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  • Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles

  • TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles

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    TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles

    AcknowledgementsThefirstversionofthisresourcewaswrittenunderacontractwithSanFranciscoUnifiedSchoolDistrict.KerriBerkowitzofSFUSDhadconsiderableinfluenceonitscontentandformat,helpedkeeptheprojectfocused,andprovidedagreatmanyhelpfuleditorialsuggestions,forwhichIamverygrateful.Ialsowishtothankmentorsandteacherswhohavehelpedmeunderstandcircleprocesses,thewayofcouncil,andrestorativejustice:TedWachtel,DominicBarter,KayPranis,GigiCoyle,SusanKistin,JeannaRuppel,WendyEvans,ChuckFisher,andmanymorewhoarenotlistedhere.ChuckFisherandJeannaRuppelweremypartnersindevelopingthelessonplansandcofacilitatingthecircles;manythankstothem,andtotheinternswhoaccompaniedusthroughhundredsofclassroomcircles.MarissaWertheimerandLucyLuchessiofferedvaluableeditorialsupport.Gratitudealsotothestudents,teachers,principals,assistantprincipalsandschoolcounselorswhoinvitedmeintotheirclassroomsandschoolstoleadcircles.Theactivitiesinthisbookweredevelopedintheirclassrooms.Thespiritofrestorativecircles,andperhapsthemostessentiallessontobefoundinthisbook,livesinthewaysthestudentsthemselvesshapedtheactivitiesandlessons.Whenweparticipateintrulyinclusiveanddemocraticprocessesforclassroommanagementweoftenencounterthegiftsofwisdomthatstudentsbring.Studentsmakesuggestionsandcontributeideasthataresurprisingandtouching,smartandwise.Weexperimentallyincorporatetheseideasintotheactivityofthemoment;whentheyworkoutwelltheybecomeapartofourrepertoire.Thelessonsinthisresourceincorporatethevoicesofmanystudentswhocontributedtheirwisdomtothewellbeingoftheirclassroomandschoolcommunities.Inquiriesabouttrainingandconsultationtosupportsuccessfulimplementationofrestorativepracticesinyourschool,andcommentsandsuggestionsyoumayhaveaboutthematerialsinthisresource,[email protected]

    AmosCliffordFebruary2013

  • Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles

  • TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles

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    TableofContents

    Introduction:TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles..........................................................1

    PartOne:RestorativePracticesandtheSkillsofCircleKeeping.................................................................3

    RestorativeCommunityintheClassroom...............................................................................................4

    GoalsforStudents.................................................................................................................................4

    GoalsforTeachers................................................................................................................................5

    GoalsforClassroomCommunity..........................................................................................................5

    WhatisRestorativeJustice?WhatareRestorativePractices?...............................................................6

    EvolutionofaRestorativeClassroomandSchoolClimate......................................................................8

    CircleDialogueandCircleKeeping..........................................................................................................9

    TheShapeoftheCircle.........................................................................................................................9

    EveryVoiceHeard:HowtoUsetheTalkingPiece.............................................................................10

    ACircleKeepersToolkit.....................................................................................................................11

    FocustheCirclewithHighQualityPromptingQuestions..................................................................12

    TheCirclehasaCenter.......................................................................................................................13

    RespectingEachOnesExperience:ThePrincipleofNonInterference.............................................13

    BuildingTrustintheCircle..................................................................................................................14

    GuidelinesareCornerstonesofTrust.................................................................................................16

    AgreementsareAlsoCornerstonesofTrust.......................................................................................17

    MandatedReporting,Agreements,andTrust...................................................................................17

    CommunityBuilding(Proactive)andResponsetoHarms:TwoCircleThemes.................................18

    SequenceofEventsinaCircle............................................................................................................19

    PartTwo:VarietiesofCircleFormatsandCirclesforBuildingCommunity................................................21

    VarietiesofCircleFormats.....................................................................................................................21

    BasicCircle..........................................................................................................................................21

    PopcornCircle.....................................................................................................................................21

    Fishbowl(Witness)Circle....................................................................................................................22

    SpiralCircle.........................................................................................................................................22

    FeedbackCircle...................................................................................................................................22

    WheelhouseCircle..............................................................................................................................22

    SmallGroup/StudentCircleLeaders...................................................................................................22

    BuildingConnections,BuildingCommunity..........................................................................................23

  • TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles

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    GoalsforCommunityBuildingCircles................................................................................................23

    ImplicitQuestionsofConnection.......................................................................................................23

    BasicConnection:TheCheckinRound..............................................................................................24

    ResponsiveCircle................................................................................................................................24

    StoryoftheDay..................................................................................................................................24

    SomethingSpecial...............................................................................................................................25

    TheGuestHouseCircle.......................................................................................................................26

    LovingtheQuestionsCircle................................................................................................................27

    ThanksgivingCircle..............................................................................................................................28

