Friday, August 3, 2007

WtP: Pro Se Court

Angela led us in a demonstration lesson of Pro Se Court, a method that uses the jigsaw method to have students argue in court.

She chose a court case, Hazelwood School District vs. Kuhlmeier. We reviewed the article by reading a brief description of the case and the appellate process. She then separated us into three groups, one representing Hazelwood (the petitioners), one group representing the respondents (Kuhlmeier), and the third group being justices. We met in our groups and discussed how to best argue our side of the case. We then returned to the classroom and separated into groups of three people (with one individual representing the petitioners, respondents, and justices).

The petitioners began by arguing their cases and had 90 seconds to present their side. The justice then asked two questions of the petitioners. This was repeated with the respondents and then each group (beginning with the petitioners) was provided 20 seconds for a rebuttal.

The justice then had 1-2 minutes to write her response. All justices moved to the front of the room and each, in turn, read his/her decision.

I was a respondent. In our mock court, Hazelwood School District won with a 4-2 decision. In the real case, Hazelwood also won with a decision of 5-3.

Oyez is a website allowing users to access all Supreme Court decisions. It is easy to access and provides short amount of information on cases. This is a wonderful resource for gaining information for this activity.

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