• SL.9-10.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
  • SL.9-10.3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.

Learning Target: Students will learn about circle 7 of Dante’s Inferno (Violence), and participate in a fishbowl discussion to mimic the structure of the circle.


Welcome to class, everyone! You might have noticed that the desks are arranged a little differently today…. We are going to be doing what’s called a fishbowl discussion in a few minutes. Don’t get too comfy, because I’m probably going to rearrange you!!

BUT FIRST! Let’s talk circle 7: Violence! This circle is structured a little differently than the others, because there are three “types” of violence, and Dante punishes each one differently. Let’s look at the Shmoop summary of these cantos, describing circle 7.

After we talk about what’s going on in this circle, I want everyone to do your collaborative poster activity for the day!!! Tape it up to the board, and while everyone is up and moving around anyway, gather your stuff because we’re having a FISHBOWL DISCUSSION!

You guys will be set up into three rings, just like circle 7 was in 3 rings. The innermost ring is going to be our speakers. These four people will be throwing their opinions out there and responding to questions from people in the middle circle, the questioners. The questioners will ask anything they want to the people in the middle circle. Finally, in the outermost circle we will have the recorders. The recorders will be taking notes over everything that’s going on between the questioners and the speakers.

You can move between circles if you so desire 🙂 We will switch it up if people want to.

After we finish our debate, I want everyone to pair off with a note taker and discuss and copy the notes, so that everyone has a written copy of the notes. Why? Because your notes are fair game for using on our assessment next week. At the bottom of your notes, I want you to write a short paragraph summarizing the discussion we had today, and turn that in. I’ll grade it and give it back to you!

So what’s the topic of our discussion? Well, some of you might have seen a viral video of  Jasper County, GA, boy. He’s a kindergartener in trouble and about to be paddled. If you’re not familiar, let’s check out the news stories:



So here’s the topic of your debate: Corporal punishment (aka spanking) in schools. Keeping with our theme of “the punishment fits the crime” and Dante’s law of Symbolic Retribution, do you think paddling in schools is acceptable? Do you think it fits the crime? Who should be allowed to paddle a student?  Do you think it is an effective punishment? What about the mom going to jail for truency? Is that an appropriate punishment? If not, what would have been? What if the kid were a high schooler who was skipping?

In case you couldn’t tell, I’ll be in the center ring 🙂

Assessment: Notes and summaries will be graded

Differentiation: Students will be set in different rings of the debate based on interest and readiness. Learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic).

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