Charles Ames Fischer

Teacher Author Consultant Mentor

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Math Socratic Seminars

Posted by Charles Fischer on March 6, 2013 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (8)

I have been asked on numerous occasions for suggestions about Socratic Seminar texts for math classes. The difficulty, of course, is that math problems often have a specific "right" answer, so trying to have a discussion can be extremely limiting. Many math teachers have students discuss how they arrived at their answers, but this is not at all the same as having a genuine conversation about deep mathematical concepts. 


Here then is a short list of recommended...

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Slow Reading

Posted by Charles Fischer on February 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is a great article about "slow reading," which is often what I call "Socratic reading." As Michael Strong has written in his book about Socratic Practice, this type of reading can be extremely slow - sometimes a paragraph an hour! What's to be gained from this type of slow reading? The author of the article, Tho...

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The future of reading

Posted by Charles Fischer on December 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Here's a link to an interesting interview about the future of books. I think the most intersting idea is interactive eBooks with biometric sensors that could change the plot as you read based on your pulse and breathing rates. Very interesting! 


I rememeber reading a lot of choose-your-own-adventure books as a kid, the ones where you make a decision in the book and tu...

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Children's Literature Assembly

Posted by Charles Fischer on July 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a link to the Children's Literature Assembly's notable books for the past year. It was refreshing for me to come across this list because I have often relied (too heavily) on the Newbery Award list to keep up on the latest middle school literature. 

Teacher Book Groups

Posted by Charles Fischer on July 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a link to the NCTE's guide to forming teacher boo groups. We ask students to read all of the time, so it makes sense that we read ourselves. When I go into to schools I often hear that teachers never have time to meet with each other.


Teacher book clubs could be part of a solution. Sure, there is the danger they will devolve into complaint or problem-solving sessions rather than ...

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Lost at School

Posted by Charles Fischer on May 30, 2011 at 9:14 AM Comments comments (0)
Lost at School 
by Ross Greene

I decided to write a brief review of this book because I enjoyed reading it so much and because I think it’s a MUST READ for anyone dealing with behavior issues of any kind. 

The book is essentially about Greene’s behavior management philosophy called Collaborative Problem Solving. The key difference of CPS starts with how people view students who are behaving poorly. Ac...
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Socratic Math

Posted by Charles Fischer on January 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a great resource for math problems for use in Socratic Seminars. These problems have multiple "right" answers and offer students a chance to adopt various types of thinking as they try to solve them. 


A lot of people I speak with don't think that conversation can help much in the math cla...

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Productive Thinking

Posted by Charles Fischer on October 14, 2010 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a link to a short interview with the author of a book called Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking. The author talks about how the best productive and innovative thinking occurs when there is both critical and creative thinking that happen back and forth.


This process can happen in schools very easily by adopting simple questionin...

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Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature

Posted by Charles Fischer on September 20, 2010 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Coyote's Guide is an amazing book for anyone who wants to help children connect with nature. There are numerous activities that can be be done in almost any setting. The guide goes through hazards, catchables, mammals, trees, birds and much more. 


The essential routine is known as the sit spot, where the stud...

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Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

Posted by Charles Fischer on September 14, 2010 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

We were reading Frost's famous poem The Road Not Taken when two questions emerged about the first line: What does yellow mean? And why yellow wood? 


Many people assume that the narrator is simply walking in autumn, when the leaves are changing. In discussions, this brief connection might be enough to satisfy the participants, but in Socratic Seminar, where depth is the goal, this is not usual...

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