Classic Novels Through Crossword Puzzles: To Kill a Mockingbird
Many adults have vague memories of reading classic novels while they were in high school, but for various reasons they cannot recall the actual details. Helping students enjoy classic novels through crossword puzzles – novels like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird – may make the difference between an adult who forgets and an adult who remembers. Make one now or continue reading for inspiration.
Ways Teachers Make a To Kill a Mockingbird Crossword
The vast majority of To Kill a Mockingbird crossword puzzles on Crossword Hobbyist focus on vocabulary, and for good reason. Classic novels are a great place to learn more advanced vocabulary, so it makes sense that a To Kill a Mockingbird crossword puzzle would focus on this. You can make a vocabulary crossword for the entire novel, or you can do it for certain chapters like this teacher did for chapters 1-8.
In addition to providing definitions as clues and vocabulary words as answers, you could provide quotes as clues. For example, take this quote from the novel:
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
If your vocabulary word was “abide,” put a blank in its place to indicate that word as the answer. You may want to offer the definition of “abide” as an added clue as well.
Many teachers also make To Kill a Mockingbird crossword puzzles that focus on plot, theme, and characters. The puzzle below focuses on plot, ensuring that students did, in fact, read the book.
Similarly, Mr. Wood wrote a puzzle where each answer is a character and each clue refers to that character’s involvement in the plot.
As you have noticed, any of the above ideas can be combined, or done in individual chapters. Mix and match characters with their quotes to reinforce character development and understanding of new vocabulary. Make a new crossword puzzle for each chapter to demonstrate how the plot advances. There are ample possibilities.
Finally, To Kill a Mockingbird crossword puzzles may go beyond the scope of the book. Teach students about the author through a Harper Lee crossword puzzle, or start a conversation about the cultural and historical implications of the book through a crossword.
Altering Clues for Difficulty
While the information you need to teach regarding To Kill a Mockingbird won’t change much, you can alter the difficulty of your crossword puzzle in a number of ways.
For example, make sure your clues are specific to the book and cannot be answered by the movie. Or, if you had your students watch the movie in addition to reading the book, make a crossword puzzle with clues that mix and match the two mediums. In other words, make clues with information found in the movie but not the book, and vice versa.
Furthermore, leading clues like 7 Down in this puzzle can confuse students. Is the answer Mockingbird? Or is that too obvious?
Scarce clues or obscure references might also require a higher level of thinking than general clues. There’s no need to be obscure just to be obscure, but referencing a minor character or a short quote requires students to focus a little more.
You might want to introduce your To Kill a Mockingbird crossword puzzle as review for a test. If you administer quizzes for the novel, make a puzzle with clues that help students reassess difficult questions. There are a number of ways to make a crossword puzzle for your class that’ll help them remember the book fondly for a long time to come.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.