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AVID Elementary in Plano ISD

Inquiry Strategy: Socratic Seminar

K-2 & 3-5

The Socratic Seminar can be adapted to each grade. The video (3rd one below) features how a 2nd grade teacher has adapted it to her class. This is a great inquiry based strategy.


  • S.S. is an academic discussion which allows students speaking turns
  • It can be built upon units or topics of study and students can use the research/information learned (notes) during the seminar to help them form their thoughts and opinions
  • Ask students to form a level 3 question to bring to the seminar
  • S.S. helps students to move their knowledge to the long term memory of their brain


  • Use cubes/chips - Each student will get 2-3 cubes/chips. Everyone has the same 2-3 colors. Each cube/chip represents a turn to speak. 1 cube = 1 speaking turn. When a student wants to speak, they lay down their piece and speak. They cannot speak again until everyone has used their similar colored cube/chip.
  • The teacher creates the leveled questions. The students provide their views supported with evidence.
  • To reduce student anxiety, allow them to use their resources (books/notes) during the seminar.
  • For reluctant speakers, let them know ahead of time what you'll be asking them so they have more time to develop their thoughts.

This strategy is one that takes practice and is built over time.

Socratic Seminar Strategies for the Second Grade Classroom


AVID Claps by Kerrale Prince #AVIDSI15