Socratic Seminar Strategies for the Second Grade Classroom
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Socratic Seminar Strategies for the Second Grade Classroom

♪[theme music]>>teacher: We’re gonna move on. I’m
gonna ask you another question. Are you ready to listen? Okay, we have lots of stuff to talk
about, so let’s ask this one… Well speaking and listening is a giant
part of common core. It’s an entire strand now, and it’s going to be on our
assessments and in our units and they’re going to have to be graded based on
rubrics. And so the students are really going to have to be able to become
good listeners that can carry on conversations and-and articulate their
thoughts about what they’ve learned. And so um Socratic Seminar really helps meet
those speaking and listening standards. and gives the kids an opportunity to sort
of demonstrate all the other Common Core language arts standards
that they’ve learned. If you can hear me touch your head if
you can hear me touch your shoulders If you can hear me wiggle your
fingers at me like this. Awesome, I almost have everybody’s attention. Cool, I’m gonna need you to get up, turn
your chairs so you’re knees-to-knees, read a page and ask a question. Go! They spent a week talking about, um you
know, character, setting, problem solution, um author’s viewpoint, uh they compared
it to another story that was, you know similar, they answered the Thinking
About the Selection questions.>>student 1: Who are the characters and the setting?>>student 2: Um, his mom, his um Tommy, his best friend…>>teacher: We use the story
with a lot of other standards. We didn’t use it with the
speaking and listening. So when they sat down to buddy read,
that was probably the six or seventh time they had read the story, but they were
able to read it independently and ask each other comprehension questions. And so
having them know what the words say and what the story is about, helps them
formulate those questions and have conversations with each other. So that
was really cool to do that at the end of the week. At the beginning of the week it
wouldn’t have been as quite as smooth. They still buddy read, you know, calmly and
quietly and ask each other questions, but the conversation gets so much better like on
day five or six then it would on day one. we’re going to clean up, move our
desks, and circle up. Let’s go. Um having 30 students, especially with
20 boys in the group, sit in a circle it- it doesn’t work. They end
up like in a big crazy blob and no one can see each other. And
they-they sit really close together and squeeze in. And so I um…made a giant
yarn circle so that each kid could hold onto a piece of the yarn,
spread out, and then sit down. So it’s sort of the same principle as
holding hands and sitting in a circle but without the yeww. Yewwwww. So that’s how we practice sitting in a
circle, and once we sort of got that down like who can’t sit next to who and
sort of arrange it that way, we were good to go with the circle. But like
anything else it just took lots of practice. Crisscross applesauce, we’re sitting
peacefully. So let’s go over our rules. listen to the…
>>students: Speaker.
>>teacher: Thank you. You may speak when another person has
finished their…
>>students: Thought.>>teacher: Excellent. Responds to other thoughts Use the sentence frames and we’re going
to sit…
>>students and teacher: Peacefully.>>teacher: Excellent job. Sometimes I have issues with students
that can’t sit still in the group. They’re eight year olds, so a lot of times they
get a little squirmy and antsy. So I will try to fix the behavior by modeling, making
eye contact with them, and folding my hands, and being like this is how you should
be sitting. Are you sitting peacefully? Can you sit on your bottom please. Just
gentle reminders to begin with. Real quick, can we make sure
we’re sitting peacefully crisscross applesauce, hands on our lap. That way we we’re not making extra noise. A
few times I’ve done Socratic Seminars I’ve had to just remove the student from
the group and have them go sit at their desk because they’re just
creating such a distraction. Okay, we’re going to move on. I’m
going to ask you another question. Are you ready to listen? Okay, we have lots of stuff to talk about,
so how does the author use descriptive words to make this story interesting. I’m
going to pick a number of the bucket. Then it’s fair. Justin. One more thing I do to sort of make
sure that everybody talks is I brought my little tub of student numbers to the
carpet and when I needed somebody to begin a conversation or when there was
sort of a lull and I needed somebody to contribute I just pull a number and call
on somebody. That holds them accountable for listening too. Uriel has the floor:
>>Uriel: I agree with Samantha because that it happened and there’s some more interesting words.
>>teacher: Like what?>>Uriel: Like the sound on the desk.
>>teacher: Okay. The role has definitely changed because
in the beginning I’d have to be like, Oh respond to the other person or,
Oh, use the sentence frame. And I would have to constantly remind them to use
the academic language that I expected from them and as we practiced more I was
less involved in it so I could just ask a question and they could carry
on their own conversation.>>student: I also thought that um,
what kind of hands the grandma had. Worn hands, when she pulled the
big book from the wood-what kind of stove is it? A wood stove. And she got the
book and she and she found the recipe on a greased spot.>>teacher: Ooh, interesting: Warm hands,
a greased spot, and a wood stove. Cool, right? Alright I’m gonna
move on to another question. Let’s start with Yaira. Yaira, why
do you think Patricia Polacco chose to write this story? Some of the questions I formulated on my
own. Um, some other resources that I use is I have a lot of the GATE Icon and Universal
Concept sort of books and game cards and things like that that have a
lot of sentence frames and question stems, and I used a lot of that. So there
was a lot of detail questions, pattern questions, ah big idea questions, language
of the discipline questions, and so those were crucial in my planning because that, you
know, demands a child to think critically anyways and so I went straight to those
when I was formulating my questions, just to stimulate thought. I’m going to ask
you what could be another title for the story and why?>>student: I think a new title of Thundercake is Making it-a-Thundercake.>>student 2: I think another title for the story will be um… Get the Recipe for Thundercakes.>>teacher: Go ahead Dan.>>Dan: I think the title should
be How to Make the Cake because at the end it shows the recipe.>>teacher: Ooh, excellent choice.>>student: Great thought. I also
thought that another title would be…>>teacher: I really would like to
emphasize the kids who responded to the question and the kids who responded to
the other student responses. So I love them to be able to um show like their use
of the sentence frames like, Great Answer, I also thought. For a teacher that hasn’t done a
Socratic Seminar yet, I would suggest starting off slow, piece by piece. Um
introduce the sentence frames, introduce it in small groups. Practice, practice, practice, practice.
Be in charge of the conversation at first and then sort of ease off. Having 30
kids sit in a circle right off the bat that’s going to probably fail pretty
miserably. So it helps to start with like a small reading group that you’re reading
with, or it helps to have them be sitting at their desks and sort of
introduce it that way. Um, I definitely didn’t start the Socratic Seminar this
year until I learned it in February so it was already February when I did it
with my class for the first time. So I already had, you know, seven or eight
months of school behind me [laughs] So it wasn’t-I don’t think as difficult
to-to implement the strategy as it would be next year
at the beginning of the year when I start
to try to practice it. You guys I want you to give
me an air high five. Bam. You did great. Let’s move the
tables back and clean up. ♪[theme music]

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