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Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 8: Rights and Responsibilities of Students  
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Workshop 7

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Lesson Plan: Teaching the Lesson: Overview, Goals, and Planning

In this lesson, students in Matt Johnson’s 12th-grade, two-semester, honors-level constitutional law course at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, D.C., engage in a culminating activity that helps them review what they have learned over the year and gives them an opportunity to apply the concepts to new circumstances. To begin the lesson, each student takes responsibility for writing and distributing a one-page brief of a Supreme Court case that they have previously studied, and for presenting a summary of the case to the class. All cases involve the constitutional rights of students. Next, students are assigned to groups of three and given a hypothetical case. The hypothetical cases, developed by Matt Johnson, relate loosely to student rights cases that were to be decided by the Supreme Court during its 2001-2002 term. Each team represents either the petitioner or the respondent, or is part of the Supreme Court. Students prepare their cases by examining precedents and determining which arguments are most likely to prevail. After a period of preparation, the lawyers present their cases to the Justices, who then retire to deliberate. Justices then present their majority and dissenting opinions, after which the class discusses both the process and the disposition of the case.

This lesson is a culminating activity for the semester and is designed to help students review for a final exam. Students will brief Supreme Court cases that they have studied over the past year, and apply them to a contemporary situation.

The students have prepared for this lesson by reading and discussing relevant cases in their assigned textbook (We the Students: Supreme Court Cases For and About Students by Jamin B. Raskin, American University Washington College of Law. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2000). Many have also participated in a citywide moot court competition and the class as a whole has participated in other mock trials. For this lesson, each student has been given a Supreme Court case to brief and will present to the class the basic facts of the case, including the parties, the issues, and the Court's decision. They were assisted in this task by the Case Study Activity Sheet and given responsibility for preparing a one-page summary and distributing it to the class. All cases concern the constitutional rights of students.

Overview, Goals, and Planning    |     Activity 1     |     Activity 2
Activity 3     |     Activity 4     |     Activity 5     |     Activity 6     |     Scheduling and Adaptations


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