No Series: Socratic Seminars: Patience & Practice


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 1: 
    Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text
    says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 4: 
    Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text,
    including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact
    of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes
    a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 1c: 
    Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
    (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10
    topics, texts, and issues, building on others'\x80\x99 ideas and expressing their own
    clearly and persuasively.

    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.

    b. Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making
    (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of
    alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.

    c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the
    current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate
    others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and

    d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of
    agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their
    own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the
    evidence and reasoning presented.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Socratic Seminars: Patience & Practice

Lesson Objective: Discuss the meaning and importance of poetic language
Grades 9-12 / ELA / Poetry
ELA.RL.9-10.1 | ELA.RL.9-10.4 | ELA.SL.9-10.1c


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How do students develop discussion skills by participating in both the inner and outer circles?
  2. What can you learn from Ms. Price about using the language of the Common Core with students?
  3. Ms. Price says that it's our responsibility to make it their responsibility. How does she do this?


  • Private message to Kris Strand

1. When students are in the inner circle they are a part of the discussion and when they are in the outer circle they are observing and critiquing their partner's discussion. Both places are valuable in regards to learning, they both provide a different perspective on the discussion so that increases their knowledge in the discussion.

2. The idea of changing the rubrics as the year progresses which means that she doesn't just teach one standard and move on, she differentiates a has students grow into the standards.

3. By using the socratic circle she facilitates the discussion rather than standing up front lecturing which pushes the responsibility for learning onto the students but she as a facilitator can further the discussion when she feels it is necessary or she wants students to pursue a different path. 

Recommended (2)
  • Private message to Loriz Gomez

Students develop discussion skills by having the opportunity to engage the inner group as active participants by answering questions and having discussions. Meanwhile, the outer group listens attentively to give feedback or taking notes.  Ms. Price holds her students accountable and lets them do the teaching/learning. It takes patience as a teacher to sit and watch students take charge of their own learning.

Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Elizabeth Owonikoko

In this formal text-based discussion, the group leader asked an open-ended question and wait patiently for someone to answer. As the discussion continues, students have to listen closely to comment on other answers by thinking critically for themselves and articulate their own thoughts or ideas to the ideas of others. It is an opportunity for the teacher to listen as the students struggle through multiple ideas. The teacher has to be patient with the student to explore their text and develop critical thinking to give a meaningful response.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Janeece Flint

Yes.  The waiting through the silience is the hard part!  It's tough as an adult and exruciating for teens.  It a skill we all neeed to learn especially if we are extroverted.  To me in this sonerio the content for this scenerio is less important than learning the skills.



Recommended (0)
  • Private message to faye bing
I received good information from this video. Thanks!
Recommended (0)


  • ECET Paige Price
    Video transcript

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: Hi, I'm Paige Price and today’s lesson is: What's the point of poetic

    ECET Paige Price
    Video transcript

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: Hi, I'm Paige Price and today’s lesson is: What's the point of poetic language? Why can't writers just make it simple?

    STUDENT: I think that prose is definitely more transparent because it just lays out the meaning for you.

    STUDENT: In poetry you kind of see things through the author’s eyes.

    STUDENT: It’s like a scavenger hunt of meaning. Kind of.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: Today’s Socratic seminar was focused on poetic language and meaning in poetic language. What we’ve been trying to figure out and what I’ve been sort of letting them wrestle with in the class is whether or not poetic language can express something that prose can't express.

    STUDENT: You have to actually, like, reread a poem, like, at least twice to really know the meaning.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: I conduct my Socratic seminars with an inner and outer circle. My experience tells me that discussions are most effective when there's a critical mass of between 8 to 13 students in a circle. That allows every student to have multiple opportunities to speak.

    STUDENT: It’s really good that the figurative language can mean multiple things because…

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: As they’re working they have a partner on the outside circle who’s observing, taking notes on their conversation, to give them ideas about where to go next.

    PAIGE PRICE: This is your seventh Socratic Seminar. What you’ve been doing so far this year is building your skill at listening to each other, at building on each other’s ideas, and, most recently, at asking questions that deepen the conversation.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: The common core — it's focused how I teach. It's the first set of standards that directly addresses the necessity of developing group discussion skills in teenagers.

