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Team interviewing fishbowl


This is a lesson that capitalizes on teamwork to develop questions and fishbowl an interview for the class. Students will begin by developing a focus/theme statement for a profile about the teacher. Then one team will conduct a fishbowl-style interview (one team will interview the teacher while the rest observe). The lesson will conclude with a critique of the interview and discussion of what the reporter should do next.


  • Students will collaborate with a team to develop an angle and interview questions for a profile.
  • Students will conduct an interview without scripted questions.
  • Students will observe and critique an interview and suggest ideas for the reporter to improve his/her interview and construct the profile.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1b Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.


50 minutes

Lesson step-by-step

1. Connection — 5 minutes

Divide the class into teams of three or four. Teams should spend a few minutes sharing and recording the background information they dug up about their teacher in the previous lesson, Personality profile: Finding a theme and gathering information.

2. Assignment — 10 minutes

Direct each team to draft a possible theme statement for an angle on their profile of the teacher (e.g. a hobby, teaching style, achievement) and also a series of questions they would ask during an interview. Questions may not be read during an interview (must be conversational), so suggest that each team member take a few questions to memorize and be responsible for.

3. Critiquing — 10 minutes

One member of each team should share the theme statement with the class, and other members of the team should explain how the theme was decided upon. (Do not share questions for interview.)

After all teams have shared, students vote on which team has the best theme (no student may vote for his or her own team). The winning team will then conduct the interview with the teacher.

4. Fishbowl interview — 15 minutes

The winning team interviews the teacher.

  • Interview should be in the front or center of the room where entire class can observe the “fishbowl” of the interview.
  • Team members may not refer to their written questions.
  • Team members should listen closely to one another and to the interview subject to build on answers and develop follow-up questions.
  • All other students in the class should take notes while observing to critique the team’s questions, follow-ups and overall quality of interview.
    • What would have made it better or helped the reporters gather more/deeper information?
    • Did anything go wrong? What could have been done better?
    • What was done right? What made it right?
    • Digging for emotion, detail, insight?
    • Are team members recording, taking notes, listening, engaging in follow-up, appearing interested?

5. Evaluation — 10 minutes
Discuss the overall effectiveness of the interview and what steps the reporter should take now to construct the profile.