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February 2015

Guided Reading
Socratic Seminar
On A Story
Francisco Jimenez

February 2015

Guided Reading and Socratic Seminar on a story by Francisco Jimenez

I. Seating, timing, and materials
If you have a long period, you can do both parts in the same day. If not,
you will need to use two periods. The reading and guiding factual
questions should take about 30 minutes. The seminar portion should be
about 20 minutes long. Seat students in a circle or square or U-shape
with double rows. The idea is for them to be able to see each other.

I recommend the whole book. This lesson uses one story to demonstrate
a) guiding the reading of the entire class for comprehension and then
b) leading a Socratic seminar for deep dialogue

Using the Story To Have and To Hold from Francisco Jimenez, The Circuit

First eight pages of this story available at

Complete book available for approximately $6.00

II. Procedure for Guided Reading

Ask students to read first three pages silently.

With small white boards or pieces of poster paper ask each to write the
answer to this question and keep their answers to themselves until you ask for them
to hold them up:

What type of coin did the narrator collect? Wait a moment. Then ask all
students to hold up their white boards (or poster paper) Look around. Praise the
answer (Answer: pennies) Dont say anything about wrong answers,

Use same process to ask and answer these questions:

What state were they in?
Who gave him the 1910 penny?

Whose birthday occurred in 1910?

What other important event occurred during that year?

Use the same process to read the rest of the story.

III. Procedure for Seminar In the seminar session, the questions have to do
with the big issues of philosophy, justice, injustice, love, relationships.
They do not have right and wrong answers, but the student should
provide evidence from the text to support what he/she says.

Rules for participants Listen to each person. Raise your hand. Address
what others say by agreeing, disagreeing, or raising another point. each
time speaking with respect. Everyone participate at least once.

Rules for the teacher or leader: The role of the teacher is to lead the
dialogue. Resist the temptation to talk yourself!!!! Ask students to
respond to each other. Be encouraging. Ask follow up questions. If you
information to provide, WAIT until the seminar is over.

Seminar Questions:

1. Does the author think the parents in the story are effective parents or not?
(Provide evidence from the text)

Examples: * Yes. The father used his familys story to teach his son (3rd page
father shows the coin and talks about his birth and the Mexican revolution)
Yes. The mother talked kindly with her son when he was
No. The house caught on fire
No. They let the little girl get away with anything

Work on getting them to respond to each other. Do you agree with Maria that
the mother was a good parent because she was patient?

Next question: What do you think? Were they effective parents? DONT ask
this question until you have THOROUGHLY discussed the one before. Otherwise,
they wont learn thoughtful reading. They will only be talking about their own

Other possible seminar questions:

2. Is the family happy?
3. Does the author believe that something bad can be turned into something

Evaluating the seminar: Ask students to write down what they learned very briefly
and hand you the answer as they walk out the door.