Are you looking for lessons for To Kill a Mockingbird? To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic American novel that is included in many middle school and high school curriculums.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at lessons and activities for To Kill a Mockingbird.
We’ve got you covered for pre-reading activities, while-reading activities, after-reading activities, and whole-unit bundles.
I vividly remember when I was taught To Kill a Mockingbird in Year 11. The book looked old and tatty, the title was unappealing, and at the time I was obsessed with YA sci-fi.
A realistic novel set in America’s south was pretty far outside of both my interests and experience.
But boy was it a memorable book. I forced myself to read through the first few chapters, and after that, I was hooked!
With my teacher hat on, I think if the novel was introduced to me in a more exciting way, I would have had way more enthusiasm for tackling the book.
And as we know, pre-reading activities are a great way to familiarize students with the world of a book, but also to create excitement about what is to come.
To Kill a Mockingbird pre-reading activities
1. Carousel discussion
The first pre-reading activity for To Kill a Mockingbird is this carousel discussion activity by English Bulldog.
This carousel discussion gets students up and moving looking at statements designed to create strong opinions.
Students read the statements, and in pairs come up with a statement of agreement or disagreement with an explanation.
After that, you assign students a poster, and students must review the responses and discuss the trend in thinking.
Finally, students debrief in a class discussion and share their thoughts.
The activity includes a teacher lesson plan with common core objectives, preparation steps, class agenda, and assessment strategy.
It also includes a PowerPoint with student-friendly objectives, student directions, and activity time limits.
2. Agree or disagree activity
The second pre-reading lesson for To Kill a Mockingbird is this lesson by The Lit Guy.
In the lesson, students view ten statements that they need to either agree or disagree with. Students are expected to back up their opinion during the following class discussion.
The activity also includes teacher tips for running the lesson.
3. Bias discussion
The third To Kill a Mockingbird pre-reading activity is this bias discussion activity by Created for Learning.
Similar to The Lit Guy’s To Kill a Mockingbird teaching materials, this activity asks students to move to an agree or disagree side of the room.
Then they’re expected to explain their opinions.
Included in the lesson are a printable handout, a slideshow discussion, and two versions of statements. One version with a racially controversial question, and one without.
This is a great option for teachers who teach in politically conservative places, where discussion of racial prejudice is akin to . . .
(insert gif of snake in can https://tenor.com/view/snake-can-pringles-granny-just-for-laugh-gags-gif-13979793)
But really, you’re not laughing, you’re crying. On the inside.
4. Teaching vocabulary
Other introductory class activities for To Kill a Mockingbird that are effective are teaching vocabulary words from the novel.
This pre-reading vocabulary puzzle from Word Wise Language Arts Resources may be just what you’re after if that’s how you’d like to begin.
The crossword is designed to be used with a thesaurus and contains 50 challenging words from the novel.
It could also serve as a great homework activity.
5. Internet research activities
Another To Kill a Mockingbird introduction activity is to have students research the novel. This product comes with two internet research activities.
The first research activity is to investigate Harper Lee and other important elements from the novel, such as
- Jim Crow and the Scottsborough Boys
- the Monroe County Courthouse
- the movie version
- and mockingbirds themselves.
The second activity asks students to investigate Southern culture and symbolism more deeply.
This is a student-led way of getting students familiar with the background of the novel.
6. Extension pre-reading kit
The final To Kill a Mockingbird pre-reading activity we have today is from Genre Marie.
This extension pre-reading kit introduces students to important concepts such as
- the author Harper Lee
- the Jim Crow Laws
- southern women
- lynching and mobs
- Truman Capote
- and The Great Depression.
The activity is designed to be used as a station rotation activity with five stations. Multiple versions of the stations have been included with varying degrees of higher-order thinking questions.
The kit includes eight sources on the topics mentioned above and four higher-order thinking questions for each topic. Folder and a two-sided student answer sheet are also included.
It also has a PowerPoint with times for the activities.
To Kill a Mockingbird while-reading activities
Another great way to keep students engaged is to use To Kill a Mockingbird activities while reading. We have a bunch of resources and activities for teaching To Kill a Mockingbird.
