Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Work of Harper Lee

With the announcement that Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman will be released later this year, the classic To Kill a Mockingbird has been on the forefront of many teachers' minds.  We all know that it is on the top of every English teacher's list.  It is a brilliant, complex novel that explores so many themes. My favourite part to teach is always the courtroom scene- I love seeing kids get invested in the case and getting angry at the verdict.

With Mockingbird on the brain, I looked to see if I had any pins on the novel.  I found a link to Tracee Orman's blog, which has some free Mockingbird resources.

The first resource included is a KWL introductory activity.  A KWL helps kids to set a purpose for reading- they will be looking for answers to their questions, keeping them focused on a reading task.

The second resource is an organizer and inference activity for the trial scene.  The organizer helps students to organize the testimonies of Heck Tate, Mayella Ewell, Tom Ewell, and Tom Robinson.  The inference activity has students look at Atticus' methods of questioning and what these lead the reader to infer about the events at the Ewell house.

When you teach a classic novel like To Kill a Mockingbird, it can be easy to get repetitive and teach the novel the same way every time.  It's great for educators to shake up their approach to literature so that it doesn't get dull.

Food for thought... What are your favourite classic novels to teach?  Is there a unique teaching method that you have used to spice it up?

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