After reading the book and watching the movie, engage the students in a lesson about conflict.
1. have students write in their journals about what they would do if they were in George's shoes
2. discuss the types of conflict (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, man vs. society) and provide a handout with these defined.
3. create a handout with a variety of scenarios. Have students read the scenarios and highlight each a color to coordinate with a certain type of conflict.
4. discuss student responses and continue into how we handle our conflicts and the extremes we sometimes have to go to.
5. studnets shoudl then be instructed to write a letter to a Salinas judge either agreeing or disagreeing with George's decision. They should assume that George is convicted of murder. They need to use specific evidence from the book to support their opinion.
My kids really liked this. Let me know how it goes!