Lesson overview for the second academic discussion of the school year.
The set up of this discussion is just like the last one that took place two lessons ago. In this document titled "One Method of Holding Academic Discussions" I outline the steps I use for this discussion. I want students to practice doing exactly what they have already done. The topic, however, is obviously different. I tell students that today they will be holding an academic discussion about the concept of POWER. I tell them they will get a few minutes to prepare and during this time, they need to
To further set purpose, I let students know that they will be working in a formal writing assignment where they will have to address one of the many questions they came up with about the concept of POWER. They need to plan on using this discussion to test out their ideas and possible responses to these questions. This will help them in their written assignment. I also let them know that they will be using the two stories we have read, "Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type" and "The Bear That Wasn't," to support their written responses. They need to take advantage of this discussion to figure out how issues of power are addressed in these stories. I give them about 5 minutes to gather their thoughts. I give them access to copies of these texts. This is the copy I use of "The Bear That Wasn't." For Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, I put the pages on a power point and printed enough copies of slides of the powerpoint for students to share.
Like the previous discussion, students will take turns discussing. Half of the class will create a circle in the center of the space I cleared up for the discussion, forming an inner circle, and the other half will sit around them, forming an outer circle. Each group will get an equal amount of time to discuss. Today, they will get a slightly longer period of time to discuss because we don't need to spend as much setting up. We are using the same groups as the time before and they already know what to expect.
Before students begin to discuss, I remind them of the commitments they made in the reflection they wrote after the first large group discussion and ask them to fulfill that commitment. I also refer them to their copy of this list of helpful Socratic Seminar Sentence Starters.
Each group gets about 15 minutes to discuss. Like before, I keep track of their responses in a word document. You can see the results in the next section. I only speak when I feel that the discussion needs to be guided in a different direction. Today, students really pushed themselves to fulfill their commitment so I did not have to step in and say much. The topic is engaging for this age group and they have a lot of thoughts to share. My involvement was mainly to help them focus on the texts. Students have a difficult time speaking directly of the texts we read so they simply want to ignore them. This was true of both groups today. I had to specifically step in and ask students to connect their ideas to details in the stories. This is the only way I got them to discuss the texts today.
Once each group gets an opportunity to discuss, I show the entire class their participation, as recorded on the word document for this second large group discussion. I praise students for improving greatly on their previous participation. I remind them that they will be working on a formal written assignment and that what they discussed today will help them.