Monday, August 25, 2014

Socratic Seminars ... BEST EXPERIENCE!

Today I had a tear-jerking experience. 
It was probably THE best experience I have had thus far as a teacher.
If you haven't heard of socratic seminars... you need to check them out!

We've decided to implement socratic seminars once a week.

Check out this video to see one in action.

So one of our big themes this year is "Speak Life"
If you haven't seen the Toby Mac video check it out here.
I absolutely LOVE the song and everything it stands for.
It's actually my new ringtone! :)

So our discussion for our first socratic seminar was "Speak Life"
As kids entered my room 8th period, they were given a paper with a few questions:
"What does speak life mean to you?"
"How do we show speak life in school and outside of school"

Students had about 5 minutes to jot down their thoughts.

Then we went over our Socratic Seminar Norms:
*keep an open mind
*make eye contact with the speaker or when speaking
*raise your hand/take turns
*no names (as a way to ensure no bullying and a safe environment)
*be respectful
(I'm sure there's a few more but my brain is completely fried!)
I was pleasantly surprised with my students by this point.

Then, we went over the grading sheet.
In a socratic seminar there is an inside and an outside circle.
The inside circle discusses while the outside circle assesses their assigned partner.
After time is up, partners meet with each other and discuss what went well or what they can work on.
Then partners switch and the outside circle moves into the inside and the process repeats.

My first group had a FANTASTIC discussion!
I thought I would have had to pull teeth to get them to talk.
They shared their ideas and built off of each other and even went off the recording sheet!
I almost started crying after listening to them.
Then I just about pulled out my phone to record them.

The second group was a little bit of a struggle.
However, they managed to carry on without me.

Below you'll find the handouts our kiddos use::
Teacher Observation Checklist
Student Observation Checklist

And finally... here is a link to other handouts and ideas.

I challenge you to give it a shot this week!
Lemme know how it works for you!!


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