    EnergyManagement:CalmingActivities...............................................................................................29

    PartThree:RestorativeCirclesintheClassroom:TeachingSkillsandSettingThingsRight......................31

    TeachingRestorativeConceptsandDialogue:OverviewoftheTeachingCircles.................................32

    Lesson1OverviewIntroductiontoCircles.........................................................................................33

    LessonPlan1IntroductiontoCircles..................................................................................................34

    Lesson2OverviewAgreements..........................................................................................................38

    LessonPlan2Agreements..................................................................................................................39

    Lesson3OverviewRestorativeJusticeandtheChipsScenario.........................................................42

    LessonPlan3RestorativeJusticeandtheChipsScenario..................................................................43

    Lesson4OverviewTheIssuesthatAffectUs......................................................................................48

    LessonPlan4TheIssuesthatAffectUs..............................................................................................49

    Lesson5OverviewFishbowlCircleDiscussions..................................................................................52

    LessonPlan5FishbowlCircleDiscussions..........................................................................................53

    UsingPunitiveandRestorativeApproachesTogether......................................................................58

    Lesson6OverviewExploringConflicts,ExpressingAffection.............................................................59

    LessonPlan6ExploringConflicts,ExpressingAffection.....................................................................60

    Lesson7OverviewMaintainingOurCommunity...............................................................................63

    LessonPlan7MaintainingOurCommunity........................................................................................64

  • 1

    Introduction: Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles

    Becauseofourclasscircles,studentsacceptedmoreresponsibilityfortheirrolesinbothcreatingandsolvingtheproblems.Itbecamemucheasiertoencouragestudentstosolvetheirproblemsthemselves;inpartbecauseIgainedmoreconfidencethatstudentshadtheskillstodoso,butalsoinpartbecauseofhowtheprojectshiftedthewayIcommunicatewithmystudents.

    FourthGradeTeacher

    hismanualsupportstheteachingofrestorativepracticesandskillsinyourclassroom.RestorativePracticesareaframeworkforbuildingcommunityandforrespondingtochallengingbehaviorthroughauthenticdialogue,comingtounderstanding,andmakingthingsright.

    Thismanualdescribeshowtoholdrestorativecirclesinclassrooms.Itcontainsstepbystepinstructionsforcirclesthatbuildcommunity,thatteachrestorativeconceptsandskills,andthatharnessthepower

    ofrestorativecirclestosetthingsrightwhenthereisconflict.Usingthesemethodsconsistentlywillhelptocreatecalmer,morefocusedclassrooms.Teacherswhousethesemethodsoftenfindthattheoverallproportionoftimededicatedtomanagingbehaviorisreduced.Thismeansmoreinstructionaltimebecomesavailable.Italsomeansthatstudents(andteachers)havehappier,morepeacefulexperiencesoftheirschooldays.1

    Restorativethinkingisasignificantshiftfrompunishmentorientedthinking.People,includingstudents,whoareinvitedintorestorativedialoguearesometimesconfusedbytheconceptofmaking

    thingsright.TheirdefaultresponsetothequestionWhatcanwedotomakethingsright?oftenhastodowithpunishment.Itissaidthatchildrenlivewhattheylearn.Whenwhattheyhavelearnedisthattroublesomebehaviordemandsapunishmentorientedresponsethatishowtheywilllive.Butrestorativepracticesinvitedifferentwaysofresponding.Thesenewwaysmustbelearnedthroughexperience.Theactivitiesinthismanualgivestudentsthenecessaryexperiencestosupportashifttowardrestorativewaysofthinkingandbehaving.1OneofthebestresourcesforresearchonrestorativepracticesistheInternationalInstituteofRestorativePractices,onlineatwww.iirp.org.

    T

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    RestorativeJusticebringspersonsharmedbycrimeandthepersonwhoharmedthem,alongwithaffectedfamilyandcommunitymembers,togetherindialoguethataimstobuildunderstanding,explorehowthecrimehasimpactedthoseinvolved,includingthecommunity,anddevelopagreementsforwhatwillbedonetomakethingsright.Theresult:trulymeaningfuljusticeforallinvolved.

    Thesedialoguestakeplacewithparticipantssittingincircle,sotheyaresometimescalledcircledialogues.

    Likestudents,teachersandadministratorsmayalsofinditchallengingtomaketheshifttorestorativewaysofthinking.Evenwhenweunderstandthevalueandconceptsofrestorativejustice,itcanbeverydifficulttomovefromtheorytopractice.Thismanualinvitesthosewholeadthelessonsitdescribesteachersandotheradultsintheroomtoalsobeparticipants,tousethemethodsthemselvestoexperiencerestorativeresults.

