How do I facilitate Socratic Seminars with students in pre-K to 1st grade?
Not much is really different. As the professional for this age group, choose an appropriate text and start by asking questions that have two alternatives: Is this story happy or sad? Do you like or dislike this poem? Use pictures of various facial expressions, like a happy face and a frowning face. Ask questions like: What are you feeling right now, this one or this one? So, what do you think this character is feeling, this picture or this one? Have the students explain their answers as much as they can, and encourage multiple students to share. Watch out for anecdotes. Consider limiting the sharing to a few sentences.
Help the students recognize that they are part of a group by encouraging them to actively listen to each other using whole-body listening. A slow but effective way is to have each student repeat what the previous student said before adding to the conversation. Create group affiliations by asking questions like: Who else agrees with Lenora? Who disagrees with this idea?
When the students are ready, move to questions with three or four alternatives, and eventually ask open-ended questions.
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