Tales of Litigation!
The day of this post, I will be doing the culminating activity of Junior High School Mock Trial. Yesterday, we did Jury Selection and final pre-trial preparation. Today, we change venues to the library, put on our best clothes, and prepare for video documentation of the State of California v. Charlie Nolastname. Given the length of my classes, in a perfect world we should have the entire case for prosecution and defense, as well as arguments and jury deliberation, happen on a single day.
We will see.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to attempt this project with this year’s group of students. I decided that i would, as a means of attempting to motivate, as a way of exploring the Common Core Standards while simultaneously trying to keep students engaged. When the students come in today…that’s when we will see how the rubber meets the road, as it were.
There is not a lot to say at this point…because I’m writing BEFORE the educational event. I know that Thursday saw me managing a large amount of insane student behavior in the hallways when I should have been involved in Voir Dire. I also know that the week has been “cray-cray” on campus, with my area being a zone of relative peace. I’m reminded of Alan Moore’s Batman story “The Killing Joke”, where Batman insists to Jim Gordon that they need to do things “by the book,” in order to prove that “our ways work.”
At the simple level of school discipline, that is true. At the meta level, of what Mock Trial is supposed to be about…I’m hoping it is also true. The idea of demonstrating that when school works at its best, its brightest level, it is engaging and something that you want to be a part of. The idea of showing the key to a life that some of the students didn’t really know was accessible.
I’m thinking that if a student got up in my court, and made the entire case “I am Groot,” I might dismiss the case. As it is, there is a space ready on the bench for Doctor Whooves (who was once put on trial by the Time Lords of Gallifrey) and Baby Groot. How else am I supposed to run a courtroom, True Believers?
Next Issue: More Black History Month!