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Chapter Rewrite

Page history last edited by Stemmy 13 years, 4 months ago

The Word document can be downloaded here



            The story To Kill A Mockingbird is a timeless classic due to its themes and lessons.  Harper Lee does not skimp on the details of reality, showing the reader the evils in the world and not dressing them up in happy endings.  Readers then and now can still relate to the themes of prejudice, loss of innocence, growing up, and doing what is right no matter what others may say.  These themes and lessons learned are taught not only by Atticus and a close reading of the book, but also by teachers.  Teachers must ask the hard questions and help their students examine the book, which in turn may cause students to examine their own lives.



Activity 1

San Diego County Office of Education.  (1997).  To Kill a Mockingbird – Activity 1.  Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/tokil/activity1.htm



You will be reading the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee in class.  Before getting started, look at the four Internet sites listed below and make speculations and observations about the story you are about to read.

Note: With your teacher, please review your school's acceptable use policy for work on the Internet.  Also, links to the Web often change.  Tell your teacher when you find a poor link in this guide.


The Task

Based on what you read on the Internet and the quotation below, speculate why the author chose this animal in the title of her book.


"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."


The Process


1.     Visit the Internet resources listed below to find out about the mockingbird.

Mockingbird Site


Northern Mockingbird


The Texas State Bird: Mockingbird


2.     Decide what form your speculation will take: a letter, a poster report, a song.

Remember to base your speculation on the quotation and your readings on the Internet.

3.     Create the product you have chosen, making sure to show evidence that you are aware of the characteristics of the bird.  Also make an educated guess about why the author included this animal in the title of her book.


How You Will Be Graded

You will be graded using the rubric below.

To Kill A Mockingbird Scoring Guide

1–Unsatisfactory 2–Needs Improvement 3–Satisfactory 4–Good 5–Excellent

Quality and development of ideas

1   2   3   4   5

x 20=

Organization and relevance to topic

1   2   3   4   5

x 20=

Style and individuality

1   2   3   4   5

x 20=

Creativity in final project

1   2   3   4   5

x 20=

Spelling and punctuation

1   2   3   4   5

x 20=





Activity 2

San Diego County Office of Education.  (1997).  To Kill a Mockingbird – Activity 4.  Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/tokil/activity4.htm


You will write a persuasive argument for Scout to convince Mr. Ewell that he should be more just.  To persuade effectively, you must use facts and details from the book.

The Task

Put yourself in Scout's position and convince Mr. Ewell that he should be fairer.  You are trying to convince your readers--and Mr. Ewell--to accept your point of view.

The Process

Complete the chart below to help you organize your thoughts.

Scout might say:

What Mr. Ewell would say in response:













1.     Provide reasons for Mr. Ewell to understand and agree with Scout's point of view on each point.

2.     Develop your first draft according to your planning and organizing.

      • Make sure the opening paragraph gains the reader’s attention.
      • Address different sides of the issues.

3.     Revise and edit your work.

4.     Turn in the final draft.

How You Will Be Graded

In your closing argument, you must structure your ideas logically, use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions, defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, and address readers' concerns.



Assignment 1

Mr. B. Lettiere's English on the Web.  (2008, August 4)  Mr. Lettiere’s To Kill A Mockingbird Webpage, Retrieved April 29, 2009, from http://www.argo217.k12.il.us/departs/english/blettiere/mockingbird.htm


To Kill a Mockingbird Project

Choose ONE of the following:

1.  Music:  Make a tape or a CD of at least 5 songs that represent the themes/characters/events in the story.  Make a cover for the CD or cassette.  Also, make liner notes that explain the relationship between the songs and To Kill a Mockingbird.  In short, make sure there is at least one paragraph written for each song.  Each paragraph should make connections between the song and the book.  It should be evident from these paragraphs that you have read and that you have fully understood the themes and how they are connected to the lyrics of the songs you have chosen.

2.  Collage:  On a sheet of poster board, make a collage that represents a theme, character, or an event in the story.  The collage should have attached a typed paper explaining the theme, character, or event that you have visually presented in your collage.

3.  Poetry 1:  Write at least three short poems or one long poem in the form of your choosing about the story, a theme from the story, or one or more of the characters.  The poem can be told from a narrator of your own creation, or it can be told from the perspective of one of the characters.  Write a short paper explaining how your poems are connected to the story.  Also, you will be required to read at least one of the poems to the class.

