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To Kill a Mockingbird

Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird, takes us into the lives of sister and brother, Scout and Jem Finch during turbulent times in the 1930s. After the decadence of the 1920’s American fell into The Depression and poverty, unemployment, segregation, and racism ran rampant. The small town of Maycomb, while far removed from the big city is not immune to the issues plaguing the nation at the time. The Depression takes its toll on many folks in Maycomb and its citizens are wide and varied. Scout and Jem, along with best friend Dill, traverse the neighborhood in search of answers to decade-old mysteries and embark on adventures that help them understand the turmoil of the times. Their single father Atticus Finch, a lawyer, works to raise his children under the watchful eye of their aunt and with the caring hand of their African- American housekeeper. Everyone knows everyone and everything in Maycomb and the neighbor’s personalities are as varied as the events that transpire. One man’s life hangs in the balance, Atticus fights an unwinnable battle and the children learn the hard facts of their generation. Scout experiences some hard truths and Jem comes of age as the pair faces a danger invoked by hatred and learn that kindness can appear from surprising places.

Timeline 1930s
Grades 6-12
Characters 35
Number of Timeline Events 96
Duration 2 weeks to 1 semester

$10.00$5.00 / Student

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Sample Timeline Events

Atticus Breaks Away From The Finch Tradition

Since their ancestor Simon Finch first moved to Alabama, where he established a plantation and accumulated wealth from slaves, it has been the tradition of the Finch men to stay on Finch's Landing  

Jem Touches the Radley's House

It took three days of goading, but Dill finally convinced Jem to touch Boo Radley's house. At first, Jem was reluctant and to Scout's mind scared, but Dill was relentless. He turned the bet into a dare of sorts and Jem could not turn down a dare. Another thing that pushed Jem closer to taking the risk came after Dill's promise of The Gray Ghost. With the carrot of the book and the dare to push him, Jem waivered some. But the thing Dill did to make Jem agree to carry out the daunting task came on "the third day when he told Jem that folks in Meridian certainly weren’t as afraid as the folks in Maycomb, that he’d never seen such scary folks as the ones in Maycomb. Dill assured Jem that if Boo came after him, he and Scout would jump on him and take him down" (Lee). These words were enough to push Jem over the edge and past the "crazily hung" gate. He bolted up the drive, slapped the house with his palm and took off just as fast, with Dill and Scout on his heels until they were all three panting on the Finch's front porch. 

Scout's Diatribe on Education in Alabama

Attached you will find Scout's take on education in Alamaba in the 1930's. Is her idea of education something you might share? In your estimation, is education more or less like Scout describes? To which elements, if any, can you most relate? In a small group discuss education from the students' perspective. 

More Treats in the Tree

Summer ended and Dill went home. Scout, having moved to second grade, attended the same school as Jem. Every day the walked to school and back and discovered more prizes in the knothole in the tree near Radley's house. They found a ball of twine, carved soap replicas of them, a pack of chewing gum, a spelling bee medal and one day they found a broken pocket watch. 

Miss Maudie's House Burns Down

One night, Atticus woke up Jem and Scout. He instructed them to stand in front of the Radley house. There they watch the house burn and people trying to put it out. It wasn't until after that Scout realized that someone put a blanket on their shoulders. After the fire, Jem told Atticus about the gifts in the knothole in the three. He tells that it might have been Boo Radley who left the items. It was after the too, when the children learned the positivity of Miss Maudie. While there were concerned about the loss of her house, she happily told them that her old house had been too big and that she wanted a smaller one with a much bigger garden. What can be learned from this event? Discuss your ideas with your classmates.

Rabid Dog - A Lesson Learned

One day, as Scout and Jem are looking for things to shoot with their new rifles. They notice Mr. Harry Johnson's dog -named Tim Johnson - acting erratically. Calpurnia, after she is told, calls Heck Tate, saying there is a "mad dog." Sheriff Tate arrived and as the dog came closer to the Finch house, Tate - who was in range to shoot the dog - turned to Atticus, tossed him the gun and told him to take the shot. Scout would have been less frightened had the dog looked more rabid - foaming at the mouth and growling. He killed the rapid dog with one shot, surprising Jem and Scout. Late the children find out that Atticus was not as "Ol' One Shot Finch." deleting their previously felt disappointment in their father. Now he was a not-so-boring dad. During this event, Scout and Jem also learn about being humble, hearing Atticus when he told them that superior talent degrades other people around him. He explains this is why he doesn't show off what he can do. Do you agree with Atticus about being humble and not bragging or showing off? 

Taunts in Town

When Jem would let her, being that he typically didn't, Scout went with him to town, but these days, strangers spoke about Atticus under their breaths."“There’s his chillun,” or, “Yonder’s some Finches.” Turningto face our accusers, we would see only a couple of farmers studying the enemabags in the Mayco Drugstore window. Or two dumpy countrywomen in straw hatssitting in a Hoover cart.“They c’n go loose and rape up the countryside for all of ‘em who run this countycare,” was one obscure observation we met head on from a skinny gentlemanwhen he passed us" (Lee).The children returned home later that afternoon and Scout asked Atticus what rape was. He told her frankly, much to his sister's dismay. To whom do you think the strangers refer to as  "They" in the statement "They c'n go loose and rape up the countryside"?  Why do you think people are upset with Atticus?

