Of course this year, I am co-teaching so things can’t just be my way. They have to be shared and owned by the other adults in the room. If something is going to be successful, the entire group has to buy in. Fortunately my intern and my co-teacher are all about it too. It has been so much better than I even could have imagined it would be.
We have a lot of English Learners (ELs) in our class this year (I’d say roughly 75%). Practicing speaking is really important for these friends to help develop their language. These circles are a perfect time to practice. We even toss in a little learning by demonstrating using a complete sentence (using the question as part of our answer too) when it’s our turn to share. It has been a powerful way to close our day together.
We have kept it simple so far. The students just share something they are grateful or thankful for. (Thursday two of the girls said they were thankful for their teachers who obviously work hard for them. How adorable is that?) As the students get better at the circle idea, I will ask them to pick someone to keep their eye on that day so they can give that person some positivity before they go home. I think once we move into the next phase of the circle, having the children praise each other’s efforts, it is really going to revolutionize the way they look at each other. Building that empathy and learning to genuinely support each other is going to be huge for them.
I’m so glad I decided to give this a try and honestly can’t wait to see how it works out as the year goes on.