Hollywood Takes on TKAM

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SWBAT view a portion of the film To Kill a Mockingbird and compare their depictions of main characters against the portrayals in the film.

Big Idea

Is that what Scout's supposed to look like? Does Dill talk like that? Student Imagination v. Hollywood.

Writer's Mini Workshop

30 minutes


My students return today with the two argument paragraphs that they began in the previous lesson and were assigned to complete as homework.

I expect it to take the first ten minutes, moving from student to student, checking that they did their homework and briefly skimming their paragraphs, searching for strong examples that I will use (with permission, of course) in the writer's mini workshop.  Because I tasked my students with using evidence and examples from outside of the text (To Kill a Mockingbird), I anticipate that some will have exhibited "growing pains" in their writing.  I want to catch this by skimming through each student's work as I check it and briefly addressing what needs fixing.  Then, by workshopping a strong example, my students can make the direct correlation/comparison to their own work.  Normally, I use workshop sessions such as these for volunteers only; this time, however, I anticipate that I will need to be more strategic in the samples that are shared, in order to clearly demonstrate to my students what was expected:

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Film Clip

30 minutes

Today I will show my students a portion of the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I prefer interspersing small portions of a film throughout a unit, rather than saving the film for the end of a unit, which I explain further in this lesson.

Because this film takes a number of liberties with the plot line, I have tasked my students with noting these changes in a viewing activity.  This will also give them an opportunity to document the similarities and/or differences they notice in how they have come to perceive the four main characters thus far (Scout, Jem, Dill, and Atticus).

Before the I begin the film, I have my students complete the first column for each character, jotting down their inferences thus far on each character's traits as they have come to know them in the book.  Then, as they view the film, they will note any similarities and/or differences in the second column in the ways each actor portrays his/her character.

I intend to stop the film after the scene at the Radley house, where Jem goes back for his pants, though depending on how time has progressed thus far through the writer's mini worksop, we may not get that far.

Film Debriefing

10 minutes


I stop the film with around ten minutes left of class in order to give my students a chance to share what they have noticed and what they think of the film thus far with the whole group.

I am curious about my students' reactions to the film.  I expect they will have plenty to say about the compression of time and the rearrangement of certain events.  If their reactions are anything like my students of the past, they will most likely have complaints about the actor who portrays Dill, as his voice is rather distinct.

If all classes are unable to view the same amount of the film, then I will find spare minutes in near-future class sessions to get them caught up.