Here's a place to discuss the simulated congressional hearings used in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. Do you have questions about the hearing? What are your ideas and strategies for conducting the hearing?
When grouping students to work on the hearing either for competition or for a classroom assessment, here are a few things to consider:
1. Keep groups manageable - With large classes 30+ I group them into 6 groups of 5 or 6 students . If I can, I further pair them up with in their unit group. That way a pair of students can do the research together and write the speech together.
2. Group students by mixed ability - I like to spread my ESL and Special Education students out. I also pair them up with a mid-level/caring students that love to work with others.
3. Be aware of personalities - Get to know your students before you group them. It is a great idea to identify the students that have issues working with others.
4. Assign roles for the groups - Leader, recorder, time keeper, connector etc. This might be a good idea for working on discussion of the topic before they start their research.
If you are an experienced We the People teacher/Coach, what tips of the trade would you share with a new teacher to the program?
1. Note cards are better than big bulky folders and paper. An idea is to have students type out their prepared speech and tape or glue it to note cards.
2. Shake hands - have your students shake the judges hands before and after their hearing.
3. Other students in the room - when you have your other students/units in the room, make sure they are not on their phones, talking, but listening and supporting their team.
4. Dress appropriately - have your students dress up. Suits and ties are not necessary, but Sunday best is a plus,
5. Introductions - Have your students prepare their personal introductions. Judges will often ask them their name, grade, school and future plans,
The National Constitution Center has a tremendous source for We the People students preparing for hearings, their Interactive Constitution.
Check it out for articles by some of today's constitutional scholars,
representing bother the Federalist Society and The American Constitution
Society, explaining the interpretations upon which both scholars agree
and where their opinions diverge. Balanced and well written for students