Student Contributor: H. Stinger
The community circle is a tool where teachers have students sit alongside them in a circle and talk about a prompt that the teacher gives. Students then pass around a certain object and share their thoughts and feelings about that prompt. This tool is helpful in a classroom because it gives the class the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the topic at hand.
This tool is set up with every student and the teacher sitting in a circle on the same level (sitting on the floor, sitting in chairs, or standing up). The teacher prompts a question or a statement for the class to reflect on for about a minute before the activity starts (the prompt could be about something learned in class that day or a class problem that needs to be addressed). Whoever starts passes around an object and whoever has that object is the person that is able to share (objects could include teddy bear, ball, rain stick, ball of yarn etc.). Everyone always has the right to pass if they are not comfortable sharing. This activity may start off awkward at first, but the more teachers utilize this tool the more comfortable students will start to become with each other. When we used this tool in class, it was really cool to hear from my peers on their thoughts about the topic at hand that Gus had prompted. My favorite usage of this tool is when we use acknowledging words to recognize kind things about each other when most of the time people feel go unnoticed.
This is an example of the supportive phase. It’s supportive because it occurs during learning and mainly, at the end of learning to sum up something. Community circle is a great example of community building because the class gets the ability to lift each other up and promote positivity. It does relate a little bit to preventative because by discussing certain topics about behavior, students may be prevented from doing a certain behavior again. Overall, this is mainly a collaborative/student-directed theory because the students get to choose how they respond but, the response is based off of a prompt that the teacher chose for the students to discuss. This really illustrates the ideas of students and the teacher working together to make the community circle operate. Once the teacher gives the prompt to the students, it’s up to the students how they want to respond or respond at all.
More Information –
Tool Source: Gus Nollmeyer