LLI 2.0 Has Arrived!
This year, we introduced some important changes to both our Summer Institute and our Academic Year programming to strengthen the support provided to our instructors and to ensure we were adding value to the development of our students during every session.
The first curriculum shift was to a more intense focus on developing leadership skills in our rising juniors and seniors. This was evinced through the implementation of Leadership Jumpstart. Students completed a word study on individual leadership traits each morning during the Leadership Jumpstart session, which also included a class discussion and journaling activity to reflect on how those traits have an impact on both societal leaders and those being led.
Rising Juniors - Resilience Café
Rising Juniors also were introduced to Resilience Café this summer. This 4-week unit included multiple activities to explore what it means to be resilient and how various historical figures have demonstrated resilience throughout history.
It also required students to draft a research paper on a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case exploring: the parties to the case; the issue(s) before the court; the societal reaction at the time of the ruling; as well as the case’s historical impact on the present day.
LLI students did not stop there! The unit also called for students to learn about spoken word poetry and public speaking techniques. Through their research paper and study of spoken word, students then drafted their own spoken word performance pieces written from the perspective of someone connected to their supreme court case whose resilience was tested as a result of the case.
The unit, and summer, then culminated in a celebratory showcase of the students’ work at Resilience Café, a night of original spoken word performances by students for family and friends. Statewide, the unit and final events were very well received and both instructors and students look forward to its new position as a program staple for the rising junior year summer.
Rising Seniors – A Fresh Take on Personal Statements and a Reintroduction to Moot Court
LLI Rising seniors have one thing at the forefront of their minds: college. Accordingly, we made changes to better equip our seniors with the skills necessary to make the best impression in their college applications. In the past, while students worked on multiple drafts of their personal statements, edits were made primarily for grammar and punctuation. Little focus was on the art of story-telling itself. That all changed for our students this summer.
Rising seniors completed three separate pieces of writing throughout the summer program: a personal narrative, a memoir, and a persuasive essay. To do so, they learned and implemented techniques like, “exploding the moment,” “thought-shots,” and “baby-steps.” They learned how to properly introduce dialogue and how to weave action with meaning in their writing. After completing all three pieces, students returned to their personal statements with a fresh look. Students now had the tools to show the reader who they were and why they would be such a great fit at their academic institution through their writing, instead of being limited to merely telling, as before.
Rising seniors were also reintroduced to Moot Court this summer after multiple summers with it absent from the curriculum. Students explored a fictional case about a school’s search of student’s phone meta-data with 2 central points at issue: first, whether the students’ 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure had been violated; and second, whether the search fell within the scope of the limited consent allegedly given. Students worked in teams of 2-4 to complete one written brief per team as well as prepare for each team member to argue at oral arguments. The 12th grade summer then culminated with a city-specific Moot Court showcase where oral arguments were held for family and friends of the LLI seniors.
Academic Year Curriculum – Student Blogging
The Academic Year curriculum was revamped as well! After reviewing outcomes from prior years, LLI limited our academic year sessions to five sessions spaces throughout the academic year instead of the 10 sessions it touted previously.
During each of those five sessions, students continue to delve deep into grade-specific curriculum on topics like time management, organization, college research, and financial aid resources. However, they also devote half of their day to an emerging hot topic in the legal profession through the lens of recent court cases and commentary from news articles, blogs, video clips, and scholarly journals.
Students, irrespective of grade level, select from the three subtopics provided at the beginning of the session based on their individual interests. They then separate by topic and engage in a brief substantive law lesion followed by small group discussion and a thorough reading of closed topical materials provided for them. They then draft their own original blog posts and are entered into a competition for publication on our brand-new student blog, Henceforth: A Collection of Prospective Legal Perspectives!
Click here to view the winning blog posts from our first AY session, Social Media Week, where students explored the limits of freedom of speech in the off-campus, online setting.
Our hope in implementing these thoughtful curriculum changes in 2017 and beyond is that we will keep students captivated by the law and its impact on our world, while also better catering to our students’ academic success and leadership development.