Not everyone's in love with To Kill a Mockingbird.
This in-class trial assignment asks students to defend or critique whether Harper Lee’s classic novel should be read and taught in an AP Composition and Language course. (Or in the high school English canon, for that matter.)
Students serve either on the prosecution or defense, or as witnesses. As part of their preparations and ultimate performance, students read and synthesize secondary sources (including articles from The New Yorker, Michigan Law Review, and others), craft interviews, and compose rhetorically effective opening and closing arguments. This assignment is designed for use in AP, but would work well in honors or regular-track English with some modifications.
Included: assignment sheet and rubric
Teaching duration: Anywhere from 1-4 class periods, depending on how much time you allow students to work on preparing for the trial.
Sidenote: I ask members of our campus community, including non-teaching staff, to serve as our jury. It adds additional stakes to the assignment for the students, since they get to show off to authorities who aren't me, for a change.