    Theactivitiesinthismanualhavebeenshapedbystudentswhoshowedupincirclesinwaysthatwerebrilliant,touching,andinspired.Eachactivityhasgonethroughseveraliterationsofdevelopment,andweencourageyoutomodifythemaswell.Adaptingthemtoyourteachingstyleandtheneedsandcircumstancesofyourstudentsandyourschool,iscompletelyinthespiritofrestorativejustice,whichseeksabovealltodowhatisrightintheparticularcircumstanceswhereitisused.Ifsomethinginheredoesntfeelquiterighttoyou,modifyit;makeitright.

    Itisourhopethatyourtimeincirclewiththeseactivitieswillhelpdeepenyourunderstandingofrestorativepractices.Wehopeyouwillfindthatafteryouworkthroughadozenorsooftheseactivitiesyouwillseesignificantresults.Wewishyousuccessasyouworktobuildapositive,supportive,friendlyandjustclassroomenvironment.Classroomcirclesarethefoundationofthisprocess.

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    Part One: Restorative Practices and the Skills of Circle Keeping

    RestorativePracticesbuildcommunityandcanhelpsetthingsrightwhentheintegrityofthecommunityischallengedbyharmfulbehaviors.

    Whenpeoplecometogetherforrestorativeinteractionstheysitincircles.Circledialogueisafundamentalelementofrestorativedialogue.

    Classroomcirclessupportthetwomaingoalsofrestorativepractices:buildingcommunity;andrespondingtoharmsthroughdialoguethatsetsthingsright.

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    RestorativeCommunityintheClassroomRestorativepracticescultivateacultureinwhicheveryonefeelsliketheybelong.Theybuildaparticularsenseofcommunityinwhicheverymemberstudents,teacher,parentvolunteers,aidesfeelthattheyareseen,heard,andrespected.

    Theactivitiesinthismanualaresequencedtosupportsteadygrowthintheunderstandingsandskillsneededtosupportauthenticdialogueandproblemsolving.Theyemphasizefairnessthroughunderstanding,andincludingeveryonewhoisimmediatelyaffectedbychallengingcircumstancesindiscoveringthesolutions.

    GoalsforStudents1. Studentswilllearntovalue

    andregularlyuseproactive,positivewaystobuildandmaintainapeacefulclassroomcommunity.

    2. Studentswilldevelopandenhancepositiveandsupportiveconnectionswithpeers.

    3. Studentswilldevelopanunderstandingoftheprinciplesandvocabularyofrestorativejustice.

    4. Studentswilllearnhowtoparticipateincircledialogues,includingthefourcircleguidelines.

    5. Studentswilllearntouseandrespectatalkingpiece.

    6. Studentswilllearnhowtouserestorativequestionstosupportconflictresolutionandothertypesofcommunication.

    7. Studentswilllearntoidentifywhoisaffectedbymisbehaviors,andhow.

    8. Studentswillcontributetodevelopingappropriateideasforhowtomakethingsrightwhenharmshaveoccurred.

    9. Studentswilllearnhowandwhentoaskforarestorativecircle.

    10. Studentswilllearntocommunicatehowtheyareaffectedbygivensituationsusingaffectivestatementsandrestorativequestions.

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    GoalsforTeachers1. Teacherswillunderstandthecoreprinciplesofrestorativejusticeandrestorativepracticesand

    howtheydifferfromtraditionalorpunitiveapproaches.

    2. Teacherswillknowhowtouserestorativepracticesinmanysituationswherepunitivedisciplineapproachesmighthavebeenusedinthepast.

    3. Teacherswillknowhowtointroduceandleadcircledialogues.

    4. Teacherswillknowhowtotransitionintoandoutofcircletimeandcanswitchrolesbetweencirclekeeperandteachereffectively.

    5. Teacherswillhaveanunderstandingoftheprincipleofconnectionbeforecontentasitappliestorestorativecircles.

    6. Teacherswillknowhowtosequenceactivitiestobuildtrustamongstudentssotheybecomemorewillingtocommunicateauthentically.

    7. Teacherswillknowrestorativequestionsandhowtousethem.

    8. Teacherswillunderstandaffectivecommunicationandwillexperiencehowitsupportsclassroomdisciplineandcommunitybuilding.

    GoalsforClassroomCommunity1. Theclassroomcommunitywillhaveestablishedagreementsabouthowtoparticipateincircle.

    2. Communitymemberswillshareasenseofresponsibilityformaintainingagreementsandmanymemberswilldosoproactivelyduringcircletimeandatothertimes,includingoutofclassroomtime.

    3. Theclassroomcommunitywillidentifyspecificissuestoaddressandwillhavehonest,authenticdiscussionsabouttheseissues.

    4. Procedureswillbeestablishedforcallingattentiontoissuesandconflictsandforrequestinghelp.

    5. Procedureswillbeestablishedforengaginginrestorativedialoguesaroundissuesandconflicts.

    6. Itwillbeemotionally,psychologically,andphysicallysafeforstudentstoshareconcernsaboutconflicts,issues,andbehaviorsthatareaffectingthem.

