Philosophical Chairs is a speaking and listening strategy that allows students to express their opinions about a topic, an article, things happening in the world around them, and/or societal problems discovered while learning in any content area.
Philosophical Chairs allow your students to think critically about a topic while practicing speaking and listening skills. It allows them to dig deeper into a topic. Many times, I use philosophical chairs as a pre-writing/essay activity, for argumentative writing, in order to help them organize their thoughts and ideas. However, we do philosophical chairs for many reasons, and it can be used in any content area.
The very first time I tried Philosophical Chairs I was nervous, and things did not go the way I had planned. I noticed that many students did not get to speak, some students spoke too much, and others had no idea how to respond to each other. In response to my student’s needs, I created talking tickets. These allowed me to not only help moderate students talking time, but also allow me to easily grade as I can track who is speaking and who is not.
2.Video link that describes Philosophical Chairs.
3.Philosophical Chairs Expectations and Sentence Frames for Discussion Handout. These are great to put in Interactive Notebooks or to have students put in their binders and refer to often. I give bonus points for using the sentence frames.
4.Talking Tickets that can be used for taking turns speaking and that can help you record who is speaking for grading purposes.