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Transcript of Socratic Seminars
What are Socratic Seminars?
A Socratic Seminar is a scholarly discussion of an essential question in which student opinions are shared, proven, refuted, and refined through dialogue with other students.
How Do They Work?
The teacher or seminar leader facilitates the discussion.
We form groups of 3.
One team member will be in the inner circle. They will be actively participating in the discussion.
The "wingmen" (the other 2 students) will be taking notes and preparing their own points.
The inner circle will rotate until everyone gets a turn.
Every student's participation is graded.
In a Socratic Seminar, participants seek to answer an essential question and gain deeper understanding of laws, ideas, issues, values, and/or principles presented in a text or texts through rigorous and thoughtful dialogue.
1. Students read and annotate a text.
2. Students write (3) level 3 questions on the text.
3. Students divide into groups of 3 and arrange desks into an inner circle and an outer circle.
4. Groups share their level 3 questions and select one to represent the group.
5. Each group presents their level 3 question to the class.
6. The class votes on their favorite question.
7. Groups have a chance to discuss their main points. All points must be supported by evidence in the text.
8. Groups will be rotated until all have a chance to be in the inner circle.
1. Be respectful of differing opinions. No sighs, groans, eye rolling, rude commentary, mean laughing, or other verbal or physical disrespect.
2. If you disagree with a point, address it by saying, "I understand you think..., but I have found that..."
3. Allow 3 other students to speak before you speak again. The "3 Before Me" rule applies.
4. Keep notes of major points addressed and questions asked.
5. Participate for full points.
The guidelines for the 3 paragraph reflection paper are as follows:
Paragraph 1: Describe the issue discussed in the article.
Paragraph 2: Explain which important questions must be asked about the topic. What is the heart of the controversy?
Paragraph 3: Explain your stance on the topic, including which quotes most affected your opinion.
Where does the text highlight the main idea of ___?
How does the text persuade you to believe the author?
What puzzles me is…
I’d like to talk with people about…
This is similar to…
Why would the author focus on...
Why does the author mention _____ but not _____?
What is the importance of _____ in this article?
How does _____ affect society?
How would things be different if…
How does _____ affect pop culture and our expectations?
How does the author address or ignore the opposite point of view?
What are some of the reasons _____ occurs?
Example Level 3 Question Stems:
Questions have varying levels of complexity. All levels are important when analyzing a text or issue.
Level 1: Who, what, when, where... These are called identifiers, and they give us contextual understanding of an issue.
Who is responsible for... Where did this occur... When does this happen?
Level 2: Why, how... These are questions surrounding motive and method. They give us a deeper understanding of both sides of an issue.
Why did this happen? What methods were employed? What are the two sides of the issue?
Level 3 Questions: So what? These questions explore the significance, impact, and importance of the events. They give us full understanding.