    7. Therewillbehighparticipationbystudentsincircledialogues,withlittleornopassing.

    We have learned a way of having a dialogue that we as a culture did not have. The ability to take real life experiences on our campus and in our community and have a forum to work with them in a way that is transformative in the school is rare. The response to this process has been overwhelmingly positive.AcharterschoolDirector

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    WhatisRestorativeJustice?WhatareRestorativePractices?RestorativeJusticeisanalternativetousingpunishmenttomanagemisbehavior.Punishmentbasedapproachesarethetraditionmostofusarefamiliarwith,becausetheyarethebasisofourcriminaljusticesystem,guidedbytheideathatpunishment,iffairandproportionate,isthebestresponsetocrime.Inpracticethismeansidentifying,prosecuting,andpunishingtheoffender.Oftenthisisdoneatgreatcosttosociety,withlittlehealingforvictimsandcommunitiesandoutrightharmfuleffectonoffendersandtheirfamilies.

    Schooldisciplinehasforthemostparttakenitscuefromthecriminaljusticesystem.Thefocusisonpunishingwrongdoerswiththeaimofenforcingbehaviorsthataresafeandnondisruptive.Whenpunishmentdoesnotwork,misbehavingstudentsmaybeexcludedthroughsuspensionorexpulsion,withpossiblyseriouslongtermharmfulconsequencestothemandsociety.Thereislittleornoopportunityforsocialandemotionallearning.

    Restorativepracticesinschoolsarebasedonrestorativejusticeprinciplesinsteadofpunishment.Theyaimfirsttobuildclassroomcommunitiesthataresupportedbyclearagreements,authenticcommunication,andspecifictoolstobringissuesandconflictsforwardinahelpfulway.Theyprovidespecificpathwaystorepairharmsbybringingtogetherthosewhoareaffectedbymisbehaviorinadialoguetoaddressconcerns,achieveunderstanding,andcometoagreementaboutsettingthingsright.Inadditiontoservingthecauseoffairnessandjustice,restorativeapproachesmakesaferschoolsandcontributetosocialandemotionallearning.

    Asschoolsadoptandgainexperiencewithrestorativepracticesseveralshiftsinperspectivetakeplace.Theseshiftsdonttypicallyhappenallatonce.Nordotheytypicallyhappenperfectly.Threeofthemostimportantshiftsareshowninthechartbelow.

    ThreeShiftsTowardRestorativeSchoolsandClassrooms

    From To

    Effortstosuppressmisbehaviorbasedontheviewthatmisbehaviorisevidenceoffailingstudentsorclassrooms.

    Recognizingandusingtheinherentvalueofmisbehaviorasanopportunityforsocialandemotionallearning.

    Authoritydrivendisciplinaryactionsthatfocusonlyontheidentifiedmisbehavingstudents.

    Restorativecirclesthatbringtogethereveryonewhoismostimmediatelyaffectedbytheincident.

    Punishmentandexclusionisusedtocontrolmisbehaviorandmotivatepositivebehaviorchanges.

    Dialogueleadingtounderstandingandactiontosetthingsrightandrepairandrestorerelationships.

    Thefirstshiftacknowledgesthattroublesomebehaviorisnormal,andwhenstudentsbehaveintroublesomewaystheycreateopportunitiestolearnimportantsocialandemotionalskills.Whatisimportantisnotsomuchthattheygotintotroubleinthefirstplace,butwhatthey

    learnalongtheway.Makingthingsrightisapowerfullearningexperience.

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    Thesecondshiftisadeparturefromtheretributivemodelinwhichanauthority,aftertakingtestimonyfromtheaggrievedparty,decidesguiltandassignspunishment.Inrestorativepracticestheauthorityfigureactsmoreasaconvenerandfacilitator.Theinitialinvestigationis

    concernedwithidentifyingwhowassignificantlyaffectedbytheincident.Thefacilitatorinvitesthemintoacircledialogueand,iftheyaccepttheinvitation,helpspreparethem.Duringthecircledialoguetheproblemanditsimpactsareexploredandthegroupcomesupwithideasonhowtomakethingsright.Usuallythismeansthestudentswhowerethesourceofthetroubletakespecificactionsthataddresstheconsequencesoftheirchoices.Considerthedifferenceinoutcomesbetweentheauthoritarian/punitiveapproachandtherestorativeapproach:thefirstbreedsresentment,alienationandshameand/orpossiblyanequallytroublesomehabitoffearingandsubmittingtoauthority;thesecondbuildsempathy,responsibilityandhelpsrestorerelationships.

    Thethirdshiftmovesthelocusofresponsibilityforwellbeingofthecommunityfromtheshouldersoftheexpertstothecommunityitself.Whilecounselingandsimilarstrategieshavetheirplaceandareoftenhelpfulbythemselves,theyareimmeasurablystrengthenedwhen

    complementedbyrestorativepracticesthatchallengethosewhoareinthecircledialoguetoshareinformationwitheachotherandtocometoagreementsasagroup.

