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The Fishbowl Debate

By reading of the article, watching the movie, and asking the probing questions about
censorship and Huck Finn we have prepared ourselves for some serious discussion and debate. In the
Fishbowl format, the most prepared students on each side will be responsible for leading the
discussion. Your team will select no more than 2 people to voice your initial points and be prepared
to guide the discussion with questions, new ideas, and support. Your responsibility will be to put
forth critical analysis of the materials, prepare a discussion outline to turn into the teacher on the day
your group is presenting, and lead an open dialogue with the inner circle members. All presenters
must participate. Your group will be graded on their preparation, analysis, participation, facilitation,
and leadership. Remember, you need to cover all angles of the argument in a relevant and
purposeful manner. Don’t focus on one subject so long that it becomes redundant and boring!

The inner circle is responsible for discussing censorship and Huck Finn along with the
presenters. The inner circle groups have been decided at random (choose out of a hat) and will
consist of no more than 3 members from each team. The inner circle members can only earn their
grade by participating in the discussion. (Because they will be selected at random on the day of the
debate, they will be responsible for the same paragraph of writing outlined in the Outer Circle
Along with this select group, there will be 2-3 open chairs for any individuals wanting to
participate in the discussion. If you decide to become involved in the discussion, you need to
contribute at least 3 times in a meaningful way. Please refer to the Discussion Scoring Chart on
relevant contributions that can be made. To enter into the discussion simply sit in an open chair. If
an open chair is filled but you still want to enter in the discussion, simply tap on the shoulder of the
occupant to remove him/her from the discussion. Also, there will be one chair for the presenters to
select 3 random people (drawn names) who at some time must jump into the discussion and
participate. If a drawn name individual does not participate, he or she will not be able to receive all
of his/her points for the discussion. Any sign of a lack of preparation by a circle member will result
in the loss of points. Also, any member of the inner circle may pose questions for discussion; this is
not limited to just the presentation group. There will be no hand-raising in the discussion; instead, it
will be an open format. However, if members of the discussion group become disrespectful, points
will be taken away. Please refer to the Discussion Scoring Chart for possible reasons for point

Outer Circle:
The members of the outer circle, who are not involved in the discussion, will still have to
earn the ten daily points by submitting a one paragraph response to the following question: What
form of censorship is appropriate for Huck Finn, and Why?. These responses will be collected at the
beginning of the class. Any responses turned in after the responses have been collected will not
count. The outer circle is expected to be attentive and focused. They will be using Cover It Live in
order to discuss what the inner circle is saying and to put forth their own points. Please look to the
Discussion Scoring Chart for ideas of what kinds of comments are best. If outer circle members
distract from the discussion, points will be taken away from their debate grade.

Outer Circle Moderators:

The moderators of the outer circle are responsible for making sure all of the comments in the
Cover-it-Live session are appropriate and on-topic. They will be accepting the comments as they
come in and timing them so as to provide for the best possible level of discourse. These members of
the Outer Circle will not be responsible for the paragraph of writing required of the other Outer
Circle members.
The teacher will not participate in the class discussion, but will take the last 5 minutes of
class to review any information.

Discussion Scoring Chart:

Students will earn positive and negative points when they contribute the following:

Points: Positive Points: Negative

(2) Taking a position on a question (-2) Not paying

attention or
(1) Making a relevant comment distracting
(2) Making an analogy (-2) Interrupting

(2) Recognizing contradictions (-1) Irrelevant

(2) Using supporting evidence or factual info. (-3) Monopolizing

(2) Drawing another person into the conversation (-3) Personal

(2) Asking a clarifying question or moving the
discussion along

Inner circle

Open chair (s)

Drawn name
Outer circle