Causes and Effects

Throughout both To Kill a Mockingbird and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, there are many notable events and turning points.  Today, the students explored these causes and effects in order to determine some of the central themes.  They first created a multi-flow map reflecting the causes and effects of one event in their novel of choice.  Thereafter, the students then identified the themes they saw among their multi-flow maps.  The students then voted on the themes they saw and we used those to create a scenario that we would subsequently put on trial.

After creating the mock trial scenario, the students then told me which roles they were interested in taking on for the trial.  Thereafter, if time allowed, the students were permitted to conduct research for their roles in the trial.  Jury members were able to work on any work they needed to complete in class.


  • Study for tomorrow’s quiz.
    • TKAM: Chapters 12-21
    • ROTHMC: Chapters 6-9
  • Bring your vocabulary assignment to class in order to receive a grade.


Scripted Mock Trial in Action

After taking time to work on the chapter discussion questions in preparation for tomorrow’s quiz and Friday’s journal check, the students took over class to conduct a mock trial.  This pre-scripted trial asked the students to participate as lawyers for the defense, the prosecution, witnesses, the defendant, members of the jury, the bailiff, and the judge.

In the case of State v. Pat Morton, my classes arrived at the following verdicts:

  • 3rd Period- Not Guilty
  • 4th Period- Not Guilty
  • 5th Period- Not Guilty
  • 6th Period- Not Guilty

After arriving at the verdict, we spent the rest of the time discussing our thoughts on the process of the mock trial.  The students offered their thoughts for an upcoming mock trial that they will create themselves later on this week.


  • Review for tomorrow’s quiz.
    • TKAM- Chapters 12-21
    • ROTHMC- Chapters 6-9


Understanding a Mock Trial

In preparation for the upcoming unscripted mock trial, my students had the opportunity to ease into the mindset needed in order to successfully interact in a mock trial setting.

First, we explored a couple of debate scenarios:

  • Scenario #1:
    • Should middle schoolers be able to watch R-rated movies in school that go along with books they read?
  • Scenario #2: 
    • Dave hacks into the systems of the Enormous Telecommunications Company (ETC) and copies a file that describes certain details of ETC’s delicate switching equipment. When Dave is nabbed by the Feds, they charge him with theft. Is this correct?
      • What if the document is provided essentially for free by ETC to anyone for the price of postage?

This, naturally, generated quite a spirited discussion as we moved on to watching a video from 2008 of high school students competing in a mock trial competition where Overbrook High School in Pennsylvania won. This video served to illustrate how a successful mock trial should look and function.

If time allowed, we first discussed the important points in a trial.  We then got started on a scripted mock trial.  Regardless, we will perform this scripted mock trial tomorrow.


  • Read for 30 minutes and record it in your reading log:
    • TKAM: Chapter 20
    • ROTHMC: Finish Chapter 9