4.  Poetry 2: find a poem that shares a theme with To Kill a Mockingbird.  Memorize the poem.  Perform the poem in front of the class with some emotion and enthusiasm.  Then present an explanation of how the poem is connected to the book.  Your explanation needs to be typed and turned in on the day you present.

5.  OPEN: think of something that is creative and requires about the same amount of work as the projects above.  Then get my permission to do it.


Each project must be neat and organized.  All writing should be typed.  Effort must be visible.  I am more interested in how you make connections to the book.  I am also looking for evidence that you have read the book and that you understand it.  The grade is based on the following criteria: usefulness, creativity, and effort.


Project Due: ______________

Points: 60



Assignment 2

Mr. B. Lettiere's English on the Web.  (2008, August 4)  Mr. Lettiere’s To Kill A Mockingbird Webpage, Retrieved April 29, 2009, from http://www.argo217.k12.il.us/departs/english/blettiere/mockingbird.htm


To Kill a Mockingbird Literary Analysis Paper

            This is a theme analysis paper on To Kill a Mockingbird.  You will write a paper on the theme of compassion, sympathy, and tolerance.  Call it what you want.  Atticus says that people need to crawl inside other people’s skin and see things from their point of view.  I would like you to analyze this theme and find where characters in the book demonstrate this act of seeing from another’s perspective.  You will want to find at least 4 examples of when a character in the book does this.  You will want to analyze what good comes from it.  You will want to explain to your reader how the person sees from another’s perspective?  What motivated the character to see from another’s perspective?  What caused a character to see from another character’s perspective?  How was the character’s behavior different afterwards?



Find quotes of Atticus and other characters that present the lesson of stepping inside other’s skin and shoes.  Write down page numbers, so you have them handy when you write the paper.

Find parts in the book where it is very clear that a character has taken another character’s perspective.  Write down page numbers.  You want to find 4 examples.


Introduction: follow ANT for the introduction.

  • Attention-getter. The attention-getter should be general and interesting.  It should draw the reader in.  It should also connect thematically to the thesis 
  • Necessary information:
    • Author’s name
    • Title of work
    • Brief plot summary
  • Thesis:
    • Your thesis should make the statement that there are several moments in the novel when the reader sees the characters taking someone else’s perspective.


Body Paragraphs:  You will most likely have 4, since you need to provide 4 examples.

TIQA (look at notes from earlier in the year.  Recall the weeks we spent on this).  Normally, you can repeat TIQA twice per paragraph.  The T the second time stands for transition.

  • To pic Sentence: this should have the topic of perspective taking and the limiting idea of whatever example you are providing in the paragraph.
  • Introduce example and quotes:
    • Put the quote or example you are about to provide into context.  You may not just put a quote down.  You need to say something such as When Scout stands on the Radley’s porch, she says, “--insert quote ” (32).
  • Quote or example.  You can quote from dialogue or narration.  Or you can paraphrase.  Either way, you must put the page number—for example, (10)
  • Analyze the quote or example.  After you have provided the example or quote, you must spend a few sentences explaining how the example or quote supports the topic sentence, which probably says that the character you are talking about has experience perspective taking.  Then you need to explain what the character has learned.  Provide examples that support that the character is better off.  Or that good came from perspective taking



  • Restate your thesis.  RESTATE, not rewrite.  Say your thesis again but differently.
  • Move into a brief general discussion of the theme of perspective taking and its importance to our lives in general.  How might the world be different if certain real people were to experience what some of these characters have experienced?  Use specific examples from real life.
  • Clincher—Round off—your last impression to the reader should relate back to the attention-getter.


Writing TIPS:

  • Do not use second person (YOU, Your.)  This includes imperative sentences with implied you as the subject.
  • Proofread for spelling, commas, comma splices, run-ons, and so on.
  • Make sure that all sentences flow into each other (transition).  Remember our discussion of the beginning of a sentence having something old from the previous sentence, and the second part of a sentence having something new to progress the idea.  It can’t always be done, but you should try as often as possible.
  • Make sure you use page numbers.
  • Absolutely do not use the first person (I, me, my).  Do not use “I think,” “In my opinion,” and so on.


