This activity requires students' higher order thinking, interpreting, collaboration and communication skills. Simply put, you will conduct a custody hearing in your classroom to let your students decide who should get custody of Turtle. This activity should be conducted before students read chapters 32 and 33 so that they are not influenced by the way the author decides to reconcile the case.
The 5 pages include a detailed description of the purpose of the activity as well as detailed instructions as to how students can play one of 3 roles - all of them involving observation and individual expression as well as collaboration.
There is a listening, speaking, writing and reading component to each role and a detailed rubric to ensure students' involvement in each phase of the activity. Brief research into legal terms and jargon is encouraged to make the activity as realistic as possible.
You may use 2 or 3 class periods (40 minutes). Three is preferable, allowing two class for preparation and construction of the case, and one class for the actual hearing.
The activity requires students to apply their own values, reasoning and judgement in the case, using specific evidence they must construct from a close reading of the text. Again, it's all spelled out in the rubric.
This always shows up on the end of the year survey as a favorite activity.