I used this poem-a-day for my A day classes as I had an extra day with them this unit due to scheduling. I showed them the video and then told them all the connections I saw to the novel TKAMB. You can read those here-  I wanted to review themes and symbols in the novel and also review making connections.  Students used the rest of the class period to work on their final projects.


A day and B day:

This song is a wonderful way to end the unit- it was a suggestion from a student. It connects very well to the novel and is a 2017 coming-of-age/loss of innocence experience, where some similar lessons are learned through Scout’s coming of age story in TKAMB.


Today’s objective: Students will apply their understanding of the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by connecting those themes to current media. We reviewed the connections we have been making.

Today we also got prepared for a Socratic Seminar which will serve as the unit test. I explained what a seminar is, what the goals are, how it would run, and put them into partners. Partners were asked to write three questions to prepare for the seminar which will happen next class.

Active Engagement

Students populated this padlet. It is so visually stimulating, its ridiculous. This was a huge hit- students were only asked the following:

Post a Picture, Video, Poem, Article, Song that connects to TKAM. Explain your connection.


Check out their answers- you will be impressed.

Students can comment on each other’s work, and I am having all 75 freshmen from all of my classes collaborate on this padlet. SO FUN!


I reminded students about all the tons of stuff going on right now- (ADJUSTED FOR SNOW DAY 12/14).


Final Projects due MONDAY 12/18

SEMINAR Questions due and also SEMINAR IS 12/18

Padlet entries due Monday 12/18


Final Projects due TUESDAY 12/19

SEMINAR Questions due and also SEMINAR IS TUESDAY 12/19

Padlet entries due Tuesday 12/19






Image result for boo radley



“In the Cold, Cold Night” White Stripes

Prompt: who is singing this to whom? and why?Kids came up with some amazing answers that I hadn’t even thought of.

This song constantly refers to a burning light on a street corner. I pulled that back around and we discussed the possible symbolism in the novel of the light on the corner in front of the Radley house.


Students will understand how Harper Lee used symbolism and character development to develop various themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. We reviewed other symbols that have emerged and talked about how these symbols develop some themes- we also reviewed the themes kids have picked out as we have been reading.

Active Engagement

For real, the kids just wanted to finish the book here. So we did. We read the rest of it aloud.

There are a TON of references to the street light in these last few chapters (29-31).


Blamo- book’s done. Students can begin working on final projects. A Day: Final Projects due Friday 12/15 B Day final projects due Monday 12/18


Related image


“Blackbird” The Beatles

Pop-quiz on the reading homework. Who is the Blackbird in To Kill a Mockingbird? Everyone who read got super emotional- they pointed to lots of good evidence for Tom Robinson


Today’s objective: students will identify the most relevant details to the character development in TKAMB and select appropriate evidence to support their thinking.

I shared a google slideshow with all students in the class; I had all of the students who had done the assigned reading create a presentation with a summary, important quotes and character development in the assigned reading.

I had the students who did not read on the right side of the room and they read until they were finished. Once they finished reading, they hopped on the presentation and contributed.

Active Engagement

You read that right: I had the entire class collaborate on one slideshow. It was funny and fun and entertaining. And by the end of the class, we looked through the slideshow, we discussed the reading, everyone was sad about Tom Robinson, and we were all back on the same page… literally.


Here are some of the slideshows that came from this activity:

One Class






NOVEL P1 TKAMB Day 8: The Verdict


“Seven-nation Army” White Stripes. Prompt: Which character do you think would like this song most? Which lines make you think that? (My answer: Atticus Finch. I heard good arguments for Jem and Tom and Scout!).


Read aloud chapters 20-22. This is Atticus’s closing statement and the verdict- kids were rapt.

Active Engagement

Introduce FINAL PROJECT and RUBRIC, and explain that students should think about what they want to do but be mindful of the fact that we have not yet finished the book.


Read Chapters 23-25 for homework.