  • DO NOT.  Let me repeat, DO NOT begin body paragraphs with such words and phrases as “first,” “second,” “third,” “to begin,” “next.”  These are lame ways to transition.  You may want to use, not overuse, “Another example of . . . is . . .”
  • Along with the above, DO NOT start your conclusion paragraph with “In conclusion” or “To summarize” or any other phrase that has been overused.  Just write the conclusion.  I will know you are concluding if you have transitioned well.
  • Paper must be typed.
  • 12 pt. Font Times should be used.
  • 1 inch margins.
  • Heading should be on top left of the first page only.
  • Use your Cntrl-F worksheet and your additional lists to proofread your paper.





Remember the Titans


            In 1971 the students of T.C. Williams High School begin the new school year as a desegregated school.  Students trying out for the football team who are both white and black attend a camp in Gettysburg.  During camp the students develop a strong bond with one another regardless of race but when they return home they face racism and prejudice from their fellow classmates, family, and town.  Through the prejudice against them they work together and make it to the state championship but not without a price.




            Tracy Turnblad is an upbeat girl who loves to sing and dance and doesn’t let her rotund figure stop her from doing what she loves, even when she is rejected from an audition for The Corny Collins Show due to her figure.  In detention, Tracy befriends some African American students in her school who are a part of the “Negro Day” show on The Corny Collins Show, which only airs once a month (African Americans were not allowed on The Corny Collins Show).  Tracy impresses Corny Collins at the record hop (school dance) and she becomes a new member of the show.  Disgusted with the segregation going on Tracy joins a group of protesters marching through Baltimore and has to hide from the police after hitting one with a sign.  In the end Tracy shows the community that it doesn’t matter whether you’re race, sex, or size is but to accept each other for who they are.




Mr. Lettiere’s To Kill A Mockingbird Webpage, Retrieved April 29, 2009, from http://www.argo217.k12.il.us/departs/english/blettiere/mockingbird.htm

Created in something similar to an online classroom style, this website provides students with quizzes, papers, projects, and a number of resources to help find the information necessary to complete the assignments.

SparkNote on To Kill a Mockingbird.  Retrieved May 5, 2009, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mocking/

SparkNotes is an excellent resource for students who are having trouble understanding themes within the book.  The site provides chapter synopsis, analysis of themes and characters, and even study guides and quizzes.




“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday


            “Strange Fruit” was a controversial song, which described the lynching of African Americans.  The lyrics and music are haunting as you can almost see the scene described by the lyrics.

“Where is the Love” by The Black Eyed Peas

            A far more upbeat song than “Strange Fruit” it describes the terrible things going on in the world today ranging from terrorism and national issues to selfishness and lack of moral values.




Rethinking Race in the Classroom

            The article discusses whether we should be teaching students books with the “N word”.  Samuels brings up good points on both sides but seems to lean towards keeping the books in schools.  The article brings up necessary questions that all teachers should consider and possibly share with their class.


Finding Atticus

            Bennett discusses the character Atticus and the questions her students bring up during their reading of To Kill a Mockingbird.




Krech, B.  (2006).  Rebound.  Tarrytown:  Marshall Cavendish.  271 pages, ISBN 0-7614-5319-9


            All Ray wants to do is play basketball but in his school and neighborhood white boys wrestle and black boys play basketball.  He tries out every year for the basketball team and no matter how good he is he gets cut every time.  Building up his reputation as an excellent player through youth and community basketball leagues, Ray finally gets his chance to shine when his school gets a new basketball coach.  Though his dream slowly disappears as he quickly learns where his friend’s loyalties lie.





            The writing style employed is at the reading level of any teenager and flows the way a teenager would think.  Krech does not always use correct grammar in the dialogue but that is only because the characters would not use correct grammar.  By writing this way Krech makes the characters seem far more realistic.  The majority of the book describes basketball games, which is entertaining if you’re into basketball but may be lost on those who are not, especially with some of the terms he uses.


            I believe students from grade 10 and up would have the maturity level to read this book.  Krech uses foul language and racial slurs in some instances throughout the book, so it would be appropriate for the teacher to discuss the words with the class before reading and let the parents know that the students would be reading a book with that type of language.

            The flow of the book is fast at the beginning seeming to give readers just what they need to know before diving into the important part of the book.  Rebound seems like a book for more reluctant readers though does well to teach about prejudice in our society today.




