In this second lesson, students will discuss some of the vocabulary of the court as
it relates to the case in which they will be involved. A PowerPoint helps to reinforce
this vocabulary. They will also see a diagram for the courtroom, so that they may
establish their own “blocking” for their depiction of the mock trial. They share their
character analysis handout (homework) with one another, and discuss the way in which
they plan to portray their character before performing the mock trial in their groups.
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Materials & Resources Needed
Grade 5 Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards
- Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups,
and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly
draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas
- Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
- Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion
and elaborate on the remarks of others.
- Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge
gained from the discussions on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas
logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support
main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
Theatre — Creative Expression
DEVELOPMENT OF THEATRICAL SKILLS
- 2.2 Demonstrate the use of blocking (stage areas, levels, and actor’s position, such as
full front, quarter, profile, and full back) in dramatizations.
CREATION / INVENTION IN THEATRE
- 2.3 Collaborate as an actor, director, scriptwriter, or technical artist in creating formal
or informal theatrical performances.
Essential Question / Issue
Should one’s “character” influence judicial decisions? Why or why not?
- Students will effectively analyze and portray characters in a courtroom/classroom
drama by writing, speaking and enacting a mock trial.
- Students will collaboratively discuss roles, consequences and ideas, and draw conclusions
about the drama, giving their opinion on the same. (Evaluation)
Teacher observation based on the following rubric:
| Rubric Categories
|Speaking and Listening
- Collaborative discussions with clear expressions of ideas
- Builds on other’s ideas, responds to others’ questions
- Prepared, follows roles assigned
- Reviews key ideas from discussion and draw conclusions, shares at a reasonable pace
using logical reasoning.
- Active participation in improvisation
- Explores emotions, physical characteristics, developing character
- Effective use of blocking for the “set” of the courtroom
Learning Activities (60–65 minutes)
Hook: “Close your eyes and imagine yourself involved in a courtroom drama. In the role that
you play, you must “become” that character, emotionally and physically. Please listen
WHOLE GROUP (15 MINUTES)
Show the courtroom diagram (on PowerPoint), using vocabulary, for example: the plaintiff and prosecuting attorney are sitting
closest to the jury (PowerPoint notes for teacher before showing may be helpful),
and talk about “blocking”. Blocking is the position actors take on stage; in this
case the positions will simulate a courtroom trial. What will the “blocking” look
like (description in theatre standard 2.2): full front, quarter, profile, and full
back). For example, the defense and prosecuting attorneys ask questions of the witnesses
by looking at them, with a quarter toward the jury (which isn’t there, but imaginary!).
Ask students to identify where each member of the trial would be seated. Be sure to
use the proper vocabulary (only some is introduced here) as you talk about the diagram
and “blocking” for the courtroom.
Continue with the PowerPoint. Lesson 2 discussing some of the vocabulary with a Quiz
Show giving definitions for some of the vocabulary for the unit.
See vocabulary handout (PDF) for all vocabulary (note: only some are on the Quiz Show).
SMALL GROUPS (10 MINUTES)
In the groups, facilitated by “David” as director (he has the fewest lines in the
mock trial) have each group share their homework: the completed Character Analysis forms (PDF), and discuss their plans for the portrayal of each character Discuss rationale and
BLOCKING AND GROUP SIMULATION (30 MINUTES)
The director leads his team as they set up the blocking and courtroom scene in their
area of the classroom. (Put the PowerPoint diagram of the courtroom up on the screen).
The producer (Bailiff) can check with the group to see that the Judge, Plaintiff,
Plaintiff/Prosecuting Attorney, Defendant, Defense Attorney, and Witnesses all have
their correct “name-signs” visible. (This is to reinforce the correct vocabulary).
Each group of eight performs the mock trial in different areas of the room
CLOSURE: 10 MINUTES
Student oral reflection and drawing conclusions: Pair/Share: If I were to perform
this role again, I would be sure to change [blank]. I found [blank] to be effective
in the way we developed the characters in the mock trial as a team.
Have some share their conclusions regarding their performance of the trial with the
whole group. Tell them not to forget the details of this trial, as the jury needs
to meet very soon! (You may want to have students “perform” the trial a few times
in ELA block, maybe portraying different characters)
Special Needs of Students Are Considered in This Lesson
Differentiation can be addressed in the assignment of the roles. Large and small group
instruction and careful grouping assignments will be useful for ELL and also GATE
Have students make a video of the mock trials, and each group further evaluate their
portrayal of the roles.
- Common Core State Standards
- California VAPA/theatre standards