Below you will find a sample assignment, given by a real teacher, in a real classroom. The assignment is presented free of comment to allow you to take it in as if you were a student seeing it for the first time. Once you’ve had a chance to review the assignment, use the interactive icon menu at the top of your screen to toggle comments on or off. Lastly, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see additional comments based on the four domains of our Literacy Analysis Framework.


Pre-Seminar Preparation Work (Homework):

  • Read: “How Black Lives Matter moved from a hashtag to a real political force” by clicking this link.
  • Answer the following questions in preparation for our next Socratic Seminar:
    1. What are 2-3 things you learned about the Black Lives Matter movement that you didn’t previously know?
    2. Based on the article, how has the Black Lives Matter movement changed and evolved since its beginning?
    3. What are some of the challenges and disagreements within the Black Lives Matter movement?
    4. In what ways has the movement been injected into the 2016 presidential campaign?
    5. What are some of the accomplishments of the Black Lives Matter movement?
  • Read and Analyze quotes about “All Lives Matter” quotation document.
    • Whose quote is the most eye opening and why?
    • Whose do you agree with the most? Disagree with the most?

Post-Seminar Written Assignment (Homework):

Based on everything that was discussed during today’s Socratic Seminar, reflect on your own thinking about the Black Lives Matter movement. You should respond to the following statement:

“Personally, I (agree or disagree) with the #BlackLivesMatter awareness campaign because …

Your response should include at least 2-3 specific details of support stemming from the relevant readings and your experience in today’s Socratic Seminar.

You will be holding an active discourse among yourselves to arrive at possible answers to the Essential Questions mapped out below.

  • “All Lives Matter”: What does the quote mean to you? Do you agree or disagree with the quote and why?
  • Why do you think some people have said “All Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter?” How does this impact the Black Lives Matter movement? Is one of the terms more appropriate than the other? Explain.
  • Whose quote was the most eye opening and why? Whose do you agree with the most and why? Disagree with the most and why? (Refer to the “All Lives Matter” quotation document)
  • What would… Booker T. Washington/W.E.B. Du Bois/Martin Luther King Jr./Malcolm X/Marcus Garvey say about this issue?
  • Given all of the racially fueled incidents that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement, whose strategy for achieving racial equality and harmony would be the most applicable in 2015 and why? [Utilize your notes/knowledge from the “Assessing Strategies of Civil Rights Leaders” presentations.]
  • How can we, as members of the school Community, help to raise more awareness about such a controversial, yet relevant topic such as this?
  • WHAT IF … these police-related shootings had been carried out by members of the same race (i.e., a white police officer shooting a white suspect; a minority police officer shooting another minority, etc.)? IS “race” the only contributing factor to these police-related shootings? Justify/Explain.

Socratic Seminar Guidelines

  • Develop a plan that will work for everybody (or the majority of students) to contribute at least three times
  • Remember, this is an active discourse, NOT a debate. You are trying to have your stance on these questions be heard, but also hear and try to understand/appreciate the opinions of others on the same topic(s)
  • You do NOT need to answer questions in the order that they appear – this is up to the group! Similarly, you may not even get to answer all seven Essential Questions – the flow of the seminar is truly dictated by the participation and ideas that each student brings to the table
  • Develop responses to the Essential Questions listed above  – “unpack the significant content needed to best support your stance on any of the questions
  • Avoid side conversations – you could lose points this way
  • Let a minimum of TWO others speak before you speak again
  • The seminar does not need to be or stay focused solely around the Essential Questions. Other questions and topics related to the overall theme are encouraged – as long as they are relevant and do not detract from the overall flow of the Socratic Seminar
  • Responses to others’ comments should always be respectful even if you disagree with or question what was said