Socratic Seminar: The Great Gatsby

Only TWO more days until Summer Vacation! On Tuesday (1st) and Wednesday (4th) of this week, we will conduct our Socratic Seminar on The Great Gatsby! Please see the guidelines and questions below to prepare for the Seminar.


A Socratic Seminar (named after Socrates) is a deep discourse led by questioning. You will engage in one as your final exam over F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. You will prepare your thoughts on several different questions, and the Seminar will take up the entire period.

Why Do Socratic Seminars?

  • To think out loud and share our valid voices
  • To share ideas
  • To investigate what we may not get to talk about in a traditional assessment
  • To reflect on the way things are or the way they could be
  • To learn from each other
  • To engage in academic discourse
  • To use vocabulary more precisely
  • To discover the power of many minds at work
  • To change our minds

Guidelines and Norms for the Socratic Seminar:

  • Listen carefully! This is crucial. Much of your grade is based on your ability to listen and respond to what was just said.
  • Be respectful! Sit up straight in your seat. Use names when addressing another student. Raise your hand to speak. If you notice someone is not participating, you may call on them to get them active in the seminar. Do this by calling the student by name and stating your opinion first so the student has something about which to react. Everyone will have a nameplate.
  • Speak loudly and clearly.
  • Take turns speaking. You cannot call on the same person who called on you. If you disagree with a something someone said, do so in a thoughtful, appropriate manner. Ask questions without attacking, and disagree with ideas, not people. Ask people to explain what they mean. There are no right or wrong answers.
    • Don’t worry if the conversation takes a different direction. When a discussion of a particular question seems to have ended and no one has anything to say, any student may ask, “Are we done?” and/or “Shall we move on to another question?”
  • Refer to your copy of The Great Gatsby when necessary. A seminar is NOT a test of memory. You are not learning a subject; you are aiming at understanding ideas and issues.
  • Don’t look at Ms. Antonacci. Discourse is for you, the students. You are teaching each other! The teacher will only intervene when absolutely necessary.

Seminar Preparation:

Since you’ve done this before, for the purposes of this Socratic Seminar, you will construct your own questions. All points MUST be backed up with proof in the forms of text, research, packet information, etc. Label your proof so that you can direct the other seminar members where to find it (i.e. Chapter 4). Please refer to the “Socratic Seminar Question Stems” handout you received in class today to ensure your questions are higher-order thinking discussion questions, rather than ones that test memory or are close-ended (“yes/no questions”).

Everyone must submit three questions on the Google Form link below. This is due by the morning before the Seminar. On the morning of your final exam, Ms. Antonacci will print your questions for you. All you will need on these days is something to write with. (Please remember that bookbags are NOT allowed on campus for the rest of the week!)

****Please note that in order to participate in the Socratic Seminar, you must have your questions and responses completed BEFORE the Seminar (i.e., when class starts). Failure to do so will result in a grade penalty.

The Great Gatsby: Reading Schedule

Please see below for your reading schedule for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Please note both in-class reading and homework requirements! Please scroll past the calendar for links to online versions of the novel. You will have short reading quizzes each day, so be sure to keep up with your reading!

  • Tuesday, May 3: Read chapter 1
    • HW: Finish chapter 1
  • Wednesday, May 4: Chapter 1 close reading activity; read chapter 2
    • HW: Finish chapter 2
  • Thursday, May 5: Read chapter 3; complete text-dependent questions
    • HW: Finish chapter 3
  • Friday, May 6: Read chapter 4; longer quiz over chapter 4 on Monday
    • HW: complete chapter 4 text-dependent questions in preparation for longer quiz on Monday
  • Monday, May 9: Quiz on chapter 4; start chapter 5
    • HW: Finish chapter 5
  • Tuesday, May 10: Close reading of chapter 5; chapter 5 discussion
    • HW: none!
  • Wednesday, May 11: Read chapter 6; jigsaw chapter 6 text-dependent questions
    • HW: none!
  • Thursday, May 12: Read chapter 7
  • Friday, May 13: You Go Girl conference; will likely not meet
    • HW: Finish chapter 7 before Monday’s class
  • Monday, May 16: Discuss chapter 7; chapter 7 close reading activity
    • HW: Finish close reading activity if not done so in class
  • Tuesday, May 17: Read chapter 8
    • HW: Finish chapter 8
  • Wednesday, May 18: Discuss chapter 8; read chapter 9 and complete text-dependent questions independently
    • HW: Finish the novel! Complete text-dependent questions if not completed in class
  • Thursday, May 19: Color symbolism activity and whole-novel discussion
  • Friday, May 20: Craft questions for Socratic Seminar
    • HW: Have questions and responses completed for Socratic Seminar
  • Monday, May 23 (early release): Complete Socratic Seminar questions and responses
  • Tuesday, May 24 (early release): FINAL EXAM: Socratic Seminar on The Great Gatsby
  • Wednesday, May 25 (early release): FINAL EXAM: Socratic Seminar on The Great Gatsby