These resources include interactive notebooks, a body biography activity, chapter activities and quizzes, a psychiatric report, and a Crash Course Literature video worksheet bundle.
7. Interactive notebook
To start off the while-reading To Kill a Mockingbird activities, we have these interactive notebook activities by Tracee Orman.
The bundle includes over 90 activities for before, during, and after reading.
All of the activities are aligned to at least one Common Core State Standard for reading literature, language (vocabulary), speaking and listening, and writing.
There is also a teacher’s guide for how to do each of the activities.
This teacher-author also has a digital workbook version that includes the same activities but doesn’t require cutting out the different bits and pieces.
8. Chapter activities for To Kill a Mockingbird
The second set of while-reading activities are these To Kill a Mockingbird chapter activities, also by Tracee Orman.
The activity bundle includes activities and questions by chapter for To Kill a Mockingbird. Activities cover themes, the author, a review of Part One, and the end of the novel.
In total there are 37 different activities. Some of the activities can also be adapted to other novels or short stories.
9. Psychiatric assessment of Boo
An interesting lesson for To Kill a Mockingbird is this lesson by Presto Plans. Students complete the lesson after they have read the first six chapters of the novel.
In the activity, students have to take on the role of a psychiatrist and use the information from the text to write up a ‘psychiatric report’ for Boo. They must use evidence from the novel to support their conclusions about Boo.
Students can also revisit the activity after reading the entire novel, as they often realize that many of their conclusions about Boo are based on town gossip.
The activity includes the students’ assignment worksheet, as well as an ‘answer key’ of quotes from chapters 1-6 that students could use to support their conclusions.
10. Body biographies
Another great set of activities to use are these body biography projects by Danielle Knight.
Created as To Kill a Mockingbird group activities, these collaborative projects are posters that students work on together.
There are 9 characters to choose from, and students need to use the skills of citing textual evidence, describing character traits, researching, and making inferences.
Students (or you) can choose groups and the character they create a poster about. Then students must answer reflection questions.
The project includes student handouts that explain each part of the project. Also included are teacher set-up directions, learning objectives/outcomes, background information, tips, and Common Core State Standards.
11. Crash Course Literature video for To Kill a Mockingbird
Other great tools for teaching To Kill a Mockingbird are these worksheets (by me) to accompany the Crash Course Literature videos about the novel. (See here for the part one video and here for the part two video).
I love using Crash Course videos in my lessons because they are fast-paced, interesting, rigorous, and funny.
The presenter John Green (of The Fault in Their Stars fame) intersperses speaking with animation, quotes, and illustration to discuss To Kill a Mockingbird in an analytical way.
The videos (and worksheets) cover
- major plot points of the text
- the critical reception of the text
- biographical information about the author
- genre conventions the text uses
- themes such as what it means to be a woman.
The To Kill a Mockingbird worksheets also cover
- the historical contexts of the text
- the protagonist’s viewpoint
- the characters Calpurnia and Atticus
- and the significance of the title.
These worksheets are a great way to help students by ‘guiding’ their notetaking, but also allowing them to take notes in their own way.
Each worksheet has room for notes to be written or drawn, and students are encouraged to write a summary at the end.
There are also teacher notes for the Crash Course To Kill a Mockingbird videos included to help you identify content you may wish to cover in more detail with your class.
12. Chapter quizzes
Finally, the last while-reading activities for To Kill a Mockingbird are these chapter quizzes by Simply Novel.
These lessons for To Kill a Mockingbird chapter activities are quizzes including multiple-choice, short response, and true/false questions.
The quizzes can either be printed or used as self-grading forms on Google Forms. There is also an answer key supplied.
To Kill a Mockingbird after-reading activities
So, you’ve made it. Wooh! Your students have read To Kill a Mockingbird, and now you have to revise and assess their learning.
To help you out, we have a few after-reading activities for the novel, including
- a final test
- figurative language activities
- an essay writing To Kill a Mockingbird culminating activity
- a book vs movie sort
- a character analysis
- and chapter quizzes (which you could also do while reading, or use as a question bank for a final test).
