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

Workshop Session
Lesson Plan
Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
Essential Readings
Other Lessons

Student Perspectives: Participating in a simulation

Ashley: It teaches us more about our constitutional rights, and I think that's good for us as students because sometimes the administration might try to throw their weight around. We'll know if something doesn't feel right to us. We'll know how to combat it and what cases are in our favor or what cases are against us. So I think it's good both in law and in life.

Dana: I'm hands-on; lectures don't work well for me. Because we're required to do the briefs and argue the different sides for each case, I think that it gives [me and] my classmates an opportunity to put ourselves in that situation, even though we weren't born in the 1860s or whatever. I know that a lot of the cases we discussed are directly related to events that are happening at school. Because we actually work with these cases, I think we learn the issues a lot better and better understand the cases themselves.

Green: This gives us a chance to incorporate the things that we've been learning all year. It's like icing on the cake. Everything we've been doing [gives] us background knowledge, lets us understand everything. This sort of seals it and allows us to put our knowledge to use.

Otis: I enjoy it because you're not really aware of how much you know until you actually have a chance to demonstrate it. This makes it more real for you. We read the books ("Oh, this happened in the past, this is history.") but when you're doing it, it's like right now. It allows you to take a role and get into the mindset of those who made history and to see how they were thinking. It allows you to experience it. I think when you sit down and read books, you're really not getting taught--you're teaching yourself. I feel if I knew it, I wouldn't be here at school. I think this kind of teaching allows your brain to be used. A lot of times when you say stuff and you hear other student's opinions, they break it down in terms that a teacher might not do for you. This type of teaching allows you to get input from your peers. You actually hear your opinion out loud so you can learn. This teaches you how to communicate clearly. I want to be a public servant, so it allows me to understand people and to really try to comprehend what they're saying before making a judgment, so I will not get the wrong idea or think too quickly or judge too quickly.

Troy: I like the class because I like to speak. I like the interaction. I'm not one who would rather sit down and read a book. I like doing group exercises and class work and simulations like we did today. I feel that I'm able to get a better educational experience if I'm able to hear opinions of others and voice my opinions myself. When we first came into the class, Mr. Johnson told us that our number one priority is to win the mock trial. Every year that Banneker has been in a mock trial, they've been able to come in first place, second place, or both first and second. So he let us know straight from the get-go that we were going to be doing a lot of interaction exercises because the mock trial is one of the biggest interaction exercises we're going to do in our high school career. I felt that by him not actually going from the book every day, giving us opportunities to talk in class and discuss some issues, he was preparing us for our experience at the mock trial. I feel that at one point we all need to go into something a little bit controversial because everything does not need to be taboo.

Zaneta: At first it seemed kind of pointless to me because we just got in a group and went over the cases. I thought it was boring and there was no point in doing this. After a while, when we started acting out the actual cases and pretending we were in court, it really made me put the cases that I learned to work and it was more of a hands-on thing. It really made me understand more about my rights as a student and what I can and cannot do.


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