We decided to focus on the classic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, for a number of reasons. First, it’s a book with which we were all familiar, as it’s been a staple of nearly every American school’s curriculum for decades. Second, it’s been in the news a lot lately, due to the 2015 publication of Harper Lee’s forgettable second novel, Go Set a Watchman (really, just an inferior early draft of what would eventually become Mockingbird), and her subsequent death at age 89 in 2016; the decision this month by the Mississippi school board to ban the book; as well as the upcoming Broadway play, adapted by Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin and set to premiere in December 2018. But, third, and most importantly, is the evergreen relevance of the novel’s overarching themes of racial injustice, the loss of innocence, morality, fear, and forgiveness.
We chose to have students create content by assigning them to select a character from the novel and write blog posts from the perspective of that character. The goals of this assignment are to give the students a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the novel, its themes, and the characters in it, as well as giving them practice with blogging and with using the WordPress platform.