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Socratic Circle

3 Day Activity
March 30th-April 1st
Students Will Be Able To:
*Present a deeper understanding of a particular issue by discussing the ideas
in a small-group scenario
*Collaborate with peers in a discussion to help understand the overall ideas
of the issue at hand
*Research their issue to help prepare for the discussion (socratic circle)
*Provide relevant comments about the issue during the discussion
*Respect other peoples input into the socratic circle and allow a level of
openness for other students to express themselves
*Develop feedback for other members of a socratic circle to help understand
the proper behavior required for a well-informed discussion
Standards:
-CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
(one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 1112 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their
own clearly and persuasively
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material
under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence
from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a
thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.B
Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decisionmaking, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as
needed.
-CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.7
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different
media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to
address a question or solve a problem.

-(Research)CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development
over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one
another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the
text.
Overview:
The students are participating in a socratic circle in response to the
continuation of the dialogic nature of the classroom. It also designed to help
students prepare for the discussion-related activities they will encountered in
their senior-level English course. This was designed to be a low-stakes
socratic circle. I decided to find issues that students can relate to easily
because the circle is designed to be a conversation on the issue. The
students will also be assessing another peers engagement with the circle.
Issues for Discussion:
1) Circle 1-Taking Sports Out of School
The recent scandal in which a New Jersey high school
cancelled its football season after seven varsity players were
charged with hazing and sexually assaulting younger players,
has led to more scrutiny about football and youth sports. Have
competitive teenage athletics gotten out of hand? Should high
schools eliminate their sports teams?
2) Circle 2-Dealing With Online Bullies Outside the
Classroom

More and more schools across the country are trying


to address the issue of bullying. But bullyings presence online
has grown considerably. What happens when it occurs outside of
school walls? Should schools regulate the off-campus, online
behavior of their students?
Assessment:
To get full credit, the student must verbally participate at least 3
times while he/she are in the circle and be respectful of everyone!
Participation: 15 points (can get up to 15 points EC for further
participation)

Feedback: 15 points (written feedback from outside circle during


discussion)
Overall: 30 points
Rules of the Socratic Circle:
1. Refer to the articles/research when needed during the discussion. This is
not a test of memory. You are not "learning a subject"; your goal is to
understand the ideas, issues, and values reflected in the text.
*Print off your research so you can refer to it during the circle!
2. Be respectful over other peoples opinions. Any personal attacks will result
in an automatic zero on the assignment.
3. Do not stay confused; ask for clarification.
4. Stick to the point currently under discussion; make notes about ideas you
want to return to.
5. Don't raise hands; take turns speaking.
6. Listen carefully.
7. Speak up so that all can hear you.
8. Talk to each other, not just to the leader or teacher.
9. Discuss ideas rather than each other's opinions.
10. You are responsible for the circle!
Handouts:
Monday-Socratic Circle Activity Handout
Tuesday-Opened-Ended Questions for Socratic Circle (Intended for Research)pg. 111-112
Wednesday-Partner Feedback Handout
MONDAY
Socratic Circle
Activity Handout

Introduction of Socratic Circle and Research


20 Minutes
Handout Assignment and talk about the requirements
and overview of the assignment on Wednesday
*Remind students that this not a debate-rather a
discussion
*Go over the rules of the circle
5 Minutes
Assign students to two different circles
20 Minutes
Grab iPad Cart
Students begin to research articles on their topic:
*Remind Students of Room for Discussion NYT articles
to start research and inquiry

TUESDAY
Opened-Ended
Questions for
Socratic Circle
(Intended for
Research)-pg.
111-112

Library-Online Research of Issue


-Students will be in the library researching and printing
off articles to help prepare for the socratic circle
tomorrow
-Remind students that this is not a memory test,
they should refer to stories and ideas during the
discussion

WEDNESDAY
Socratic Circle Discussion
Partner Feedback 1) Students are divided into two circles based on
Handout
their topics: an inner circle and an outer circle.
*Handout Partner Feedback Sheet
2) Students in the inner circle engage in a
discussion of their topic for approximately twenty
minutes, while the outer circle observes the
performance of the inner circle participant.
3) Following this discussion, the outer circle then
assesses the inner circles performance and
offers written feedback.
4) Students in the inner and outer circle now
exchange roles and positions within the
classroom.
5)The new inner circle (the students who began in
the outer circle) holds a twenty-minute discussion
and then receives feedback from the new outer
circle.