Using a “Fishbowl” to Enhance our Discussions

Today we engaged in a “fishbowl” to debate the pros and cons of having classroom pets. We used materials that presented both sides of the issue and students annotated and rehearsed making claims from either perspective.

We read through three articles over the week and today we employed the instructional strategy. Students in the fishbowl debated the issue and could sub themselves out for someone on the outside who wanted to make a point.

All of this work allowed the students to complete a piece of writing on the topic. And the writing? It is pretty fabulous.

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Using the Discussion Strategy, Fishbowl

Today we used the discussion strategy “Fishbowl” to debate whether using bottled water was more positive or negative. The students read two articles (here) and annotated the pieces looking for evidence to support one position or the other. Then they discussed both articles free of any valued added statements; instead, attention was pointed to finding evidence.

The students positioned themselves around a fishbowl with four students in the middle. Students would share a point, debate the point, and if they couldn’t find evidence or didn’t have a good argument, they would tap someone from outside the fishbowl to take over for them.

The annotating, discussion and debate will help us with our writing in which students have to support a super claim.

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Fall’s Hard Work Culminates in Auction

After paying rent, we had our second auction of the school year. It continues to impress me that international companies are so generous with our community. Although they don’t know me, and in most cases have no ties to Reno, they see value in promoting financial literacy in our elementary school classrooms.

Using Pro/Con to get ready for our next SAC

We started the week reading about the pros and cons of recycling to get ready for our next Structured Academic Controversy (SAC). We continue to use this method so that students develop perspective taking and civic responsibility.

We are also using text annotating to go with our reading. This will help facilitate the process of making claims supported by evidence.

Field Trip to the 2nd Judicial District Court

Today we visited the 2nd Judicial District Court to put on a mock trial. This was followed by learning more about the work of a court, information about jails and prisons, and a chance to “meet an inmate.”

The day included a lot of learning and a lot of fun. This was best exemplified by the cased we tried and adjudicated. Ultimately, the students found Curly Pig liable for damages in the case brought by B.B. Wolf.

 

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