I’m wrapping up one of my favorite mini units on the play “Twelve Angry Men” this week and thought I’d share my lessons and activities with you in case anyone is looking for something quick to get them from one snow day to the next (lucky!) and introduce some important concepts in a fun/interactive way. I’ve included my complete lesson plan and all handouts for you for FREE. (Daily plans are based on a 90 minute block.) Enjoy!
Distribute 12 Angry Men Anticipation Guide. Give students time to answer the questions and record their thoughts in the “Before Reading” column. Full class discussion – have students move to different sides of the room if they agree or disagree with each statement; call on individuals to defend their position to the class. (Alternate idea: Draw a line with tape on the floor with one side being “Agree” and one side being “Disagree.” Have students stand in the appropriate spot on the scale depending on how strongly they feel about an issue.)
Bring class back together for a brief overview of the US Judicial system. Have them define the terms “reasonable doubt,” “unanimous verdict,” and “burden of guilt” in their journals.
Distribute 12 Angry Men Packet for students to use throughout the unit.
Homework: Students should access the article “10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know” on Blackboard & use it to answer the “Pre Reading” questions in their packet. *The article was originally published in September 2007 as a two-part article in The New York Times Upfront Magazine.
Discuss students’ reading from the night before (“10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know”) and review judicial system terminology etc. from last class.
Distribute scripts and read character descriptions together. (Note: I have a class copy of scripts that I’ve used for years, but you can find several free versions online as well.) Handout “Jury Duty Notices” to 12 jurors and assign readers for stage directions, judge, and guard. Have students create a chart on the back of their packets to keep track of who is reading what part and a brief description of each character.
Set up classroom to look like a deliberation room with one long table (desks pushed together) for 12 jurors. Read the opening stage directions and discuss their importance.
Read “Twelve Angry Men” Act 1 aloud stopping to discuss as needed. Students not on the jury should follow along on the script and answer study guide questions in their packets as we read.
Homework: Finish Act 1 Study Guide Questions and be prepared to discuss next class.
Journal Prompt – Imagine that you are a news reporter. Using the information gathered about the trial in Act 1 of “Twelve Angry Men,” write an article describing the events of the trial — What happened? Who was involved? Who testified? What evidence was laid out? Remember that this should be written in NEWS format and only the facts should be presented.
Share journal entries and review Act 1 Study Guide questions.
Jurors take their seats at the “deliberation table” to continue reading Act 2 & 3 aloud stopping to discuss as needed. Students not on the jury should follow along on the script and answer study guide questions in their packets as we read. Finish the play.
Homework: Finish Act 2 & 3 Study Questions and be prepared to discuss next class.
Journal Prompt – Now that we are finished reading, imagine that you are the Foreman and you must write up a report for the judge delivering and explaining your verdict. Outline the evidence that gave the jury “reasonable doubt.” Explain the process the jury took in order to reach a unanimous verdict.
Share journal entries and review Act 2 & 3.
Revisit the “Anticipation Guide” and have students fill in the “After Reading” column on the chart. Discuss how the students’ opinions have changed (or been reinforced) by the play.
Homework: Finish packet and study for quiz next class!
Students attach “Anticipation Guide” to “12 Angry Men Packet” and turn in (50 pts.)
Quiz on “Twelve Angry Men” (60 pts.) *Please email me for copies of the quiz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Distribute MOCK DEBATE activity. Discuss assignment and allow groups to meet for preliminary planning.
Homework: Finish individual contribution to mock debate activity (source + notes) for next class.
Groups meet to share research and prepare for mock debate (approximately 45 minutes).
MOCK DEBATE (30 minutes)
And that’s it! There is really nothing special about any of this, but my students always get really into it and enjoy it. I use it as an opportunity to review research skills (in the mock debate) and introduce persuasion which will be our next major writing unit. It also nicely sets us up to discuss some of the themes of justice etc. in our next novel which will be Of Mice and Men and reviews some of the dramatic elements we will cover in Romeo and Juliet later in the year.
Happy (Teaching) Tuesday!