Socratic Seminars in Middle School

Texts and Films That Engage Students in Reflective Thinking and Close Reading


Socratic Seminar & Film English textbook

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…

  • William Faulkner
  • Gina Berriault
  • Gene Siskel
  • President Obama
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Kahil Gibran
  • William Shakespeare
  • Robert Frost
  • William Saroyan
  • Carson McCullers
  • And more!

By: Marc V. Moeller and Victor Moeller
Routledge – 2015 – 224 pages


Part I: The Socratic Method

1. Two Models of Teaching: Didactic and Socratic

2. What is the Socratic Method of Teaching and Learning

o The Four Rules of Socratic Seminar discussion

3. Techniques of Active and Close Reading: Lesson Plan 1

o Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"

o William Saroyan, "Gaston"

4. Three Kinds of Questions: Lesson Plan 2

5. Qualities of Good Discussion Questions: Lesson Plan 3

6. Basic Interpretive Questions: Lesson Plan 4

7. Spontaneous Follow Up Questions. Lesson Plan 5

8. Preparing Students for Discussion: Lesson Plan 6

Part II: Socratic Seminar Readings and Lesson Plans

9. Overview of the Great Book Common Core Curriculum

10. How important is a girlfriend, a brother, or a parent in your life?

11. Is technology more a curse than a blessing? Lesson Plan 9

12. Is the desire to excel as strong as the tendency to be mediocre?

13. Who are your real friends?

14. How important is God in your life?

15. How does someone cope with a death in the family?

APPENDIX: Answer Key


To Purchase the Textbook:

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Unit Price: $34.95 (Paperback)
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This book is available through Routledge.

Teacher Supplement is now available!

TEACHER SUPPLEMENTS that complement each textbook include: Answer Keys, Supplementary Research Readings, Background Readings, Supplementary Lesson Plans, Leader
Aids for Socratic Seminars and
methods of Evaluation.

Click HERE to download the Teacher Supplement.