We have used Socratic Seminars with our third graders all the way up through our twelfth graders to discuss short stories, poetry, and sets of chapters in a novel. While obviously the level of questions change, the setup remains pretty much the same. Here’s how we set up our seminars from start to finish:
1. Day before Seminar:
2. Before Seminar Begins:
3. Start of Seminar:
4. During Seminar:
- Students in outer circle: Complete this observation checklist to stay engaged in the discussion even if they are not verbally participating. This checklist is a part of this larger How to Teach Writing Resource.
- Students in inner circle: Participate actively in discussion.
- Teacher: Sit off to the side and complete a rubric for each student. We use this one, which you can download for free. You should only interject to ask a follow-up question that will get students expanding on their answers.
5. Things we’ve learned over the years:
- Do you think Rainsford’s views on hunting have changed at the end of the story?
- Did Zaroff’s actions ultimately contribute to his death?
- Does Rainsford value human life?
- Are Rainsford and Zaroff similar? Why or why not?
- Why is it titled “The Most Dangerous Game”?
- Do Rainsford and Zaroff follow the rules in “The Most Dangerous Game”? Does everyone follow the rules in everyday life?