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Government vs. Puppets

I had the rare treat to sit in on an AP Government class today at Reagan H.S. (Christi Robinson, ITS for Reagan HS and Bush MS invited me to visit) and observe their court case project share-out. Thanks to Puppet Pals Director’s Pass donation, students were able to use the teacher’s iPad to create their own court case puppet show. Ms. Newton, the AP Government teacher, also allowed them to explore other submission venues (e.g. Sock Puppets app, Myths & Legends Story Creator, and video-taping their own sock puppet productions old-school style.)

When the class of 38 students was polled, we found that 37 of the 38 students had a personal iPod/iPhone/iPad mobile device. As I have seen many puppet products in elementary and middle school, it was a great experience for me to see how the same apps could be used in a high school setting. Worried that some of the students would find it childish or infantile, I was thoroughly thrilled to find out that not only did they love the apps… many of them downloaded the apps to their own devices and worked at home to complete the project.

“Students will understand the structure, functions, and powers of Congress, the legislative process, and its relationship the branch of government.”

Court Cases

The Task was to research a court case (they randomly drew one), storyboard their accounts (used the template in Pages), and create a video product that highlighted all of the specifics below:

  1. Name of Case  (and brief summary)
  2. Date
  3. Court Decision
  4. Constitutionality
  5. Impact

 

Since knowing and understand court cases is such an integral part of STAAR and AP exams, creating these shows is a useful and vital tool for students to learn the case as well as review the case before the test (as the majority of the videos were posted to Youtube by students for easy access). Another way to collect these resources for later review would be to use Videodropper and download the student videos to a class Dropbox that could be shared with all of the students and accessed from student devices.

 

In class, we came across the free Court Case app that provides a list of famous court cases and includes the opinion of the court, case citation, dissent, and syllabus. Wish we had found this app prior to the project. Alas, it will still be a good review before students take the exam.
Without further ado… will everyone rise? The honorable Judge Techchef4u will be highlighting these student-created court cases:
 

Miranda vs. Arizona (created with Sock Puppets)

Greg. vs. Georgia (created with Sock Puppets)


Board vs. Education (created with Puppet Pals)

Gibbons vs. Ogden (created with Sock Puppets)

Roe vs. Wade (created with Puppet Pals)

Suggestions & Strategies: As Christi and I sat in on the projects, we made a few notes on suggestions and strategies to use next semester when this project will be presented again:
  1. utilize the court cases app for research prior to storyboarding
  2. utilize T-Chart app to document and weight pros/cons (in this case arguments for the plaintiff and arguments for the defendant)
  3. set a time limit for the video
  4. consider using Videolicious for other video projects
  5. consider using characters to resemble the traits of real individuals in the case (as seen in Miranda vs. Arizona)
  6. use music to create mood and tone (as some students did)
  7. alter the pitch in some apps for students who have high-picthed
  8. create a common tag(s) in YouTube so that they can search later to review
  9. create a shared Dropbox to house the YouTube videos utilizing Videodropper (make sure you select optimize for iPhone/iPod)
  10. set up videos in stations (rather than present to the class as a whole), and have each student complete two circles of reflections for each case  they viewed. (e.g. how did the verdict of this court case directly affect….)

Original Source: Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher

 

Many thanks to Christi Robinson, Ms. Newton, and the students of AP Government at Reagan HS for sharing their projects and their class time with me. It is such a joy to see how technology can be seamlessly integrated to foster learning and support the curriculum.

Want More?. Check out other projects and lesson resources highlighting Sock Puppets & Puppet Pals app(s) as well as a follow-up post to this one which includes more student projects.

 

 

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