Students presenting their project

21 To Kill a Mockingbird Final Task Ideas

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Many teachers use backwards planning and other teachers let student choice and spontaneity take over.  Whatever approach you follow, here are some To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas for you to consider.

TIP: If you know what the final project will be, prepare students for the assessment task before they start the novel.  For example, you might recommend taking notes whenever the book mentions birds or animals to prepare for an essay on symbolism.

NEW POST: 15 To Kill a Mockingbird Project Ideas

21 To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas

1) Scout’s Point of View Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas scout's point of view essay
Photo by Hale Centre Theatre

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 1 (citing textual evidence), Reading Literature 6 (point of view), and Writing 2A (organizing information)

Write a response to literature essay analyzing how Lee uses point of view in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Make sure to compare Scout’s point of view at the beginning of the novel, her point of view at the end of the novel, and her point of view as an adult looking back on the events.  Cite textual evidence (MLA format) and explain how the point of view impacts other elements (like themes).

Paragraph / section ideas (You can ignore these options if you know how you want to organize your essay.)

  • Introduction (Your general thesis on how Lee uses the point of view and a summary of your essay body)
  • Scout’s point of view at the beginning of the novel
  • Why Lee decided to tell the story from this point of view (Why not the point of view of Atticus, Tom Robinson, or Calpurnia?)
  • Scout’s point of view compared to the other children in the novel
  • One key event that shows how her point of view is changing
  • Scout’s point of view by the end of the novel
  • Scout’s point of view as an adult
  • Comparing Scout’s three points of view (beginning of novel, end of novel, and as an adult)
  • How this point of view develops the theme on understanding others
  • How this point of view develops the theme on growing up
  • Conclusion

You will be assessed on how well you cite textual evidence (MLA format), organize your ideas and information, and analyze Lee’s use of point of view.


2) Theme Presentation

Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas theme presentation

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 1 (citing the text), Reading Literature 2 (theme development), Speaking and Listening 4 (presenting information clearly)

Lee offers many themes (messages about life) in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Choose one theme from the list below and create a presentation on how Lee develops this theme.  Your presentation should express a theme statement (putting a theme topic from the list into a complete sentence), organize your support topically, and use key citations from the text.

Theme topics:

    • Racism
    • Growing up
    • Gender
    • Perceptions
    • Schooling
    • Innocence
    • Lineage and family
    • Courage
    • Religion / morality
    • Family
    • Tolerance and understanding

Remember that a presentation is organized like an essay (each slide is like a paragraph with a main idea and supporting details), but should not look like an essay.  There should be no paragraphs on the slides and few complete sentences.  The presenter’s role is to explain the key words and phrases in greater detail.  You need not write out what you are going to say in advance as long as you remember why the key words and phrases are important.

Slide ideas : (You do not need to all of these sections.)

    • Introduction (the theme statement and a summary of your presentation body)
    • Symbols related to the theme (Each symbol could be its own slide.)
    • Plot events related to the theme (Each event can be its own slide.)
    • Key dialogue related to the theme.
    • Key character related to the theme.
    • Connection to another theme in To Kill a Mockingbird.
    • How the theme is impacted by the point of view. (How does Scout’s point of view help the development of the theme?)
    • Structure and the theme (how the theme develops over the course of the plot)
    • Lee’s word choice and the theme (figurative language, connotations, mood, allusions/references, etc.)
    • Conclusion

You will be graded on how well you analyze the development of one theme, include textual evidence, and organize your presentation.


3) Lee’s Word Choice Essay

Harper Lee's word choice in To Kill a Mockingbird

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 4 (word choice), Writing 2B (selecting details), Writing 2D (domain specific vocabulary)

We know how to describe a designer’s fashion style or a singer’s musical style, but what do we mean when we say an author’s style?  An author’s style means how they use words to craft the desired effect on the reader.  For example, the author might use silly words and an irreverent or sarcastic tone to make fun of a subject.

