Tag Archives: Secondary Classroom

The Super Rad Socratic

3rd February 2015

Let’s just face it, Socratic seminars are either super rad or super sad. When the students stay focused and discuss using evidence from the text and their own lives, magic happens in the English classroom; but, when you get a class that is quiet, they just stare at each other and all you hear is “crickets”. However, the whole-class graded Socratic seminar is highly rigorous and will keep your students engaged for an entire 55 minute period whether they are extroverts or introverts – I promise!

First, I set my classroom up with three Socratic circles – from the center circle out, there should be a chair behind each student (as the students are going to rotate up and out).

2015-01-30 13.41.01

Second, as the students come into class, I tell them to pick a circle to sit in: inner, middle, or outer and I give them a one word descriptor for each so they can decide to sit based on what they think is their strength in argument writing (i.e. inner – thesis, middle – evidence, outer – TOES (which I use as a short way to say: types of evidence (literature, current event, history, pop culture, personal anecdote, social observations, etc.).

Third, once the students have chosen their seats and I then hand out a class set of directions, similar to the below, and verbally talk them through the directions.

Of Mice and Men Satire

Graded Socratic Seminar

Whole-Class Essay Outline


1. Inner circle will be creating the thesis statement with two “prongs” (i.e. two body paragraphs) that will answer the following prompt (when finished, they will move out of the circle to the back circle, pair up, and will create full circle hook/closure options while circle 2 and 3 go): – 10 min.


After reading “Girl Moved to Tears by Of Mice and Men Cliffs Notes” and examining the satirical cartoon, outline an essay defending or refuting whether satire is an effective way to deliver a message.

2. Center circle will be choosing the (four) 4 pieces textual evidence ((two) 2 for each body paragraph) from the article/cartoon that help support the thesis statement chosen in circle 1. 15 min.

3. Outer circle will be coming up with (two) 2 TOES (types of evidence  (literature, current event, history, pop culture, personal anecdote, social observations, etc.), USING YOUR PHONE if necessary, that will help support the thesis chosen and pair well with circle 2’s chosen evidence in the body paragraphs. 15 min.

  1. 2015-01-29 13.22.22

    Thus, at the end of the hour, the outline below (that I write for them on the front white board) should be completely filled.



Body 1: Reason

Evidence (article/cartoon)

Evidence (article/cartoon)


Body 2: Reason

Evidence (article/cartoon)

Evidence (article/cartoon)




2015-02-02 11.28.45 2015-02-02 11.28.50

Basically, I do not run Socratic seminar, the students do.

Here are some teacher pointers:

  • At the end of the hour, I review the white board with their whole-class determined outline and I talk them through their strengths and weaknesses and then I score it on an AP 1-9 scale right in front of them. The entire class gets the same score in the grade book.
  • Make sure each circle nominates a “scribe” to write their ideas down on the white board (they can still contribute to the discussion from the front of the room).
  • I tell each circle when their time is up (and I literally time them on my phone, when I have not done this they run out of time) and they rotate up and out.
  • I remind them that if they are not in the center circle at that moment then they must be silent and listening to their peers.

Post a comment with any questions,

XO. Brit

QR Code Scavenger Hunt

26th December 2014

Two things you need to do before we begin:

The end of the semester is a scramble to get students to review for finals in a meaningful and engaging way. There are several different options for review games, which I have included on my Finals Review Favorites post but none can compare to the QR Code Scavenger Hunt.

I received this scavenger hunt idea from my colleague, Julia Salce, who is an amazing leader and educator. You will need to come up with ten questions that are “fill in the blank” with one word answers. You can take these from your existing review guide and modify them. In essence, you will type up these ten questions in a WORD document and enlarge them enough so there is one question per page. DO NOT PRINT QUESTIONS OUT YET.

Now, you need to decide on ten locations that you will place the questions around your campus: the attendance office, the library, the nurse, etc. I usually place the questions on the outside doors of the building as to not interrupt any other classes or the front office. Make sure your write down for yourself which question is at which location as you will need to write riddles for each location.

Next, login to the Padlet account you created above. This site has a slight learning curve. Essentially, you need to make a Padlet “Wall” for each question, but instead of writing the next question in the description area you will write the riddle to the question’s location. You will also need to set a password to get into each “Wall” which is in the “Modify this Wall” tool under “Privacy” on the right hand side of the webpage screen. The password is the answer to the question on the WORD document. If they can’t answer the question, they can’t get into the wall that has the next clue (so it gets intense as this is a group competition in my classes). Here is a sample from one I did last quarter: http://padlet.com/britbingold/2y8ng02jpy5s. The password is: Synesthesia.

Once all your Padlet Wall’s are created with riddles to the locations of each question, go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ and copy the link of the Padlet Wall into the paste area and hit “Generate”. A QR Code should be created and then you can copy the QR Code and paste at the bottom of the WORD document question. Thus, when the students scan the QR Code with their QR Code Reader APP on their SMART phone (which is a free app I have them download the day before) they are able to answer the question by putting in the password and be released to the “Wall” with the riddle to the next question. You must create a different QR Code for each “Wall” for each riddle. NOW YOU PRINT THEM OUT.

QR Code scav


I put students in groups of four with one SMART phone that has the app. They start with a question in my room and scan that QR code (this is where I can help them learn the technology aspect of the hunt) and then they pretty much run around the school using their phones to scan, answer, and review. The first group that posts their team name to each “Wall” (so I know they actually answered and didn’t just start following other teams) and returns to my room wins!

Please email me with any questions: brit@thebitsofbrit.com

Happy reviewing!

XO. Brit