13. Final test for To Kill a Mockingbird
The first after-reading activity we have is this final test from The Daring English Teacher.
The final test includes questions about identifying characters and quotes, as well as multiple-choice, true or false, figurative language, and short response questions.
14. Figurative language activity
Another lesson for To Kill a Mockingbird that would be fantastic after reading the novel is this figurative language activity by Creating for Learning.
While it’s not a test, this activity is a great way to review figurative language in the context of the novel.
Students will need to analyze examples of figurative language from the novel. Then students decide if they are similes, metaphors, idioms, hyperbole, analogies, personification, puns, allusions, or symbols.
In doing so, students will analyze idioms and compare their literal vs figurative meanings. Students will also analyze quotes to decide whether they are similes or metaphors.
Finally, students will analyze quotes, identify which figurative device is used, and explain its meaning.
This would be a great way to both review the novel and reinforce figurative language with your students.
15. To Kill a Mockingbird culminating activity – essay writing
A To Kill a Mockingbird culminating activity you might like to use is this essay writing task by Captivate Motivate Educate.
This culminating activity requires students to make connections among characters, main ideas, and concepts using a hexagonal thinking activity.
After this, students write an essay explaining the main connections they have made.
The activity includes a hexagonal template, detailed teacher and student directions, charts and templates, sample responses, sample essays, and a grading rubric.
The hexagonal template that students use encourages students to make connections between the characters, motivations, events, conflicts, and themes in To Kill a Mockingbird.
16. Book vs movie sort
Another great after-reading lesson for To Kill a Mockingbird is this book vs movie sort activity from Clare’s Clapboard.
In the activity, students are given 20 cards with a statement. However, the statements are true only for the book, only for the movie, or true for both.
Students have to sort the cards into the correct category (true for the movie, true for the book, or true for both).
This activity is great for those students who *may have not* read the whole book. (Let’s be real, there’ll be a couple in every class!).
And this activity will help those students differentiate the movie they *may have* watched from what actually happened in the book.
An answer key is provided.
To Kill a Mockingbird whole-unit activities
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you might be after whole-unit bundles.
Maybe you’ve run out of To Kill a Mockingbird teaching ideas after having it on your curriculum for years on end or maybe it’s your first time teaching it.
Perhaps you just don’t have the time. (We all know that the planning and preparation time teachers are given is *not enough*).
With that in mind, here are four whole-unit bundles for Harper Lee’s classic novel.
These bundles filled with To Kill a Mockingbird activities and worksheets offer so much value because they give you back your time!
17. To Kill a Mockingbird teaching unit by The Daring English Teacher
This bundle has in-unit differentiation and includes vocabulary, To Kill a Mockingbird writing activities and prompts, questions, quizzes, and much more.
The bundle includes two historical context activities for To Kill a Mockingbird, with a choice between a group research project or a research paper with ESL support.
The vocabulary elements include 140 vocabulary words, six quizzes, and two activities for each quiz. They also include built-in differentiation for ESL students and struggling or younger readers.
There are nine different Common Core State Standards-aligned writing assignments with two levels of differentiation, as well as reading comprehension quizzes.
Also included are review activities, character analysis graphic organizers, and a final test. There is also a choice of two Common Core State Standard-aligned essays with included outlines, graphic organizers, and ESL differentiation.
18. Whole unit bundle by Simply Novel
The second whole-unit bundle of lessons for To Kill a Mockingbird is this one by Simply Novel.
The Google Classroom-friendly bundle includes a comprehensive study guide and covers many standards through reading and analysis of the novel and its themes.
The bundle includes informational texts about the history, social and political environment in which the story was written and set.
They include an author study of Harper Lee, real-life connections to the novel, and discussion ideas and articles for approaching the “N-Word” in classic literature.
Informational texts also include topics such as:
- The Great Depression
- Plessy vs Ferguson and the Jim Crow Laws
- Thurgood Marshall’s “Equity Speech”
- the genre of realistic fiction
- the true story of Emmett Till
- the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
- violence in the South
- Jim Crow Laws and legal segregation
- Hugo Black’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1937
- African-American stereotypes in literature
- anticipation/reaction theme discussion
- Hey, Boo documentary analysis
- and The Central Park Five.
