This 5-day Readers' Theater activity culminates in an in-class essay on the 5th day. It teaches close reading of the text, critical thinking skills, and written argumentation.
Students act out the trial of Tom Robinson. All students are "jurors" on the case and take notes on the evidence presented, record questions they have regarding the credibility of the testimony, and then provide an overall evaluation of each witness's credibility. On the 5th day students write an essay where they argue for the verdict they, as a juror, have decided upon.
This lesson includes: Directions for preparation and sequencing; character and juror badges for students to wear; a packet for Jury Notes; key for each chapter of Jury Notes; small group review, a graphic organizer for the timed essay, and an essay prompt.
My students enjoy this lesson and are successful in writing the essay; they feel very strongly about the evidence and characters. Because of the detailed note-taking, they have plenty of evidence to support their argument.