Monday, November 24, 2014

Seminar in the Classroom

As educators, we like to chat with each other about things that go well with teaching and things that we can work on to make our teaching better.  Our students can do the same thing during a seminar.  Some call it Socratic or Paideia Seminar but all in all, it's about the same thing.

When I first heard about doing a seminar, I was completely overwhelmed.  I didn't know what it was and I certainly didn't know how to do it.  Over the past few weeks I have been researching, as well as working with my team to develop our first seminar for our first graders.  I like to have careful guidance when I'm doing something new with my students so they feel comfortable learning and communicating with each other, even though I may not be comfortable with trying something new.  I came up with several resources that made this transition helpful for me (and my team) to conduct our first seminar.

Here are a few of the resources that are included in "Talking with Friends: SEMINAR":
I have included an explanation of what seminar is (in kid friendly words), reasons why seminar is so great, seminar procedures, tips to conducting a great seminar, seminar guidelines, student goal choices, student reflection on goals, talk helpers (in case students get stumped and can't think of anything else to say), teacher question stems (to help guide the conversation in the right direction), and participation logs (to keep track of how the students talk with each other).

Your students will love having the opportunity to talk to each other as they develop speaking skills necessary in everyday life.  If you have tried seminar, please leave some feedback on things that work well and things that are a challenge for you.  I would love to get more teachers on board with this collaborative teaching method.  Give it a try and share your thoughts! :-)

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