Write an essay analyzing Lee’s style regarding her style and word choice.  Compose a thesis statement about Lee’s word choice in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Support your thesis by selecting relevant examples from To Kill a Mockingbird and analyzing them with word choice vocabulary.

In your essay body, choose three or more excerpts from the novel that are telling in demonstrating Lee’s word choice.  In analyzing each, make sure that you are using a variety of word choice terms:

  • Figurative language (metaphor, personification, simile, hyperbole, understatement, idiom, etc..)
  • Connotations (the feelings and thoughts associated with particular words, for example, father has a different feeling than daddy)
  • Sound devices (rhythm, rhyme, onomatopoeia, etc. [You should probably not focus on sound devices for this text.])
  • Sense of time and place (dialogue, dialect, allusions, and references)
  • Tone (the narrator’s attitude toward the subject – including the level of formality)
  • Mood (how the words create feelings of suspense, tension, mystery, joy, etc. for the reader)

NOTE: You could also have students organize their essay by focusing on three or more of the topics above and writing a section or paragraph for each.

You will be graded on how well you select key examples of word choice, analyze the word choice, and use word choice terms.


4) The Moods of Mockingbird Essay

Teaching symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 1 (citing textual evidence), Reading Literature 4 (word choice), and Reading Literature 5 (structure)

Harper Lee decided to split To Kill a Mockingbird into two parts.  Why did she do this? One reason is because the moods of the two parts are different.

Write an essay comparing the mood of the first part of the novel to the mood of the second part of the novel.  Authors create mood through their use of word choice and structure. Make sure to include textual evidence in each of your body paragraphs to support your ideas.

If you are organizing your essay by sub-topics, here are some ideas for sections and/or paragraphs:

  • Introduction (main idea about how the mood is different in the two parts and a brief summary of how this is accomplished)
  • Word choice in the first part of the novel (word connotations, figurative language, allusions and references, dialogue and dialect)
  • Word choice in the second part of the novel (word connotations, figurative language, allusions and references, dialogue and dialect)
  • Structure in the first part (The ordering of plot events, manipulation of time [foreshadowing and flashback], and pacing can create feelings like tension or mystery.)
  • Structure in the second part (The ordering of plot events, manipulation of time [foreshadowing and flashback], and pacing can create feelings like tension or mystery.)
  • Conclusion (main idea and a brief summary of your essay body)

You will be graded on how well you explain mood by analyzing word choice, structure, and textual evidence.


5) Symbolism Presentation

To Kill a Mockingbird symbolism presentations

Note: This To Kill a Mockingbird final task idea is a great example of why having the students take notes for an identified task while reading is helpful.

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 2 (theme development), Speaking and Listening 4 (organize findings), and Speaking and Listening 6 (formal presentation)

Harper Lee uses literary symbols to develop her themes.  Choose one symbolic element from the list and create a presentation analyzing its use.

  • Birds and other animals
  • Flowers
  • Seasons
  • The Radley tree
  • The Radley house
  • The jail

Review the textual evidence from To Kill a Mockingbird regarding your selected symbol and reach a conclusion about which theme is being developed and how Lee uses the symbol.

Make sure that you organize your findings into clear and informative slides.  Include visuals and citations (quotes) to aid understanding.

Practice delivering your presentation in a professional manner:

  • Posture (standing up straight and not fidgeting)
  • Movement (engaging eye contact and gestures)
  • Voice (clear, paced, and with inflection)
  • Tone (formal vocabulary and phrasing)
  • Explanation (Do not read off the screen.  The information on the screen is simply a list of concepts that you plan to explain. Expand on the key terms, phrases, and visuals with expert knowledge.)

You will be graded on how well to explain the development of the theme, organize your information into informative slides, and present with a formal tone and voice.

Related post: Teaching Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird


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6) Hypocrisy in Maycomb (point of view and irony)

Hypocrisy in To Kill a Mockingbird

Common Core standards: Reading literature 6 (point of view), Reading Literature 2 (theme development), and Writing 2C (transitions).

Harper Lee uses Scout’s point of view to enable the reader to see the ironies of Maycomb.  Hypocrisy is ironic by definition:

Hypocrisy:  When the behavior of a person or group is contrary to their supposed or stated principals.

