Today, in class we focused our efforts on trying to figure out how Johnny Q Public was wronged in the paper from the Bill of Rights Institutue.
As we read the story out loud in class, students immediately began to pay attention. I have, for years, always enjoyed discussing the Bill of Rights with kids in the 12-15 years age range. They have a huge sense of justice and what is “Fair.”
The assignment called for all students to highlight each time Johnny had his rights violated. I also added the requirement for them to write which amendment should have prevented this problem in the margin. Discussion with partners seemed to be very focused, but a few of the issues went deeper into some amendments than what they knew immediately. This involved research… and I love that!
Getting kids interested in a topic is often a challenge. This assignment didn’t require that. That started out interested. Beyond that they were having a legitimate discussion with their neighbors about how this guy was mistreated. And lastly, they were collaborating on research and truly digging into the meaning of some of the amendments in the Bill of Rights.
I couldn’t really ask for more.
Lastly, I also baited them on the idea of Double Jeopardy by using the plot from the movie of the same name starring Ashley Judd. I laid that story out for them and you could hear a pin drop. Of course I didn’t give them the ending and they were about to scream at me for leaving them in suspense. I wrapped it up by saying, “I think this was some movie I saw a long time ago, I can’t remember what it was called, though.”