The Trial Comes Alive

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SWBAT view the trial scene from To Kill a Mockingbird and compare the visual witnesses to the textual witnesses.

Big Idea

Students meet the witnesses and decide whom to believe.

Reading Quiz

20 minutes

My students were assigned chapters 23-25 of To Kill a Mockingbird to read for homework, and so I begin class with a reading quiz.  I choose five of the the following ten questions for each class, mixing it up just enough to prevent the answers from being spread around the school as the day progresses: 

  • Who does Scout want to play with, who Aunt Alexandra calls "trash"?
  • Jem says there are four kinds of folks; how many kinds of folks does Scout say there are?
  • According to Jem, why has Boo Radley stayed indoors all these years?
  • Why can't Miss Maudie serve on a jury?
  • Who is Mrs. Merriweather talking about when she says " . . . there are some good but misguided people in this town . . ."?
  • What happens to Tom Robinson in chapter 24?
  • Why is Tom Robinson shot?
  • Who does Atticus take with him to the Robinson home, after Tom is killed?
  • Who "likens Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children . . ."?
  • After Tom's death, who said "it made one down and about two more to go"?

I ask the questions orally and my students record their answers on quarter sheets of scratch paper. Each question is worth two points, so that if a student confuses an answer, but it is obvious he/she has done the reading through his/her answers, then I can give them one point instead of two.  

Film Excerpt

40 minutes


At last, we are ready to watch the trial scene in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.  This has been a steady build-up, through a variety of lessons, where my students have:

I instruct my students to return to the template they began that asks them to compare the text version of each witness to the film version.  As they view the scene, they will record their reactions to each witness as they are portrayed by the actors in the film.


Whole Group Review

10 minutes


In the remaining minutes, my students should be able to briefly share with the whole group their assessments of the character portrayals of the witnesses, as they compare to their assessments of book portrayals.