Reflection: Lesson Planning The Scottsboro Trial - Section 2: The Scottsboro Trial Documentary


My school year is rapidly coming to a close, and my list of things to do with my students before they graduate does not seem to be getting any shorter.  I admit this because while I have devoted two days to viewing and discussing the Scottsboro documentary, this is a film that offers many more opportunities from which to build lessons.  A few ideas that come to mind include:

  • Exploring the newspaper articles about the trial as informational texts
  • An investigation of the American Communist Party philosophy as argument/persuasion/propaganda
  • An exploration of representative individuals from the trial and the changes Harper Lee has made with her fictional depictions

While I believe I have planned an appropriate dose of the history behind the Tom Robinson case for my students, I would encourage any teacher considering the use of this documentary to consider all the avenues for instruction that it offers. 


  Maximizing This Documentary
  Lesson Planning: Maximizing This Documentary
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The Scottsboro Trial

Unit 12: To Kill A Mockingbird Part II
Lesson 5 of 8

Objective: SWBAT to view the first half of a PBS documentary on the Scottsboro Trial and address a series of comprehension questions while viewing.

Big Idea: The American tragedy that inspired Harper Lee.

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screen shot 2014 04 30 at 6 46 49 pm
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