Students will examine social injustice, social order, and social responsibility in the context of Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird through poetry and music. Students will discover that learning is an active process that integrates many skills. A goal is for the students to use what they learn to help them remember the information better and understand the usefulness of what is being presented in a literary dialogue. To dialogue with the text will shed light on the novel's historical background, the economic and social climate of the 1930s, and the parallels between Harper Lee’s life and the life of Scout, the narrator. Students will learn that poetry can have a social, cultural, and propagandistic function.
Student will also make use of selected song lyrics/poems. These selections will connect students with relevant images of Tom Robinson , Jem, Scout, Boo, and other characters walking the streets of Maycomb, Alabama. Frequently, outside of the classroom, poets/lyricists and students are barely on speaking terms. Why? Poetry lovers expect poetry to offer instruction and insight; while non poetry readers/writers don’t believe that they’re the poets’ intended audience. Therefore, students often view poetry as non- utilitarian once they’re outside of the classroom. This perception must be corrected to make poetry accessible to all. To bridge the gap students will learn to select relevant poetry that appeals to their interest, study poetry that elevates their collective and individual memory, and at the end of the unit write poems that reflect social injustice, social order, and social responsibility in Maycomb and the 21st century. Students are scarcely aware of the tremendous impact “their voices” can have in their lives and in their communities. Their writing will be compiled into a bound booklet that is arranged thematically for submission to a teen poetry publication and online poetry blogs.