Flowers for Algernon Fishbowl (mini Socratic Seminars) - rubric and questions

Flowers for Algernon Fishbowl (mini Socratic Seminars) - rubric and questions
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  1. Included here is everything you will need for a thematic unit using Flowers for Algernon as your main course of study. The main themes you will keep coming back to in the unit are: Man Playing God, the Dangers of Superintelligence, and Is Ignorance Bliss or is Knowledge Power? The two other suggeste
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  2. How does ZERO planning sound? Lessons and resources for an entire year of 8th grade English placed in your hands? Included in this bundle is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that you'll need to make it from August to June! The resources provided can be used in any order that you prefer - follow the pacing guid
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  • Product Description
  • StandardsNEW

This activity is a Socratic Seminar - on a much smaller scale - with an audience watching! The handout provides you with the rubric and 10 discussion topics specific to Flowers for Algernon. This activity can easily be used to summatively assess a number of the SL (speaking and listening) standards at once.

Once students have finished reading Flowers for Algernon - provide them with your Fishbowl questions in advance (usually 2-3 days before your Fishbowl). Tell students that all you can promise them is that on the day of the Fishbowl, they will have to answer one of your questions (so they would be wise to prepare for all just in case).

On the day of the Fishbowl, place 5-7 chairs at the front of the room (depending upon the size of your classes and small groupings you desire. Place 5-7 students randomly in the seats. Select one student from the small group to draw a number (which refers to one of your questions). That small group of students will have a 5 minute round (Socratic Seminar) on their drawn question - the rest of the class watches as an audience. Remove that question number so that it cannot be drawn again.

When the round is over, send that group of students back to their seats, and fill the chairs with new students for another round - repeat procedure. Continue rounds until every student has had one turn. It may take 2 days to accomplish this if you teach large classes. Use the rubric provided to score students during each round on their ideas/content, participation, and listening skills.

Log in to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Total Pages
1 page
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 days
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