Roaring Twenties Stations: Links

Please use the links below according to each Roaring Twenties station your group is working at!

Station 1:

https://readgreatliterature.com/how-to-read-american-modernist-literature-from-new-reading-list/

**Please note that this source is blocked at school for some reason. Please use your phone off the Wi-Fi to access.

Station 2: 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/disillusion

https://writersinspire.org/content/lost-generation

Station 3: 

https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/history/1920s/analysis

Station 4: 

http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST312-Roaring-Twenties-and-Prohibition.pdf

Station 5: 

http://www.ushistory.org/us/46d.asp

Station 6: 

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/era.cfm?eraID=13&smtID=6

EOC Prep Essay Submission

Due to Changing of the Chairs tomorrow, we will not have class first period, and fourth period will practice their typing skills for the EOC. If you are in Ms. A.’s first period and would like to take some time to practice your typing skills and speed, visit: www.typingclub.com and click on “Get Started” on the main page!


Today, you will use the class period to type your essays and submit them via Google Drive. As this is EOC practice, we will model the EOC testing environment during this time; this means working independently without talking or phone use.

You will only have this one class period to complete your essays. Just like on the EOC, you will have to submit even if you don’t finish! That’s why we are practicing 🙂

Please use the link below to access our shared Google Drive. From there, please submit your essays to the correct class period. For the purposes of submission, please title your Google Doc your first and last name. You will also need to submit your paper rubric with your name on it into the box!

Outlining Your Essay

320px-joy_oil_gas_station_blueprintsPlease use the links below to aid in your writing of your argumentative essay outline. Think of this document as a “blueprint” for your essay – you are planning the organization, structure, and flow of your paper. This is the rough draft to your rough draft!

*Note: Please choose the ONE format that works for you, whether it’s a traditional or web outline.

Ms. Antonacci’s Sample Outline (Note: this is for the persuasive essay we will write later in the semester, but the outline format is the same.)

How to Write an Outline – Perdue OWL

How to Write an Outline – University of Richmond

**OUTLINES ARE DUE TODAY. Please work diligently; the more work you do today, the easier writing will be tomorrow.

EOC Writing Rubric and Prompt Analysis

Your EOC Prompt: Which author’s style and content MOST effectively support his or her purpose? Use details from BOTH passages to support your answer.

  • What do they mean by style?
  • What do they mean by content?
  • What do we need in order to answer this question?

Please see the rubric below:

Today, we will:

  • Analyze and unpack the EOC prompt and rubric
  • Review student exemplars
  • Practice!

Please note that we will expand upon this writing for the purposes of your argumentative essay. Tomorrow (Wednesday), we will complete your outlines, which you will then use to draft your essay on Thursday. Due to Changing of the Chairs on Friday, we will have to move quickly this week, so please be sure to use class time wisely and work diligently!

Researching your Topic and Crafting Your Thesis

For the purposes of this EOC-prep assignment, you will research BOTH sides of your chosen topic. This way, you can incorporate all arguments raised and use the opposing argument for a counterclaim. This will work to improve your overall argument, as well as hit a requirement for full points on the EOC extended response.

