Nicole Lusiani ElliottTeacher, San Lorenzo High School March 3, 2012
Introduction 8th Grade Core U.S. History Economics Government AP Government Women‟s Studies Psychology
Goals for TodayToday‟s Participants will leave with: An understanding of the Socratic Seminar method, Tools for how to teach students to develop Socratic Seminar questions, Ideas for how to structure and facilitate a Socratic Seminar, Methods for how to quickly and accurately assess student learning.
Goals for Socratic Seminars Assess Mastery of Content Evaluate Understanding of Concepts Provide Opportunities for Students to Practice Academic Language Teach Students how to Engage in Civil Discourse
How does Using SeminarMeet those Goals? Assess Mastery of Literal Questions and Content Answers Evaluate Understanding Interpretive and Applied of Concepts Questions and Answers Provide Opportunities Teaching them the tools for Students to Practice and providing them the Academic Language time and structure to practice Teach Students how to Model and guide Engage in Civil appropriate ways to Discourse disagree and discuss what can be challenging topics
Seminar Basics:Reasons and Ways Formal Assessment Whole Class Informal Check In (“Do they „get‟ it?”) Small Groups Test or Essay Preparation Fishbowl within a Small Reinforcing Group understanding of particularly challenging readings or political Fishbowl within the cartoons. Whole ClassReasons to Use Seminars Ways to Structure Seminars
Seminar Basics:Socratic Seminar Questions Literal Questions Fact-based questions with one correct answer. Interpretive Questions Opinion-based questions with several possible answers based on interpretation Applied Questions Personal-based questions with several possible answers based on individual experience and how the situation may apply to them and/or people today.
The Ideal Socratic Seminar Provides a structure for the students to work within, guiding them but not confining them. Provides opportunities for all students to participate, allowing them the opportunity to shine in the areas of speaking and listening. Shows clearly who knows the material and who does not. Provides an opportunity for greater understanding for all students. Is simple for the teacher to grade.
Before the Seminar:Know Your IntentionWhat’s Your Intention Set Up Accordingly Why am I doing this? Do I Am I grading for content, want an informal check communication skills, or in, a formal assessment, both and why? or to review for a test? Is this new to my students Who should grade the so my intention is to students and why? introduce the skill? Or have they done this What size groups should quite a lot and I want to the students be in and push them to the next level? why?
Before Assigning the Seminar:Prepare Yourself Have plenty of sample questions at your disposal. Choose models that are appropriate; ease them in, don‟t scare them off. Include a rubric with the instructions so they know what to expect.
Assigning the Seminar:Prepare Your Students Set Intention What is a Socratic Seminar and why are we doing it? Review Questions What are the three levels of questions, and what is the point of each? Model Process Using a previous unit as an example, what are sample questions of each type?
Model One: TextSojourner Truth (1797-1883): Aint I A Woman? Delivered 1851 Womens Convention, Akron, OhioWell, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that twixt thenegroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fixpretty soon. But whats all this here talking about?That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and tohave the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives meany best place! And aint I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, andgathered into barns, and no man could head me! And aint I a woman? I could work as much and eat asmuch as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And aint I a woman? I have borne thirteenchildren, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mothers grief, none but Jesusheard me! And aint I a woman?Then they talk about this thing in the head; whats this they call it? [member of audience whispers,"intellect"] Thats it, honey. Whats that got to do with womens rights or negroes rights? If my cup wont holdbut a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldnt you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?Then that little man in black there, he says women cant have as much rights as men, cause Christ wasnt awoman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman!Man had nothing to do with Him.If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, thesewomen together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking todo it, the men better let them.Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner aint got nothing more to say. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sojtruth-woman.asp
Model Two: Political Cartoon http://www.yousaytoo.com/best-political-cartoon-about-health-care/89935
Before the Seminar:Anticipation is Your Friend The Facts: You know your intention You know your students The Anticipation: What do they need? How should you set up the room and the groups to meet those needs? Prepare Accordingly: Have heterogeneous groups set up before class starts. Have tables set up before class starts. Anticipate the possibility this will be a challenge for some. Anticipate the possibility this is an opportunity to pontificate for some.
During the Seminar:Assess on the Go Don‟t try to manage 36 papers all at once. Develop a +/- system of some kind and take notes on the small group lists as you circulate.
After the Seminar:Assess for a Score As soon as possible after the seminar, fill out a rubric for each student. By day‟s end, you will have assessed your students‟ learning in a meaningful way and they will feel so proud of themselves for holding their own in an academic conversation. Considering how long it takes to grade essays and how little depth of understanding is shown in a multiple choice test, isn‟t this an ideal way of assessing student learning?
Seminar Works “I often find that students come away from seminar appreciating (the content) on a whole new level, or understanding some aspect that they hadn‟t considered before. It also helps them generate ideas for writing - - in a way that feels more meaningful than just brainstorming on paper.” Beth Daly, Teacher
Seminar Works “I love how (seminar) develops responsibility and civility; responsibility because I ask students to write questions prior to the discussion, which they always do because the seminars are so fun for them, and civility, because it teaches them to listen to one another actively and extend/make connections to their own ideas.” Cheryl Morris, Teacher
Seminar Works “I love seminar because I get to see students interacting with each other and a text in an academic way without me butting in at all. I get to check for understanding but also get to hear some really interesting conversations!” Vandana Makker, Teacher
Seminar Works “…everyone is responsible for preparing for the conversation and it is so well-structured that (they all feel safe within the conversation). I love that they are smart, thoughtful young adults…and I get to grade them on that.” Lisa Sorenson, Teacher
Seminar Works “Seminars are a totally awesome experience because everyone brings something different to the table. They engage together (in ways that are both academic and personal).” Mark Schneider, Teacher and Librarian
Seminar Works “I want desperately to use Socratic Seminar, but I just don‟t feel that I have the training to make it work. I so wish I could make it to Garden Grove this weekend. Have a wonderful trip!” Brian Williams (New) Teacher
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