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Socratic seminars1


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  • 1. Socratic Seminars
  • 2. What is a Socratic Seminar?
    A Socratic seminar is a way of teaching founded by the Greek philosopher Socrates.
    Socrates believed that:
    students learn best by asking questions.
    It is the teacher’s job to moderate the discussion instead of leading the discussion.
  • 3. Why do we have Socratic Seminars
    Socratic Seminars help us engage a text in class.
    The thought process is when we work together to understand a text it will help everyone’s understanding.
  • 4. How do we prepare for a Socratic Seminar?
    The day prior to the seminar you will be given a Socratic Seminar prep sheet. Your job is to complete steps 1 – 4 for homework.
    It is essential you read the text and prepare yourself with important questions and quotations.
  • 5. What type of questions should I ask during the seminar?
    There are three levels of questions.
    You should come up with a minimum of 1 question per level.
  • 6. Level 1 (Knowledge Questions):
    Knowledge means being able to show understanding by talking, writing, signing, drawing.
    Please use the following stems in creating your Knowledge Questions:
    Can you state, in your own words?
    Can you describe?
    Can you defend your position?
    Can you summarize the information?
  • 7. Level II (Application Questions):
    Applicationmeans supporting your ideas with evidence.
    Please use the following stems in creating your Application Questions:
    Explainhow …
    Explainwhy …
    Interpretthe reasons …
    Compare and contrast …
    Connect and explain …
  • 8. Level III (Synthesis Questions):
    Synthesis means combining or connecting two different elements.
    In terms of the Socratic Seminar you will be connecting two texts with each other OR connecting a text to the outside world.
  • 9. Level III (Synthesis Questions) Continued
    Please use the following stems in creating your Synthesis Questions:
    Imagine …
    What would happen if …?
    Hypothesize …
    Theorize …
    How is Text similar to Outside World?
  • 10. What will the seminar look like?
    The classroom will be arranged in a two concentric circles.
    You will be assigned to either seminar A or seminar B.
    You will be assigned a partner in the opposite seminar.
    If I am in seminar A my partner will be in seminar B
    Mr. Sun-K will be facilitating, but NOT participating in the seminar.
  • 11. What’s the deal with partners?
    If I am in Seminar B, I will be sitting in the outside circle taking notes for my partner who is in the inner circle participating in the Seminar A.
    Then we will switch. I will participate in the seminar and my partner will take notes for me.
    We will be switching notes at the end of each seminar to be used for Step 5 of the Socratic Seminar Prep Sheet.
  • 12. How does the discussion work in a seminar?
    The seminar is to serve as a discussion, not a lecture. Just like in a casual conversation, no one begins the conversation, a conversation begins naturally.
  • 13. Seminar Guidelines
    Please listen and look at each other when you speak.
    One person speaks at a time.
    Each person will have a chance to ask a question.
    Respond to the person who asks the question.
    Use evidence from the text to support yourself.
    Always treat each other with mutual respect.
  • 14. How will I be assessed on the seminar?
    By completing the seminar prep sheet. (30 pts).
    By contributing to the conversation following these guidelines:
    - Aska question.
    Respondto a question.
    Cite evidence from the text.
    All three requirements: 30 points.
    Two requirements: 20 points.
    1 requirement:10 points.
    No requirements: 0 points.
  • 15. What do we need to do after the seminar?
    The last 5 - 10 minutes of class on the day of a seminar:
    Please complete step 5 of the prep sheet using your notes from your partner as a reference. Please staple your partner’s notes to the back of your prep sheet and turn it in the “In-Box.”
  • 16. Please stand for Think On Your Feet