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Everything you need to teach theme and characterization with the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
While teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, I have found that there are so many amazing lessons and activities that work beautifully with this amazing text. I love hosting literature circles, analyzing rhetoric with Atticus’ closing arguments, and teaching paired passages with poetry. For this reason, I really wanted to combine the theme analysis and the character analysis into one essay. This lets me teach these other amazing lessons while still covering these two important elements. I have students focus on the theme topic of social justice issues. I then ask students to show how the author develops this theme through one of the characters – and that character’s distinct traits. Students will work together in a small group while they read the text to track this topic throughout the novel. They will work together to find evidence and analyze the text for each of the follow social justice issues covered in the novel: racism, classism, sexism, and ageism.
When teaching both theme and character analysis to secondary students, I have found that some students are very well versed in analyzing these within a text, and others still need support. This is why I have included several mini-lessons, so you can teach your students what they are needing for their learning.
The five mini-lessons are:
1. Character Analysis Lesson
2. Finding a Theme Statement Lesson
3. Topic Tracker Task Force Introduction and Explanation Lesson
4. Writing a Thesis Statement Lesson
5. Writing the Character/Theme Analysis Essay Lesson
✔ Tracking your Topic Graphic Organizer
✔ The Essay Worksheet
✔ The Essay Checklist
✔ Three Example Essays
✔ Character Analysis Graphic Organizer
✔ Links to Google Documents and Google Presentations (This unit is also completely digital for 1:1 classrooms!)
Other To Kill a Mockingbird Lessons to Consider: