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Spicing Up Note Taking….With Google Drive! December 3, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Educational Resources, US Government.
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Yes, a computer can be used as a replacement of paper and pencil for taking notes, but I would love to see a regular piece of paper do what we did in class for the past couple of days (and as quickly)!

Yesterday my Constitutional and Criminal Law class started to delve into the 5th Amendment. As we “unpacked” the amendment (thank you for the help, Teaching Civics/Civically Speaking and the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education – both have great civics resources), my students took notes on a Google doc. After we discussed “indictment,” they learned about the news search feature on Google and they found two news articles involving indictments, added the links into their notes, wrote a brief summary of each story and then shared their findings with a neighbor. We repeated the process with the term grand jury.

Today I wanted the students to further explore details about a grand jury. Using some of the content from long ago and a source that I can no longer find online, I created this Google Doc with fact sorting and photo identification activities for my students to complete. They added the content from this activity to their notes page from yesterday’s class. The categorizing of bullet points was impressively effective at generating thought and discussion (I will certainly use that strategy again in the future), and the photo exercise went so well I am trying to find other places the concept could be used.

A great day in the classroom. Cheers!

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On the Impending Debt Ceiling Problem October 10, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in US Government.
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The government shut down is news everywhere and the debt ceiling is looming.

This is a great graphic  from NPR that depicts the entities to which the US Government owes money, approximately $16.8 trillion. This image could easily be used in any Social Studies course, and is interesting for general reference.

Trial Scripts and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals September 26, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in US Government.
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Love it! My Constitutional and Criminal Law students are learning about the differences between state and federal cases and I was looking for a scripted federal trial they could do (they prepare one later in the semester, I just wanted a quick one-day activity. After finding a bunch of random mock trial cases (like this one), I finally found what I was looking for! A scripted trial set in federal district court. We used the materials provided by the United States District Court and had  great class. Today we compared what we heard yesterday in our scripted trial to what we heard in an audio recording of a case heard in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Who knew the Eighth Circuit had a channel in iTunes? Nice!

Gideon v Wainwright Turned 50! March 25, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in History, US Government, US History, Video.
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ImageStudents remember the case well. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor referenced it in the previous Supreme Court welcome video (Part 1 and Part 2) when she talked about a “prisoner writing his petition in his own hand.”  Gideon v Wainwright turned 50 on March 18. How fun to see a piece from CBS Sunday Morning and NPR on the case as well as where the issue of representation for the poor is today. There is also a new podcast from the US Courts and this great interactive site from the Missouri Bar. I wish I were teaching government this semester!