Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a middle school student.
LINK: Landmark Supreme Court Cases Home
LINK: About the Class
Watching the video
LINK: Connecting to Your Teaching
LINK: Standards
LINK: Resources

Watching the Video

Image of a notebook with the following text displayed: Reflect: As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them in a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • How do you engage students in complex issues?
  • How do you introduce students to the Constitution as a document that is both durable and adaptable?
  • How can role-playing and simulations be used to help students understand the Constitution?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Landmark Supreme Court Cases," take notes on Ms. Ewbank's instructional strategies, particularly how she prepares, implements, and debriefs the role-playing and simulations. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson


Reflecting on the Video
Review your notes, then respond to the following questions:

  • What struck you about the classroom climate, background, preparation, strategies, and materials used in this lesson?
  • What kind of preparation do you think Ms. Ewbank's students needed prior to assuming their roles?
  • What were the major parts of the lesson, and what was the purpose or goal of each part?
  • Describe how Ms. Ewbank extended student knowledge during the role-playing and simulations.
  • How is this class different from yours? How might you teach your own students about challenges to the Constitution?

Looking Closer
Let's take a second look at Ms. Ewbank's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Ms. Ewbanks addressing her students.
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Simulating a Press Conference: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your video screen. You'll find this segment approximately 3 minutes into the video. Watch for about 3 minutes.

Students have prepared to assume roles in a simulated press conference about landmark Supreme Court cases. The segment begins with the press conference involving the case of Dennis v. the United States.

  • What does Ms. Ewbank do to introduce the simulation and activate student interest?
  • What evidence do you see that students are engaged and are assuming their roles?
  • What do you notice about how Ms. Ewbank uses questions, supplementary information, and summary statements during the simulation?
Ms. Ewbanks talking to two of her students.
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Simulating a Town Meeting: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your TV screen. You'll find this segment approximately 13 minutes into the video. Watch for about 10 minutes.

Before the town meeting, Ms. Ewbank asks students to indicate their personal opinion about flag burning by standing along a continuum.

  • Why do you think Ms. Ewbank begins by asking students to share their opinions?
  • What is the importance of using the continuum strategy at the beginning and end of the lesson?
  • What does Ms. Ewbank do to ensure that students will begin to think of this issue from several perspectives?
  • What clues do students offer that they are prepared, engaged, and learning?

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