With so much talk about the Common Core standards and truly increasing our student's argumentative powers and critical thinking skills, some teachers are starting to think critically themselves about how best to engage students in thoughtful debate and discussion around texts they need to analyze anyway.

One method, called the Socratic seminar, challenges to students to formal discussions about a text based on open-ended questions. Throughout the exercise, students must alternately employ good listening, critical thinking, creativity, and rhetorical prowess.

The Socratic style of discourse lends itself quite well to establishing critical thinkers due to the fact that Socrates believed that enabling...

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About the Author:

Mary Howard is a sixth grade teacher in Grand Island New York teaching ELA and social studies. She is passionate about technology integration and providing engaging and enriching classroom experiences to her students. Mary was recently awarded the Lee M Bryant Outstanding Technology teacher of the year award for her work with NYSCATE. For several years she has worked with students on virtual world experiences and has developed several curriculum modules integrating Open Sim Platforms for instruction. Much of her work is showcased in her blog: Yoursmarticles.blogspot.com and can be seen through Twitter @mrshoward118.