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To Kill a Mockingbird

Memory Boxes

A tool that helps students walk through the novel in a character's shoes.

To see samples of my students' Memory Boxes, click here!

Introduction: There are several versions of this project on the web. In creating my own, my goal was two-fold: I wanted students to have a unique, first-person point of view about a character, and I wanted them to consider that perspective throughout the novel, not just at the end. I think this succeeds in fulfilling those goals.

Text: Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Grade: Freshmen

Difficulty: Simple (with a solid timeline, even the biggest procrastinator in your class will have to complete the project in the stages assigned)


As you have quickly learned, To Kill a Mockingbird has several key characters, among them Scout, Jem, Dill, Atticus, Calpurnia, and Boo Radley. Now that you have read the first five chapters of the novel, select one character from the list who intrigues you in particular. As you continue to read, you will be creating a memory box for the character you choose, thus helping you engage in the novel through the lens of one particular individual.


Today, you will write an initial character description, based on a single quotation your character said in chapters 1-5. Tomorrow, you will bring a shoebox into school with you to leave in the classroom as we read TKAM. Every five chapters, you will pause from your reading and select one object to place into your character’s memory box, accompanying that object with a one page (typed, double-spaced) explanation of the object’s significance, written from the first person point of view of your character. When we have finished reading the novel, your memory box will contain five objects and explanations, and then you will decorate your memory box so that its exterior design reflects your perspective of your character. (If you’d like to take home your memory box over winter break to begin decorating it, you’re welcome to do so!)

Grading Rubric:

Character Sketch: 5 points
Objects (5): 25 points total (5 points each)
Explanations (5): 50 points total (10 points each)
Memory Box Design: 10 points
Total Points: 90 points   

Final Thoughts:

This project is designed to bring out your creativity, but in such a way that you also reflect the central ideas of the text. Think carefully as you add objects to your box; the most obvious one might not always be the most meaningful to your character!