Teaching Mockingbird

 

Our study guide and lesson plans will help you use To Kill a Mockingbird to engage students in issues of justice, gender, and race. This collection also offers African American voices, which are absent from Harper Lee’s narrative, to broaden students’ perspectives on this classic novel.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most commonly taught books in American schools. Beloved by many readers and educators as a story of moral courage, it has also been criticized for its limited portrayal of Black characters, dated treatment of racism, and promotion of a “white savior” narrative. This complex novel can be the entry point for meaningful learning, but it demands a careful and intentional approach in the classroom. 

At a time when many in the United States and around the world are reckoning with systemic racism, responsibly teaching Mockingbird involves setting Harper Lee’s fictional story in its historical context, centering Black voices that are missing from the text, and examining the story and its messages with a critical lens. We describe the key principles behind our approach here

For educators who choose to teach To Kill a Mockingbird—or whose districts mandate it—we offer this collection of resources and professional learning opportunities.

Teaching Mockingbird aligns with Common Core Standards and is supported with professional development opportunities.

 

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Teaching Mockingbird

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Use this resource to transform how you teach Harper Lee’s novel by integrating historical context, documents, and sources that reflect the African American voices absent from Mockingbird's narration.

Documentary-style videos and supporting classroom-ready activities will deepen your students analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Using excerpts from both novels, discussion questions, and activities, these lessons will set the context for engaging with Lee's Go Set a Watchman. 

We support our core resources with ongoing learning opportunities, both online and face-to-face. Check out what we have coming up for Mockingbird!

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Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.