I remember in school reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course, if we’re going to be honest, I probably read the Cliff Notes version, but I know the story all the same. It has fascinated me how this story never gets old. I guess that’s what separates classics from….well…..not classics.
Even now I have students who read this book riveted by this story of Atticus Finch defending a man wrongly accused because he was black. In fact, this year our Battle of the Books competition included this book on its list alongside contemporary young adult literature. With most of our students on the field trip to DC, we decided to read an excerpt from the book and provide students with some background on the scene prior to reading it. We followed with showing the 1962 black and white movie starring Gregory Peck.
I’ve always known there was an award-winning movie of the book, however I’ve never watched it. My colleague has a copy and suggested we show it to our class today. It was totally his idea, but it just so happens that it meets the requirement for today’s first for me.
Because I was running some errands and helping out another teacher, I was unable to watch the beginning of the movie. Knowing the book, I was able to jump in without issue. I was amazed that in a classroom of nearly 40 students, it was quiet. We were stuffed into that classroom so we could all watch it together, and the kids were totally into it. There was very little talking, and what few conversations I overheard were about the movie.
And when Atticus was told Tom died…..every eye was glued to that screen. Then when Bob Ewell spat in Atticus’s face, there were gasps heard. Loved it. Who knew that a black and white movie from more than 50 years ago could still capture the attention of our overmedia exposed teenagers? It certainly captured the attention of this teacher.