Sunday, December 22, 2013

Socratic Seminar Reflections

I've already written about my decision to have my kids do a Socratic seminar for their final as well as the trainwreck that one of the Socratics was. If you're interested in running Socratic seminars in your room they might be worth your time, but I'll spare you the rehash of either of those things. The troublesome Socratic was a difficult thing to be a part of. However, that struggle didn't - to me - overshadow how well these Socratics went.

That Class did a great job with their Socratic. Students carried the conversation for about 100 minutes. The kids in That Class who had struggled with positive engagement and focus in my class generally rocked their Socratic. Which was clearly rewarding to see. Now, to figure out how to channel that positive energy from the Socratic for second semester.

And the other two classes? Well, they were as engaging as any Socratic I had ever been a part of. Both classes talked up to the bell - and would have talked far longer! Remember, this is over 110 minutes into the conversation. Both had 100% verbal participation from participants. Both dripped with good ideas and deep thoughts. Both allowed me to sit back and watch - and not say a word! - for over an hour and a half. Most importantly, both were a blast to watch because kids got a chance to be smart. I love it when my kids give me an excuse to write some positive emails home.

So in the end, was one sour experience enough to dissuade me from doing Socratic seminars as final exams in the future? Heck no! They're way too much fun. Plus, the grading is way easier. (Which doesn't hurt.)

Give Socratic seminars a try. Several times. Stick with them. After a year of doing them, man are they fun to watch!

My 'score sheet' after another spectacular Socratic seminar