    Whataretheresultsofrestorativepractices?

    Thereisagrowingbodyofresearchsupportingtheeffectivenessofrestorativepracticesinschools.Evidence2showsthatrestorativepracticescanresultin:

    Reductionsindisciplinaryreferralstoprincipals Reductionsinsuspensionsandexpulsions Reductionsinamountofinstructionaltimelosttomanagingstudentbehaviorchallenges Improvedteachermorale Improvedteacherretention Improvedacademicoutcomes Reductionsindisproportionatereferralsofminoritystudents.

    Theanecdotalevidencewhatteacherswhohaveusedthecurriculuminthismanualsayiscompelling,albeithardtomeasure.Wehavesprinkledsomeoftheircommentsthroughoutthismanual.Theyhavetodowithfeelingmoreconnectedwithstudents,withincreasedunderstanding,patience,andcompassion.Weknowofatleastoneteacherwhohaddecidedtoquithercareeraftereightyearsofteaching.Shewassofedupthatshewascertainrestorativecircleswouldfailwithherstudents.Afterall,everythingelseshehadtriedhadfailed.Butasthestudentsbegantoopenuptoeachothershestartedseeingthemwithneweyes.Sherememberedwhyshewascalledintotheprofessioninthefirstplace.Relationshipsinherclassroomimproved,anditbecamemorepeacefulandfocused.Insteadofstudentsbeingstuckinconflict,repeatingthesamedestructivebehaviorsoverandoveragain,shesawauthenticsocialandemotionallearningoccur;shesawstudentsmatureduringtheyearandbecomemoreskillfulintheirinteractions.Herhopeandoptimismwasrenewed.Sheisstillteaching.2Readersareencouragedtovisittheonlinelibrariesatwww.iirp.organdwww.rjonline.org.Researchisrapidlyevolving;wealsoreferyoutoourgoodfriendGooglewhoseemstoknowmanypeoplewhoknowaboutrestorativepracticesandrestorativejustice.

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    EvolutionofaRestorativeClassroomandSchoolClimateheideaspresentedhereareintendedtosupporttheevolutionofarestorativeclimate,oneclassroomatatime.Makingthechangefromapunitivetoarestorativecultureisasignificantundertaking,andcanbequitechallenging.Ithappensovertimeandasaresultofsustainedeffort.

    Theclassroomcirclesdescribedinthismanualareapartoftheeffort.Thesecircleswillbemostsuccessfulwhensupportedbyawholeschoolapproachtorestorativepractices,includingcommunitybuildinginthedailycurriculumandrestorativepracticesintheschoolsdisciplinarypolicies.Changetendstohappenslowlyandsometimesprogressesataratethatisallbutinvisible.Butwithperseverancethemomentofrealizationcomeswhenwerecognizethatoureffortshavetakenrootandareyieldingresults.Herearesomeindicatorsbywhichyoucanrecognizetheemergenceofrestorativeculturesinclassrooms:

    Studentshaveexperiencedealingwithconflictsandfeelreasonablysafeandsupportedindoingso.

    Theclassworkstogethertoidentifyandsolveproblemsthatinterferewithlearning.

    Whiletheteacherisstillincharge,thereisashifttosharedresponsibilityforbehaviormanagement.Itbecomesmoreofateameffort,withmostofthestudentsontheteam.

    Throughrestorativepracticesstudentsneedsforsocialandemotionallearningaresupportedinpositiveways.Overthecourseofayearthisgrowthcanbeasobservableasgrowthinacademicskillsandknowledge.

    Conflictsareoftenmanagedbygatheringincircles,followingcircleguidelines,andusingrestorativequestionsasaframeworkforadialogueinwhichunderstandingisreachedandthereisopportunityforcreatingmutallyacceptableagreementsabouthowtomakethingsright.

    Theseindicatorsdonotusuallyemergeinastrictlylinearprocessofsteadyprogression.Oftenitsmoreliketwostepsforward,onestepback.Itcanbefrustratingtowatchastudentsuccessfullyresolveanissueusingarestorativedialogue,thenalmostimmediatelystirupsomenewtrouble.Thetemptationistothinkthatthelearningisnottakingplace;butthisisprobablynotthecase.

    Instead,thinkofstudentswhoarelearningrestorativepracticesasconductingtheirownresearchintowhatworksanddoesnotworkforthem.Animportantresearchtoolistocompareandcontrastvariousmethods.Astudentmaytryarestorativeapproachforawhilethenreverttosomethinglesshelpful.Thetroublethatwethoughtwasintherearviewmirrorisbackinfrontofusagain.Pleasedontgiveup!Considerwhatwouldhappenifwegaveuponmathematicsbecausestudentsdontsolveallproblemscorrectly.Wouldwethensay,Obviously,mathdoesntwork!andgiveup?Aswithacademicsubjects,socialandemotionallearning(includingrestorativedialogue)isaniterativeprocessinwhichsetbacksarebestviewedasopportunitiesforinquiryandclarification.Whenwerealizethatthisisthecase,wecanseethatfailuresareinherentinhowlearninghappens;thenwecanperhapsengagerepeatoffenseswithcuriosityandinquiry,ratherthanfrustrationandjudgment.

