Restorative Circles

A guide to describe what Restorative Circles are and how they work

Using circles to gauge students' understanding

In the past, my knee-jerk response for gauging what students know was to quiz or test them.  Undoubtedly, the anxiety around being tested may have caused students to perform less than desirable because of the pressure to perform.  I like the following activity because it still helps me to assess quickly what students know without the threat of a test.

Use this activity to gauge students’ readiness to tackle a particularly challenging topic, to determine their readiness to move on to a different concept or to determine how well they understand a concept presently and determine what they need.  It is a wonderful way to gather information about what material might need to be reviewed; it is also a place to bargain or compromise to give students more ownership.    It is a way to help students name what they need moving forward.

Circle Activity:

“The Mountain,”  Using Restorative Circles in Schools:  How to Build Strong Learning Communities and Foster Student Wellbeing.”  Berit Follestad and Nina Wroldsen, p. 103.  London, Jessica Kingsley, 2019

The Mountain,”  Using Restorative Circles in Schools:  How to Build Strong Learning Communities and Foster Student Wellbeing.”  Berit Follestad and Nina Wroldsen, p. 103.  London, Jessica Kingsley, 2019

Show a picture of the mountain by projecting it on the board.  In groups, have students to walk to the board and circle the face that represents where they are.  Once everyone has identified their face on the mountain, point to each face and ask students what need each face that has been identified on the mountain represents. 


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