Yesterday I was reminded that often times the best strategies have withstood the test of time. Now more than ever, the Common Core State Standards require students to think and read critically, listen attentively, and speak clearly. In Socratic Seminar, students are given meaty text that encourages close reading. As students read, they are asked to consider a question as relates to the text. The discussion ranges from 20-40 minutes and fosters active learning as participants explore and evaluate the ideas, issues and values in a particular text. Socratic Seminar gives students a purpose for practicing the close reading of text. Students analyze various aspects of the text in order to be prepared for a discussion that requires them to cite textual evidence to support the inferences drawn from the text.
As the day continued, I started to reflect on how technology might enhance a Socratic Seminar. Our table discussed the use of Chromebooks as a “back channel” for the discussion. I was introduced to a web 2.0 tool called TodaysMeet that allows students to make comments, ask questions, and provide real time feedback for classmates participating in the discussion. This was just the beginning of our discussion as we brainstormed together ways to use Socratic Seminar in a 21st century classroom.
It was exciting to be reunited with the idea of “shared Inquiry” in the form of Socratic Seminar. I started thinking about our desire as a district to provide opportunities for inquiry in our classrooms. If you don’t know where to start, this is a great option. Let us know if you would like to give it a shot!
For more information on Socratic Seminars, check out www.socraticseminars.com.