Learn why the 8th graders at CMA visited a courthouse and got to participate in a mock trial!
A recent interview with Ms. Williams (8th Grade ELA Teacher):
Tell me more about the books your students are reading in class?
Ms. Williams: “We are reading the playwright 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose and a lot of the focus is on writing. They really like it because we divided the parts for the 12 jurors and they get to read and act as if they were these characters. We have a narrator and a guard and they all get to act out the parts. We read out loud and do a bit of pre reading. We did act 1 and it's really cool to see it in action!”
Why is this important for students to read about and experience?
Ms. Williams: “ Well, 12 Angry Men represents 1957 and some racist ideas that people had back during that time period. We also just finished reading How To Kill a Mockingbird - there was no justice in that book. This current book shows some things that students face today-like being stereotyped, so they get to see a different side and get to analyze the actions of the characters. They are learning a lot! We are visiting a courthouse because that’s the setting of the book, so I want them to be able to visualize the book and make a connection. They will walk through a courtroom in Fairfield and see the Jury room. The judge that cleared his schedule for us is going to do a mock trial with the 8th graders!”
What do you want your students to get out of this lesson?
Ms. Williams: “ The real world connection is that we live in a society where racism is covert. I want them to know that there are people who are good and who will stand for what is right and the book shows that.”
Has anything surprised you?
Ms. Williams: “ Yes! Before I assigned the jurors, they were already picking out who they wanted to be. Even students who are usually super shy and don’t want to read out loud were really excited to participate. I LOVE IT! I am shocked at how well they are scoring on our exit tickets, quizzes, etc. I don't know if it’s the book, I don’t know, but they don’t have the holiday blues and have been scoring really well. They are really working hard.”
Learn all about how Mr. Binz incorporated cultural art into a digital media research project!
A recent interview with Thomas Binz (3-5 Computer Science Teacher) & a 5th grade student:
Tell me more about the research projects students have been working on?
Mr. Binz: “It is a unit based on quality digital presentations and digital research. They started looking at what aspects made digital presentations easy to understand and appealing for people to want to explore more. Then they synthesized what they wanted to include. Everything from fonts and how easy they are to read to the color of the text, etc. We learned that we don’t want to overwhelm our audience with every word that spins on the screen. Then we started talking about when they would need to use digital research and they came up with things like applying to colleges, where they want to go on vacation or a science experiment. The students realized they would be doing this forever. The topics are different for each grade level. This year I wanted to focus on cultural art. 3rd grade is focusing on Buddhist Sand Mandalas, 4th grade is doing Islamic Mosaics and 5th did African Adinkra’s. These are all cultural realia that students are accessing and understanding through digital research. They learned what sources they can trust and identify as factual. Another part of the unit was digital responsibility!”
Why is this important for students to learn?
Mr. Binz: “It's Important because they will need to engage in digital research for the rest of their lives- this will help them to and through college. This is a skill that will help them be competitive in the future. I also think that it’s important to incorporate cultural art into their education."
Has anything surprised you?
Mr. Binz: “How much they love it! Their enthusiasm, joy, eagerness, they have embraced this unit with open arms. Their presentations have blown me away. I couldn’t produce a digital presentation on this level until I was in 10th grade and they are doing it now."
What did you learn about doing research?
Erik Rodriguez: “I learned that we had to be serious about our articles. Some articles are too advanced or go off topic and we learned to choose the best ones for our presentations. We also learned skills that made sure our presentations were easy to understand by viewers. Things like font size and colors matter!
How do you feel about making a digital presentation?
Erik Rodriguez: “I think it's fun work because I have really liked putting it together and I'm even more excited showing people what it will look like when I'm done.”
How do you feel about making the art work related to you research?
Erik Rodriguez:” I’m not super artsy and I’m excited to see how it turns out- It will be cool to look at something I made instead of only seeing these in a book.
How do you know if a source is reliable for research?
Erik Rodriguez: “That it stays on topic, and that it’s not too easy to take things from. We have to shorten what we see online to use for our presentations. Sources that have .com,.org, or edu are reliable sources. Information sources like youtube aren’t reliable!”