Reflection: Shared Expectations Comparing Characters and Themes in a Socratic Circle - Section 2: Socratic Circle: Comparing Characters and Themes in "Midnight" and "Monsters"

 

It's critical to have shared expectations for Socratic circles, and since this is a different type of Socratic circle, I had to discuss those expectations (aka rules) with students. and shared those with students prior to the discussion.

I found a great set of expectations to share with students here and shared those with students prior to the discussion. 

For a coached Socratic circle, a very important rules is who talks when. 

  • The outer circle never gets to talk when they're in the outer circle.  Never.  There isn't a hot seat, they can't jump into it, they can't talk.  Only the inner circle gets to talk.  
  • You can't just talk to your coach whenever.  There will be assigned times to talk to the coach. For adults, this might not be necessary, but for middle schoolers who like to socialize, I think it's an important expectation. 
  • When the circles change, the roles change. The people who were in the inner circle are now in the outer circle and it  is their turn to NOT TALK.
  • Everyone is expected to talk when they're in the inner circle.

It's pretty important to have a leader.  I like to have a student be the leader so that the kids talk to each other, and not to me. The most important job a leader has is to remind students that we should talk one at a time and to ask students who haven't spoken yet what they think.  Sometimes that's all it takes for a quiet, shy student.  Just a direct question, "What do you think, Jose?"

This article shares some information about Socratic circles with some great tips. 

  The Rules of a Coached Socratic Circle: Talking and Leaders
  Shared Expectations: The Rules of a Coached Socratic Circle: Talking and Leaders
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Comparing Characters and Themes in a Socratic Circle

Unit 11: Analyzing Literature and Integrating Knowledge with Act 2 of “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
Lesson 11 of 14

Objective: Students will be able to compare and analyze themes from two stories by participating in a coached Socratic circle.

Big Idea: Socratic circles allow students to engage in authentic literary discussions.

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