To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Reading and Understanding the Novel

|Unit Objectives |
|Novel packet |To Kill a Mockingbird Student Survival Guide|

"--there is one institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court."

Atticus Finch, Chapter. 20

Novel Projects

Option 1: Multigenre Web Project

Option 2: Create your own newspaper

This option is available to Ms. Hogue's students in 2008.

About Choosing Partners

Scoring Rubrics:
Option 1
Option 2

Graphic Organizers


To get back to top


Most of your reading for this novel is to be done outside of class, but some reading days are included in the calendar. Please have your book with you each day. There will be class time provided for your web page work, but you will need to work on your web project outside of class also.

Unit Objectives

  • Students will read Harper Lee's classic novel: To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • A novel packet will help students develop thoughts about characters, keep the events of the plot straight, and think about ideas in the novel in preparation for discussion.
  • Students will discuss with peers both online (in Moodle) and face to face in class. See the unit calendar for discussion days. Students must have their novels with them on those days.
  • Students will show their understanding of the novel by creating and publishing a novel project. There are two options in 2008. Both projects are to be created collaboratively, multigenre in nature, and published online.

Choosing Partners

  • No more than three students per group (no exceptions)
  • Choose partners who share your work ethic
  • Choose partners from your own class period
  • Do not leave anyone partnerless! Look around.

Novel Projects

Option 1: A multigenre hypertext project

Your multigenre hypertext project has two main components, but four parts in total:

  • one (1) main essay (literary analysis essay in third person with text support)
  • three (3) connected/related genre pieces that support, expand, help develop ideas in main essay

The Main Essay:

This is a collaborative project, including planning and writing the main essay. As a team, choose a topic from the following list and work together to plan and write your essay.

  • courage and fear
  • some people serve as moral compasses for the rest of us
  • growing up/loss of innocence
  • loneliness
  • the effects of racial prejudice on a small community
  • the symbolism of the mockingbird (innocence or goodness senselessly destroyed)
  • topic of your own choosing

The essay needs to be organized logically. You need an introductory paragraph as well as a concluding paragraph. The body of the essay may be two to four paragraphs, depending upon how much you have to say.

You are expected to write

  • about 350-400 words, minimum; no longer than 700 words
  • a literary analysis: support your thesis with evidence from the novel (see your Speak essay for a reminder of what is expected)
  • no first or second person

Optional: Go the the graphic organizers page for tools to use in organizing your ideas.

Making your project a multigenre hypertext project:

  • The main text of your essay will be supported by three additional pieces of writing from a variety of genres (you choose). A list follows.
  • Each supporting genre will add to, explain, or support in some other way a significant idea/theme in your main essay.
  • Each support genre piece goes on its own page (tkam_2, or 3, or 4). Make a link to each page in the text of the essay.
    • For example, say your essay is about the role of women in the novel. You have written that Scout is not a typical girl even though her aunt wishes she would be. You could make "typical girl" into a hyperlink that goes to a speech from Scout as a grown woman who talks about important things for women to do. Or it could go to a poem in which she complains that everyone seems to be trying to make her into something she's not.

Setting up your website for this project:

  • Choose one person to store your project. Do not share your network login and password or web editing password.
  • Create a folder for these pages. Call the folder tkam. In it, put these four pages: main.htm; tkam_2.htm, tkam_3.htm, and tkam_4.htm.
  • Set up the pages for the project this way. A simple way to make the pages is to copy the template from the sample page and paste it on your page. Then make your links live and make other format changes.
  • The design must be clear and uncluttered. Keep good web design principles in mind. Think of readability. No unrelated graphics. No black or dark backgrounds. No graphic backgrounds on text pages. Use web safe fonts.
  • Each member of your group should make a link to your main page on his/her webfolio page. Call it To Kill a Mockingbird project.
  • Check the calendar for the due date.
  • A link to the rubric for this project is at the top of this page.

Option 2: Create and publish a newspaper

  • See full details for this project.
  • Your group may need extra technical support and should plan on staying after school on a Monday early on in the project to learn more about InDesign or newswriting. Students choosing this option are expected to do some independent learning.
  • Article planning and writing can occur without InDesign.
  • Write your basic copy (text of articles) in Word and save.
  • Make back up copies of all your work.
  • The end result of your project will be a pdf file that each of you can add to your website. Please see Ms Hogue for help in making your pdf file and how to publish.
  • Each member of your group should make a link to this file on your webfolio. Call it To Kill a Mockingbird project.

