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Law School for Teens - Basics of Law - Ongoing Class

Social Studies

Scientific and Political Conspiracy Theories in the U.S.

In this ongoing class we will research and discuss "conspiracy theories": groups who think that the government is out to get them!
James Motes
36 total reviews for this teacher
5 reviews for this class
Completed by 21 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
55 minutes
per class
Once per week
every week
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does an "Ongoing" course work?

Meets on a weekly schedule, join any week, no need to catch up on previous material
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Automatic payment every Sunday, cancel any time
Great for clubs and for practicing skills

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Class Experience

Students will learn:
-to think critically
-to research and review information
-to engage in a facts-based discussion
-to respect those who disagree
-to keep an open mind

Through Socratic Discussion, students will engage in a participatory learning model about the topic.  
Each learner in turn will address a "floating question" or present their own question to the group.  
Learners will be given feedback on their question, on their research regarding answers, and on the connections they make to other learners' responses.
While the materials covered in this course do not meet Outschool's definition of "sensitive or high-risk," I still want to assure parents that any discussions will be conducted with sensitivity in the event that an individual finds a topic challenging.

I have taught high school and middle school students for twenty years, and additionally worked with upper elementary students at a summer camp for twenty summers.  I am certified and have experience teaching Latin, English, Social Studies, and Theater Arts.
I have advanced degrees in educational administration, and worked as a principal for two years.
I have worked as a theater director for most of my teaching career, including with a Unified Theater program which pairs mainstream students and students with special needs.
I am currently in law school studying educational law, and student support and rights in particular.
I have a seven-year-old and a one-year old, and I respect and appreciate that different families promote different values.

For these reasons above, I feel that I am very qualified to address any potentially challenging topics with empathy and an eye towards the truth.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions, or any concerns about specific topics.
Each week at the end of the class, students will be presented with the next week's topic.  (This topic will also be posted in the Classroom discussion board.)

Within 48-hours (barring any unforeseen issues) a short reading list will be provided for students to familiarize themselves with the topic.  Some of these readings will be chosen for age-appropriateness, and others will be more scientific and/or informative in nature (and may need parent assistance).  

These readings will help to start our discussions in the following week.  Students are fully encouraged to discuss with family and friends about the topics before or after the classes, but are reminded that the class is intended to look at the facts from a scientific perspective.
No materials are needed for purchase, but links to informational websites and books for further reading will be provided.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
No formal assessment will be provided, but parents can request a written summary by the teacher of student engagement.
55 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
In this course we will be discussing some sensitive topics, such as assassination, terrorist attacks, and plots to overthrow the government.  Background for each topic will be provided, either through research opportunities or in class discussion, but every attempt will be made to provide materials and discussions that are sensitive and honest, and avoid grisly and excessive details.  Students who choose to bring up or focus on uncomfortable details will be redirected in a supportive yet firm manner.

Although conspiracy theories provide opportunities for critical thinking and healthy skepticism, lessons will be concluded with a summary of facts, and a clear dismissal of inaccurate and flawed theories. 
Each week we will address a different topic.  Links to background for each topic will be provided the week before, and will include an overall explanation (Wikipedia) as well as some direct links to organizations that promote and support the theories, and to fact-checking websites.  Every attempt will be made to preview the websites for sensitive material, but it is encouraged that students view the websites with parent supervision to avoid "going down the rabbit hole" into darker and more controversial areas.


James MotesExplore your love for learning!
36 total reviews
14 completed classes

About Me

I am a 20-year veteran of the classroom, but enjoy getting to teach online when I can. I have taught Latin and theater arts, but I also enjoy conversations about history and philosophy. 
I believe that all students can learn at high... 
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