Socratic Seminars in High School : Texts and Films That Engage Students in Reflective Thinking and Close Reading book cover
1st Edition

Socratic Seminars in High School
Texts and Films That Engage Students in Reflective Thinking and Close Reading

ISBN 9781138023192
Published November 5, 2014 by Routledge
260 Pages

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Book Description

Teach students how to engage in thoughtful discussions about a text. Socratic seminars are highly effective at helping students read closely and think critically about what they’ve read. They also teach students how to participate in authentic discussions. This practical book from bestselling authors Victor and Marc Moeller is your go-to guide for getting started! It will help teachers who are new at Socratic seminars and provide fresh ideas to teachers who are experienced with the format. Part I provides guidelines on how to prepare students for discussion and how to form good discussion questions. Part II includes ready-to-use lesson plans organized by compelling themes to engage students. The lesson plans include unabridged literary and nonfiction reading selections from classic and contemporary authors, as well as suggested film pairings.

Authors featured in this book include...

  • C. S. Lewis
  • William Faulkner
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Mike Royko
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Andrew Postman
  • John Updike
  • Gina Berriault
  • Gene Siskel
  • Judith Guest
  • President Obama
  • Anton Chekhov
  • Robert Frost
  • John Cheever

And more!

Table of Contents

1. Two Models of Teaching 2. What is the Socratic Method of Teaching and Learning? 3. Lesson Plan 1: Active and Close Reading 4. Lesson Plan 2: Three Kinds of Questions 5. Lesson Plan 3: Qualities of Good Discussion Questions 6. Lesson Plan 4: Basic Interpretive Questions 7. Lesson Plan 5: Spontaneous Follow-up Questions 8. Lesson Plan 6: Preparing Students for Discussion9. SOCRATIC SEMINARS AND FILM:An Overview: Great Books Common Core Curriculum 10. Lesson Plan 7: Why would "no one choose to live without friends"? 11. Lesson Plan 8: How important is a brother or your country in your life? 12. Lesson Plan 9: Is technology much a curse as a blessing? 13. Lesson Plan 10: Can we forget that we are human? 14. Lesson Plan 11: How important is God in your life?15. Lesson Plan 15: How does someone cope with the death of a child? 16. Lesson Plan 13: Do we all have the same unconditional right to life?

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Victor J. Moeller is an English professor at McHenry Community College in Illinois.

Marc V. Moeller teaches English at Prairie Middle School in the Barrington Community Unit School District in Illinois.


The authors' love for teaching students how to generate a genuine encounter with great literature using the Socratic method is apparent in every lesson. This book provides a "how-to" approach for the literature teacher who delights in provoking original thinking, taking students to a new level of understanding and lively discussion. A must have!

- Geri Secora, Former High School Literature Teacher, Bolingbrook, IL


With his detailed instruction on Socratic Seminars, his keen insight into a wide variety of texts and his strong belief that students can and will come to class prepared and ready to engage, Victor Moeller has revolutionized my teaching. Employing his methods has increased my students' daily participation and their willingness to take risks in what they share and what they write. 

- Camille Schuler, AP Literature Teacher, Medford, OR