Reflection: Rules and Consequences Analyzing Conflict and Climax in a Fishbowl Discussion - Section 3: Analyzing Plot: Conflict and Climax


Managing classroom behavior on a daily basis sometimes feels like taming a lion.  Some days I think that lion training would be easier.  Lions are more logical than your average twelve-year old, right?  Right? And what's worse? Having your head literally bit of or figuratively bit off?  My answer might change depending on the day.

Then when you add in a literary discussion, a fishbowl discussion, the need for classroom management goes up a notch.  Now you're training lions and tigers and there's a herd of antelope taking a walk right through your training field because they're being trained too.  Oi.

What's the answer?  Rules.

  1. If you're in the outer circle, you can't talk.  If you're in the outer circle, you can jump into the hot seat, say your piece, but then you have to jump out.
  2. If you're in the inner circle, you have to speak at least twice. If you don't say this, some students will be content to sit in the inner circle, but say nothing. Having a student be the leader of the group and ask quiet students what they think works wonders. 
  3. When you claim something, you need to back it up with evidence.  Cite the evidence from the text.  Again, have a couple of students be in charge of this.  It's now become a chant.  What's your evideeeeeennceeeeee?
  4. If a student in outer circle keeps jumping into the inner circle and staying there, you may need to implement a time limit or a hot seat limit.  I've only had to do this with one class so far. They're allowed one minute in the hot seat and they can go tot he hot seat three times.
  5. If no students are taking advantage of the hot seat, you may need to implement a reward for doing so.  My students would do anything for a Jolly Rancher and their punch cards are also quite effective.
  6. If a student in the outer circle is off-topic or disruptive, sit down right next to them.  Never underestimate the power of proximity.
  7. If students in the inner circle are talking too quietly (and they will) tell them to use their outside voices.

I have one student in particular who likes to talk.  You can see how I handle him in the video from this lesson around the four minute mark.

  Rules and Consequences: Managing a Fishbowl Discussion
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Analyzing Conflict and Climax in a Fishbowl Discussion

Unit 11: Analyzing Literature and Integrating Knowledge with Act 2 of “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
Lesson 2 of 14

Objective: Students will be able to analyze the development of plot by determining what the climax is and how it solves the conflict by participating in a fishbowl discussion and writing responding in writing.

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