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Writing: Crime and Punishment

Joan M. Díez Clivillé
This is quite an open project. The activities vary a lot. The main aim is to make the stds. aware that laws are necessary and must be abided. Teachers are encouraged to make whatever changes suit their class and their own teaching style.


1) Furnishing an office.

Using a budget efficiently, buying just what you need (no more, no less.) After all, it?s the taxpayers? money you are using!

* Lawyers and magistrates work for hours in their offices. Design a suitable one, including the necessary furniture and fittings. Draw a map of the place and describe it.

2) Deciding the amount for some fines.

Evaluating the damage caused by several people. Students should realize that when someone breaks the law s/he is causing trouble to others, and that is always wrong.

* You may be fined if you break the law. Consider the following offences and determine the appropriate fines: someone was driving above the speed limit; someone dumped waste in a river; someone has kept his noisy disco open well ahead of the approved business hours.

3) Writing about the night round.

A chance for stds. to write a dialogue (using information they have gathered from different sources, plus their imagination.)Stds. should be aware that the police look after the community 'around the clock' and make sure everything is OK at all times.

* Write the dialogue between 2 policemen/policewomen who discuss the incidents that took place during last night?s round.

4) Alibis.

Stds. should know that nobody is guilty until that is proved before a judge and sometimes a jury. When accused of something, you will always be asked to give your version of the story (and it is a good idea to explain in detail what you were doing at a given place and time.) If you can find a third party to back what you say, so much
the better!

* You have been accused of committing a crime. But you are not guilty. What?s your alibi? Where were you and what were you doing on the following dates? 1st January; 14th February; 20th July; 25th December.

5) Performing a trial.

It does nobody any harm to get acquainted with court proceedings, and it is a good thing if you can grasp the meaning of the most commonly used words and expressions.

* Perform a trial in class. Plan it carefully. Think of a situation and distribute the roles to be played by everyone.

6) Learning about autopsies post-mortems.

Very often the cause of somebody?s death is not obvious. Find out about autopsies and post-mortems. The process is not very nice, but it is fascinating how things are found out. Make sure you know the names of the external parts of the body as well as the main internal organs.

* Find out how an autopsy is done. Briefly describe the process. Draw and name the external parts of the body. Refer to the body?s internal organs and their functions.

7) Weapons.

Learn about weapons...and avoid using them. They are NOT toys.

* In groups, make a poster showing different types of weapons. Write a short description of each.

8) The baddies.

Unfortunately there are too many criminals, and far too many offences are caused every day. Can you tell a burglar from a robber? Beware of pickpockets, too. Learn the words and be careful!

* Burglar, Deserter, Hijacker, Kidnapper, Pickpocket, Robber, Smuggler, Spy.

9) Reading about crimes in your Community.

Is your town safe and quiet? If so, congratulations!

* Bring a newspaper article about a local crime and comment on it.

10) A day in the life of a prisoner.

Prisoners have a lot of time to think. What do you suppose they think about? What?s a prison like from the inside? Do you suppose people feel guilty of their past misdeeds? How can a prisoner change his/her mind and become a normal citizen once the sentence has been

* Write a page of the diary of a man sentenced to life imprisonment.

11) Discussing the death penalty.

Some say it is necessary. Others loathe it. What do YOU think?

* Write a dialogue between two people, one of whom believes in capital punishment (the death penalty) for murderers while the other does not.

12) Telling fact from fiction.

Now you know a lot about real cops. How about reading a detective story?

* Summarize a detective story you have read.

Joan M. D?ez Clivill?
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV
Amposta, Tarragona (Spain)
[email protected]
[email protected]

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