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The Fairy Tale Trials are five fully scripted courtroom dramas, in which each classic character seeks justice in order to live “happily ever after.” An outraged Rumpelstiltskin sues the queen for breach of contract, a rebellious Little Red Driving Hood fights for a license to drive, and a mischievous Jack the Giant Killer blames first degree murder on the magic beans. These and other selected fairy trials ignite the imagination as well as the intellect. Through the lenses of law, literature and theater, students explore the moral dilemmas at the core of traditional tales. An interdisciplinary mix of improvisation, speaking, and writing activities prepares students to take on the varied roles of lawyer, witness, juror and storyteller. 

Ignite a student's imagination as they create theater of the courtroom through storytelling games; expand  their intellect through the lens of literature and the law. 

Each tale has been crafted into a scripted courtroom drama where the student jury must decide who will live "happily ever after". 

The students are jurors and they must decide who gets the baby. Debate fill the courtroom/classroom as they confront a timeless issue. There are no easy answers to this conflict. Student will find themselves discussing the issues for hours, days, sometimes weeks, just as citizens do.

Throughout the jury deliberation, we are looking to ensure a safe environment for thinking out loud for inquiring collaboratively. Students are both advocating for what they believe and listening to that they can come to an agreement. The climate must support intellectual risk-taking as well as a commitment to sound evidence and reasoning. In other words, opinions must me rooted in the text. The beauty of jury deliberation is that the students themselves demand clear reasoning and a rigorous use of evidence from one another in order to build authentic consensus. They take responsibility because an important decision must be made.

Prompts for discussion, debate and deliberation

How important is it to keep a promise?

What are Rumple's deepest motives?

Is he a capable parent?

What about the baby?

How important is the biological tie to the child?

What is best for the baby? 

Can we learn anything by looking at contemporary cases?

Prompts for discussion, debate, and jury deliberation
Does the father show true contrition?
How does this process serve the family?
Do the children know what's best for them?
Why are their separate courts?
Why is there no jury?
What distinguishes juvenile court from adult court?

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Prompts for discussion, debate, and jury deliberation
Is it ever possible to speak for another person?
How do we form an opinion for someone else?
Why didn't her parents talk to her about this earlier?
Would a living will have helped?
Who is most equipped to decide?
Who understands Sleepy B. better?

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.Special note:  Little Red is the only tale in this series that brings three generations within a family into the main conflict of the story. Each highly-defined character bears some responsibility for what happened. This discussion of how much and why becomes even more interesting when you include all three generations at the discussion table. This can be encouraged through homework, special events, or even inviting special guests to the classroom for the day. The discussions about parenting and peer pressure are especially rich for inter-generational dialogue and debate.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.Special note: This case is a custody hearing in juvenile court. In a custody case, there is the unique aspect of having three sides presented. The states attorney, who accuses the father of neglect, that he is incompetent and not responsible enough to care for his children; a public defender appointed by the court to represent the father; and the special role of the Guardian ad Litem, who is assigned by the court to represent the children's best interests. 

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.Special note: Although it was intended for children, the Case of Sleeping Beauty with all of its complex themes, has many opportunities for extension. This can include both medical and legal professionals. The involvement of outside experts are prominent in all the Fairy Tale Trials, and it is even more fulfilling for the students. 

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