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PD Resources

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Socratic Seminar

Driving Question


Grades Socratic Seminar – Champions

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Olympians Socratic Seminar

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Champions SEL Socratic Seminar Videos

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Reading Comprehension Resources

Three Types of Questions to Build Comprehension:

This information can be found at:

Literal, inferential, and evaluative questions help learners read and think in different ways.

To help students monitor their comprehension, it helps to ask questions while you read. The three levels of questions are:

  • Literal. The answers to literal questions can be found in the text. They are directly stated. We sometimes say this information is on the surface.

Examples: What is the main character’s name? What happened in the story on that page?

  • Inferential. The answers to inferential questions can be found in the text too, but they are implied, not directly stated. We often say the information is in between the lines orunder the surface.

Examples: Why did the main character laugh? What do you think will happen next?

  • Evaluative. The answers to evaluative questions require information outside of the text. We sometimes say the information is in the head or somewhere else.

Examples: How are you similar to the main character? Why did the author write this book?

Rather than simply tell students they are right or wrong, it is better to ask students to support their answers. For literal questions, students can go back to the text and show you were they found the information. For inferential questions, students can explain their reasoning and show the part of the story that supports their idea. For evaluative questions, students can explain their ideas and identify the other sources of information.

Our questions shape how students think about literature!

Children’s books are a great way to explore people and places.  When reading books with kids, it is a great idea to ask questions.  Keep in mind that the types of questions you ask are as important as the content of the question.  Here are a few suggestions to maximize the benefits of asking questions during reading time.

  1. Ask a mix of literal, inferential, and evaluative questions.  Literal questions focus on the surface of the story.  The answers are stated directly in the text.  Answers to inferential level questions are found “between the lines” are require students to make inferences.  Evaluative questions take the reader beyond the book.  Answers require additional information that the students need to synthesize with the book.
  2. Be careful how you word the questions.  Open ended questions allow for a wider range of responses and invite higher levels of participation.  Close ended questions (e.g., yes or no) limit thinking by restricting the possible responses.  They also minimize thinking because students either know or do not know the answer.

  3. Focus in the important features if the book.  Ask about the main characters, essential words, and key events.  If those are all well understood, explore secondary elements such as peripheral characters or words that are interesting but not essential to understanding the story.

Remember, questions are intended to promote thinking. As long as students are thinking, it does not matter as much as to whether students can answer any particular questions.  Be more concerned with whether your questions as a whole are directing students to consider about the important elements of stories.

 Think of a book as a dark room.  The questions can be a lamp used to shine a light on what the students need to see.

Levels of Comprehension

This information can be found at:

The three levels of comprehension, or sophistication of thinking, are presented in the following hierarchy from theleast to the most sophisticated level of reading.

  • Least = surface, simple reading

  • Most = in-depth, complex reading

Level One
LITERAL – what is actually stated.

  • Facts and details

  • Rote learning and memorization

  • Surface understanding only

TESTS in this category are objective tests dealing with true / false, multiple choice and fill-in-the blank type questions.

Common questions used to illicit this type of thinking are who, what, when, and where questions.

Level Two
INTERPRETIVE – what is implied or meant, rather than what is actually stated.

  • Drawing inferences

  • Tapping into prior knowledge / experience

  • Attaching new learning to old information

  • Making logical leaps and educated guesses

  • Reading between the lines to determine what is meant by what is stated.

TESTS in this category are subjective, and the types of questions asked are open-ended, thought-provoking questions like why, what if, and how.

Level Three
APPLIED – taking what was said (literal) and then what was meant by what was said (interpretive) and then extend (apply) the concepts or ideas beyond the situation.

  • Analyzing

  • Synthesizing

  • Applying

In this level we are analyzing or synthesizing information and applying it to other information.

The National Reading Panel recommends:

  • Question answering

  • Comprehension monitoring

  • Cooperative learning

  • Graphic/semantic organizers/story maps

  • Question generation

  • Summarization

Research on Reading Comprehension tells us that…

  • Time spent reading is highly correlated with comprehension

    • Provide for lots of in-class reading, outside of class reading, independent reading

    • Encourage kids to read more and read widely – develop a passion for reading

Social Emotional Learning Socratic Seminar

Please click SEL Socratic Seminar Packet for the complete SEL Socratic Seminar Packet as a PDF.

Click here for the champions Socratic Seminar session.

The following photos were student notes that were taken during our first discussion about the importance of Social Emotional Learning.

 “Does Social-Emotional learning impact success?”

 A Gateway to Learning and Understanding.

The BIG question: “Does Social Emotional Learning Impact Success?”

