Jack's Trial Day

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SWBAT make a claim, support it, and present it to an audience.

Big Idea

Is Jack headed for jail?

Last minute details

15 minutes

Before we begin, I am giving each team a few minutes to make sure that their arguments are completely supported by the text.  In the previous lesson, I used the 3x3 WRITING FRAME FOR ARGUMENTS to help my students build their cases.  

I also noticed that many of the teams had not yet designed a closing argument, so I want to discuss the importance of leaving the jury with a last impression that they will remember.  I also want to encourage students to generate questions to ask Jack and the ogre mum during the trial.  

I will also ask the teams to decide who is presenting what information so that we can remain organized during the trial.  I am not requiring each student to present, but I am strongly encouraging it.  

The Trial

30 minutes

I am going to try to set up the trial in a way that will minimize chaos and craziness, by outlining my expectations before hand, but I am sure it will still have it's out-of-control moments.  

Here's my wish list:

  • Lawyers present their cases(using the 3 x 3 argument frame) without interruption from the peanut gallery. 
  • Witnesses (Jack and the ogre mum) will only respond when questions are asked.
  • The audience members will listen quietly and write down any questions to ask at a later time.   

I'll start by calling Jack and the ogre mum up to the front to sit on stools so they can be seen at all times.  We will decide who is presenting first by flipping a coin (very formal, I know)! I will have each team of lawyers come up to state their case and question the witnesses if necessary. We will hear from each member of the prosecution or defense before moving on to the other side.   

Once both sides have presented, we will wrap it up!

Here are some of my students in action:

The prosecution

The defense

Questioning of the poor ogre mum

The Verdict

15 minutes

Again, I have a really unofficial, yet random way of choosing the jury!  I will number my class of by 3's.  Then, I will roll a die until I hit either a one, two, or three.  The first  number I roll, becomes the jury.  

I will take them aside and explain to them that I want them to put their ideas of how they viewed Jack before the trial behind them.  Now, based on the evidence and arguments heard in the trial, I want them to decide if Jack is guilty of a crime or not.  

We will do a quick vote, and go with the majority.  The jury will prepare a few of the best reasons to support their decision.  Once they are ready, the jury will announce the verdict in front of the class and give their reasons.  

If time allows, I will let the students ask any lingering questions or make any points they didn't get to make during the trial.

This lesson supports Common Core on many levels.  First, it requires students to read closely and look for specific evidence that supports their opinions.  Second of all, it asks students to write these claims in a logical manner.  Thirdly, students must share the arguments with their peers who will then question their validity.  

Putting a character from a story into a real life situation, like a trial, is one way to bring energy and excitement into your classroom.  The story comes alive, and students can interact with the literature.  The two best parts were hearing the students reference the text, and listening to them still talking about the trial as they left my class!