K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more

Related pages

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

After viewing the courtroom scene in each movie, students will be able to:

  • recognize and identify examples of prejudice.
  • identify verbal and non-verbal persuasive tactics.
  • identify similarities and differences in each trial.
  • identify cultural factors that influenced each verdict.
  • select an issue and take a stance which reflects the viewpoint of the particular period.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 days


Technology resources

Television, VCR or DVD player


Students will have already read and discussed the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The teacher will lead an oral discussion of the court system of the United States and have students identify and discuss recent controversial court cases which have been in the news.


  1. Teacher will show the courtroom scene in To Kill a Mockingbird. Teacher will lead an oral discussion using the attached Questions for Discussion. Students will verbally respond to the questions.
  2. Teacher will give background information on A Time to Kill (see Synopsis of A Time to Kill for notes).
  3. Students will view the courtroom scene in A Time to Kill. Teacher will lead an oral discussion using the same questions as before. Students will verbally respond to the questions.
  4. In small groups of 4-5, students will discuss and fill in the Compare/Contrast Chart. Teacher will lead a discussion of the results and students will respond verbally.
  5. Teacher will give students a copy of the writing assignment and the assessment rubric. Students will complete the writing assignment in 2-3 days outside of class.
  6. Students will read and share assignments with class on date due, defending their positions.


Assessment Rubric

Supplemental information

The advanced limited English proficient student will use expanded vocabulary effectively in social and academic settings with few errors and will rely much less on forms of non-verbal communication. Learning objectives focus on comprehending academic questions spoken at normal speed, following multi-step directions on academic topics, demonstrating comprehension of various literary genres, initiating and participating in group discourse, preparing and delivering presentations, elaborate effectively using description and comparison, developing reading fluency, analyzing text and evaluating literature, understanding the elements of poetry, using reference materials, discerning cultural variations represented in texts, identifying literary elements of fiction and non-fiction, writing about complex themes, reflecting, evaluating, analyzing and responding to texts, and examining cause-effect relationships.


  • The student should have a list of the critical vocabulary for English Language Learners (see above) prior to reading the novel or viewing the video clips.
  • The student may use an English dictionary and an English/Native language dictionary to find definitions.
  • The student should be able to view the video clips at least one time before viewing them with the rest of the class.
  • The student should be given a copy of Synopsis of A Time to Kill before viewing the video clip.
  • The student should be given a copy of Questions for Discussion before viewing the video clips.
  • The student should be given the LEP Venn Diagram to complete the compare/contrast activity.

Alternative assessments

  • The teacher will use the LEP assessment rubric for the writing assignment.
  • The student should have extended time to complete the assignment, if needed.

Critical vocabulary

Trial, Jury, Attorney, Defendant, Prosecution, Testimony, Prejudice, Summation, Verdict, Arraignment, Sentence, Persuasive, Similarities, Differences, Analyze, Editor


This novel is taught in the eleventh grade in our school, but the assignment could work for ninth graders who read the novel.

This lesson plan was developed during the English Language Development Standard Course of Study lesson planning institutes hosted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and LEARN NC, June and July, 2004. It includes specific strategies, instructional modifications, and alternative assessments which make this lesson accessible to limited English proficient students. Please note that this lesson has been aligned with the goals and objectives of the N.C. English Language Development standards.
This lesson was modified for the advanced limited English proficient student. Additional modifications are needed for a novice or intermediate level student.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 11-12
          • 11-12.RL.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
          • 11-12.RL.9 Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.RL.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
          • 9-10.RL.7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
      • Speaking & Listening

        • Grade 11-12
          • 11-12.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly...
        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 11

  • Goal 3: The learner will demonstrate increasing sophistication in defining issues and using argument effectively.
    • Objective 3.01: Use language persuasively in addressing a particular issue by:
      - finding and interpreting information effectively.
      - recognizing propaganda as a purposeful technique.
      - establishing and defending a point of view.
      -responding respectfully to viewpoints and biases.
    • Objective 3.02: Select an issue or theme and take a stance on that issue by:
      - reflecting the viewpoint(s) of Americans of different times and places.
      - showing sensitivity or empathy for the culture represented.
      - supporting the argument with specific reasons.
  • Goal 5: The learner will interpret and evaluate representative texts to deepen understanding of literature of the United States.
    • Objective 5.02: Analyze the relationships among United States authors and their works by:
      - making and supporting valid responses about the text through references to other works and authors.
      -comparing texts to show similarities or differences in themes, characters, or ideas.

English Language Development (2005)

Grade 9–12

  • Goal 0:
    • Objective 0.01: Comprehend most conversational questions spoken at normal speed.
    • Objective 0.01: Demonstrate writing using a wide variety of complex vocabulary, including academic vocabulary and idioms.
    • Objective 0.02: Understand and follow multi-step directions on academic topics when spoken at a normal speed with occasional restatement.
    • Objective 0.02: Engage and initiate more extensive social and classroom discourse with peers and adults on unfamiliar topics by asking and answering questions, restating ideas, and soliciting information.
    • Objective 0.02: Use varying sentence styles and types.
    • Objective 0.03: Comprehend academic questions spoken at normal speed.
    • Objective 0.03: Write about complex themes outside the realm of personal experience.
    • Objective 0.04: Assess writing for conventions of effective writing (e.g., audience, purpose, etc.).
    • Objective 0.05: Express an informed opinion that is logical and coherent.
    • Objective 0.06: Respond appropriately when participating in group discourse by adapting language and communication behaviors to the situation to accomplish a specific purpose.
    • Objective 0.07: Identify and demonstrate knowledge of various types of communication (e.g., expressive, informational, argumentative, critical).
    • Objective 0.07: Defend argumentative positions on literary and nonliterary issues by using support and elaboration.
    • Objective 0.09: Demonstrate understanding of selected literature through interpretation and analysis.
    • Objective 0.10: Apply conventions of grammar and language usage.
    • Objective 0.11: Analyze and respond to texts that contain characteristics of cultural variations.