Irony: When the reality is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate.

Use examples of irony from To Kill a Mockingbird and identify how Lee uses the different points of view to make a point (theme).  Choose three or more examples and use each to examine the different points of view, the irony, and what Lee is expressing. (E.g. Scout’s point of view is that reading with her father is educational, but the teacher feels that it is counter-productive.)

Here are some examples of irony/hypocrisy that you might choose to write about in your essay body:

  • The celebration of Africa (Egypt) in a segregated, all-white school.
  • The justice system (that knowingly condemns an innocent man)
  • The teacher who disapproves of Scout’s reading
  • The Missionary Society (that supports persecution in their own community)
  • White people feeling threatened during/after the trial
  • Dill the clown (who laughs at the audience)
  • Atticus’ reelection (despite popular disapproval)
  • Treatment of the Ewells (respected in court but not in life)
  • Criticism of racism in Europe
  • Atticus the sexist
  • Dolphus Raymond (the supposed drunk degenerate)

In writing this informative/explanatory essay, make sure that you employ transition words and phrases (Writing standard 2C) to create cohesion between your ideas.

You will be graded on how well you explain the irony shown through point of view, make connections to themes, and use transitions in your writing.


7) To Kill a Mockingbird Plot Timelines (cooperative groups)

Note: This To Kill a Mockingbird final task requires some material preparation.  The teacher should provide blank plot maps and a lot of different colored papers.

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 5 (structure), Reading Literature 3 (interacting elements), and Writing 2D (precise language and vocabulary)

Your group will create a plot diagram for one plot within To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Tom Robinson’s trial
  • Boo Radley’s story
  • The attempted lynching
  • Mrs. Dubose flowers
  • The confessions of Dolphus Raymond
  • Shooting the dog
  • The fire
  • Tom Robinson’s testimony of the event
  • Jem loses his pants
  • Miss Caroline’s bad day
  • Visiting Calpurnia’s church
  • Dill runs away
  • Scout becomes a lady
  • Bob Ewell’s revenge
  • Uncle Jack’s visit
  • The Snowman
  • Scout’s bad day at school

Note: It is likely that many plots will not be assigned in this To Kill a Mockingbird final task;  decide which you consider essential for the class display.

In addition to your diagram, you will write a summary of the events of this plot (conflict, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution) and an explanation of how this particular plot relates to the rest of structure and impacts the story.

Make sure to explain how this plot…

  • Impacts the reader (creates mystery, tension, or surprise)
  • Manipulates time (pacing, flashbacks, foreshadowing or parallel events)
  • Relates to the rest of the structure (other plots)

After completing your work, your teacher will assign your group one color of paper.  Decide which chapters of the novel include your assigned plot and write each chapter number on one colored paper.  (For example, if your plot shows up in chapters 3-5, 8, and 10-11, you will need six purple papers.)

On one wall of the classroom, your teacher will have columns 1-31 (the chapters).  Each group will have one row for their assigned plot.  Attach your pages, diagram, and analysis to your row.  The final result will be a color coded chart of the To Kill a Mockingbird‘s structure.

Note: Students should reflect on this To Kill a Mockingbird final task display to draw conclusions on how Lee structures the novel and why.  They should conclude that the structure is many plots of varying importance that build on and relate to one another.


8) Structure in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

Writing using symbolism

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 5 (structure), Reading Literature 3 (interacting elements), and Writing 2D (precise language and vocabulary)

Write an essay explaining how Harper Lee organizes the telling of To Kill a Mockingbird. Focus on the effects of her structure (how the way she builds the story creates emotional and intellectual responses).

She has a main plot, two parts, many sub-plots (stories within the story), and parallel plots (different plots happening concurrently).  Explain how the different parts of the structure work in concert.

Organizing your essay:

Introduction (general statement about how Lee structures the book and why and a brief summary of your essay body)

Main plots (Is the main plot the story about Tom Robinson or the story about Boo Radley? Is it both at the same time?  How does Lee make these parallel plots work together?)

