Tenth graders in Kristin Pierce’s Honors English class at Provo High School transform into fish as they participate in a “Fishbowl” discussion to talk about recently read Ray Bradbury short stories.

The Fishbowl discussion method helps large groups actively participate in conversation, ensuring each voice is heard. To start a Fishbowl, an inner circle at the center of the room is created with enough seating for 6-12 individuals. Students create a second circle as they gather around the inner circle to observe and listen to the conversation forming within the “fishbowl”.

To start the conversation, those in the “fishbowl” ask questions and make comments with their other “fish” friends. Those in the inner circle continue conversing until each has posed two unique comments and/or questions. After which, that “fish” will trade places with a student in the outer circle. Those in the outer circle may listen and observe the conversation taking place while developing their own original thoughts for their turn inside the “fishbowl”.

By participating in this unique discussion method, students were able to contribute meaningful comments regarding profound topics within Ray Bradbury’s novels. Students had time to cultivate significant thoughts during their time in the outer circle, then share and bounce ideas off other “fish” in the inner circle. This method proved successful for in depth conversation and helped the students understand many themes found in the short stories.

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