Choosing your genres for your multigenre essay

General directions:

  1. Before choosing a genre, think first about what your purpose is. What does your group want to say that you haven't said in your essay? Whose voice is yet unheard? What would he/she say if he/she could say it? What genre would give that voice the best chance to make a difference?
  2. For each genre page, put an appropriate title or headline at the top of the page. Also, for each of the three genre pages, you will need a short introductory paragraph that explains what your reader is seeing.
  3. Specific help with most genres follows.


  1. A character study of one of the main characters.
  2. A letter from one character to another.
  3. A newspaper article.
  4. A poem for two voices using two of the characters in the novel, or one character and something else. Go to your ThinkBook for a reminder of how to do this.
  5. Another kind of poem.
  6. An obituary or a eulogy. Obituaries in the Sheboygan Press
  7. A comic strip (8 panes) that illustrates a major event from the novel. Use a comic strip from a Sunday newspaper as an example of how to set up the title, the drawings and the character's voices. You will need to scan this in. Ask your teacher for a template for the comic sterip
  8. A monologue from one of the main characters that reveals his or her feelings about an event from the novel.
  9. A speech.
  10. A fable (a short story that teaches a lesson).
  11. A recipe.
  12. A fictionalized journal entry (from the perspective of one of the characters).
  13. A mandala (man-dolĺ-uh). This is an activity for those who want a creative and intellectual challenge. It is a more time-consuming activity. (If you choose the mandala, you need only one other genre. You must publish your actual mandala and your questions and answers).
  14. Something else? You suggest an idea to your teacher.

Genre Help

Character Study
Choose one of the main characters and using words, paint a word portrait of him or her. Write about any of the following: interests, relationships with other characters, personality, problems that face him or her, and or anything else that you think will help your reader understand that character better. To help you get the information you need, first fill out a chart like the one that follows. This chart would not be published on your web page. A character study is written in third person; you are the author who knows everything about the character. Think about sentence fluency as you write. Read your character study aloud to make sure it reads smoothly and that it sounds good.

What does this character look like? How old is he/she? What is his/her name?


Give examples of this character's speech/words.


Give examples of this character's thoughts.


Give examples of this character's actions.


How do other characters view this characters?


What does this character do for fun or for personal interest?


What would this character want if he/she could have anything in the world?


What are the relationships to other characters that this character has?  

Choose one character from column A below and write a letter from him or her to the character you choose from column B below. The letter should be written as a personal letter and should include all the important details you think that person would include in a letter. To help you decide what to write about, ask yourself what person A has to say and why. Also, why did you choose person B to get the letter. In other words, the relationship you create between these two characters will help you know just what to write in the letter. What does the one have to say to the other?

Scout Atticus
Jem Tom Robinson
Dill Mrs. Dubose
Atticus Arthur Radley
Arthur Radley Scout
Miss Maudie Calpurnia
Calpurnia Mayella Ewell
Choose your own pair

An obituary is a newspaper account of a person's death and life. It generally includes the main events of his or her life, the person's family, and any special accomplishments from his or her life. If the person's death was "famous," there might be details of the circumstances. The audience for the obituary is the general public. Click here for the Sheboygan Press's current obituaries to use for examples. A eulogy is similar to an obituary, but it is a speech instead of an article. A eulogy is given by someone who knew the person well or by someone in his or her family. The eulogy is generally more personal and the audience is all the people in attendance at the funeral or memorial service. In writing either, the main purpose is to honor the life of someone who has died.

A monologue is a part in a play or dramatic narrative where one character is talking alone. What he or she says represents his inner thoughts and feelings. He or she may not have an audience other than the reader or the theatre audience. In other words, the other characters in the play or narrative do not usually hear the words of the speaker. When you write this monologue, choice of character is very important. Decide what he or she is thinking inside. What is he/she feeling? What would he/she tell the world if it would listen? Also, set the scene. Before the monologue, in a short paragraph, tell who the speaker is, where he/she is (set the scene visually), and tell what has happened in the life of this character so far (very briefly: like "this is after such and such" or "before the blank happens." This link to monologue may help, but if you just write from the character's heart, you will probably know what you want to say.

News Article
A good news article answers the basic questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. It also uses direct quotes from people who were there and witnessed an event or who know something about the event. A good reporter will report both or all sides of the story. Use a real news story as your model for writing this story. Create a headline for the story also. Click here for an example of a news story. For this assignment, focus on one event from the novel, such as the trial or Bob Ewell's harrassment of the children. To get more examples, read the stories on the front pages of newspapers to get the sound and structure of a common news story. (News is on the front page. Other types of articles are found elsewhere in the newspaper).

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