The two parts (Why does Lee separate the novel into two parts? How does this work if the stories overlap from one part to the next?  How do the two parts relate to the main plots and/or sub-plots?)

Sub-plots (How does Lee use the little stories that fit into the larger stories [like the episode with Jem and Mrs. Dubose]? Choose one sub-plot to explain in depth in terms of how it works with the rest of the novel.)

Conclusion

Use key language arts terms regarding narrative structure in your analysis:

  • Plot (conflict, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution)
  • Effects (mystery, tension, surprise, etc.)
  • Manipulation of time (pacing, foreshadowing, flashback, and parallel events)

You will be graded on how well you explain the structure, your analysis of how the structural elements interact, and your use of structure terminology.


Creative writing To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas

One way that students can demonstrate mastery of the standards in a To Kill a Mockingbird final task is by applying knowledge creatively.  The two ideas offered focus on structure and symbol, but you could have students write narratives or dramas demonstrating mastery of any of the elements studied.


9) Writing the Lost Chapter

The literary merits of To Kill a Mockingbird

Common Core standards: Writing 3 (narrative), Writing 3C (structure), and Writing 3D (word choice)

The class will be perpetrating an elaborate hoax.  Everyone will be writing a “missing chapter” for To Kill a Mockingbird.  The best forgery (selected by a class vote) will be published online along with lies about how Harper Lee wrote the chapter but decided not to include it in the novel.

Your “missing chapter” must be a sub-plot that fits thematically in the novel.  The sub-plot must demonstrate the elements of a plot (conflict, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution).  The point of view must match the narration of the novel.  Your word choice should imitate Lee’s style in To Kill a Mockingbird.

You will be graded on writing a complete narrative, clearly structuring a sub-plot, and your attempt to imitate Lee’s style (word choice).


10) Symbolism Narrative

Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird and symbolism writing assignment
These geraniums, unlike Mayella Ewell’s, were not grown in broken chamber pots.

Common Core standards: Reading Literature 2 (theme development), Writing 3A (point of view), and Writing 3E (conclusion/reflection)

Write an original narrative that includes a literary symbol that helps to develop the theme.  You might choose to use the symbol in the story’s title (e.g. “The Last Fudgsicle”).  The story could be a true event, totally fictional, or somewhere in between.

Your story should have all the narrative elements (setting, characters, plot, etc.), but give extra attention to establishing and maintaining a point of view (the narrator and the narrator’s tone) and using a literary symbol to develop the theme.  At the end of the story, the narrator should give a final reflection on the story and its theme.

Note: Sometimes it helps student creativity to give additional, arbitrary requirements.  I will often have students brainstorm a class chart of random characters, lines of dialogue, objects, and events and require them to use three elements from the chart.

You will be graded on how well you use the symbol to develop the theme, create a clear point of view, and include a final reflection by the narrator.


11) Final exam

anthem reading quiz cover 140

If you are going to create a final exam as your To Kill a Mockingbird final task, I recommend that you structure the exam with questions that move from simple to rigorous.

Related post: To Kill a Mockingbird Unit Test (PDF)

My final exams for long-form literature follow this structure:

  1. Comprehension questions (e.g. Which choice reflects the time period when the story takes place?)
  2. Literary knowledge questions (e.g. Which option demonstrates use of a first-person narrator?)
  3. Short Response (Analyze the following quote regarding Lee’s word choice. Use word choice vocabulary in your analysis).
  4. Extended response (How does Lee use symbols in To Kill a Mockingbird?  Discuss symbolic elements from the novel to support your answer.)