Here are some related questions

  • What is Social Emotional Learning?
  • How could Social Emotional Learning impact success?
  • Do I think Social Emotional Learning is important?
  • Should Social Emotional Learning be taught at school?
  • Do I mainly learn about social skills at home or at school?
  • Have I learned any social or emotional skills at school before?
  • What have my parents or teachers taught me about social emotional learning?
  • What are social skills?
  • What are emotional skills?
  • Why is Social Emotional Learning Important?

Do you have any questions of your own?

Write them here:

1.   Rewrite the question in a way YOU understand it (If you understand the question as written, leave it):

What Is Social Emotional Learning?

Social and emotional learning involves the processes of developing social and emotional skills in people. SEL is based on the understanding that students learn best when they are in supportive relationships that make learning challenging, engaging, and meaningful; social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, person, and worker; and many different risky behaviors (e.g., violence, bullying, and dropout) can be prevented or reduced when students learn and work on their social and emotional skills.

There are five SEL skills:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to correctly recognize my own emotions and thoughts and their influence on my behavior. This includes knowing my strengths and things I need to improve and having self-confidence and optimism.
  • Self-management: The ability to control my emotions, thoughts, and behaviors positively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating myself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
  • Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
  • Interpersonal skills: The ability to create and keep healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
  • Responsible decision-making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
  • 1.     Empathy (noun): a being aware of and sharing another person’s feelings, experiences, and emotions.
  • 2.     Impulses: a sudden feeling to do something.
  • 3.     Diverse: differing from one another: UNLIKE
  • 4.     Impact: to influence.


Questions that may help bring YOUR EXPERIENCE/VOICE to the topic:


  • 1.     Have I ever been proud or disappointed in myself?
  • 2.    Can I recognize when I am feeling: sadness, anger, and happiness?
  • 3.    Can I recognize things that stress me out?
  • 4.    How can I learn to have better Self Awareness and who can teach me?
  • 5.    Am I able to give myself positive reinforcement?


  1. Do I know how to create and work towards a goal (Personal or Academic)?

Social Awareness:

  • 1.    Can I use verbal, physical, and situational cues to understand how others feel?
  • 2.    Can I predict others’ feelings and perspectives in various situations?

Relationship Skills:

  • 1.    Do I know how to make and keeping friends?
  • 2.    Do I know how to work on a team?

 Responsible Decision Making:

  • 1.    Am I aware of the decisions I make at school?
  • 2.    Do I know how to resist peer pressure that may lead me to do the wrong thing? 


Family Interactive Homework:Student to Parent Questions: 1. Would your experience in middle school have been different if your school had the 5 S.E.L Skills? 2. Do you use the 5 S.E.L skills at work?


3. How can the 5 S.E.L skills help us at home?

Reflect in your creative journal: Did the conversation with your parent/guardian help you answer the BIG question? How?






We are a team who….

Today, the Anthony/LeFever team answered three very important questions: “We are a 6 grade who…” “What kind of TEAM do we want to be?” and “How do we get there?” Check out who WE ARE! This activity prompts students to discuss who we are going to be as six grade team and how we are going to accomplish our goals to be supportive, a group of excellent listeners and a team that respects each other.

Here is a video of our six grade team engaged in the activity 

How To Do Stuff

1.Action Tips: Organize a Campaign about Animal Homelessness
2.  Fundraising Ideas for Any Cause
3. How To: Clean Up A Butt (Cigarette Butt, That Is)
4. How To: Make Catnip Toys For a Local Shelter
5. How To: Organize an Awareness Campaign About Animal Cruelty
6. How To: Create Blankets for Animals Shelters
7. How To: Hold a Dog Wash to Benefit Your Local Shelter
8. Action Tips: Make a T-Shirt to Advertise Your Issue or Event
9. Action Tips: Write a Letter To an Elected Official
10. How To: Decorate Recycling Bins to Make Them Stand Out
11. Create a bumper sticker
12. Food Drive ideas   Click here to see the types of food you may want to collect.
13. Clean Water Exercise
14. How To: Lead an Activity about Lack of Water Abroad
15. Stop  inhumane puppy mills in the U.S.A
16. How to hold a blanket drive for the homeless

The Voice Research Resource

Hey students! You can find different websites that have a plethora of information.  I have organized the websites by Issue.


Information on CELLS


Hunger and Poverty

Access to Water

The Environment


Week 17

Monday:   Asking questions
1.  Finish Reflection
Book Club 2.0

1. Finish Concept
2. Finish Audience Participation
3. Have work sample ready

Homework: Intro and transition
4. Book Club 2.1

Homework: Put POL everything on note cards
2. Book Club 2.2