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Socratic Seminar in the Gifted Classroom

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Sadaf Syed

on 16 October 2015

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Transcript of Socratic Seminar in the Gifted Classroom

Socratic Seminar in the Gifted Classroom
Using Socratic Circles with Gifted Students
Socratic Seminars, the
Common Core Learning Standards, and the Danielson Framework
Socratic Seminar: What does it look like?
1. Pre-Reading Question: "Why do people sometimes take what does not belong to them?"

2. Read the poem aloud.
- Can two volunteers please read the text aloud from their perspectives?
- What did you notice about the differences in the way the poem was read these three times?

3. Read the poem silently and mark notes directly on the text.
- Mark the letter "S" anywhere you think the tone of the poem is sincere.
- Mark the letter "I" anywhere you think the tone of the poem is insincere.

4. Copy the focus question, and answer the focus question using evidence from the text.

FOCUS QUESTION: "Why does the poem include the words, "Forgive me?"

5. Engage in a discussion (popcorn style, you do not need to raise your hand to participate)


The Socratic Seminar approach addresses the Common Core Standards for Reading, Writing, and Listening and Speaking.
Socratic Seminars and the Danielson Framework

- Questions have multiple correct answers or multiple approaches, even when there is a single correct answer.

- Teachers builds on student responses and ideas. Students are challenged to explain their thinking and to cite evidence to back up a position.

- Effective teachers also pose questions for which they do not know the answers.

Ties in with Component 3b: Using questioning and discussion techniques.
Socratic Seminars & the Danielson Framework
- Discussion, with the teacher stepping out of the central, mediating role.

-It is important that questioning and discussion be used as techniques to deepen student understanding rather than serve as a recitation or a verbal quiz.

- The end result is to promote student thinking through engaging in high level discussions.
Video Clip of students engaging in a shared inquiry discussion in the classroom
Differentiation within the Socratic Seminar
Socratic Seminar
“Differentiation is a sequence of decisions made by teachers with a student-first orientation” –Adam Hope, 2010
What is the Socratic Seminar Model?

• Students sit in a circle, fishbowl or horseshoe after reading a text
• A formal class discussion takes place based on the selected text
• Students formulate open-ended questions
• Students listen intently to the thoughts and comments of others, thinking critically and responding to discussion in a polite manner
• Students learn to work cooperatively to build understanding by analyzing and interpreting the text through class discussion


Advantages of Socratic Seminars

• Provides opportunities for critical readings of texts
• Teaches respect for diverse ideas, people, and practices
• Enhances students' knowledge and understanding
• Creates a community of inquiry
• Develops critical thinking, problem solving, speaking, and listening skills
• Maximizes student participation
• Encourages divergent thinking

Why We Should Use Socratic Seminar with Gifted Students

• High level questioning to promote critical thinking
• Encourages students to think deeper and build problem solving skills
• Approaches texts with multiple perspectives
• Encourages students to understand and respond to multiple view points
• Supports deep reading and deep comprehension of texts

Since Gifted Learners...
• Have so much to say & often need to work on waiting their turn to speak

Socratic Seminars can help them...

Build off and respond to classmates’ ideas
•Understand others’ perspectives
•Summarize their thoughts
Think before they speak


5. Planning Your Answer Sheet: Prior to embarking on the discussion the discussion question should be posed and students should be given the opportunity to plan their opinion and response. Teachers should encourage students to back up their responses with evidence from the text. For Kindergarten students planning would take the form of a picture with labels early on in the school year with teacher dictation. A planning sheet is yet another strategy to allow students into the discussion.

6. Evaluation/Reflection: Students reflect on the discussion and rate it. Students re-respond to the original question and reflect on how their thinking has changed in small groups. Teachers can work on making sure that the Evaluation and Reflection sheets are tiered.

7. Roles: The classroom teacher can rotate students through the roles of discussion leader, participant, active listeners, and deep thinker. However, all students should be responsible for listening and participating.

8. Structure: Classroom teachers should vary the structure of the discussion: whole group, small group, fish bowl with hot seat.

Based on what you have learned so far about the socratic seminar, are there any other forms of differentiation you can think of for K-12?
1. Build in turn and talks: In order to ensure that even more introverted students have the opportunity to participate regularly build in turn in talks throughout your discussion. This technique is especially useful for K-2 students who may be eager to share but too quiet to speak up.

2. Maintain a Seating Chart: Maintaining a seating chart is a great way for teachers to track student participation and comments. Teachers can use this information to figure out how to further student thinking and what other questions they can ask to challenge them. It also helps the teacher figure out if she needs to ask questions that clarify, probe, or ask for further detail.

3. Discussion Stems: In order to get students to use academic language the classroom teacher can post the discussion stems in a visible area in the room. Stems include: ‘I respectfully disagree, I would like to expand on, In the text’ etc…

4. Define Vocabulary: Prior to assigning a challenging text discuss some of the tricky language and define vocabulary words students will need to access the text. Pictures that accompany the vocabulary words will help ELL’s access the text.
Ways to Encourage Teachers to Differentiate
Ways to Encourage Teachers to Differentiate
Tools to Support Teachers with Socratic Seminar
Building Your Answer Forms:
Full transcript