Stand and Defend: A Warm-up for Socratic Seminar

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SWBAT will prepare for Socratic Seminar by participating in a “Stand and Defend Activity.”

Big Idea

Stand and Defend!

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

Connect: I will say, “In order to deepen our thinking about all three texts we have completed and to prepare for our Socratic Seminar tomorrow, we are going to defend the thinking and writing we have done so far.

Teach: I will say, “In order to show a deeper understanding of all three texts, I am going to practice the skill discussing the themes with my classmates and the strategy of defending the theme I chose. The process I will use is as follows:

1)      Pick a theme that I can find true in one text

2)      Defend my theme

3)      Listen to my classmates’ arguments

4)      Use this discussion to think of high level questions for seminar tomorrow.

I will say, “As I have been reading through your writing, I have seen a lot of different themes you have come up with for all three texts. Today, we are going to go through the Universal Themes chart and defend which themes go with certain text and across texts. You will then come up with high level questions for our seminar tomorrow.”

Active Engagment

30 minutes

Active Engagement:  I will say, “I am going to call out one of the themes from the Universal Themes chart, if you can defend the theme for one of the stories you will stand and defend it. You will receive participation points for making a sound argument for your claim and providing evidence with text details. I will give you about five minutes to read over the writing you have done about Walter Mitty from the past couple of days.”

I will say to the class: “Stand and defend if you think the theme, “In life people struggle with problems and try to solve them connects to the Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Students will stand and be called on, I will push them to back up their claim with text details. I will ask if anyone agrees or disagrees with the speaker. I will then ask who can stand and defend the same theme with Mason Dixon Memory and then with Song of the Trees, then push for text details, then ask for agreement or disagreement” I will go through this sequence for the rest of the four themes.

Here is further explanation:

Closing of Active Engagement: Remember, great readers show a deeper understanding of the text, by practicing the skill of discussing the text by using the strategy of defending the theme they chose. They pick a theme they know to be true and defend it. They listen to their classmates’ arguments and use this discussion to think of high level questions for seminar tomorrow.


10 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: Students will jot down five high level questions they can ask in seminar tomorrow. They will give their questions to a peer to review in order to revise them to a higher level if needed. I will refer them to the Depths of Knowledge chart. Partners will directed to give feedback on the level of questioning and how they could raise their level.

They will then turn in their revised questions to me so I can assess them.