Reflecting on the fishbowl activity

Today, we worked on the fishbowl activity from the CSTFL presentation by Mercedes Koch and Ryan Rockaitis.  A fishbowl activity is when students have a discussion on a topic given by the teacher.  The students have pairs.  One student is talking in a smaller circle and the other student is listening.  The smaller circle talks and asks each other questions.  Then, their pair tells them other questions to ask for the next round.  After two rounds, the students switch places and the listener becomes the talker and vice versa.  The students improved the second time they participated which is awesome, but it made me realize a few things:

  • They had trouble with transitions.  Many times, they would ask “¿y tú?” or comment with “También.”  They would start new topics like “What was your favorite restaurant?”  But they did not elaborate on topics like “When do you go to your favorite restaurant?”  or “What do you eat there?”
  • They did brainstorm out of the questions that I asked which was good!
  • They also gave good feedback to their partners.  I am lucky that they have done a Socratic Seminar before, so that helped.
  • I should have put “Do your partner’s comments make sense?” on the feedback form.  There was a bit of confusion about some of the responses.
  • The second group was able to really improve upon the first group, so I think it is powerful to observe what some people say while you get to think about how you would answer the questions.

Overall, I am really glad that we did this fishbowl activity.  I think that it might be successful to incorporate every other week.  Have you done a similar activity?  How did you improve it?  Any suggestions?


6 thoughts on “Reflecting on the fishbowl activity

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