Student Socratic Seminars

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  Teaching students how to engage in thoughtful class discussions, on topics ranging from politics to literature. Includes essential elements, not debating, having a leader, reflecting afterwards.
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  • 1. Socratic Seminars  The 4 elements of a Socratic seminar  Dialogue vs. Debate  Ms. P’s Expectations  Rules of Engagement  Debrief/Reflection/Evaluation
  • 2. The 4 Elements of a Socratic Seminar  Text-can be fiction or non-fiction, should raise questions, stimulate thought, be rich in ideas & issues without creating classroom controversy  Questions-are open-ended (no right/wrong answers)  Open-should start the dialogue by being broad  Core-specific, text-based, focused on author’s purpose  Closing-ties together new understanding of text  Leader-keeps group focused, ensures each question is fully addressed before moving on, maintains order  Participants-come prepared, listen actively, respond respectfully, reflect thoroughly to indicate understanding
  • 3. Dialogue Debate ____ Collaborative Oppositional Respectful Demeaning Keeping an open mind Close-minded Suspending beliefs Defending beliefs Exploring possibilities Being right Seeking understanding Proving wrong Open-ended Demanding finality
  • 4. Ms. P’s Expectations  Every student is expected to come to class prepared to discuss the topic at hand.  Every student is expected to speak at least one time during the discussion (this is a grade)  Every student must restate what was last said prior to making his or her statement  Every student will submit:  A Socratic Reading Guide  A Thoughtfully Annotated Text  A Reflection as the Exit Slip
  • 5. Rules of Engagement  The class already created our rules of engagement, which include:  Do Not Interrupt  No Sidebar Conversations  No Irrelevant Anecdotes  Address the Statement, NOT the Person  Respect Your Peers’ Individual Beliefs  Stay Seated  Do Not Raise Your Voice  Do Not Revert to Immature Behaviors
  • 6. Debrief, Reflection, Evaluation  In order to encourage you to think about all of the points your peers made during the discussion, you will be asked to complete a reflection as your exit slip.  The reflection will be comprised of:  1 thing you agreed with, who said it, and why you agreed with it  1 thing you disagreed with, who said it, and why you disagree with it  3 sentences about your thoughts on the topic, how the discussion went, what you would do differently next time.
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