Educational resources for teachers

colored pencils next to a stack of books and an appleThe Wisconsin Court System has developed a variety of programs and publications designed to help teachers present information on the justice system in a way that keeps students engaged.

For more information about any of these items contact Tom Sheehan, court information officer.

Case of the month

The case of the month project provides high school teachers with some of the necessary tools to educate their students about the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Each month, during the Supreme Court's session, a "teachable" case will be highlighted. It will be chosen from the cases the Court will hear that month. Learn more about the case of the month here.

Children's activity book

The children's activity book "What's Happening in Court?" is full of activities and useful information to help children and their families who may be in court for any reason—whether they are visitors, witnesses, or directly involved in a case. Specifically the book explains what happens in court, who works there, and the rules of court.

This book was written in 1999 by the legal staff of the California Office of the General Counsel within the Administrative Office of the Courts. In 2001, Wisconsin judges, attorneys, and court staff tailored the book for Wisconsin and reproduced it with funding from the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Milwaukee Bar Association.

If you wish to reprint the book in quantity, please direct your printing company to the professional printing instructions.

Court with Class

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in cooperation with the State Bar of Wisconsin, invites high-school teachers from across the state to bring students to Madison for the award-winning Court with Class program. Since 1996, thousands of public, private and home-schooled students have benefited from this educational program, which runs from September to April each year. Learn more about the Court with Class program.

History tools

In the year 2003, the Wisconsin Supreme Court celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation as a separate court with a variety of events and publications designed to tell the story of the state's highest court. The Wisconsin courts have many stories to tell. Legal lore, trivia, biographies, summaries of famous cases, and even a script for a play and an Emmy-award-nominated video documentary are available through this site. Learn more about these resources.

Judicial speakers bureau

The speakers bureau can help schools and community groups find appropriate speakers to talk about how civil and criminal courts work, careers in the law, the juvenile justice system, alternative dispute resolution, considerations in sentencing and other topics. Judges and court staff regularly speak to groups in their communities on a variety of topics. There is no charge for the service or for the speech.

To request a speaker or to find out more about this service, e-mail Tom Sheehan, court information officer, or call (608) 261-6640. Be sure to include the following information in your e-mail:

  • Your name and telephone number
  • Name of your organization
  • Date, time, and place of the event for which you would like a speaker
  • Topics your group would like to learn about
  • Approximate number of people you expect to attend the event

Justice Teaching Institute

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, State Bar of Wisconsin, and the UW-Madison School of Education teamed up to offer the Judicial Teaching Institute to Wisconsin middle- and high-school teachers from 1999 to 2011. The institute was an opportunity for teachers to learn highly engaging teaching methods and interactive curriculum to help students learn content while enhancing critical thinking and literacy skills.

Law Day celebrations

Each year, the American Bar Association (ABA) selects a theme for Law Day on May 1 and provides a variety of educational materials and resources at: www.lawday.org.

In Wisconsin, many judges, clerks of circuit court and attorneys present programs at county courthouses to engage students and the public through a variety of activities. Past Law Day packets linked below were prepared by the Director of State Courts Office provide ideas and materials for programs, contests and presentations, as well as mock trial scripts. Judges and court staff who help organize or present Law Day events are asked to share that information with Court Information Officer Tom Sheehan.

Teacher's guide to the Wisconsin courts

Published in 2006, A Teacher's Guide to the Wisconsin Courts was a joint project supported by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, State Bar of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Law Foundation, and Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association.

Connecting to the courts: A teacher's guide to the Wisconsin courts Adobe PDF