Out the Finches in To Kill a Mockingbird
In this unit, students examine and learn about characterization
in order to uncover the personalities of the characters of Jem, Scout,
and Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s classic Southern novel, To
Kill A Mockingbird. Four individual lessons are devoted to
characterization and the book's three main characters. This allows
the students to write and perform a short play in the classroom that
demonstrates their understanding of characterization. By delving into
the minds of the characters, students learn about their personalities
in a way that enables them to predict how they would act “off
the page”. They use the Internet in activities such as reading
articles about courage in the character of Atticus and finding quotes
that illustrate the relationship between Jem and Atticus.
the general skills and strategies, stylistic and rhetorical aspects,
and grammatical and mechanical conventions of the writing process.
They gather and use information for research purposes and use reading
skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary
and informational texts. They use listening and speaking strategies
for different purposes, and use viewing skills and strategies to understand
and interpret visual media.
Required materials include a computer with Internet access, and
props for the student play. Students should each have a copy of the
the Finches in To Kill a Mockingbird is suitable for
ninth graders and above who are able to read novels with a certain
amount of insight. Students should also have some experience with
the concept of characterization.
This unit benefits students’
skills in reading literature and uncovering deeper meaning. Characterization
is an essential part of understanding a novel. When a student can
picture how a character would react in situations not displayed in
the novel, they are truly engaged in an understanding of the novel.
Students are expected to do some close reading of passages to learn
about certain characters and how they feel. Although not all students
are able to play the characters of Atticus, Jem and Scout, it is important
for all students to take the lessons learned here into consideration.
Furthermore, when creating the play, the students work together to
show how the major characters have matured and changed.
This unit should
be started before students read the book (lesson 1) and then continue
throughout their reading. Additional links are
provided in the teacher section that provide background information
about the author and setting, teaching resources online, and other
materials to enhance this learning experience.
About the teacher:
Denise Goldman has been teaching English for six years. She is
a member of the New York City Writing Project and a recipient of an
Impact II grant. She received her master's degree in English Education
from NYU in 1999.