    T

    BeforewestartedwithclasscirclesandrestorativequestionsIfeltthatitwasmysoleresponsibilitytosolveproblemsandtakecareofissues.NowIcanseehowitmakessensetosharethisresponsibilitywithstudents.Studentsshiftedinthesameway,fromexpectingmetotakecareofeverything,tounderstandingthattheyhadresponsibilitytohelp.

    5thGradeTeacher

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    Classroomcirclesasdescribedinthepagesthatfollowareanidealformatforthisinquiry.Thelearningprocesscanbeacceleratedbyacknowledgingthisinquiryfrankly,andtheninvitingstudentstousecircletimetocompareandcontrasttheirownsocialstrategies.Aftergainingsomeexperiencewithrestorativepractices,tryputtingquestionsliketheseintothecenterofthecircle,andletthetalkingpiecegoaround.

    Whathasworkedwellformakingfriends? Whathaveyoufoundworksforsolvingproblemsbetweenfriends? Whatcanpeopledotopreventmisunderstandings?

    Therearemanyotherpossiblequestions.Thekeyistoaskquestionsthataretrulymeaningfultostudentsoftentheunspokenquestionsthatareatthecoreofeachstudentssociallife.Thesequestionsdrivewhatissometimescalledtheimplicitcurriculum;simplymakingthemexplicitbybringingthemintocircleisoneofthemostskillfulmethodsofsocial/emotionalpedagogy.

    CircleDialogueandCircleKeepingittinginacircleisafundamentallydifferentexperiencethansittinginrows,ormeetingacrossadesk.Whenweareinrowsthereisgenerallysomeonestandinginfront,commandingattention.Clearlythisisthepersonwhoisincharge,whohastheanswers,andtowhomthegroupis

    accountable.Whenwearemeetingwithsomeonewhofacesusfrombehindadesk,wealsoknowinstinctivelythattheauthorityandpowerbelongswiththatperson.Thesearrangementshavetheirappropriatefunctionsandrestorativepracticesareintendedtocomplementratherthanreplacethemcompletely.Theycanbeeffective.However,theireffectivenessmayhaveunintendedconsequences.Oneoftheseistheimpliedlessonthattheresponsibilityforthefunctioningofthecommunityisontheshouldersofthepersonwhoholdsauthority.

    Whenwesitinacircleweexperienceastrongersenseofcommunity.Everypersoninthecirclesharesresponsibilityforitsfunctioning.Circlecultureismoreyesandthaneitheror.Yes,thereisaleader,andeachpersontakestheleadinturn,eachtimeitistheirturntospeak.Yes,someguidelinesaregivenandthegroupmakesitsownagreements.Decisionsaremade,butbyconsensusofthewholegroup,andsometimesthismeansdecisionscomeslowlyortakeunexpectedforms.

    Thus,oneofthemainpurposesofcircledialogueisbuildingcommunity.Anotherpurposeissupportingthekindsofhonest,authenticdialoguethatisnecessarytoeffectivelyrespondtochallengingbehaviorandcircumstances.Thesetwointentionsforcirclestakeshapeastwodifferenttypesofcircle:communitybuildingandresponsive.Apremisethatrunsthroughoutthismanualisthatresponsivecircles(forrespondingtomisbehaviorandharm)workbestinclassroomswhereafoundationhasbeendevelopedthroughcommunitybuildingcircles.

    TheShapeoftheCircleThephysicalarrangementisimportantandgreatlyaffectsthequalityofthecircle.Arrangetheclassroomorotherspacesothatstudentscanbeinacircle.Theoperationaldefinitionofthecircleshapeisthateveryonecanseeeveryfacewithouthavingtoleanfarforward.Sometimesthespaceavailabledoesntallowformingaperfectcircle,andyoullhavetomakedowiththebestavailable

    S

  • TeachingRestorativePracticeswithClassroomCircles

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    alternative.Weveheardstudentsrefertonotquitecirclesorcircleswithsomeroundedcornersassquircles.

    Circlesworkbestwhenthephysicalspacehasanopenfeelingofnobarriersbetweenparticipants.Arrangethespacesotherearenotablesordesksbetweenstudentsorinthemiddleofthecircle.Ifyourclassroomorthefurnitureyouhavedoesnotsupportthisperhapsthereisanotherplaceoncampuswhereyoucangoforyourcirclemeetings.

