First, I have students complete a reading (usually outside of class). For the first few circles we hold, I have the students create their questions in class, as it is difficult for them to understand the levels. They create three types of questions:
Level 1: Literal- A literal question’s answer is in the text. It is explicit and fact based (fully and clearly expressed, not implied). For example:
Who is Friar Lawrence? Is Benvolio a Montague or a Capulet?
Level 2: Analysis/inference- The act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true. Ask how and why, require analysis of text, reading between the lines, hidden meaning. For example:
Why does the nurse agree to assist Romeo and Juliet? What does Friar Lawrence think about the marriage?
Level 3: Synthesis- Questions that reach beyond the text and inquire into the value, importance, and application of the information presented. For example:
Can fate be defied? Are teenagers capable of true love?
I have students pair up, with one partner evaluating the other while they are in the circle. This allows them to gain skills both in speaking and listening, and evaluating. I created the following hand out and rubric (based on the Common Core State Standards) for use in class. Feel free to use and or modify them to suit your needs.
Socratic Circle Instructions
CCSS Speaking and Listening Rubric