We are currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird in my classes. This is the 24th consecutive year I have "taught" this novel and each year I hope to learn from previous years and improve on the experience for my students.
Today we were discussing the end of the trial and the inevitable verdict given the racism of the town. Even though Atticus didn't win the Tom Robinson case, Tom's family and friends show their appreciation for what he did by standing in respect when he exits the courtroom and leaving food on his back door step the next morning.
My focus of the novel has always been on Atticus and what my students can learn from his example. This part allows me to ask questions that leads students to examine the "If you're not first, you're last" mentality, why Atticus deserved their respect, and why they showed it the way they did.
The discussion in one of my classes went something like this:
"I bet the food was all full of ants."
"No way! It's not like they put the pork chop on the ground."
"They probably had it all in Tupperware."
"Tupperware in 1935? WRONG!"
There is so much to be gained from reading this novel but that's not exactly what I was hoping for.
I'll take notes and hope to improve this part for year number 25.