Using the Fishbowl Strategy to Discuss Book Banning

Ainsley Lovrien


Step by Step Instructions:

This mini-lesson provides a way to examine the practice of banning books and allows students to generate ideas and questions through fishbowl discussion.

  1. The lesson will begin with two groups (numbering them off): pros and cons.
  2. Each group will read their articles individually and then come together to create questions or comments they have for their time in the mini circle. (Pros group will focus on the pros list in their article).
  3. After their discussions, the groups will form a fishbowl discussion with a mini circle in the middle and an outer circle.
  4. This creates a way to talk about this sociopolitical issue. Book banning creates censorship and removes censored material from the classroom. It is a sociopolitical issue because it can target books on racism, slavery, white supremacy, or other political issues. Cite evidence supporting their analysis of the article, and pull key features of the text, so there is critical thinking and understanding of the articles.
  5. One group will get into the mini circle and talk amongst themselves, asking questions and commenting on the article, while the outer group will listen and take notes if needed.
  6. Then, the groups will switch and do the same.
  7. When the fishbowl discussion is finished, we will create a large group discussion over the articles and comment on the fishbowl discussion. There will be guiding questions that tie into each article and some could be pulled from the fishbowl.
Video Demonstration

About the author

I’m from a small town in northeast Iowa called Clarksville. I care about education because ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be in the school, whether that was a counselor or teacher. I think that education is important and much needed, especially when teaching future doctors, electricians, and other workers. It also gives kids a safe space to learn and be themselves and provides a way to bring out social skills. My goal is to become an English teacher for middle school and be able to teach the books that I read as a kid in school as well as new books for kids can reflect on. An interesting fact about me is that my uncles signed me up for a little kids’ tractor pull in my hometown when I was a kid. I ended up winning, then placing 1st at State and ultimately getting 3rd at the Corncob Palace at Nationals. I was also invited to compete at the World Championships.