Do You Have 21st-Century Skills to Help Your Students Succeed? Do Your Students Have 21st-Century Skills to Think for Themselves? The Power of the Socratic Classroom has the answers you are looking for—answers that will supply the strategies to show students how to succeed into the future. A future that has unknown products, unidentified jobs, and unanticipated challenges. In Socratic Seminar, teachers shift to the role of facilitator, where they help their students develop the collaborative interpersonal skills, the critical and creative thinking skills, and the speaking and listening skills to face the upcoming challenges of the 21st century.
Charles Fischer has taught in public and private schools in a variety of settings, from rural Maine to inner city Atlanta. In the past 20 years, he has worked with a wide range of students from 4th grade to AP English and has been nominated for Teacher of the Year four times. He has his Master’s degree in Teaching & Learning from the University of Southern Maine, and received his B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University. His latest book, The Power of the Socratic Classroom, has won four awards, including the NIEA Best Education Book. His first novel, Beyond Infinity, won a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award bronze medal (YA fiction). His areas of expertise are Socratic Seminar, Active Listening, Inquiry, Teaching & Learning, and Critical & Creative Thinking. He is currently working on a book of poetry, a short story collection, and several novels.
One annotating strategy I don't see enough is to use large sheets of paper to put underneath a book. The students can then annotate on the paper around the edges, drawing arrows toward where they are noting something. Also, depending on the assignment, students can even sketch or draw in the space where the book's pages would be. For smaller books and texts, manila folders do this job nicely. Larger texts need construction paper, poster board, or butcher paper.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
When possible, have students write directly in their books or on their handouts. Otherwise they can craft their annotations on sticky notes, compile them in notebooks, or use dry erase markers over plastic sleeves. Websites like Padlet.com allow for digital sticky notes that can be shared and viewed by entire classes. Overall, questions are often the best annotations because of their ability to promote wonder, curiosity, interest, and dialogue.