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Socratic Circle

By January 25, 2024Elementary

Middle School Socratic Circle

Middle school students are reading “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan. It’s a wordless graphic novel about the immigrant experience. The book gives students a chance to make meaning of a story with greater ambiguity than a typical novel. During the lesson, students participated in a Socratic Circle discussion, which is an approach to understanding and examining a text through a series of questions and answers. Socratic Circles are student-led dialogues that require preparation, the ability to maintain the conversation around a specific topic, utilize active listening, and include others. 

5th Grade Socratic Seminar and Reader’s Theater

As part of their exploration of the new module on wordplay, the fifth graders participated in a Reader’s Theater and a Socratic seminar. The students engaged in a discussion on “How wordplay causes confusion and humor” As part of their preparation for the seminar, they familiarized themselves with the text they were analyzing through an enactment of Reader’s Theater. The interactive and performative nature of Reader’s Theater served as an opportunity for the students to engage with the literature in a dynamic and enjoyable way.

During the Socratic seminar, the students practiced sharing their perspectives and responding to each other’s thoughts in a respectful way. They were encouraged to build on each other’s ideas, ask clarifying questions, and examine the underlying message of the topic. The session ended with a reflection on the appropriateness of wordplay in different contexts. Throughout this module, the students will continue to explore how authors use wordplay to create humor and meaning and express themes.

Watch a clip of the students, inspired by “Who’s on First?” a comedy routine made famous by the duo Abbott and Costello.

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