Fishbowl Protocol


Divide the group into small groups of 3-4 students, depending on the size of the class. Give students 10 minutes to review an assigned reading and choose two quotes that they will be asked to share and discuss with their group. When the 10 minutes is up, choose one group to sit in the center of the classroom in a circle - this is the fishbowl. Have the first person who is sitting in the fishbowl read and discuss their quote for 1 minute. When the timer goes off, choose one member of the fishbowl group and ask him/her to spend 1 minute responding to the quote. When the timer goes off, go around the fishbowl having each member of the group spend 1 minute responding to the quote. When all members in the fishbowl have responded, ask the person who read the quote originally respond to the group's responses for 2 minutes. When the original person finishes his/her response, give the rest of the group who are sitting outside of the fishbowl add their two cents. When the first fishbowl group finishes their turn, ask them to change places with another group and begin the process again.

This fishbowl protocol can be an effective way to discuss several chapters in a book in a short period of time. We used it during the CWP 2015 SI to discuss three chapters in Pathways to the Common Core in less than an hour and a half. You can adjust the timing and have "lightning rounds" to be able to accommodate more text in a shorter amount of time.