Vocabulary Carousel and Introduction to Socratic Circles

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Students will able to acquire academic and general vocabulary knowledge by participating in a vocabulary carousel and making Frayer model vocabulary cards. Students will be able to come to a literary discussion prepared by reading and researching the text for literature circle roles.

Big Idea

We're finishing up vocabulary and introducing the students to the Socratic circle.


10 minutes

You have started to read the short story “Zebra” by Chaim Potok. What words describe Zebra’s appearance and personality?

Daily Grams

10 minutes

Day 34



  • Salt Point, Chippewa County, Whitfish Bay, and Michigan are all proper nouns.



  • Abbreviations of titles are capitalized. Mr is an abbreviation of Mister, so it needs a period.
  • Commas are used to set off appositives from the rest of the sentence.



  • The root 'dict' means to say. 
    • Predict, then, means 'to say before.'
    • A dictionary is a book that says the meanings of words.



  • Contractions are formed by removing the unnecessary letters and replacing them with an apostrophe.


Sentence Fluency

  • There are three simple sentences.  One simple sentence can be eliminated by combining the predicate with the predicate of the previous sentence. The third simple sentence can be joined with the first through the use of prepositional phrases.

The Vocabulary Carousel

15 minutes

The day before, we had the students shrink the definitions of our new vocabulary words.  Today, the students went around in a carousel in order to write the shrunken definitions on their vocabulary cards.


What's a carousel?  Stations are set up around the room and students visit each station by rotating around the room like a carousel rotates. In this case, the stations are all the definitions written on the dry erase boards.


Students that finished copying the definitions early were able to start on the rest of the vocabulary cards--drawing pictures to visualize the meaning of the word, and writing examples of what the word is and is not. We did this activity on Monday and assigned a due date of Friday for all of the vocabulary cards.






















Socratic Circle Preparation

15 minutes

Today we laid the groundwork for our first Socratic circle.  We used a fishbowl model for this Socratic circle, and my student teacher was thrilled to try this activity. 


We knew that if we just asked students to read the story and show up ready to discuss it, it would fail miserably.  Even college students and adults have trouble with this! In order to set the students up for success and to give a focus and purpose for the discussion, we used the roles from literature circles.  There are tons of literature circle roles, but we chose discussion director, literary luminary, connector, and summarizer for this round. For the next time, I might use discussion director, literary luminary, illustrator, summarizer, and researcher.  The roles can be easily be changed based on the needs of students and the individual story.


Each student was randomly given a handout that defined their role.  I have rather small classes this year.  My biggest class is 25 students, so seven students became discussion directors, seven students became literary luminaries, and so on.  We further broke the students up in to smaller groups by color.  When we were done with this organizing, we had totally random groups of students and each student had a specific role.


My student teacher spent a few minutes going over each role with all of the students so everyone would know what was expected from all the roles.

  • Discussion Director: These seven students were responsible for generating five to seven questions about the story that would be used to start the discussion.
  • Literary Luminary:These seven students were responsible for selecting passages (sentences or paragraphs) that showed the author's exceptional word choice, sentence structure, etc.
  • Connector: These seven students were responsible for making connections between their own lives, the world, and other stories.  They could ask questions or write about their own connections.
  • Summarizer: These seven students were responsible for writing a short summary of the story.