Today, you will:

  1. Research your topic and select two articles: one supporting, one opposing.
  2. Complete the “Analyzing Viewpoints” sheet (front and back) to evaluate your sources, their credibility, and biases present, etc.
  3. Scan the QR code at the top of your paper to submit both of these to Ms. Antonacci. You can also access the Padlet here!
  4. Start reading below for information on how to complete a thesis statement.

thesis-statement-426x300

What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a guide to your paper. It tells the reader the subject matter, your argument, and what to expect from the rest of the paper. Usually, the thesis statement will come towards the end of the first paragraph.

Think of your first thesis as a “working thesis,” or a statement that is likely to change. Often, once you get into the body of the paper, you may discover that your thesis needs to be changed a bit as you discover more information.

Writing a good thesis statement:
When you are working on your thesis statement, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Make sure your thesis fits the scope of the paper. The scope means how long and how in-depth the research should be. If you only have two pages, you need to keep the thesis narrow enough to cover the argument adequately.
2. Don’t simply give a fact or make a statement that is obvious. For example, “An eating disorder is a serious disease” is a statement most would readily agree with. This is sometimes called a “so what?” thesis.
3. You don’t need to start your thesis with “I believe…” or “In my opinion…” You are the author of the paper, so this is obvious to the reader. Using these types of phrases weakens the power of your statement.

Click here for Ms. Antonacci’s example!

Example from Indiana University: Further reading here.

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic.
Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic.
Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic.
After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language.
You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices, so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support.
You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

Socratic Seminar: The Crucible

On Thursday, we will conduct our Socratic Seminar on The Crucible! Please see the guidelines and questions below to prepare for the Seminar.


A Socratic Seminar (named after Socrates) is a deep discourse led by questioning. You will engage in one as an assessment over Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. You will prepare your thoughts on several different questions, and the Seminar will take up the entire period.

Why Do Socratic Seminars?

  • To think out loud and share our valid voices
  • To share ideas
  • To investigate what we may not get to talk about in a traditional assessment
  • To reflect on the way things are or the way they could be
  • To learn from each other
  • To engage in academic discourse
  • To use vocabulary more precisely
  • To discover the power of many minds at work
  • To change our minds

Guidelines and Norms for the Socratic Seminar:

  • Listen carefully! This is crucial. Much of your grade is based on your ability to listen and respond to what was just said.
  • Be respectful! Sit up straight in your seat. Use names when addressing another student. Raise your hand to speak. If you notice someone is not participating, you may call on them to get them active in the seminar. Do this by calling the student by name and stating your opinion first so the student has something about which to react. Everyone will have a nameplate.
  • Speak loudly and clearly.
  • Take turns speaking. You cannot call on the same person who called on you. If you disagree with a something someone said, do so in a thoughtful, appropriate manner. Ask questions without attacking, and disagree with ideas, not people. Ask people to explain what they mean. There are no right or wrong answers.
    • Don’t worry if the conversation takes a different direction. When a discussion of a particular question seems to have ended and no one has anything to say, any student may ask, “Are we done?” and/or “Shall we move on to another question?”
  • Refer to your copy of The Crucible when necessary. A seminar is NOT a test of memory. You are not learning a subject; you are aiming at understanding ideas and issues.
  • Don’t look at Ms. Antonacci nor Ms. Shaw. Discourse is for you, the students. You are teaching each other! The teacher(s) will only intervene when absolutely necessary.

Seminar Preparation:

You may use all of the analysis questions you have answered for each act, but you must also answer two of the essential questions below (your choice). All points MUST be backed up with proof in the forms of text, research, packet information, etc. Label your proof so that you can direct the other seminar members where to find it (i.e. Act II).

Everyone must answer #10: Who has the right to determine morality? Is morality something entirely socially constructed?

Choose two from the list below to construct a response to — ensure your response points to direct text evidence!

