Character Visualization: "To Kill a Mockingbird in Film"

10 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT analyze the portrayals of characters in text and film, including what is present and absent in each, by critically viewing the film of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Big Idea

Students begin to walk a mile in another's shoes, viewing the characters of the 1962 "To Kill a Mockingbird" film.

Introduction & Welcome: It's Bat Appreciation Day!

3 minutes

We open class with a quick welcome to "Bat Appreciation Day," and I note to the students that as long as bats eat mosquitoes, I appreciate bats. As always, Daily Holidays serve to break the ice at the start of class and build students ownership and engagement. 

Critical Viewing: Looking for Characterization

12 minutes

Students are given the opportunity to begin critically viewing* the film of "To Kill a Mockingbird." This is a natural breaking point from our literature circle discussion, as we are between chapters 11 and 12, between Parts 1 and 2 of the novel. It is a good opportunity to gauge how students visualize the setting and characters in comparison with the iconic portrayals in the film. We are taking today to view the film in order to analyze the subject matter in two different artistic media (the novel and the film) (RL.9-10.7), as well as to visualize how Scout develops over the course of both representations and how she interact with other characters (RL.9-10.3). Additionally we are viewing the film for cultural literacy, because of its impact and notability. In order to prepare students for notes today, I ask students to copy a chart into their notes addressing their reactions to the film. 

*Students have previously been exposed to this information, and are familiar with the concepts driving critical viewing and critical thinking skills.

Students are presented with the first twenty minutes or so of the film (until Judge Taylor requests Atticus represent Tom Robinson), all we can fit in today. 

"To Kill A Mockingbird." Dir. Robert Mulligan. Perf. Gregory Peck, Brock Peters. Universal International Pictures, 1962. DVD. 

Critical Thinking: Discussing The Film

10 minutes

Following this viewing, I pose the question to students to react to their observations about character behavior, particularly to a shot of the Finch family entering their house while Dill, on the far right side watches on (SL.9-10.1c). Students noted Dill's placementoff to the side by himselfwatching the family, and speculates on his thoughts, making new connections, particularly to the concept of missing a "Father Figure" (RL.9-10.1d).

This conversation runs until the end of the class.