This Socratic Seminar allows teachers to have students focus on broad themes and undercurrents that surrounded the events covered. By providing teachers and students with the option to cover overarching discussion points, such discussions allow for more breadth than a typical Socratic Seminar, but still give teachers the option of selecting specific text excerpts for inclusion in the seminar as well. In this way, the discussion works more as a Thematic Seminar.
The thematic seminar outlined in this packet (broader in scope and potentially more engaging than Socratic Seminars) consists of whole class activities where students are given 4-6 prompts at the beginning of a week. Students craft text-supported, opinionated responses to each prompt and then engage in a whole-class seminar at the end of the week.
Thematic Seminars are inherently different than Socratic Seminars due to the breadth of the content covered in the discussion. Instead of students analyzing a small section of text (as is typically done in a Socratic Seminar), Thematic Seminars ask students to reflect back on large sections of novels, short stories, plays, etc., and to discuss central themes or issues in a broader sense.