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Resources for Teaching this Activity

Differentiate and Adapt this Activity

Provide arguments: To reduce the amount of time spent on this activity or to help with students who might find generating the arguments too challenging, copy the arguments from the case summary and paste them after the precedents.

Complete Classifying Arguments Activity: Instead of having students formulate their own arguments or giving them the bulleted arguments in the case summary, follow instructions for the Classifying Arguments activity.

Sentence Frames: Provide sentence frames to individual students as needed.

Legal Resource People: Invite legal resource people (e.g., attorneys, law students, judges, professors, paralegals, etc.) to help students with this activity. Use this Working with Community Resource People guide, which suggests best practices for using resource people in your classroom.

Scaffold this Activity

Vocabulary Preparation: Teach challenging vocabulary used in this activity prior to the lesson. Consider using a graphic organizer such as the Frayer Model.

Teach/Review the Precedents: Prior to this lesson, teach or review the precedents in depth, check for understanding, answer questions, and clear up misconceptions.

Model Opinion: Provide students with a model opinion from a different case and discuss the structure of the writing. As a class, compile a list of criteria the students should follow when writing their own opinion.

Technology Suggestions

Padlet: After completing the Judicial Opinion Writing activity, use Padlet to collect students’ predictions on the decision in the case. Prior to the lesson, the instructor should do the following:

  1. Create an account in Padlet.
  2. Choose “Make a Padlet.” From the options select “Wall.”
  3. In the lower right-hand corner, click the Plus sign.
  4. In the section for title, write the following question: How do you think the Supreme Court Ruled in this case? What rationale will the Court provide for its decision?
  5. In the upper right-hand corner, go to settings and make adjustments to the background, font and other features, including content filtering (which is recommended). Save your changes.
  6. In the upper right-hand corner, choose share. Select a method to share, perhaps via Google Classroom, via email, or via embedded URL. Follow procedures for sharing.

    Socrative: After completing the Judicial Opinion Writing activity, use Socrative tocollect students’ predictions on the decision in the case. Prior to the lesson, the instructor should do the following:

    1. Set up an account on Socrative.
    2. Under “Quick Question,” choose “Short Answer.” In the space for “Optional Question” write this: How do you think the Supreme Court will rule in this case?
    3. What rationale will the Court provide for its decision?
    4. Choose the desired settings (including “allow unlimited answers” and “require student names.” Note that if you require student names, you will still be able to share responses with the class without including student names.)
    5. After students have read the case summary, login to Socrative and share your room name with students. Ask them to login and enter your room name.
    6. As the responses are entered, “hide” the responses until everyone is finished. Quickly scan the responses, identify four or five of the best among them and post them, one at a time. After each one, ask students to evaluate. Discuss as a group.

    Record Arguments: Allow students to record their decisions and opinions using an app like Flipgrid outside of class and post for other students to watch. Students can concur or dissent in the comments.

    Online Teaching/At-Home Learning: For suggestions for using this strategy in online/at-home teaching, see Street Law’s Materials for At-Home Learning webpage.

    Extend this Activity

    Compare Opinions: Provide students with excerpts of the Supreme Court’s opinion and have them compare their opinion with the majority opinion and the dissenting opinion. Instruct them to consider their own opinions and the opinions of the Court and answer the following questions:

    • What’s similar?
    • What’s different?
    • Is your opinion closer to the majority opinion or the dissenting opinion?
    • After reading the majority opinion, do you still prefer your own opinion? Why or why not?

    Answer Key