Resources to Use with Students

Resource Highlights

The below resources include a mix of materials developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, local courts, the California Bar Association, and other non-profit civic education organizations. The resources may be useful in conducting court/community dialogue and educating students about the role of an independent judiciary in our democracy.

    Judge Joan Weber of the Superior Court of San Diego County has generously shared the mock trials she developed and conducted with students. She has also offered to provide production advice to others who are interested in conducting mock trials.
    (All files below are in Adobe PDF format)

    Elementary School Mock Trial A

    Elementary School Mock Trial B

    Elementary School Mock Trial C

    Salem Witch Trial Script 1

    Salem Witch Trial Script 2

    Murder Mock Trial

    Judge Richard Cline, of the Superior Court of San Diego, has also developed a mock trial and a comprehensive package of educational materials to use with upper elementary school age students.

    On My Honor Mock Trial

    What's Happening in Court?
    This is interactive book, available on-line and in print, has fun activities and useful information to help elementary students who may be in court for any reason, whether they are visitors or witnesses or are involved in a case. Produced by the AOC's Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC), the book has been widely distributed to schools and courts in California and is available both online and in print in English and Spanish. What's Happening in Court? has also been reproduced by other state court systems.

    Courts in the Classroom
    This on-line resource uses stories in an interactive graphic-novel format to engage students in grades 8-12 in learning about the judicial branch. The website includes colorfully illustrated stories of landmark cases, as well as modules on due process, checks and balances, and the role of the court in civil and criminal law. Modules of the website work well as part of a presentation to students.

    Courtroom to Classroom
    This popular program is used by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County and is available to all California courts. It provides resources and support for judge and attorney teams to visit classrooms, two times during the school year, to engage students in lessons and moot court activities. The materials are designed for 8th grade U.S. History, 11th grade U.S. History, and 12th grade Government courses. Register on this website to receive the PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans.

    DUI trials in the Schools
    Courts conduct real DUI trials or sentencing in schools, where teachers combine the experience with classroom instruction to help students better understand the consequences of driving under the influence and how the justice system works. The AOC has developed a model curriculum to be used before the pretrial/sentencing, as well as after post-trial/sentencing to enhance student learning.

    Contact: Michael Roosevelt, 415-865-7820, michael.roosevelt@jud.ca.gov

    iCivics
    Developed by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, this website for middle school students features interactive, animated games through which students learn about the judicial, executive and legislative branches. The games are fun and educational, and can be linked to your court's website.

    Importance of an Impartial Judiciary (PowerPoint)
    This PowerPoint was originally designed for young adults by the Sacramento Superior Court; however, this version has been received so enthusiastically by adult audiences that the court now presents this version to everyone. This is an interactive presentation that uses sports as an analogy to describe the role of the courts, and provides historical context and information about the role of the judiciary and impartiality. The notes section on each slide provides a complete guide to making the presentation.

    Kids and the Law: An A-toZ Guide for Parents
    Kids and the Law is a close-up look at laws that define children's rights and responsibilities. Topics covered include alcohol, cars and traffic laws, civil laws and lawsuits, criminal law, curfew laws, drugs, emancipation, fighting and violence, gangs, graffiti, guns and other weapons, juvenile court, parents' rights and responsibilities, dealing with the police, privacy, school rules, sex, smoking, stealing, truancy, and vandalism. This is a helpful resource for parents, teachers, counselors, youth program coordinators, and others who supervise, care for, and teach California's children.

    Legal Jeopardy (PowerPoint)
    Play Jeopardy with students who come to visit your court using this ready to use PowerPoint game. The game was developed by Judge Beverly O'Connell, Superior Court of Los Angeles, as part of a PowerLunch program in which students visit the courthouse and "have lunch" with a judge. Judge O'Connell has also generously provided PowerLunch discussion topics and a sample agenda.

    Operation Protect and Defend
    The Sacramento Law Foundation has sponsored this effective program since 2001, which brings judges and attorneys into high schools throughout Sacramento to provide engaging dialogue about constitutional issues.  They have generously shared their 2010 Dialogue on America Free Speech curriculum, which includes selected readings and court opinions focused on the First Amendment, and the training guide for the judges and lawyers who volunteer with the program.

    When you are 18 Pamphlet
    Also published by the State Bar of California, When You Become 18 is in the same easy to read and colorful format, but addresses a number of issues important to young adults, including information about laws related to: alcohol, banking, contracts, credit, employment, hate crimes, jury duty, military service, and voting.

Justice Case Files: A Graphic Novel Series
These graphic novels were developed by the National Center for State Courts to help educate the public about how the courts work and to remind them of the critical role courts play in a democratic society. The three colorful, low-cost pamphlets are The Case of Internet Piracy, The Case of Identity Theft, and The Case of Jury Duty.


Judicial Outreach on a Shoestring: A Working Manual
This one-of-a-kind publication, written by Judge Fruin of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, highlights several low or no-cost judicial outreach programs from around the nation. It contains detailed descriptions of 17 judicial outreach projects from around the country, the program's actual working materials, publicity and associated materials and information about other related efforts.

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