  1. How do various characters manipulate language to achieve their purposes? What are these purposes? Think of rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos), but be specific about these appeals. For example, instead of stating, “The character uses ethos to…” write something more specific: “Edwards appeals to his audience’s desire for salvation to…” (This is a much more specific phrasing of “pathos.”)
  2. How do the events in the story connect to Miller’s larger criticism of and allegory on McCarthyism? Point to evidence from the text to support your view.
  3. How do gender, race, socioeconomic status and title factor into the actions and events of the play?
  4. A crucible is defined as “a vessel or melting pot” or “a test of the most decisive kind.” How are these definitions appropriate to this story and its events?
  5. Many characters rely on or are victim to logical fallacies (errors in logic). Examine some of the logical fallacies present. What do they assume? What could Miller’s purpose be in incorporating these errors in logic in his characters? Think about the possible purposes within the text and within Miller’s society.
  6. In an article from Psychology Today, Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., describes the psychological concept of confirmation bias: “When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true. Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it. Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our prejudices. Thus, we may become prisoners of our assumptions.” Review our readings of The Crucible. How does the concept of confirmation bias surface in this text? How does it motivate characters and shape their worldviews?
  7. What are the benefits and drawbacks of pride? What different types of pride are there?
  8. How does one’s reputation influence one’s actions and decision-making?
  9. How does groupthink and scapegoating still pervade our society? Point to examples in the text, and then connect these events to modern day examples or other examples in history.
  10. Who has the right to determine morality? Is morality something entirely socially constructed?

****Please note that in order to participate in the Socratic Seminar, you must have your questions and responses completed BEFORE the Seminar (i.e., when class starts). Failure to do so will result in a grade penalty.

ROLE Creative Writing Cards

Today, we will take a little break from reading The Crucible to do some creative writing! Our focus will be on narrative writing to prepare for the EOC. Take a took at the EOC rubric used for this writing piece:

Narrative Writer’s Checklist

Be sure to:

  • Write a narrative response that develops a real or imagined experience.
  • Include a problem, situation, or observation and its significance.
  • Establish one or more points of view.
  • Introduce a narrator and/or characters.
  • Organize events so that they progress smoothly.
  • Use a variety of techniques consistently to sequence the events to build toward a particular tone and outcome.
  • Use dialogue, description, pacing, reflection, and/or multiple plot lines to:
    • develop events.
    • develop characters.
    • develop experiences.
  • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to create a vivid picture of the events, setting, and/or characters.
  • Include a conclusion that reflects on what has been resolved, experienced, or observed in your narrative.
  • Use ideas and/or details from the passage(s) to inform your narrative.
  • Check your work for correct usage, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Write your response and proofread!

In order to complete this narrative writing piece, you will use the ROLE Writing Strategy. This is an advanced writing strategy that requires you to use a specific Role, Occasion, Location, and Emotion.

Role (orange): Your primary character. You may, of course, include other characters from The Crucible, but your chosen card should be the main character in your narrative.

Occasion (pink): The occasion and context of your piece. Consider what would be happening during such an occasion.

Location (yellow): The setting of your piece. This should be where all of the action happens!

Emotion (green): The tone of your piece. Through plot, dialogue, details, conflict, etc., you must create this emotion in your work.

Mental Health and Mindfulness Resources

Please see the list below for some helpful links to resources exploring mindfulness and mental health!

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Interested in trying out yoga?

Yoga is for EVERYONE. You don’t have to be flexible, super athletic, or skinny to do it. Below are some resources to help you get started.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Yoga with Adriene via YouTube: This is one of the most popular beginner yoga YouTubers. Start with her 30-day Yoga for Beginners series!

Down Dog app: At the start of the pandemic, Down Dog offered their yoga app for free to all students and teachers; recently, they have extended the offer FOREVER! Be sure to use your CCSD email to sign up to get the pro/paid version of the app 100% for free, forever.

Down Dog is a fully customizable yoga app. You can set the length, difficulty, focus area (such as core, flexibility, hamstrings, etc.), and style. You can even change the music and explanations! See Ms. A. if you need some help navigating this app.


Ms. A.’s Recommended Apps to Cultivate More Mindfulness in Your Life

Morning! – A quick, daily way to incorporate keeping a gratitude journal. It only takes a few minutes to show practice!

I am – Positive daily affirmations; Ms. A. has them rotating as a widget on her home screen. Lots of great categories and beautiful designs to choose from.

Head Space – A guided meditation app to get you started on the journey to meditation. Free for 30 days.

Calm – You may have seen commercials for this. Similar to Head Space, but also includes a “Sleep Stories” setting for those who have trouble getting to sleep.