Beacon Lesson Plan Library

From Different Angles

Monica McManus


The students will participate in a Socratic seminar discussing a person's right to refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance.


The student demonstrates consistent and effective use of interpersonal and academic vocabularies in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

The student acknowledges the feelings and messages sent in a conversation.

The student uses responsive listening skills, including paraphrasing, summarizing, and asking questions for elaboration and clarification.

The student asks questions and makes comments and observations that reflect understanding and application of content, processes, and experiences.

The student distinguishes between emotional and logical argument.

The student knows that a literary text may elicit a wide variety of valid responses.


-Copy of the Pledge of Allegiance
-Socratic Seminar Rubric (Associated File)


Prepare a handout of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Photocopy the Socratic Seminar Rubric for each student.


Authentic Context:
You are the principal of a school. One of the students at your school has refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The student would like to speak to you about his right to refuse to participate in this activity. You have to listen carefully to his point of view and decide how to handle this situation equitably.

1. Initiate a discussion by asking students what are -rights.-
2. Write the students' definitions on the board.
3. Distribute the Socratic Seminar Rubric and discuss it with the class. Answer any questions and make any additions or changes to the rubric. Explain to the students that they will be assessed using the criteria in the rubric.
4. Arrange the room so that everyone is sitting in a circle. Review ground rules pertaining to oral discussions.
- One person speaks at a time.
-Everyone respects othersí opinions. There are NO put downs.
- What is said in the room does not leave the room.
- A hand gesture will signal when the class needs to calm down or the discussion needs to come to an end.
5. Distribute a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance to each student and allow five minutes for the students to read it over and make notes.
6. Pose the situation of the student who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Students will discuss their feelings about the pledge and the studentís refusal to participate.
7. Write down notes about the discussion.
8. Students will write down at least one comment in the discussion with which they agreed and one comment with which they differ.
9. To review of what was discussed, read the comments aloud. Students will also have a chance to choose one of the comments they made and state why they agreed or disagreed with the comment.


Use the Socratic Seminar Rubric provided in Associated file to assess student participation.


Students will know how to conduct themselves in a Socratic seminar.
Students will demonstrate respect for opinions that differ from their own.
Students will speak articulately to communicate their points of view.

Attached Files

Socratic Seminar Rubric for discussions.     File Extension: pdf

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