Lesson 11

Putting Our Skills to the Test: The Trial

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SWBAT use evidence and listening skills to determine the validity of an argument.

Big Idea

I object! You're Out of Order! Defending someone's rights take a lot of reading skills. Are you up to the challenge?


15 minutes

Courtroom day! I hope your kiddos are excited as mine are. I've posted a quick overview of tips for you. 

Today we will quickly review for your trial. Then I will tell you on which side of the room to sit. While we move through the simulation, you will work with your teams to make the best decisions for your side as they come up. You will be asked which evidence to include, whether or not to object, and to decide on other important aspects of the case. You must listen closely, as things can move quickly. You must also remember those skills we have been working on lately. You must think about strong and weak evidence, multiple viewpoints, and how the opposing viewpoint can work for you. 

Also use this time to go over your classroom expectations as this simulation does not leave time for off task behaviors. It goes quick and students need to be able to hear the directions; especially when it comes time for them to be able to object to the opposing questions. 

Court Trial

60 minutes

During the trial I stay at the SMART board to click the buttons for students. If you have a computer lab available it's even better to let students partner up and try this in smaller groups. I don't really have that ability, but I do like the large groups because it leaves more room for discussion and collaboration. In a perfect world I'd have about 5 computers spaced out nicely throughout my room where smaller groups could work. It is nice to run this whole group though, because you can pause and have teachable moments as they arise. 

Here is a shot of my teams deciding on the evidence they'd like to include in their opening arguments. 

Throughout the trial I still interject and pause everything so we can chat quickly. In years past, the kids still get confused about the objections or aren't listening closely enough, so I'll pause and say something like:

I've noticed a few opportunities for objections and both teams have let them slip by. Remember to listen to what the attorneys are asking. They can't ask certain types of questions because of it will skew points of view and create bias. Remember, we're learning how to find acceptable and fair evidence. These skills help you in reading and in life. You have to listen carefully. 

This experience really makes learning fun for our learners. In reading lessons can get stale when the kids are just reading without having many chances for interactions. It's awesome when we can give our kids texts to read and then reasons to put them into action. When the kiddos see the application of their reading, it makes learning come alive for them.