Also included are two vocabulary lists with and without definitions and a glossary of over 300 allusions and terms from the novel.
Similarly, it has a list of idioms/expressions from the novel and an article about dealing with grief and loss.
Students use literary analysis activities to . . .
Practice in-text analysis and close reading, focusing specifically on:
- flashback and plot
- dialect and slang
- foreshadowing and prediction
- figurative language
- analyzing poetry
- informational text analysis
- analyzing rhetoric
- author’s style
- context clues
- connotation and word choice
- and theme in context.
The bundle also includes writing skills practice that helps students practice standards-based skills such as:
- writing vignettes
- writing with vivid language
- argument writing
- writing with objective styles
- mini-research project
- analyzing tone in writing
- informational text report
- shared writing project (blogging)
- and writing a literary analysis essay.
The bundle covers vocabulary standards skills including word analysis, context clues, word origins, word roots, and vocabulary in context.
It also covers punctuation and grammar topics such as semicolons and colons, hyphenation, independent and dependent clauses.
In the bundle, students practice using a thesaurus, differentiating between denotation and connotation, and try using context clues in complex writing.
Students also practice defining by contrast, identifying parallel structure, and interpreting figures of speech.
The bundle includes over 300 comprehension and analysis questions, reading quizzes for the whole novel, and vocabulary quizzes for the whole text.
There is a 35-question final test including multiple-choice and short-response questions, as well as a 50-question multiple-choice final test, and a sample pacing guide.
With an abundance of activities, the unit can be used both in-class and through digital platforms for distance learning.
19. To Kill a Mockingbird bundle by Stacey Lloyd
The To Kill a Mockingbird teaching unit is this one by Stacey Llyod. This bundle includes five weeks of resources including lesson plans, chapter questions and answer keys, worksheets, graphic organizers, and more.
The bundle includes student workbooks with over 50 pages of activities, figurative language task cards, quotes posters, and revision task cards.
It also comes with answer recording sheets and a full answer key.
20. To Kill a Mockingbird unit plan by Laura Randazzo
The final bundle is this one by Laura Randazzo. It includes a day-by-day calendar with helpful details and nightly homework assignments and information for how to address the novel’s use of the n-word.
It also has a research organizer to help students research Harper Lee. You could do this to begin your study of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Or, you could begin teaching To Kill a Mockingbird with a dynamic lecture to introduce the important character, historical, and thematic elements of the novel. You could then follow it up with a quickwrite topic/discussion starter.
One-question quizzers encourage students to do the nightly reading assignments and questions for each chapter of the novel.
Close reading worksheets use sections of text from chapters 2, 9, 15, and 23. Each chapter excerpt includes detailed examples of finished worksheets to show models of proper annotation and discussion starters.
The bundle also includes fun To Kill a Mockingbird activities such as a character cell phone activity, police report writing and sketch activity, a creative writing blackout poetry lesson, and a flyswatter review game.
Other activities include:
- a math/problem-solving lesson about a day in the life of the working poor
- a word worksheet vocabulary-building activity
- a non-fiction reading and writing activity connecting the case of the Scottsboro Boys to Tom Robinson
- a timeline review game/worksheet plotting 22 events from the text along a 1933-1935 timeline.
Assessment options included in the bundle are a 50-question end-of-unit exam and an essay topic sheet with five choices.
Want more English Language Arts resources and lessons?
Check out these blog posts for more resources, activities, and lessons for ELA topics
- Teaching Lord of the Flies: 12 awesome activities & wonderful worksheets
- Fun, engaging, and easy Shakespearean insults lesson you have to try
- 13 easy, engaging lessons for Romeo and Juliet
- 12 excellent teaching resources for Macbeth – make Macbeth easy
- 19 activities for teaching The Odyssey: a comprehensive list
- Teaching Oedipus Rex: 14 fun and engaging activities
- Teaching Pride and Prejudice: 10 easy resources
- 9 quick and easy study skills lesson plans for high school