Heartwood’s Self-Directed Legal Team!

Heartwood has a self-directed Legal Team! This team of students chooses to meet and study mock trial and debate skills.

But Tama, I thought you said everyone was just playing and doing their own style of learning. Yes, they were, but they also can request to create specific learning groups or join an “offering,” which can be made by anyone.

Offerings are those interests an adult or student can create a class around. During my visit I was able to see Heartwood’s Legal Team in action.


Created as an offering by Co-Director Anthony, Legal Team is an activity students choose to be in.  We met in a small room beyond the focus door and the kids discussed the process of mock trials and read through a scenario about a young boy accused of breaking windows out of old Mr. Willie’s house.

The kids took turns reading and discussing the case, using worksheets from previous legal team meetings where they have been working on the process of a trial. They all received copies of the accusations and witnesses.


With the sounds of playing filtering in through the closed window, these students were focused and ready to learn. They came up with creative ideas and reasons of guilt or innocence using information pertaining to the case. While they analyzed what the witnesses said and did, one boy literally jumped about a bit, but the movement didn’t phase anyone or stop the process of learning. The jumping boy participated in the discussion while jumping!

Anthony discussed legal team with me as an offering he thought the students would enjoy and like any teacher these days, he pulled information from online to assist him in working through the mock trial process.

I don’t know how long the class lasted. I think when the students and teacher are engaged with each other, the concept of time can be lost. The duration of the class is listed on the daily schedule, but I didn’t see anyone checking the time during the class to see when it would be over. Something tells me that if it runs long or short  because of the needs of the students, that’s OK too.





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