To Kill a Mockingbird Lesson Plans

To Kill a Mockingbird was the novel that made me become an English teacher! I fondly remember Mr. Myers reading this book with us my sophomore year, and the lessons it taught me. This was, perhaps, the first novel that I ever connected with. For this reason, it gives me great pleasure to present these lesson plans and activities for it. With these specifically designed and focused lessons, your students will become motivated by Scout and Atticus Finch, and their passion for justice.

Student Activities for To Kill a Mockingbird

Essential Questions for To Kill a Mockingbird

  1. How can biases be harmful?
  2. What are the different ways a person can show courage?
  3. Should people be able to have opinions that harm others?
  4. Is it okay that Justice is not always fair?

To Kill a Mockingbird Summary

This classic story has touched generations since it was written in the late 1950s. Set during the Great Depression, in Maycomb, Alabama, the story centers around the Finch family. Atticus, the father, a prominent lawyer, takes a case defending an innocent black man. Although Atticus clearly proves his client is innocent, the all-white jury still convicts the defendant.

Atticus is raising his two young children, Scout, and Jem. With his choice to defend Tom Robinson, Atticus's family are exposed to the pressures of racism and hatred. During the novel, the reader gets to see the trial through the eyes of a youngster, free from the prejudices’ that adulthood brings. While most of the town shuns the Finch family, the black community begins to embrace them.

Scout, Atticus’ young daughter, also at this time has a fascination with the Radley home. Through hearsay, the reader learns Boo Radley is an extreme introvert, and lives in an eerie, haunted home on their street. His reclusive lifestyle sparks the imaginations of Scout, her brother Jem, and their friend Dill, and they often act out what they think Boo is like. Atticus catches them one day, insists that what they are doing is wrong, and asks the children to consider life from Boo’s perspective. Engrossed with Boo, Scout thinks he leaves them gifts. She also believes that one night when she’s not watching he puts a blanket over her while she stands and watches a neighbor’s home on fire. Boo ends up being a major symbol in the novel, and the source of two valuable lessons learned by Scout later on.

The story climaxes when Bob Ewell, the man who framed Tom, seeks out Scout to take revenge for Atticus making a mockery of him in court. One night, as Scout and her brother are walking home, he attacks them, wounding Jem. However, Boo Radley comes to the rescue and kills him. The sheriff realizes what has happened, and covers for Boo, suggesting that Bob fell on his own knife.

Finally, Scout knows and understands Boo. She embraces the lessons her father taught her: practice sympathy and understanding, and no amount of hatred or prejudice can ruin faith in human goodness.

Other TKAM Activities

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic example of a Bildungsroman novel. Have students keep track of the different elements of Bildungsroman literature through storyboarding! Students can create a storyboard chart with illustrations and descriptions of each Bildungsroman stage. Learn more about the different Bildungsroman stages.

  2. Track how Boo Radley is viewed in a storyboard, and how that view changes from the beginning to the end of the novel.

  3. Follow the court case using a six cell storyboard depicting the major events.

  4. Give three examples of Race vs. Justice in a spider-map.

  5. Compare and contrast Scout and Jem in a T-Chart.

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How To Facilitate a Discussion on Sensitive Topics in Class


Introduce the Topic

To begin with, teachers can slowly start introducing the topic to the students. They can provide a brief history, the importance, and relevance of the topic. Topics such as racism and injustice are frequently touched upon in many stories hence it is important to discuss them in class.


Ensure a Respectful Environment

Teachers can set some rules for the discussion so that every student is respectful of others’ opinions and experiences. Teachers should also make sure that everyone understands the importance of this discussion and that students are comfortable talking about their opinions.


Conduct an Icebreaking Exercise

Start with a lighthearted introduction to the subject. As a result, the talk will likely be more relaxed and less tense. Teachers can show a video or a movie clip in class and ask about the opinions of the students.


Manage Conflict

Teachers can remain neutral discussion guides and always redirect discussions when they become more complex and heated. They should also inform the students beforehand about ground rules and respectful behavior.


Reflect and Summarize

At the end of the discussion, students can summarize the main points and different perspectives and reflect on the sensitivity of such topics and how to hold a discussion on them.

Frequently Asked Questions About To Kill a Mocking Bird

What is the subject of "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

The book takes place in the 1930s in the racially divided Southern United States. While their father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man accused of raping a white woman, the story follows Scout Finch and her brother Jem as they navigate the difficulties of growing up.

Who are the book's primary characters?

Scout Finch, Jem Finch, Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, Calpurnia, Tom Robinson, and Mayella Ewell are some of the important characters. The story is mostly focused on the members of the Finch Family.

What does the phrase "To Kill a Mockingbird" mean?

The name and title of the book are figurative. Mockingbirds are kind birds whose melodies add beauty to the world. The concept of "killing a mockingbird" is utilized in the book to symbolize the harm done to defenseless people, like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. It is also a reflection of our society where people only use their power on the powerless and vulnerable beings.

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