The Socratic Seminar with Novels | Part Two
I wanted to go over how I use the Socratic Seminar in my classroom in greater depth, in the hopes of answering some frequently asked questions about Socratic Seminars in upper elementary and middle school classrooms.
HOW THE SOCRATIC SEMINAR LOOKS DIFFERENT IN MY CLASSROOM
We did a Socratic Seminar almost every day during a novel reading unit when I taught fifth grade; when I taught sixth grade and ELA, I had required curriculum and content, so I could easily pick and choose which days or which guiding and/or interpretive questions seemed the most important.
SOCRATIC SEMINAR READING UNIT LESSON PLAN
I read aloud all of the novels we read in class (in grades fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth). I estimate that my read aloud takes about 10-15 minutes per class period; here’s a quick look at my class schedules to see how it looks.
SOCRATIC SEMINAR BASED ON THE INTERPRETIVE QUESTION
The Socratic Seminar is where students prepare for a discussion; students aren’t graded on their discussion during the seminar for these units; instead, I grade their reading responses (the final blog post in this series will go over how I grade these units).
WHAT PURPOSE DOES THE SOCRATIC SEMINAR SERVE?
The Socratic Seminar is a method of posing a thoughtful, yet relevant to the text, question to students in order to encourage open-ended discussion and possibly more questions. Here are some examples of how those “notes” looked during our discussions.
THE SOCRATIC SEMINAR AND STUDENT READING RESPONSES
As a result, you’ll be astounded by how much your students improve as readers and writers. Below are some examples of my students’ reading responses from when I was teaching fifth, sixth, and middle school.
UPDATES TO THE SOCRATIC SEMINAR READING UNITS
The use of display slides for guiding and interpretive questions is a game changer; nothing will irritate you more than hearing, “What were the questions again?” nine million times.
COMPREHENSION QUESTION SUGGESTED ANSWERS
I’ve been working for months to get all of the reading units updated; I have about forty units, and thirty of them are completely updated. About one-two days a week, instead of the Socratic Seminar, my students and I do vocabulary lessons in a simple format like the one shown below.
DIGITAL COMPONENTS ADDED TO THE SOCRATIC SEMINAR READING UNITS
In many ways, the Socratic Seminar could be easily adapted to digital or distance learning. For example, you could simply post the interpretive question as a discussion question that students respond to, then use their classmates’ responses to write or type their own answers.
WHY A BLOG POST ABOUT SOCRATIC SEMINARS?
For the past seven years, I’ve been creating reading units (not novel studies) that all use the Socratic Seminar to guide and facilitate questions and discussion with my students. The bundles below list all of the units I have available, organized by grade and subject area.
RELATED BLOG POSTS AND PRODUCTS:
Teach the 6th Grade CCSS Reading Standards with Novels. BLOG POST: Teaching 5th Grade WITH Novels All Year Long: The Fifth Grade Literature and Informational Standards.
How do I prepare for a Socratic Seminar?
Steps to take
- Select an Appropriate Text. Because the Socratic Seminar strategy relies on close textual analysis, it’s critical to choose a text that allows for plenty of interpretation and discussion.
- Give Students Time to Prepare.
- Develop a Classroom Contract.
- The Socratic Seminar.
What is Socratic seminar format?
The Socratic seminar is a formal discussion based on a text in which the leader asks open-ended questions and students listen carefully to others’ comments while thinking critically for themselves and articulating their own thoughts and responses to others’ thoughts.
What are the 3 rules of a Socratic Seminar?
Socratic Seminar Rules: Discuss, not debate; be courteous; NO PUTDOWNS. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding; respect differing viewpoints.
What are the four elements of a Socratic Seminar?
A good seminar has four interdependent elements: (1) the text, (2) the questions, (3) the seminar leader, and (4) the participants; a closer examination of each of these elements helps explain the Socratic Seminar’s unique character.
What are the 5 Socratic questions?
Questioning in the Socratic Method
- Clarifying concepts.
- Examining assumptions.
- Examining rationale, reasons, and evidence.
- Questioning viewpoints and perspectives.
- Examining implications and consequences.
How is Socratic method used in the classroom?
In a nutshell, the Socratic method encourages students to critically analyze, reason, and rationalize their underlying beliefs, assumptions, and ideas about a topic in order to uncover the answers deep within.
How do you start a Socratic Seminar question?
Use open-ended (divergent) questions to elicit opinions, elaboration, and discussion; ask questions about important rather than trivial topics; grade language in questions; personalize questions as much as possible.
What are good Socratic Seminar questions?
Ask open-ended questions with no right or wrong answers, such as u201cWhy?u201d u201cHow do you know?u201d and u201cWhy is this important?u201d to encourage participants to expand their thoughts and responses. Ask questions that require participants to explain their reasoning, assumptions, and potential misunderstandings.
What are rules of seminar?
to contribute to trust. to show respect for others, e.g. to attack issues, not people. to ask for a turn to speak. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to contribute to trust. to
What is a fishbowl in education?
Students are divided into an inner and outer circle in the “fishbowl,” where they practice responding to multiple viewpoints while observations from students in the outer circle provide insight into what makes for effective small-group discussions.
What are the benefits of Socratic seminars?
The Advantages of a Socratic Seminar
- Maintain ownership of the learning.
- Learn responsibility and accountability as they prepare for each seminar.
What is a fishbowl Socratic Seminar?
Students seated inside the “fishbowl” actively participate in the discussion by asking questions and sharing their opinions, while students outside pay close attention to the ideas presented.
What do u mean by seminar?
2a(1): a course of study pursued by a seminar. (2): an advanced or graduate course often featuring informality and discussion. 1: a group of advanced students studying under a professor, each doing original research and all exchanging results through reports and discussions.