Key standards and elements to address in a To Kill a Mockingbird final task exam:

  • Interacting elements
    • Character motivations
    • Character conflicts
    • Characterization
  • Point of view
    • Irony
    • Narration
    • Tone
  • Theme development
    • Symbols
    • Plot events
    • Theme complexity
    • Interacting themes
  • Structure
    • Sub-plots
    • Book parts (two parts in this case)
    • Parallel plots
    • Effects of structure (mystery, suspense, tension, etc.)
  • Word choice
    • Figurative language
    • Connotations
    • Allusion
    • Sense of time and place (dialogue and dialect)
    • Mood
  • Historical context
    • Segregation and the Jim Crow era
    • Feminist critique
    • The Great Depression
  • Literary controversy

PDF DOWNLOADTo Kill a Mockingbird Unit Exam PDF cover


To Kill a Mockingbird final tasks (extension tasks)

After students complete the To Kill a Mockingbird final task and demonstrate mastery, you may want to build on the learning with extension tasks.  Here are a few ideas:

12) Opinion article: Is To Kill a Mockingbird Overrated?

Use your critical thinking to determine if To Kill a Mockingbird‘s positive influence and/or literary merits have been overstated.

13) Opinion article: Hypocrisy Today

Research and analyze an issue in our world today that demonstrates hypocrisy.  You may even suggest a change to help eliminate this hypocrisy.

14) Report: Feminism and To Kill a Mockingbird

Review TKM from a feminist point of view.  What does Lee’s portrayal say about womanhood in Maycomb?  What is Lee saying about women generally? Is her work affirming or undermining gender equality?

15) Research: The Fake Science of Racism (especially in the 1930’s)

During the 1930’s, racists (like Adolf Hitler) tried to use science to support their racist views.  Aunt Alexandra also uses ancestry as a means of assigning value to individuals.  Research eugenics and scientific racism and explain the erroneous theories.

16) Report: Criminal Justice

How does the criminal justice system work in America?  How is it supposed to work and what are its failings?  Use case studies to aid your explanation.

17) Research: To Kill a Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Affair

Lee used real-life cases to inspire the fictional trial in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Research the events of the Scottsboro Affair and highlight any connections to the novel.

18) Debate: Should To Kill a Mockingbird Be in the Curriculum?

Work with your debate team to argue whether or not the novel should be included in the curriculum.  Think about student engagement, themes, controversy, and literary merit.

19) Debate: Trial by Jury (Does it work?)

Work with your debate team to reach conclusions about the jury system as it exists in America.  Is this system the best way to seek justice or should a different method be employed?

20) Performance: Adapting a Plot Event for the Stage or Screen

Adapt one plot event from To Kill a Mockingbird for the stage or screen.  Include detailed stage directions and keep track of your creative decisions. Include an explanation of what elements you chose to emphasize and why.  As the directors, you can add, omit, or manipulate elements, just be prepared to explain your decisions.

21) Multimedia: Free Robinson Campaign

Take on the role of an activist and work to free Tom Robinson.  You have access to modern technology and media as you attempt to raise awareness and battle injustice.

Related post: To Kill a Mockingbird Writing Prompts: Creative, Persuasive, and Informative

Downloads: To Kill a Mockingbird resources

Summary of To Kill a Mockingbird final task ideas

  1. Scout’s Point of View Essay
  2. Theme Presentation
  3. Lee’s Word Choice Essay
  4. The Moods of Mockingbird Essay
  5. Symbolism Presentation
  6. Hypocrisy in Maycomb (point of view and irony)
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird Plot Timelines (cooperative groups)
  8. Structure in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
  9. Writing the Lost Chapter
  10. Symbolism Narrative
  11. Final Exam
  12. Opinion article: Is To Kill a Mockingbird Overrated?
  13. Opinion article: Hypocrisy Today
  14. Report: Feminism and To Kill a Mockingbird
  15. Research: The Fake Science of Racism (especially in the 1930’s)
  16. Report: Criminal Justice
  17. Research: To Kill a Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Affair
  18. Debate: Should To Kill a Mockingbird Be in the Curriculum?
  19. Debate: Trial by Jury (Does it work?)
  20. Performance: Adapting a Plot Event for the Stage or Screen
  21. Multimedia: Free Robinson Campaign

I hope that you have found at least one idea from “To Kill a Mockingbird Final Task Ideas” that will help you in your teaching.

Featured image by theunquietlibrarian