Throngs Gather at the Courthouse

As if gathering for a national holiday, groups of people converged on the courthouse lawn, picnicking, exchanging stories and waiting for the trial of Tom Robinson to begin. Scout overheard a few rumblings about her father and learned he was appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, but many folks were upset that he was actually "defending" Tom. Reverend Sykes found Jem, Dill, and Scout, who'd been separated from the boys, and he invited them to sit in the colored seating area in the courtroom. The room was abuzz with anticipation. 

Calpurnia Scolds Jem and Scout

 Just after the jury left for deliberation, Calpurnia entered the courtroom with a note informing Atticus that his children were missing. When Atticus told Judge Taylor what the note said, Mr. Underwood piped up that he knew where Scout and Jem were. Atticus looked up in the negro seats to see his children. Calpurnia and Atticus were both surprised to discover that they had been there since the trial began. Atticus told them to go home to supper, but Jem begged him to let them return for the verdict. Atticus acquiesced, only allowing them to return after they finished, supper. Calpurnia scolded them all the way home, especially Jem for taking his little sister to hear such things. Jem only smiled. Calpurnia allowed Dill to stay for dinner but made his call his aunt.At dinner, Aunt Alexandra upon hearing where the children had been and that Atticus said they could return, sat in stunned silence and pushed her food around on her plate. 

When Did Jem Get so Wise

Look carefully at the interaction between Jem and Scout after Aunty told Scout that she could not be friends with Walter Cunningham. Jem feels there are four kinds of people in Maycomb and Scout believes there is just one kind. What do you think? Consider your school and the demographics of it. Are there separate groups? Are there groups that won't or don't interact with each other? Why do you think this is the case? Discuss your school relationships with your classmates.

Bob Ewell Fired from WPA For Laziness

Come October things had settled down mostly. Bob Ewell got a job and lost it in a matter of days, becoming the first man to that Scout had ever heard to be fired from the WPA for laziness. This was the first tinge of notoriety since the trial of Tom Robinson. He reveled in it but soon Bob was as forgotten as Tom. At the welfare office where Bob picked up his check regularly, he spouted, in ear shot of Ruth Jones., that Atticus had taken his job. Upset by this, Ruth walked over to Atticus to tell Atticus. Atticus told her not to worry and that if Bob Ewell wanted to tell others that Atticus had taken his job, so be it. 

An Attack on the Children

At the end of the pageant, Scout decided to stay in her ham costume even though it limited her movements. Someone offered to give Jem and her a ride home, but Jem declined, saying they didn't have far to go. They traveled only a short from the high school when Scout remember she left her shoe, but just then the lights at the high school went out. After a bit of complaining from Scout, they continued their trek home in the darkness. A few minutes into their walk, Jem thought he heard steps behind them. Believing that Cecil Jacobs was up to his old tricks, Scout and Jem called out to him but they heard nothing but silence. They resumed towards home, but Jem heard the shuffling behind them again and then Scout heard it too. Every time they stopped the shuffling happened and when they started walking again, the sound of footsteps returned. Then suddenly, all heck broke out. Jem told Scout to run, but she didn't get far because of her costume, which also impeded her view. She could hear a commotion and could vaguely make out the shadow of a man. Someone crushed her costume but she could make out a figure carrying Jem heading to their house, Jem's arm dangling crazily. 

A Song for Scout

In 2009, two 10th graders wrote this song for Scout. Listen to the song and discuss with a friend whether or not you think the song captures the character of Scout? Explain why you think the way you do? 

Unit Personas

1. Arthur "Boo" Radley 19. Miss Caroline Fisher
2. Atticus Finch 20. Miss Gates
3. Aunt Alexandra Hancock 21. Miss Maudie Atkinson
4. Burris Ewell 22. Miss Rachel Haverford
5. Calpurnia 23. Miss Stephanie Crawford
6. Cecil Jacobs 24. Mr. Avery
7. Charles "Dill" Baker Harris 25. Mr. Braxton Bragg Underwood
8. Dolphus Raymond 26. Mr Horace Gilmer
9. Eula May 27. Mr. Radley
10. Francis Hancock 28. Mrs. Gertrude Farrow
11. Helen Robinson 29. Mrs. Grace Merriweather
12. Jean Louise "Scout" Finch 30. Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
13. Jeremy "Jem" Atticus Finch 31. Nathan Radley
14. Judge John Taylor 32. Reverend Skyes
15. Link Deas 33. Robert E. Lee "Bob" Ewell
16. Little Chuck Little 34. Sheriff Heck Tate
17. Lula 35. Tom Robinson
18. Mayella Ewell

Each Discourse unit provides an interactive, social media platform and accompanying curriculum to create a collaborative and entertaining educational experience.

Each unit includes the following:

  • Unit overview
  • 30-40 characters for students to role-play
  • Timeline Events that not only focus on the relevant events of the unit in study, but also encompass the cultural and broader events of the time period, thus providing context for the unit
  • Breaking News events with original source documents
  • Profile information about each character (teacher only)
  • Page for students to determine their relationships to each other character in the unit (auto-graded)
  • Period-relevant items for students to Like or Dislike based on their character (auto-graded)
  • Opportunity for students to create events and send private messages while role-playing their character
  • Advertisements appropriate for the time period; some include original video or music
  • Grading matrix for the role-playing (auto-completed as applicable)
  • A game-like trophy system that awards student progress
  • Teacher product instructions
  • Student use instructions
  • Teachers have access to the Discourse unit and students’ work for one year after the initial set-up date.
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