socratic seminar resources

a note of introduction

Teaching the Socratic Seminar as a talking structure in your class may seem overwhelming. Although I am providing these resources here, please feel free to contact your coach with help in implementing this three-day lesson cycle. Your coach will be able to offer suggestions on how to work within your curriculum while giving your students a full first-time experience with a seminar-style class discussion.

day one resources

Seminar Day 3.pdf

This is a PDF of the Keynote presentation. Let me know if you would like the file in that format and I will send it to you.

Language Tool for AC.pdf

An important takeaway of the seminar is that students become more comfortable using academic transitions. Have one of the students track their peers' use of these stems and provide feedback to the group, identifying areas of conversation with which the students excel and those with which they might improve.

Questions-Using-Blooms-Taxonomy(1).pdf

If you want student conversation to improve, you will have to teach kids how to ask questions that elicit deeper talk. Ask yourself, "What level of questioning do I model when I ask questions in class?" Track your questions for a week, or even a day. You'll be amazed.

seminar norms tree map fill-in.pdf

Teaching students the norms that accompany the seminar structure is an essential step. Don't skip it! Provide the norms, and then show students the Teaching Channel video. Ask them to discuss with a partner which norms they saw the students in the video using.

Use this Teaching Channel video to show your students what a Socratic seminar looks like. These students may be older than yours, but they are real kids. That makes a difference. You can also use this video as a check for understanding after you teach your students the seminar norms. Ask them which of the norms they see these students exhibit, and be sure they cite evidence!

Talking Tool - Teen Topics.pdf

When students first practice a new skill, such as the seminar talking structure, let them use a simple text like this one. This matrix is designed so that students can cite specifically--"Please look at Social Media, row 3." However, it is full of images for which students will have rich background knowledge, encouraging deeper discussion.

day two resources

Seminar Day 2.pdf

This is a PDF of the Keynote presentation. Let me know if you would like the file in that format and I will send it to you.

Coaching Form For Socratic Seminar.pdf

On day two, encourage the students to develop their skills as coaches to their speaking partners. Even if you have a small class and all students want to be speakers, don't let them! Having a coach to listen, keep track, and give specific feedback is an integral part of the seminar structure and adds tools to your students' academic, social, and emotional toolkits.

Seminar Prep Sheet.pdf

Students should take a text home with them on day two. As part of their homework, they will read the text, annotate it, and complete this prep sheet. They are asked to summarize the text, choose a few interesting or important quotations, and then write questions using their knowledge of Bloom's Taxonomy.

seminar roles posters.pdf
seminar roles handout.pdf

day three resources

Seminar Day 3.pdf

This is a PDF of the Keynote presentation. Let me know if you would like the file in that format and I will send it to you.

Seminar Reflection and Assessment.pdf

Whether you "grade" your students' performance in the seminar or not, it is critical that they reflect on their work and give themselves a score using a set of specific criteria, such as this one. This allows them to set goals for themselves, evaluate their work, and make decisions about how they can improve next time.

seminar comment counter.pdf

One of the student roles is Comment Counter. Have a student fill in the names of the speakers to mirror the seats the students have taken. It's helpful to have them anchor the chart by drawing in the door or some other landmark. Then the student simply tallies each time a student speaks, giving feedback at halftime and again at the end of each round.