type of house he should build
- From Mercy to John Holbrook telling him how she feels about him
- From Hannah to Nat and Kit thanking them for the firewood and for thatching the roof
- From Kit to Uncle Matthew explaining why it is important to help Hannah Tupper regardless of her beliefs
- From Kit to John Holbrook telling him what Hannah is really like and why he shouldn’t listen to rumors of witchcraft
- From John Holbrook to Judith explaining that he is in love with her sister
- From Kit to Nat telling him she has not agreed to marry William Ashby
- From Uncle Matthew to Governor Andros telling him why he shouldn’t take over Connecticut and revoke the charter
- From Kit to Uncle Matthew telling him why she’s proud of him
- From Nat to William Ashby explaining his All Hallow’s Eve prank
- From John Holbrook to Judith explaining why he enlisted
- From Uncle Matthew to Dr. Bulkeley thanking him for coming when Mercy was sick
- From Hannah to Kit thanking her for saving her from the mob
- From Aunt Rachel to Goodwife Cruff berating her for accusing Kit of witchcraft
- From Kit to the constable’s wife thanking her for the quilt and the comb and and basin of water
- From Kit to Uncle Matthew apologizing for deceiving and disobeying him and explaining why it happened
- From Goodwife Cruff to Kit telling her why she hates her and believes she is a witch
- From Kit to Prudence thanking her for testifying on her behalf
- From John Holbrook when he was captured by Indians to Mercy expressing his feelings for her
- From Judith and Mercy to Kit thanking her for the changes she brought to their lives
- From Kit to Nat telling him she has realized she loves him
- From Kit to Hannah telling her to start planning their summer garden and informing her of her impending wedding
- Saybrook Harbor
- Colonial trade between the colonies and the West Indies
- Signs of witchcraft in colonial times
- Ship’s figureheads
- Harvard in the 17th century
- King James II
- Pillory, whipping post, and stocks
- The American Revolution
- Thatch roofs
- Corn huskings
- Governor Edmund Andros of Massachusetts
- 1689 Boston Revolt
- 17th century medicine
- Colonial witch trials
- Think about what it would be like to move to another state or country. Pick one state or country and write about how it might be different from where you live now.
- People often give labels to things they don’t understand. Write a persuasive essay that convinces the reader you shouldn’t assume someone is bad just because you don’t know them.
- Nat says, “A man is loyal to the place he loves,” and “A man’s first loyalty is to the soil he stands on.” Write an essay about whether that makes it right to revolt against a government.
- Write about ways a person can stand up for his rights without using guns or violence
- What do you think is more important–freedom or loyalty? Write an essay explaining why.
- ‘Group think,’ also known as ‘mob mentality’ takes over the townspeople when the children become ill. Do you think so many would have gone after Hannah if they had been alone and thinking clearly? Write about the effects mob mentality can have on people and the problems it can cause.
- Do you think Kit was right to disobey her uncle? Write about disobedience and the circumstances that might make it okay to disobey
- Make a ship craft
- Make soap
- Make a church hat
- Draw Wethersfield in chalk pastels
- Design a fine dress
- Build a house with craft sticks
- Paint the meadows with daisies, buttercups, and the great elm tree
- Draw the Widow Tupper’s home by Blackbird pond
- Make a cat paper bag puppet craft
- Make a corn craft
- Paint an autumn scene
- Make a Thanksgiving Thankful Tree
- Paint the first snowfall at the Wood house
- Apple tarts
- Goat milk
- Blueberry cake
- Apple Cider
- Find Connecticut on a map
- Find Barbados on a map and measure the distance from there to Connecticut
- Learn how to card wool
- Grow a garden
- Create a poem with your name
- Read Pilgrim’s Progress
- Read The Tempest
Need a place to do the work? Or just want to print out all these yummy ideas? Grab the free printable!
I’m not going to lie right now. I think there was plenty more I could have put in here. But I just kept getting so wrapped up in the story that I forgot.
I mean, oops.
It’s a perfect book for this time of year, y’all. What can I say? Other than thanks for continually giving me reasons to binge read excellent books.