The eighth grade students in Camille Pedersen’s personalized learning class at Westhampton Beach Middle School recently participated in a mock trial session with their principal, Charisse Miller, serving as the judge.
The students were given binders that contained statements, evidence photos, medical reports and transcripts of interviews that they reviewed in advance of the trial. They also studied courtroom procedure, public speaking, persuasive language and basic rules of law. In addition, they heard from school psychologist Allaine King, who spoke about the psychology of body language and how to be a good witness. Also presenting to the class prior to the trial was Danielle Reinbachs, a practicing defense attorney. She held a presentation via Google Meet on courtroom procedure, different types of objections and various questioning techniques.
“After two months of planning, the student ‘lawyers’ were able to clearly present their cases and the student ‘witnesses’ really embodied their characters,” said Pedersen. “I am so proud of them.”
The idea for a mock trial was generated by the students as part of the new personalized learning class, which is offered to students in grades 6-8 in lieu of a study hall or band/orchestra enrollment. Through the project-based class, students research a topic of their choice and design an action project surrounding it.
Date Added: 4/18/2022