    Acousticsareanotherimportantfactor.Someroomsareacousticallyjarring,withsurfacesthatreflectandamplifysound,makingitdifficulttohear.Manycafeteriasandmultipurposeroomshavethisacousticallyharshquality.Theycangivestudentsasenseofprivacywithinthebackgroundnoise,thusencouragingsideconversations.Otherrooms(librariesareoftenlikethis)haveawayofmellowingsoundandgivingaquieterfeel;thisisfarpreferable.Outdoorspacescanworkwellifthebackgroundnoisesarenottoointense.Youmayfindthatacircleonaplaygroundduringthe"quiettime"betweenrecessworksfine,oryoumaydiscoverthatneighborhooddeliverytrucksaremuchlouderthanyoueverrealized!

    EveryVoiceHeard:HowtoUsetheTalkingPiece

    Atalkingpieceisusedfrequentlyduringcircle.Itcanbeanythingthatiseasilypassedfromonestudenttoanother.Beautifulobjectsfoundinnaturemakegreattalkingpiecesfeathers,driftwood,riverstones,seashells.Animalfigurinesareappreciatedbymanystudents.Someclassesadoptaparticulartalkingpieceanduseitforeverycircle.Someputavarietyoftalkingpiecesinthecenterandletthestudentwhostartsaroundchooseonefortheround.

    Someclassesmakeaprojectofcreatingatalkingpieceandthenovertimeaddingtoit.Forexample,youcankeepaboxoflargebeadsandthenasaclassdefineatriggereventthatsignifieswhenanewbeadwillbe

    addedbylacingitontoastringthatistiedtothetalkingpiece.Perhapsthisoccurswhenaconflicthasbeennamedandsolved.Perhapsitcanbeassimpleasanewbead(orfeather,orribbon,etc.)foreachtimetheclassmeetsinacircle.

    Youwillnotalwaysuseatalkingpiece;sometimesitwillmakesensetosimplycallonstudentswhoraisehands.Butthegreatadvantageofatalkingpiecegoingaroundthecircleisthateachandeverystudentknowsthattheywillhaveachancetoputtheirvoiceintothecenter,andtobeseenbyothers.Whenyoudosetthetalkingpieceaside,dosoexplicitlycallattentionbytotheshiftawayfromthetalkingpiecebysaying,Imsettingthetalkingpieceasidefornow.Dothesamewhenyoupickitbackup.

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    Oneofthemostimportanttasksofcirclekeepingisdefendingthetalkingpiece.Thismaymeancontinuallyremindingstudentstorespectthetalkingpiecebygivingthepersonwhoisholdingittheirfullattention.Worktowardgettingstudentsinvolvedinthis;perhapsassigntwoorthreeeachcircletoactastalkingpiecedefenders.

    ACircleKeepersToolkitThesearesomeofthethingswekeepinourCircleKit,whichisabasketwecarrywithustoallofourcircles.Youcancreateyourowntoolkitthatreflectsyourparticularstyleofcircleleadership.

    Bellasmallsingingbowlstylemeditationbell.

    Talkingpieces:aselectionof3to6,variousitemsincludingsticks,stones,seashells,feathers,stuffedanimals,toys,andsoon.

    Fabrics:afewfabricsthathaverichcolorsand/ortextures,sufficienttocoveranareaabout3oneachside.

    BatterypoweredLEDcandlesareasafewaytocreateasenseofwarmthemanatingfromthecenterofthecircle.Placedinthecenter,theyrepresentthetraditionalchildrensfirekepttoremindthecommunitytoactwithawarenessofitsresponsibilitytothechildrenpresent,andthoseyettobeborn.

    Bowl:Findahandmadebowlthatcanholdwaterorstones.Youcanfloatflowersinthisbowl. Kalimba:AnAfricanmusicalinstrumentmadewithagourdandspringsteeltines. Rattle:Anykindofrattlewilldo.Itcanbeusedasatalkingpiece,orcanbegiventoastudentto

    useduringthecircletosignalifthecircleneedstorefocus. Stones:Aselectionofsmallpolishedstonesorsmoothriverrocks AnimalFigurines:Makegreattalkingpiecesrepresentingeachanimalsuniquecharacteristics.If

    givenaselectionofdifferentanimals,studentswilloftenchooseonewhosecharacteristicsmirrorthecurrentprocessoftheclassroomcommunity.

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    FocustheCirclewithHighQualityPromptingQuestionsHighqualitypromptsarequestionsthatgivethecircleitsenergyandfocus.Thecirclekeeperasksaquestionandinviteseveryoneonthecircletorespond(includingthecirclekeeper).Somequestionsareproactiveandareaboutbuildingandmaintainingcommunity.Checkinquestionsareanexampleofthis.Somepromptsareaboutrespondingtospecificchallenges.Restorativequestionsareasequenceofpromptsthatguidedialoguesleadingtounderstandingtheconsequencesofharmfulbehaviors,andagreementsabouthowtorepairthoseharms.Closurequestionsinvitereflectiononwhathashappenedinthecircle.

