Friday, January 2, 2015

Socratic Smackdown - A Game for Learning and Practicing Discussion Strategies

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was the second most popular post in September, 2014.

Socratic Smackdown offers a fun approach to having students practice discussion strategies. Socratic Smackdown is a printable game designed to be played with up to forty students at a time. In the game students are awarded points for using each of six questioning and discussion methods. Students can lose points for interrupting or distracting others.

The play of Socratic Smackdown can be organized around a text-based question or organized around debate a question delivered verbally. During the game students can play the role of participant or "coach." A coach's role is focused on listening to the group and completing "coach cards" on which they write observations on what the participants did well and what they can do to improve.

Check out the video below for a short overview of Socratic Smackdown.

Applications for Education
Socratic Smackdown provides a great framework through which your students can develop discussion and debate skills. The game packet (a 23 page PDF available here) includes alignment to Common Core standards for middle school and high school classrooms.