Sunday, June 19, 2016

Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions | Socratic seminar

Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions | Socratic seminar | BEAT AROUND THE BUSH

Purpose: This Socratic seminar is designed to help students find the most significant attributes of a mystery
topic, by drawing conclusions, or inferring new meaning. Students are paired and given the opportunity to dialogue and uncover a mystery. What starts out as an abstract or obtuse idea should turn into a more substantial concept? Students practice drawing conclusions and making inference, they are encouraged to change their conclusions as they share and uncover new information. Students must draw on their own background knowledge and work in a fun, collaborative environment with new information from a variety of peers to discover new meaning.

1. Find contextual pictures or realia ”artifacts” that have associated abstract or concrete concepts. Before students begin show them an unknown item, and give them opportunities to infer!  (E.g. Slide-rule) The goal is for students to infer what's happening in the image or what the realia is used for. Images can consist of tangible to abstract ideas or concepts. Think, THIS OLD HOUSE mystery segment, when someone brings out some obscure tool, everyone draws a conclusion what the item is used for.

2. Teacher and or Students discuses with peers the critical attributes and strategies of drawing conclusions and making inference!

3. Have student’s choose Lotus or Cornell Notes to record their inference about the topic.

4. Students are given a new picture or realia ”artifacts” item to look over.

5. Students share with their partner what they infer or conclude from the pictures or realia and record ideas, images, conclusions or inferences.

6. In 2-3 minute or less, students look over each other’s notes, and discuss and record an inference from their partners. If a brand new idea is shared the partners write it as a collaborative conclusion.

7. Students take a walkabout, finding their next partner or group they will be sharing with. When prompted, partners stop and start sharing with another group of partners.

8. All four students share their realia, artifacts, pictures and inferences, discussing further ideas to make a new inference. If students are stumped they can select a topic of research.

9. The teacher invites a few groups to share their notes and their conclusion, inferences about the topic to see if any student had uncovered the mystery.

8. After a few rotations of students sharing, the teacher reveals the “mystery” and the big idea questions.  

  1. Student Debriefing: Ask students to share an inference that is different from the reviled meaning of their conclusions or images. Ask students in what way do their conclusions relate genuinely to the bigger concept. Discuss how students’ inferences did or did not change with dialogue and sharing.
  2. Ask students who, what, why: What modification should be made to improve this Socratic seminar. Ask students to name their favorite methods for inferring, and what questions still linger about the seminar. Who likes discussing and uncovering the mystery? Why or why not is this engaging drawing conclusions and making inference lesson. Is drawing conclusions and making inference a fun and important academic skill? Consider a class debriefing that records the big ideas on an anchor chart. 

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