Making Socrates Proud: Socratic Discussion of Anthem by Ayn Rand (Day 4)

5 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT support claims about character motivations and conflicts by citing and discussing evidence in a Socratic Seminar

Big Idea

Socrates is smiling as my students enthusiastically participate in the discussion today

Do Now: Vocabulary

20 minutes

For the Do Now, I will ask students to work with a partner to define some words associated (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4) with Anthem by Ayn Rand. These are not words that students will find in the text, but they are ideas of which they should be able to find examples from the first 5 chapters. Check out this Anthem Words chart of the words that my students will study today.

I picked these words because they will ultimately (in a future lesson) help students to develop potential theme statements that begin with abstract nouns such as collectivism, conformity, individualism, etc. For example, they can start their theme statements with "Being part of a society that believes in collectivism may lead to..." Also, these words represent some of the key ideas that are presented in Anthem's society. I am allowing students to work with partners because I am hoping that they will be able to work together to develop their own definitions of most of these words (without using the diction), but dictionaries will be available to them if they need them. Before my students begin to find examples in Anthem, I will remind them that when we have our Socratic Seminar later in the lesson, I will be listening for them to use these words along with examples/evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) from Anthem.

Here's a picture of a sample of Anthem Vocab Partner Work from this activity. Check out this pic of two students working together to define their words.

Application: Cornell Notes

20 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will tell my students that they will become experts on one of chapters 3, 4, and 5. In order to become experts, I will give them a set of questions that they should be prepared to pose and answer (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.c) by taking Cornell Notes on them. The questions appear on this page that students will see on the SmartBoard. Each of the questions from which they can choose relates to (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3).

In order to be fully prepared, my students can include vocabulary words from the "Do Now" (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4) AND responses to these questions in their Cornell notes. I am asking them to leave the summary part of the Cornell Notes blank so that we can use it to bring closure to the lesson after the seminar.

I am having them take Cornell notes to prepare for the seminar because the notes allow them to have ready-made talking points. Having them focus on one chapter is one way of trying to make sure that their responses are thoughtful and refer to specific parts of the text. Here's a pic of a student's Anthem Cornell notes for this segment.

Socratic Seminar

20 minutes

During this part of the lesson, my students will discuss the chapters on which they have taken notes and become experts. I will not be part of the discussion, nor will I regulate it anyway. This is only our second seminar, but I want to move  them more in the direction of being able to participate in a discussion with their peers and developing some strategy for maintaining order. More importantly, I will be listening for answers that reflect their ability to make inferences and draw conclusions from the text AND cite evidence from the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a).

During the seminar, I will have students sit in a large circle. I will be making notes of students that participate substantively. I will tell students that they must participate substantively at least once by answering or posing a question, using evidence from the text, and using some of the vocabulary that we discussed earlier in the lesson. After students have spoken twice, they should allow other students to participate in the discussion. This will help ensure that everyone gets a chance to participate.

This lesson marks our gradual transition into the final unit for the year. In the final unit, we will do many more group discussions, so this is a way to check to see if they are ready for it.

In this seminar video my students are eager to answer the questions and participate, but they have not quite mastered how to work together in this discussion. At the end of the clip, they seem to have gotten it together a bit more.

Closure: Summarizing what we learned in the discussion

5 minutes

To close out the lesson, I am asking my students to summarize what they learned in the discussion OR to summarize what they learned from becoming experts on their chapter at the bottom of their Cornell Notes (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2). I am having them do this as a quick assessment of their learning for the day.

Silent Reading

15 minutes

While we are reading Anthem, I am giving my students class time to read ahead (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10) because each night, they have homework to complete on Reading ahead in class allows them to have uninterrupted reading time before they have to answer Common Core aligned questions on the site.