My sophomore Honors English students had just finished reading Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird, and as a transition activity, I had them journal for the first 10-15 minutes of class about these two topics:
Since Part II deals mainly, if not entirely, with the trail in Maycomb, I wanted the students to start thinking about their own lives and experiences–making connections to the book.
After journaling, we discussed their ideas as a class. Many students said they were influenced by family, peers, media, and religion. Some students argued that school was more of an influence than churches/religious establishments solely because students spend the majority of their time in school. Others said that family was a huge influence; some students argued that they had different beliefs than their family members. It was a very lively and interesting discussion!
For the second question, about our justice system, students were almost unanimous on the belief that it was unfair. They talked about things like long sentences to people that don’t deserve it, or vice versa. They talked about how money can play a huge role in someone’s consequences. They even talked about some celebrities and how the media influences the way people feel about the justice system.
I thought this activity worked well to preview what was coming next–a project that compared/contrasted the 1930’s and 1960’s–the setting of the book and the time period when Harper Lee (the author) was writing the book.
“Who the heck is related to who?” This is what one of my students said to me as we reached one of the final chapters of Part II and were introduced to the Christmas scene. I took a pause out of my lecture/discussion and drew a goofy map on the board. Continue reading →
“How can I make teaching this book interesting?” I said to myself aloud, in the middle of the library, like a crazy person. It was a Sunday night and I was putting together my teaching plans for Monday. My Honors 10 students were just starting Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird and I wanted them to have fun. I needed some inspiration. Continue reading →
To change up activities for To Kill a Mockingbird, I had the students write the scene at the Radley House (where Jem, Scout, and Dill try to peer through the window and Jem loses his pants) through the eyes of one of the characters. Continue reading →
There’s a lot going on in the first few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. To help my students with their comprehension and understanding, I had them use a study guide to help with note-taking. Continue reading →
To Kill a Mockingbird can be a challenging text, just due to the fact that there are so many characters! I wanted to help my students organize and keep the characters straight, so I created a character map. Continue reading →