My students were required to read the final four chapters (28-31) of To Kill a Mockingbird for this last reading quiz. The list of questions I have developed, from which to select five in each class, include:
The quiz is given orally and my students record their answers on quarter sheets of scratch paper. It simply tests whether or not they have done their reading, and I will admit that this time, the answers are perhaps more obvious than in previous quizzes. I have decided to do this because I have noticed that even my reluctant, must-light-a-fire-under-them-for-every-assignment students have fallen under the spell of this book, and I want to reward them with a strong reading quiz score on this last quiz, proving to them how great are the rewards when one does his/her reading!
Today we will review chapters 28-31 through the sharing of student focus questions. Over the past few days, many of my students have been finishing the book ahead of schedule, unable to put it down once they were gripped by the events of chapter 28. This will be their first opportunity to openly discuss the end of the book, without running the risk of giving anything away to their peers.
I anticipate that some students will be confused by what actually transpires in these chapters, including who actually kills Bob Ewell, whether or not to believe what Atticus believes (that Jem kills him), and whether or not Heck Tate's version of the event is true (that he fell on his knife). This should open the door to some fresh analysis of character traits, as my students have come to accept Atticus as the voice of reason in the text, and Heck Tate as a utilitarian witness, at best, thus far. And of course, finally being able to discuss Boo Radley with concrete, in-person evidence is something they have been waiting for since Part One.
Today, then, it makes sense to complete the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, which my students have been watching in intervals throughout the unit. I have not attached an assignment to this last viewing, satisfied that my students have explored the text v. film battle sufficiently in this lesson and in this lesson.
I do, however, expect that my students will have strong reactions to the end, especially to Boo Radley (it never fails to surprise them when they discover him hiding behind the bedroom door . . .). We will devote any remaining minutes of the period to whole group sharing of reactions to the film and how it stacks up against the text.