Language Arts Understanding by Design Lesson Plans


By Patricia Rogers and Sarah Berce 

Through the study of To Kill a Mockingbird, students will understand the importance of empathy in human relations, the effect of point of view in a story, and the power of words and actions in an argument. As students read, they will discover the theme that “to fully understand others, we must wall in their shoes.” They will explore how perspective and point of view shape a story and the reader’s understanding of that story. Modeling the rhetorical devices Atticus uses in his closing argument, the unit’s culminating activity will be for students to defend themselves in an apology from an unsympathetic character’s point of view. Students will write their apology and perform it in front of the class to assess their understanding of empathy, rhetoric, and point of view and perspective. Students will also write a thematic literary analysis paper to demonstrate their understanding of theme and the relationship between the book and the issues that still face our society today. Students, through the understandings/big ideas, daily activities, and culminating activities, will come to see To Kill a Mockingbird as an authentic American classic in which to learn and grow from as a community today.

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