NOVEL P1 TKAMB Day 7- The Trial

Day 7 – The Trial



“Changes” 2Pac Connect the song to the novel (themes of racial injustice)


This lesson is sort of a Ms. Minto Specialty because of my cognitive science education- I will relay (as best I can) what I did and said to the kids this day; it is the most “lecture”like lesson of the unit.

I should note, at this point in the unit, students are finally about to read Tom Robinson’s trial.

After students made connections between a Tupac Shakur song and To Kill A Mockingbird, I gave a lesson about how learning is all about making connections, like, literal connections in the brain.

I tried to illustrate the concept on the whiteboard but I am notoriously terrible at drawing.

Electricity travels through neurons in your brain, and when you learn a new concept, or practice a new skill, or have a new thought, that electricity leaps across a gap between neurons called a synapse. Learning is all about making connections between neurons. It is a concrete thing happening. Furthermore, the more you practice a skill, or think a thought, a thin bit of material called the myelin sheath forms between the involved neurons, which helps the electricity to travel faster; it almost acts as a bridge. When a toddler tries to pick up a penny off of the ground, it is tricky. The first time they do this, electricity has to, in effect, try hard to make this new connection between neurons. A new leap. The more the toddler practices, the easier the leap becomes, until it is second nature. The neurons fire and tell the muscles in the hands what to do. It’s pretty neat. And I love the idea that learning involves making lasting connections in our minds both literally and figuratively.

Image result for neural connections

Active Engagement

Because learning involves making connections, I challenged myself to connect as many things as I could to the section of the book we were about to read. This is where I showed those things.

But first, we watched the trial scene in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

First: Remind them of the Poems-A-Day so far in the unit.

Second: Making a Murderer  trailer (legal injustice)

Third: Legally Blonde court scene where Elle Woods pulls and Atticus Finch (with the left arm/hand thing)

** I just heard this news story on NPR about mandatory sentencing… very interesting connections. The list goes on. Pull things that are timely when you teach the unit if any of these materials make you uncomfortable. The purpose is to get students thinking critically about justice, and sadly, injustice — a prominent theme in the book.


Students were disappointed when the bell rang for this lesson. In. Every. Class. It was a winner.

HOMEWORK: A Day- Read chapter 20.  A Day and B Day- Pay attention to your life and those around you. Listen. Watch. Be observant. Find at least 5 things you can connect to To Kill a Mockingbird. These can be connections to the characters, the events, the themes, the symbols, anything. Record your observations in this doc (also posted on Google Classroom). 

*Record as many as you find. Bonus points to whoever finds the most connections to the novel.

I have to note here that some amazing conversation came out of this lesson. One student wondered out loud: Maybe the myelin sheath solidifies racism. Maybe you could wear down your own myelin sheaths over time by rejecting your own racist tendencies or thoughts. Very interesting thinking and learning happening.


NOVEL P1 Day 6

Day 6

Image result for putting it all together


Skipped it today so students could have time to finish presentations


Review expectations for speaking and listening in class

Active Engagement

Students presented in chapter order. Here are some finished products

Chapter 12

Chapter 14


Answer any questions- recap important things kids noticed. Celebrate their amazing work!

NOVEL P1 Day 5

Vanilla Ice: Stop, collaborate and listen graphic design



“I Get Out” by Lauryn Hill I recorded our noticings and connections to the novel here. 


Student Objective: Students will read and analyze a chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird for character development so they can teach the chapter to their peers to demonstrate understanding.

At this point in the novel, students are intimately familiar with the main characters of the novel and they understand the main conflicts. I find that chapters 12-16 do not move the story along too much, but are certainly too valuable to skip out-right.

So, I devised this collaborative activity

where students work in small groups to read and summarize a chapter of the novel in a google slideshow. Next class, students will share their chapters in order, and we will jigsaw the information.

Active Engagement

Students worked on chromebooks in class, in small groups (3-4) that I assigned. I posted the assignment to Google Classroom.


The presentations are due next class- we will have a quiz as a whole class on all five chapters based on the information presented. (I made the quizzes the day of the presentation).