            The cover is a blue background with a basketball, which is not orange but has alternating sections of black and white.  The first impression the reader would get is the book is about basketball, which it is, and the significance of the ball colors may not become apparent until they begin reading the story.

Interior Illustrations:


Potential Instructional Uses:

            This book is a good supplement to a unit on racism and prejudice as most students should be able to relate to the characters in this modern day story.  Teachers could use Rebound, as a comparison to books like To Kill a Mockingbird or Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, which deal with prejudice during a different time.


The Secret Life of Bees

Kidd, Sue Monk.  (2003).  The Secret Life of Bees.  New York:  Penguin Books.  302 pages, ISBN 0 14 20.0174 0


            Lily runs away from her abusive father with her caregiver Rosaleen to a town written on the back of a picture her deceased mother owned.  She comes to a bee farm owned by three sisters, whose logo on their honey, a black Virgin Mary, is the same picture owned by her mother.  Lily doesn’t tell the women the real reason why she and Rosaleen are there and they work on the farm to earn their keep.  During her time there Lily becomes close to the women and soon becomes a part of their family.





            Written in first person, Sue Monk Kidd creates beautifully detailed scenes, which are poetic in some parts.  The reading level is at middle school but high school students will not become bored with the book.  Only with certain dialogue does she use incorrect grammar but, like Rebound, it is used to give a realistic depiction of a character.


            I would only recommend this book to middle school students if they are in a gifted class and their parents sign off on it due to the language in the book.  Otherwise I think it is appropriate for high school students, though again due to the offensive language and racial slurs parents should be notified.




            The cover depicts a honey jar with image of the Virgin Mary used by the three sisters.  The jar is sitting in a window giving off a homey feel while the green images outside the window display the country setting in the book.

Interior Illustrations:

            A lone bee is seen on every chapter title page, which is the extent of illustrations within the book.

Potential Instructional Uses

            Could be used as a supplemental or unit book on civil rights, prejudice, or coming of age.  Even though the story takes place in 1964, the themes are universal and students should be able to relate to or empathize with the characters.



            These are just a part of the multitude of literary and non-literary resources at a teacher’s disposal to help their students better understand the themes within To Kill a Mockingbird.  There are arguments that we should not teach To Kill a Mockingbird now because we do not wish to instill the hatred our ancestors had within our children today.  Perhaps they are right and there are other books out there that can be used to teach the issues presented in To Kill a Mockingbird.  However, to prevent history from repeating itself we must learn about our past.  Though there is no where near as much prejudice against African Americans now as there was then prejudice still exists.  It is seen more towards those of Middle Eastern decent now since the attack on September 11th and an understanding of the Middle Eastern culture will help build tolerance and hopefully acceptance of this culture.  Seeing our mistakes in the past will hopefully allow us to see the mistakes we are making now and teaching the classics will help guide students in making better decisions than past generations.


Extra Tools





Bennett, E.  (2005, Winter2005).  Finding Atticus.  California English, 11(2), 27-27.  Retrieved May 5, 2009, from Education Research Complete database.

Blackeyed Peas.  (2003).  Where is the Love.  On Elephunk [CD].  A&M

Bruckheimer, J. (Producer), & Boaz, Y. (Director).  (2000). Remember the Titans [Motion picture]

Meron, N. (Producer), & Shankman, A. (Director).  (2007).  Hairspray [Motion picture]

Douthat, R. and Phillips, B.  (2009).   SparkNote on To Kill a Mockingbird.  Retrieved May 5, 2009, from  http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mocking/

Holliday, Billie.  (1939).  Strange Fruit. 

Kidd, Sue Monk.  (2003).  The Secret Life of Bees.  New York:  Penguin Books

Krech, B.  (2006).  Rebound.  Tarrytown:  Marshall Cavendish.

Mr. B. Lettiere's English on the Web.  (2008, August 4)  Mr. Lettiere’s To Kill A Mockingbird Webpage, Retrieved April 29, 2009, from http://www.argo217.k12.il.us/departs/english/blettiere/mockingbird.htm

Samuels, A. (2009, March 9).  Rethinking Race In the Classroom.  Newsweek, 153(10), 52-53.  Retrieved May 5, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

San Diego County Office of Education.  (1997).  To Kill a Mockingbird – Activity 4.  Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/tokil/activity4.htm

San Diego County Office of Education.  (1997).  To Kill a Mockingbird – Activity 1.  Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/tokil/activity1.htm

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