Socratic Seminar Two Preparation

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT review the guidelines and requirements for conducting a Socratic Seminar and practice creating appropriate seminar questions as a whole group.

Big Idea

Equipping students with reading materials and challenging them to find the connections.

Vocabulary Twelve Quiz

20 minutes

Today we begin with Vocabulary Twelve Quiz, testing words that were reviewed in this lesson.  For more on my philosophy behind vocabulary quizzes, please see this lesson.

When a group of tested words possesses synonyms (such as pugnacious and bellicose in this set), I try to make the answers as obvious and as indisputable as possible, in an attempt to prevent student challenges after a quiz, as well as to train my students to test smartly.  For example, on today's quiz, the answers to questions one and two are bellicose and pugnacious, respectively, and my students should be able to determine which word goes where, based on the nature of my questioning.

Socratic Seminar Preparation Review

30 minutes

After the vocabulary quiz, I explain to my students that we will be conducting our second Socratic Seminar in our next class session, and so they will need to prepare.

I have condensed and reproduced the guidelines for preparing for and conducting a Socratic Seminar, and I distribute a copy to each of my students.  We review the handout together, allowing student volunteers to share in the reading.  We discuss the types of questions they will need to prepare, and I ask for students to share a sample of each type of question, using Of Mice and Men as the text upon which to base their sample questions.  Whereas in the first seminar, I allowed students to remain silent so long as they remained respectful listeners, this time I am requiring that each student participates at least twice, either by asking one of their questions or by responding to a question offered by their peers.

For this seminar, I have reproduced a series of three documents that my students will read outside of class and for which they will create their questions.  The documents include the poem "Travelling Through The Dark" by William Stafford, the poem "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns (from which the title Of Mice and Men comes), and the article "On John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men" by Nate Brown.  In addition to these three documents, my students may also reference the core text (Of Mice and Men), though I am not requiring that they develop questions for it.  Because the three supplemental documents all relate to the core text, I anticipate that any references to or questions about Of Mice and Men will occur as necessary during the seminar.

I am really looking forward to this seminar, as my students truly enjoyed the book, and I am excited about the connections and comments they will make with the supplemental documents I have asked them to read.  While the Burns poem, even with its modern translation, will most likely prove to be the most challenging for them, I expect many to see the connections between the Stafford poem and Of Mice and Men, and I am certain they will have plenty to say about the issue of book banning.

Another Big Vocabulary Test Review

20 minutes

With today's vocabulary quiz, my students will have learned 120 words since our school year began. When we reached the first 60 words, I gave them a big vocabulary test, in which I selected 30 words from the 60 for the test.  Thus, it's time to review for another big vocabulary test, which my students will take at the end of next week (In Praise of Vocabulary).

The review merely lists the words from each weekly, ten-word set of vocabulary words so that my students can write them down.  They have already recorded individual reviews and guided activities for each set in their classroom spiral notebooks, have performed vocabulary homework assignments for most sets of words, and have taken weekly quizzes, which have been returned to them, on each set as well.  The review at best brings the words back into focus, and then my students must develop how they will study for the test, using all of the work they have previously completed. 

Since I will not be posting a lesson on test day, here is a copy of Another Big Vocabulary Test.