Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quick Hints for the start of a new year

Based on some of the emails I have received from various listservs this past week, I decided to compile my completely subjective list of quick hints for the start of the school year.  I stress completely subjective; these are my opinions. 

Best Case to Use During Orientation: Gideon v. Wainwright. Why? It's rarely used in the first year curriculum, so it doesn't step on anyone's toes, it is compelling on an emotional level (ever see a picture of Gideon?), and it can be simple to read.  If you are familiar with RuthAnn McKinney's Reading Like a LawyerGideon is the case she uses on her PowerPoints on reading and case briefing.

Most useful books for small group ASP work during the first semester:
Expert Learning for Lawyers and Reading Like a Lawyer.  BIG important note: there are many, many fabulous ASP books--these are the two I recommend for the start of the school year if you work with small groups of students (5-25) on introductory skills, NOT exam-taking skills.  I love many other ASP books (1000 Days to the Bar, Bridging the Gap, Getting to Maybe, Succeeding in Law School, Mastering the Law School Exam, Law School Without Fear, Law Student's Pocket Mentor, Law School Exams by Charles Calleros), but I would use them differently than I use RLAL or ELLS

Best Books for Students to Practice Future Interests Problems
: Estates in Land by Makdisi or Estates in Land: A Step-by-Step Guide by Edwards.  Every year, students panic over future estates, and every year I recommend these two books.  If they can get through Makdisi's problems, they know future interests cold.

Best Series for Checking (not testing!) Substantive Knowledge: Lexis Nexis Q and A series.  If students do well on these questions, it's no guarantee of exam success, but I find that if they do poorly on these questions, they will struggle on exams.  Additionally, Examples and Explanations in Civil Procedure is golden. 

Best Online Resources for Learning Styles Assessments: www.vark-learn.com and website, the ILS questionnaire at http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html.   

I will continue to think about critical resources for the start of the school year.
Enjoy! (RCF)

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