Community Circle A strategy for organized group discussion

Community Circle is a good strategy for group discussions. It allows all students an opportunity to respond to questions, without the pressure of putting them on the spot. It can help:

  • structure small group discussion
  • allow for 100% participation
  • ensure active processing of content
Strategy modified from an activity in The Strategy Teacher, by Silver, Strong & Perini


  • Devise 3-5 thought-provoking discussion questions about your lesson content
  • Divide the class into circles of between 5 and 10 students
  • Instruct students to respond to the first question by going around the circle one-by-one, in order
  • Inform participants that they may "pass" at any time
  • Continue with each of the questions
  • Listen for student responses, and note which students pass, and on which questions. Find opportunities to encourage students who passed to answer future questions.


  • Do two go-arounds: 1) Respond to the question directly, 2) Respond to other group members’ ideas
  • Provide a small object to pass around the circle to signify the speaker’s turn


Created By
Aaron Lanou

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