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.”