Aug 062016

Keeping up the #BlAugust posts! Yay. Weekends are harder to do.


Yesterdays post where I questioned my skills and abilities in questioning created two comments. Both of them helped me directly shape the focus of what I am doing in this class. First, @Druinok suggested I get a hold of some of the AVID materials, check out Making Thinking Visible, and think about Socratic Seminars as a structure to the course.

Bust of Socrates from wikimedia

I love that idea! Socratic Seminars (SS) give a great structure and fit neatly with the ideas and goals I have for the course. But, some resources to fall back on and refer to regularly would be helpful. With a little google work, I found these that I plan on using in one form or another.

Facing History ( has a good page on SS, the rational, the process, etc. I like this page for its simplicity of thought. It is clear and directs me to the info I need.

Next up, from, a 4 page PDF on how to begin, manage, and work within the structure of SS. This is a detailed document, but not so detailed that it can’t be used as a quick reference in the middle of the semester when I will need it.

Next up, a 31 page PDF from AVID*on how to run Socratic Seminars! Wow. If you need some detailed instruction in SS, this is the document for you. I found a lot of valuable tips and techniques in it. This document has teacher advice, learner advice, black line masters, etc.

Finally, a 1 page poster PDF for learners on the rules of SS. I am not sure if I will actually use this info yet. I may just discuss it, and not hand it out.

The other comment from Andrew reminded me that even though the skills of teaching math are not transferable, the PROCESS I used to learn how to teach math is still in play, and that process is what I will need to focus on over the next couple of weeks.

Thank you Andrew and DruinOK. You both helped me tremendously. I appreciate it greatly!

*The star is because Avid doesn’t like to share. I received the DCMA request (they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a comment or communicate with me) to remove the file.

I did. They suck. Here is their lawyer speak for everyone to read.

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  4 Responses to “Socratic Seminars in K&L”

  1. Glen-I am excited that you are going to do Socratic seminars! I started them last year and blogged about the experience this past week; check it out if you want:
    It was an awesome experience that I will continue this year. That being said, than you for linking the Socratic PDFs- I will use those for refining and improving my seminars. Very helpful to me also was starting by observing a Socratic seminar from an English teacher. Watching it in action helped me to think about how each element could be translated to a math centered Socratic.

  2. This link may be helpful for middle level educators wanting to conduct Socratic Circles.
    I’ve had the opportunity to work with many teachers. A suggestion I always make is for them to record an exemplary circle. Students seeing the expectations in advance quickly sets them up for success.

  3. Here’s another resource you and middle level educators may find useful. It includes suggestions for “practice” circles and offers suggestions on establishing particular goals for the inner circle. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many teachers on running Socratic Circles in their classrooms and offer them this advice: record an exemplary session. Showing students a sample Socratic Circle quickly demonstrates the expectations. One time I took my class to watch another Socratic Circle in action and my students were amazed at the in depth discussions their fellow classmates were having. Good Luck!

  4. Thank you Mary for those two links! I appreciate them and will follow up on them myself to see what I can learn as well.

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