In reading To Kill a Mockingbird, teachers are given the chance to pull in historical lessons, empathy lessons and weave in non-fictional/informational texts. The goal with this assignment is to incorporate many of those ideas into a milestone writing lesson.
This assignment has students read two articles and connect them back to the pivotal jailhouse scene of To Kill a Mockingbird. The particular articles were chosen to highlight the banality of evil as well as the mob mentality of lynching culture during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
On the surface, this assignment challenges the student's ability to decipher written test in three different formats; fictional novel, biographical article and informational fact.The hope is that by reading these articles, students will be able to make a mental connection between the "racial terrorism" of the day to the racist and terrorist events of today, thus inferring an empathetic lesson overall.
I have included two different writing prompts. The first will lead to a constructed response or quick write in which students will simply compare the biographical article to the informational. The second will require students to write a thesis driven argumentative essay comparing the three texts.