To Kill a Mockingbird Background Documentary Project

Last year, I devised a few scavenger hunts in the library to compliment the required reading in different English classes. They were strictly Old School (indeed, that is what I called them) in that the students were not to touch a computer to do their research. They were only to look at books, the idea being to give them some historical context for their book and at the same time showing them what kind of print resources are available in the library.

Although the students had a lot of fun scavenging, I am not sure how much information they actually retained. We only had one period to do it in and the girls would write their answers by copying directly out of the book. There was no thought, no digestion of information, nor any reason to do so as they wouldn’t be using it.

With the new ipad lab and our emphasis on the fact that it can be used for creation and not just as a content provider, I thought I would try something new. The girls still have a series of questions they must answer using books in the library. But they now need to type their answers in full sentences and in their own words using Pages. The students use another ipad to scan QR codes which will bring them to websites, or use Apps with photo archives for images. They then bring their images and texts together in imovie.

Grade 8 English Class of 18 kids= 6 groups of 3.


  • 12 ipads: 2 per group: 1 for  their “script”(answers typed in Pages), 1 for their movie production
  • 8 questions on the topic of the Great Depression and Racism in the 30s.
  • An instruction manual for the various ipad functions they will need (I made it into a PDF and saved it in ibook)
  • Apps:
    • pages
    • Qrafter (for Qr codes)
    • Safari
    • LIFE app (photos)
    • Linetime app
    • imovie
    • Photos
Behind the Scenes Guide:

The students are asked to answer 4 questions each. Each questions has two parts:
1. The research. Here they are given the name and call number of a book. They must find the book and answer the questions in full sentences and in their own words on their script ipad. They must take a photo of the book they use for their credits.
2. Visuals: Then they either scan a QR code that brings them to a digital archive or use one of the apps listed above. Here they choose images they feel best represents the concept behind the question eg. Dust Bowl). They save the images into Photos. (does this automatically when you press save image).
3. They insert the photos into imovie and record their script over top of the images..
Sample Questions:
This question uses a QR code to find suitable images for their imovie
This questions requires the student to find the Life app and screenshot images
Length of time:
Originally we had planned to take a double period for this project. However library and ipad availability as well as a shortened day meant we had a little less time during the two periods and so we need to add another period tomorrow for some of the groups to finish up their last question and put their movie together.
Ms. Allison made an awesome rubric for them and will be grading their finished product.
  • I tried to keep my explanations to a minimum as experience has taught me that information overload is a real problem. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the girls understood the project and how quickly they got down to work.
  • Most of the girls understood intuitively how to use the ipad- not a whole lot of instruction was needed besides the odd functionality of an app (for example, when scanning a QR code in QRrafter, they have to open URL in Safari and not in the app itself or they won’t be able to save images from websites).
  • The project was a little too long- a double period would have been sufficient to do 3 questions properly.
  • Although Ms. Allison would be able to better judge of this, I felt that the students had a better grasp of the Great Depression and Racism in the 30s, just by virtue of having to do something with it. The conversations I had with the girls and the answers I saw confirm this.
We had our second class today and although several groups have answered their four questions, they are not finished putting their movie together. Once they do and Ms. Allison has a chance to review them, I’ll ask if I can put one up on this blog so you can view the results!

3 thoughts on “To Kill a Mockingbird Background Documentary Project

  1. Pingback: Cycle Meeting Notes: In Preparation of Next Ped Day | ipadyoupad

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  3. Pingback: Digital Scavenger Hunts! | ipadyoupad

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