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Posts Tagged ‘Lesson Plans’

Classroom Socratic Seminars: Teaching the Art of Dialogue

Statue of Socrates in Trinity College Library

Statue of Socrates in Trinity College Library (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International/(c) Bar Harel, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Information literacy skills are integral to today’s rising students for many reasons, including tendencies toward information overload and the trend of fake news.

The gathering of information begins with a need or desire for an answer to a question. Perhaps that question is posed by a teacher or by the student herself. The next course of action in schools these days is usually to consult a website, or perhaps a book. Information literacy skills support students in navigating this process of finding answers.

But once students are equipped with these vital research skills and find answers to questions, what is the next step toward understanding and integrating the information they find?

Another way to ask that question might be this: How can we turn information gathering into wisdom?

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”—Socrates

Socrates prized questioning over information gathering. He valued the qualities of critical thinking and engagement with a topic. He believed in creating a learning atmosphere of cooperation, dialogue, listening, and further questioning—cornerstones of the Socratic method, and foundations of the Socratic seminar.

Socrates believed that collecting and memorizing information provided little opportunity for true learning. And as learning was best nurtured in a social atmosphere, the lone activity of research provided little support for critical thinking and comprehension.

Navigating and bridging the educational essentials of research and the art of critical thinking may be a challenging journey.

The Socratic seminar is one way to help connect these two elements of a successful classroom.

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”—Socrates

The Socratic seminar provides students with a forum to ask questions and exchange ideas with their peers on a specific topic, event, or piece of literature. Students come prepared to engage in discussion with fellow students, having read assigned materials, conducted appropriate research, made personal connections, and formulated questions to bring to the seminar.

The teacher becomes the seminar’s facilitator, keeping the students on topic and asking open-ended questions when necessary. The goal is to allow students to practice the art of true dialogue. Emphasis is placed on the value of listening and respecting everyone’s questions and opinions. Socratic seminars are not debates; rather, they are cooperative conversations geared toward critical thinking and discovery.

Interested in learning more about this teaching and learning tool? Check out this Socratic Seminar Strategy Guide and this Seminar Discussion Rubric, and select from these Socratic seminar lesson plans on literary texts, immigration, and human gene editing.

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”—Socrates

Activities for the 100th Day of School

100th Day of School Collection Poster
by RubyDW is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Depending on which part of the U.S. you live in, your students will celebrate their 100th day of school pretty soon (it usually occurs in January or February each year). Many schools across the country celebrate the 100th day of school. It’s not only a milestone but also a great opportunity for teachers to practice math with their students. This is especially important in preschool and kindergarten, where students are learning their numbers. But it also provides good activities for all elementary-level students.

For example, you may ask your students to bring in “100” of something. It could be a collection of paperclips, or macaroni noodles, or buttons. The possibilities are endless! When my son was in preschool, he brought in a collection of 100 animal fact cards that we collected from National Geographic Little Kids magazines. We laid out all the cards on the floor and I helped him count all the way to 100. We also practiced counting by 10s. This activity is a good way to introduce more numbers.

See these fun activities that you can use in your classroom:

100th Day of School (Starfall)

Have a 100th Day of School Celebration (Scholastic)

100th Day of School Activities (K-5 Math)

Celebrate the 100th day of school!  (ReadWriteThink)

What Is the 100th Day of School? (VeryWell)

Celebrate the 100th Day of School (Education World)

In SIRS Discoverer, we love to find resources that teachers can use in their classrooms. See our activities page and math resources for more ideas. Also, see this cute story from Highlights for Children entitled 100 Things about a girl who is trying to find 100 things to bring in for the 100th day of school celebration.

Are you celebrating the 100th day of school? We want to know about it. Tweet us at #ProQuest or comment below!

How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps

Fake news is a problem. Information illiteracy is an even bigger problem. A Stanford University study released last November found that most students could not identify fake news because they lacked basic information literacy skills. The good news? We are finally having a national conversation on the importance of teaching information literacy, which teachers and librarians have been talking about for years.

Unfortunately, a recent ProQuest survey found that only 25% of librarians thought their library adequately supported information literacy instruction. Thankfully, there are information literacy resources available on the web. Damon Brown’s TED-ED video “How to Choose Your News” offers a quick, student-friendly introduction to information and media literacy. ProQuest’s editable guided research worksheet “How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps” helps students become skeptical news consumers.

Want more resources? See eLibrary’s new comprehensive Research Topic on Fake News.

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

ProQuest Joins Edmodo Community!

We have an Edmodo community page!

edmodo

For educators not yet using Edmodo in the classroom, it’s a free and secure social learning network for teachers, students, and schools. On Edmodo, teachers and students can collaborate, share content, and use educational apps to augment classroom learning with fun and engaging technology. To get started, see this great blog post from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: All the Resources Teachers Need to Start Using Edmodo in Class.

For those of you already using Edmodo in the classroom, this community provides a seamless way for you to integrate ProQuest content directly into your classroom or library activities, saving you time searching for relevant materials. In our Edmodo collection, we are offering training resources, curriculum guides, free CultureGrams PDF reports and more directly based on your feedback.

We’re excited about our community to connect and collaborate with educators. Visit us at https://www.edmodo.com/publisher/ProQuest today and browse our collection for materials you can use in your classroom or library tomorrow!

Summer Vacation Lessons from Alaska

As summer begins to wind down, it won’t be long until teachers and students are counting the days before they’re headed back to school. But before you return, consider the role that everybody’s favorite part of summer break—the quintessential vacation—can play in the classroom this coming fall.

The Alaska Range’s Peaks and Glaciers

The thought struck me soon after returning from my trip to the Alaskan Interior for the Summer Solstice Festival. Concealed in the recreational activities of kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and more, I realized just how many classroom-worthy lessons came back with me upon returning from the 15-hour series of flights. (Note to self: If you plan on traveling 5,500 miles across the world next summer, make it more than a week-long stay!)

Here are the top vacation educational lessons I learned while in Alaska:

• Considering how much geothermal power could be harnessed in this country while I was soaking in the 165° F water of the Chena Hot Springs.

• Pondering the geological history of the Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley as it towered over the vista of our cabin’s wrap-around deck.

• Lessons I had learned in sustainability: Chinook salmon fishery management while visiting a Native American village, and the benefits of permaculture on soil and habitat at the organic Calypso Farm and Ecology Center.

• Reflecting on experiencing the solstice, and its nearly 24 hours of sunlight at the top of the world.

How about you? Were you able to enjoy a summer vacation this year? Do you think it can be molded into a classroom lesson? If so, ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher has tons of resources that can help!

Lesson Plans in eLibrary

eLibrary’s collection of Lesson Plans can now be found by a search of ProQuest Editorial Websites. Among eLibrary’s 100,000 editor-selected websites there are over 2000 web pages that outline the methods, resources, and procedures for teaching and assessing a wide variety of learning goals.

To limit your search to this collection, just select the “Websites” box as the media type you wish to search, and include the words “Lesson Plan” in the text to be searched.

civ_war_LP_search

eLibrary also has several publications geared toward teaching that can inform the construction of lesson plans:

Teaching Pre K-8

Technology Teacher

The American Biology Teacher

Teacher Librarian

Green Teacher

Reading Teacher

And many more!