Guilty or Innocent

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Guilty or Innocent

Created by

Sanaa Abu Saleh



The pupils express their opinion by taking a standpoint for a case, ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Each pupil is asked to explore his/her thoughts in front of the others. The teacher puts/throws around phrases for the pupils to use in their discussion. A role-play between two pupils while other pupils are allowed to jump in and replace one of the speakers in order to strengthen a point of view. The pupils are asked to draw together on the same sheet the vocabulary learned in a neat and decorated way.


Learning Objectives

  • They will learn the Ladder of Inferences, so they will be able to share and inquire each other's data, interpretations and conclusions.
  • They will be able to advocate their opinions while acknowledging the others'.
  • The pupils are aware of the terminology used in the court.
  • The pupils are aware of the responsibility of raising animals.
  • The pupils will make decisions of their own.
  • The pupils will know when to maximize or minimize the incident.


Lead-in / Preparation

  • The pupils start studying about the animals in general and pet animals in specific. The pupils will elaborate over the issue if they like pets; what pets would they have and why. They are asked to read about animals in encyclopedias either searching in books or googling.
  • In this site you'll read about animals, which ones would you like to know about? Why?,6EL7T,9YUZPU,PD6EV,1

  • The pupils come to the issue of do's and don'ts for pets. The pupils grant or withdraw legitimacy for having a pet.
  • Then, the pupils study the case of the two dogs that attacked a neighbor and killed her. The dogs' owner was found guilty in the court. He was responsible for this kill. He was sentenced for 15 years in prison. The whole story is attached.


Estimated Class-Time Required

This compound activity could be run in 60 to review and cover all of the issues raised during learning/teaching this case.

But teaching the whole unit as a theme, needs up to 8 lessons.


Description of Activities

  1. The class is divided into four corners; each corner is labelled as followed:
Strongly agreeAgree Disagree Strongly disagree


  1. The pupils are asked to take a stand for the case that they had finished studying in class.
  2. The teacher asks the pupils to share the others with their answers and justify them.
  3. The main question here, "why do you have this standpoint?"
  4. The teacher encourages the students to argue with each other each one with his standpoint.
  5. There are charts for phrases to use all around them;
I agree because….My fear is…What matters to me…The law says that…Do we have an agreement over…
I value your opinion, but…I care about…Can you help me understand…One option would be…I can't agree with you…
The fact that...In similar cases…


Why should we…I think it is fair that…I believe…


  1. The pupils advocate their standpoints while they acknowledge the others'.
  2. The teacher choses two pupils from Strongly Agree and Strongly Disagree Corners, she asks them to be the judges while discussing before giving the sentence in the court. (here starts the Fish Bowl activity)
  3. The teacher asks other pupils to interfere and jump in whenever they need to clarify or justify an attitude.
  4. As a wrap up activity, the teacher asks each group to write her own Vocabulary Collage about the case they had studied for the last previous lessons.
  5. All of the posters are hanged around.


Key Vocabulary / Phrases

At the Court Dogs breedingOther…








sentence, verdict

found guilty

guilty of murder


law (lawyer)

prison (imprisoned)


belong to



bred to kill

bred to guard



species of dogs




look before you leap.

fair vs. unfair

guilty vs. innocent

enemy vs. friend

enemy vs. neighbor

pet vs. vicious

kill vs murder






The pupils' participation in the activities and implementing the language they heard, listening to others and arguing with them makes achievement.

The teacher can give a handout asking the pupils to fill in during the sessions. The pupils can check for each other, if the data is right or wrong.

(An example is given at the end of this document.)




Pupils speak about their previous experiences with animals, either their pets or others, or even speak about animals that they saw in the zoo. They speak how they loved or hated the experience. They share their feelings. Meanwhile, they use the vocabulary items suggested in the class by the book, teacher or other pupils.

So, at the end of the unit, the teacher asks the pupils to write about their experience with an animal; good or bad. They might draw a picture about that animal, too.



In good classes, pupils can act the court scene itself; the judges, the lawyers, the advocacy, and Marjorie Knoller.

They can improvise the scenario for the event, each one maximizes his feelings while minimizing the others attitude.

The pupils are invited to visit the following site that speaks about the accident with photos, caption and more elaboration. So, they can understand the case from different aspects.


Assessment Example

Complete the following sentences (according to the story).                                  

§  Two big dogs attacked _________________________________________________________

§  Ms. Knoller's dogs were ________________________________________________________

§  The sentence was fair __________________________________________________________

§  The sentence was unfair ________________________________________________________

§  Mr. Knoller felt ________________ when her dogs __________________________________

§  Ms. Knoller hurt herself when ____________________________________________________

§  The judge thinks that ___________________________________________________________

§  The neighbors say that _________________________________________________________

§  The Knollers family knows that ___________________________________________________

§  If I were the judge, I will ________________________________________________________





Attached Files

Guilty or Innocent.pdfDownload