Friday, September 24, 2010

Mock Court

Never underestimate the power of a group presentation. Mock Trials are wonderful ways for students to learn to present. Because it feels more like a conversation to them the fear of standing in front of the group is lessened considerably. Here are some things that allow students to learn more about how they did.

1. Film the trial and use more than one camera. By giving them different angles students can review or even edit the film like a documentary to review later so that they can learn from their performances. Also multiple cameras helps make sure that technical issues don't arise resulting in the loss of the footage: batteries die, tapes go bad, files get erased.

2.  Assign parts days in advance and put students into different groups to work out their roles.  Any students not assigned to specific roles can serve as press coverage for the case.  Judges must write opinions.  Lawyers must write case reviews and journalists can write up interviews and news stories for newspapers, television, or online articles such as blogs.

3. Choose big cases for students and involve multiple classes.  Supreme Court cases are great because they deal with larger issues that students can relate to.  Nine justices make for a nine chances to be the judge and require the classes to cooperate and collaborate over rules and ideas.  (If you use multiple classes you under the Supreme Court model find another teacher or administrator to serve as the Chief Justice it will help keep the arguments focused and prevent the court from making a biased decision. The Curriculum lead teacher in your school is perfect for this.  Give that person lots of notice and work with their schedule.  They may be vary busy but your CL is a teacher and most of them really miss working with students.)

4. Repeat the activity throughout the year.  There are more cases than you can cover in an entire year.  By adding complexity each time students can add more to their skill set.  Virtual reenactments, digital presentations and digital evidence can be created by the plaintiffs and defendants and presented through projectors.

You be amazed at how much your students can impress you with what they can do with the material.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

President Obama's Education Address

Presidents, like everyone else change and adapt over time.  Use the Wordles of last years speech and this years to compare the to speeches and make connections to your own life after you have viewed the speech.  

Friday, September 3, 2010