    PAIGE PRICE: When we did To Kill a Mockingbird, you guys got really good at finding evidence in the text that supported your point, but we didn’t really analyze it. We didn’t look at the words the author was using. That’s going to be the goal today.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: To scaffold students to meet the common core standards, I try to make available to them through rubrics in very specific terms what it is that they're going to be required to do to meet the common core. So it's always in front of them like a roadmap. Every student has two rubrics. One is for their inside circle self-evaluation and one is for their outside circle evaluation of their peer. I color code them so the students can easily tell the difference.

    PAIGE PRICE: Yellow or goldenrod rubric: your name, outside circle, then your partner’s name.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: All of the language on the rubric is drawn from a common core. My rubrics change as the year goes by so what’s proficient at the beginning of the year may be only basic as we move along, and what's exemplary may become proficient as kids get more and more practice. And then I can continue to set higher and higher goals, which is really exciting.

    PAIGE PRICE: Take a look at rubric and pick your individual goal for the day.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: For me the most critical part of the Socratic seminar is the self-reflection. I want students to start the seminar with a moment where they're thinking about, “OK, what do I want to do today, what have I done in the past?”

    PAIGE PRICE: Write one sentence. “My goal for today is to…”

    PAIGE PRICE: We’re gonna do a 15-minute seminar, with the inside circle; a coaching break; we’re gonna follow that up with a 10-minute; and then we’re gonna switch and do the same thing over again. Somebody pick a question that they want to start the seminar with.

    CLASS: Silence.

    STUDENT: Ok, so. If you were an author, which element of poetry—figure, line, meter, or rhyme—would you utilize the least, and why?

    CLASS: Silence.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: I withdraw from the Socratic seminar and act only as an outside facilitator. It's every teacher’s nightmare to start a Socratic seminar and to have no one participate. To sit and wait, and wait, and wait. But when we are telling students that it's their job to carry the conversation, we have to commit to that.

    STUDENT 1: Um, I think that I would utilize meter the least.

    STUDENT 2: Well isn’t that kind of sometimes what makes the poem an actual poem?

    STUDENT 1: I guess. What do you think, Ken?

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: Unless things are exploding and people are about to attack each other it's our responsibility to make it their responsibility.

    STUDENT 1: Chris, what do you—what do you think about rhyme?

    STUDENT 2: I think that it’s more pointed toward the age group and who the audience is.

    STUDENT 3: I was just gonna ask if Jane had an opinion on rhyme and stuff.

    STUDENT 4: Um, I think that poetry is about, like, disguising what you actually mean with all this random imagery and stuff.

    PAIGE PRICE: And that’s the end of round one! Alright. Outside circle folks, I want you to find your inside circle partner.

    STUDENT 1: You’re definitely incorporating people when you ask them their opinions. So that’s really good.

    STUDENT 2: I think I need to work on summarizing a little bit more.

    STUDENT 1: I think you are when you say, “So, what you guys are saying is this,” that’s summarizing.

    PAIGE PRICE: Alright, you guys ready? Start of round 2; this one’s gonna be a ten-minute round.

    STUDENT 1: What we basically summarized from this poem is that it’s a break from responsibility. So if you would look at line ten: “We do this as the child circles her room, impatient with her blossoming, tired of the neat house, the made bed, the good food. We let her brood as we shuffle through the pieces.” So. You can see that, like, the child is impatient, kind of bothered, or whatever, but they just keep on putting the puzzles together.

    STUDENT 2: So I think that what you’re kinda trying to say, correct me if I’m wrong, but is like. It’s like the puzzle is kind of what they wish that their life was like, and it’s their escape. And that’s why it’s called “Break”?

    STUDENT 1: Yes. Especially—yeah, that’s perfect, cause, it’s like, the real world is the falling, crumbling world, and this break is just, a break from that world.

    PAIGE PRICE INTERVIEW: The most critical thing in having success with a Socratic Seminar is to be patient and to try it over and over and over again. Because, at its best, a Socratic seminar is an opportunity for you to listen, to really listen, to students as they struggle through an idea independent of your guidance.

    PAIGE PRICE: We have time for the final comment… who wants to take it? Peter could come up with another metaphor.

    STUDENT: Poetry is like chocolate cake because it’s got multiple layers.

School Details

Mountain View High School
3535 Truman Avenue
Mountain View CA 94040
Population: 2062

Data Provided By:



Paige Price
28 MIN