• Activities

    Session 1:

    Objective:  During this activity, you will be introduced to the basic structure and rationale for the Socratic Seminar instruction model.


    1.   View Introduction to Socratic Seminar a video produced by Paidia Active Learning, a comprehensive online resource for Socratic Seminar Learning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9GJYauGecw  (Other related videos can be located at http://www.paideia org)

    2.   After viewing the video, reflect on the following:

                   a.  What do you find intriguing about the idea of Socratic Seminar?

                   b. Do  you think that Socratic Seminar will be an effective teaching/learning

    strategy? Why?

    Post Your Responses on Nimbus in the VTSD Online Professional Development Course Discussions (You will have to join the group first). Please copy and paste the question above your answer to make it easier for others to follow your posts.  http://voorheesnimbus.schoolwires.net/groups/home/tabid/93/ClassId   /437039/Default.aspx

    3.   If you are an elementary teacher, view the video entitled Socratic Seminar Strategies for the Second Grade Classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBfH_fhAme0&list=PL1DIHxaZ3nAxEMzxUIGCee63QeVXA22rn

         If you are a secondary teacher, view the video entitled Pre-Seminar Process How to Teach a Socratic Seminar Part 2 (Secondary Level) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zOj3SqQes4


    4.   After viewing the video, make a list of topics that your class may be interested in discussing during a Socratic Circle. Ideas could include current events, literature that your students may be reading, a daily journal entry, a current holiday, heroes, etc.  Share your list on VTSD Online Professional Development Courses NIMBUS page. http://voorheesnimbus.schoolwires.net/groups/home/tabid/93/ClassId/437039/Default.aspx


    Session 2:

    Objective: During this session, the learner will be able to  identify the elements of a Socratic Circle and will explain the rationale for conducting Socratic Circles in the classroom.


    1.  Read the article entitled Yes, Elementary Students Can Use Socratic Circles by Dondi Frisinger. 

    Think about the following questions:

    a.  How do Socratic Circles relate to the Common Core?

    b.  In what content areas and grade levels do students benefit from participating in Socratic Circles?

    2.   Read the article entitled Socratic Seminars: Engaging Students in Intellectual Discourse

    Think about the following questions:

                   a.  List the steps required to implement a Socratic Circle.

                   b.  What skills can students gain from participating in a Socratic Circle?

                   c.  What is the role of the teacher in a Socratic Circle?


    3.    Reflection:  Think about a previous lesson that you have taught that could include a Socratic Circle as part of the lesson.  What pre-planning would you have to do to ensure the Socratic Circle was successful?  While implementing the Socratic Circle what would you be doing as the facilitator of the discussion?  Post your thoughts on Nimbus.


    Session 3:

    Objective: The learner will navigate to and select a lesson plan from the Paideia Website to implement in their classroom.


    1.      Open a web browser and navigate to http://www.paideia.org/teachers/seminar-lesson-plans/.

    2.      Select your appropriate grade level

                   a.  Early Elementary

                   b.  Upper Elementary

                   c.  Middle School

                   d.  High School

    3.      Select your desired subject

                   a.  English and Language Arts

                   b.  Math

                   c.  Science

                   d.  Social Studies

    4.      Select Free

    5.      Click Submit

    6.      Select the lesson you wish to view by clicking on Details.

    7.      Right click on Lesson Plan – Download PDF and select Open in new Tab.

    8.      The lesson is now ready for you to view and utilize.

    9.      After implementing the lesson, return to NIMBUS http://voorheesnimbus.schoolwires.net/groups/home/tabid/93/ClassId/437039/Default.aspx and reflect upon the Socratic Seminar you chose.  Points you may wish to consider:

                   a.  How was your Socratic Seminar different from a traditional lesson?

                   b.  How did your students react to the Socratic Seminar lesson?

                   c.  Would you make modifications to the lesson and if so, what would you do      


                   d.  Would you recommend this lesson to a colleague?


    1.      Computer with an internet connection

    2.      Supplies/materials designated within the specific lesson of choice. 


    Session 4 (Optional):

    * As learner become familiar with Socratic Method, learning may want to explore video-taping and documenting their students in action.  Learner will receive an additional 2 hours of Professional Development Hours.

    Objective:  During this session, the learner will produce a video of the class implementing a Socratic Circle and post it on NIMBUS and the learner’s website.


    1.      View this student-created video about Socratic Circle and get inspired https://www.voorhees.k12.nj.us/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=69955&ViewID=94B66785-F3F0-41A8-8414-1E55691D3E9E&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=72576&PageID=69013

    2.      Find a volunteer to video tape students during Socratic activity (You may want to train select students to videotape, or a staff member)

    3.      Set up video camera or iPad so that all students are seen (Make sure all students have been given parent permission to have their image posted on the internet).  Videographer should use tripod or prop device on desk/table. (Technical note: if you are enlisting trained students, you may suggest two different angled shots for editing purposes).  Video to Help with Video Taping: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/videotaping-tips-for-teachers

    4.      Remind students of appropriate behaviors and expectations before filming.

    5.      First video yourself introducing the topic and expectations.

    6.      Video your class’s Socratic Circle Activity.

    7.      Technical Suggestions: Videographers should tape videos in short segments, stopping and starting during different pauses throughout the activity.  This is important during the editing process and prevents files from being too large.

    8.      When filming is finished, use an editing software to finalize your video (You may want to use select students to edit video)  How to Edit Your Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grYjna2xnOY

    9.      Post your video to Nimbus.  You may want to first post the video to your website and then post the link on Nimbus.