Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday Throw-Down

It's time for the first Thursday-Throw Down with Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit. I'm so excited for the opportunity to link-up with her. She has been so helpful with offering advice and suggestions to help me get my blog started. I really consider her lessons a standard for what middle grades learning should look like! Anyway, now that my gushing is over, our first "Throw Down" is all about what makes learning interactive.


By far my favorite activity we did in my class this year was a mock trial. My seventh graders struggle to get out of that middle school mind-set and experience a new point of view (but what middle schooler doesn't?) So, we took on to perform a mock trial based on the ever-popular book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka.


Now, most of what I saw out there for mock trials based on fairy tales were either for very little kids, highly scripted, or just irrelevant. This was the first time my kids had ever done something like this, so I didn't want to jump straight into a trial based on a more serious issue. I remember doing a mock trial based off the novel The Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt which centered around child abuse, so I knew I couldn't start with something like that.  As far as time, I decided to spend a week on this project. Three days of prep work, and two days for the actual trial. But first, they needed to hear the story read a loud to them...you wouldn't believe how into picture books they still are! From there, we voted to assign roles, lawyers, Al T. Wolf, etc. Every single student had a role. I even had kids making props and drawing Wanted Posters my exploratory class at the end of the day.

I ended up videotaping the actual trial to show parents at my school's Family Education Night. They loved it. I had some kids go on camera to say why they liked the mock trial, and I had one lawyer say on camera, "It's nice to take a break from learning and do something that's the real world." I think it's funny how they still believe that they are two separate things. Did she forget that she wrote  5 paragraph opening and closing statements that effectively argued her points?

Nonetheless, they work that each student produced from this week was incredible. Students who were had chronic missing work disease were mysteriously cured for this week. I got my feet wet this year with using mock trials in the classroom, and I will certainly be creating more for next year. I turned this project into a unit on TPT and it makes me so happy to see how the students in other classrooms are finding the same joy in this activity as well!

What activities were memorable for year this year?

Thanks for a great first Throw Down Thursday!

10 comments :

  1. I love the idea of a mock trial using The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! You could do that with lots of fairy tales. Such a great idea! I found your blog through the Thursday Throwdown linky and am your newest follower on Bloglovin!

    Jennifer
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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    1. Thank you for the follow! I love your blog title!

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  2. Aww thanks so much for the compliments. I absolutely *love* this lesson! You are so right.. it's so hard to get middle schoolers to think from anyone's perspective other than their own. You are also right that they are not to old to enjoy a good old fashioned picture book read aloud. Thanks again for linking up today! :) Erin
    I'm Lovin Lit

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    1. Not a problem! I look forward to the next one. Maybe one day I'll have my own!

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  3. I popped over here from the Middle School Bloglovin blog hop. I already linked up with that fantastic Bloglovin Hop but I wanted to invite you to come and link up AGAIN to another Bloglovin LInky! http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca/2013/07/back-to-school-with-bloglovin-blog-hop.html. You can download a great freebie and enter to win your own personal laminator!
    PS> I love all your products on TPT!
    Sidney
    Teachingisagift

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  4. I love the idea of doing a mock trial!! We do some government in 4th, so I'm thinking I might be able to tie that in! Found you through Erin, and I'm your newest follower! :)
    Jivey
    ideas by jivey
    Follow me on Facebook!

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    1. My kids really enjoyed it! It was probably their favorite thing of the year!

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  5. Great idea! We did a mock trial for 'Tuck Everlasting' - we divided into four groups. One person was the judge, prosecutor, Mae Tuck, lawyer... The grade 4's loved it!

    Lisa
    http://gradefourbuzz.blogspot.ca

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    1. That's a really good idea! My next step is to make one about a class novel.

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