    Highqualitypromptshavethesecharacteristics:

    Theyarerelevant:questionsaboutsomethingthatisrealandmeaningfultothelivesofstudents.

    Oftenahighqualitypromptgivesvoicetoexistingunspokenquestionsthatareinthesocialfield;considerthis:Whatdoesitmeantobepopular?asanexampleofaquestionthatisimplicitinmanystudentsminds,butisperhapsrarelydiscussedopenly.

    Simpleandclearlanguageisused.

    Theyareopenended:notyesornoquestions,butwordedinawaythatinvitesdeeperinquiry.

    Theyareaboutinquiry,notadvocacy;discovery,notteachingfactsorprovingapoint.Thus,apromptframedasWhyisitalwaysbesttobepolite?maybehelpful,butitalsoassumesitsownconclusion;youmayaswellsay,Itsbesttobepolite.Tellmewhy.Itmightbemoreinterestingtoask,Whatmakesrelationshipsworkoutwell?

    Oftenpromptsarerelatedtocurrenteventsforwhichtimeisnotplannedinthecurriculum.IntheweekaftertheearthquakesandtsunamisthatdevastatedJapanwemadetimeinallofourcirclesforstudentstosharetheirquestionsandconcerns.Itwassimplyamatterofasking,Doesanyonehaveanythingtheywouldliketosayabouttheearthquakesandtsunamis?Andyoubet

    QuestionsforGettingAcquainted

    Shareahappychildhoodmemory.Ifyoucouldbeasuperhero,whichsuperpowerwouldyouchooseandwhy?Howwouldyourbestfrienddescribeyou?WhatwouldyouNOTwanttochangeaboutyourlife?Why?Ifyoucouldtalktosomeonefromyourfamilywhoisnolongeralive,whoitwouldbe?Whatwouldyouwanttotalkabout?Ifyouhadanunexpectedfreedayandcouldanythingyouwished,whatwouldyoudo?Ifyouwereananimal,whattypewouldyoubeandwhy?Whatisamemoryyouhavetotimespentinnature?Whodoyourespect,andwhy?Whatchangewouldyouliketoseeinyourcommunity?Whatcanyoudotopromotethatchange?Whatwasatimewhenyouwereoutsideyourcomfortzone?Whatdidyoudo,andwhatweretheresults?Whatisitlikeforyouwhensomeoneisangryatyou?PromptsForRestorativeDialogue:Whathappenedandwhatwereyouthinkingatthetimeoftheincident?Whathaveyouthoughtaboutsince?Whohasbeenaffectedbywhathappenedandhow?Whataboutthishasbeenhardestforyou?Whatdoyouthinkneedstobedonetomakethingsasrightaspossible?

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    theydid;theemotionalloadcarriedbymanyofthesestudentswasimmense.Circleswereaperfectopportunitytomakeroomforthemtoaskquestions.(Welearnedthatmany4thand5thgradestudentsintheSanFranciscoBayAreawereafraidthatthetsunamiwasgoingtowashthemaway,alongwiththeirschoolandfamilies,andweresittingintheirclassroomssilentlyandpolitelycontainingtheirterror.)

    Theysupportrestorying.Restoryingistheprocessbywhichweloosenthegripthatstoriesthatwehaveconstructedabouteachotherandourworldhaveonus,thusopeningupnewpossibilitiesforhowweseeandexperienceeachother.

    Theyenergizetheclassandgettheattentionofstudents.

    Theyinvitedeeperfollowupquestions.

    TheCirclehasaCenterThecenterofthecircleisanimportantelement.Whileitcanbeleftclear,itisoftenmorepowerfulwhensomethingisplacedinthecentertoprovidefocus.Creatingthecentercanbepartoftheritualofmovingintocircletime.Studentsoftenenjoydoingthis;aftermodelingitonceortwiceaskfortwoorthreevolunteerstocomeandarrangethecenter,workingwithelementsthatarekeptinabasketorboxforthatpurpose.Acolorfulpieceoffabricwithafewsmallitemssuchasflowers,feathers,aselectionoftalkingpieces,andsoonwilldonicely.Abowlofwaterinthecentercanhelpbringasenseofcalmtothecircle,andcanbehelpfulwhenthereisconflictortensionintheroom.

    Itistraditionalincirclestospeakintothecenter.Theideaisthateveryonesvoiceisaddedtothecenter,anditisfromthecenterthatthewisdomoftheclasswillbegintoemerge.Oncesomeonehasspokenintothecenter,theircontributionbecomesthepropertyofthecircle.Itbecomespartofashiftingstory,apathwaytowardanunderstandingthatcomesclearerlittlebylittle.

    RespectingEachOnesExperience:ThePrincipleofNonInterferenceTheprincipleofnoninterferencemeansthatwesimplywelcomewhatpeoplesaywithouttryingtoinfluencethem.Ifsomeoneisinpain,welistenandallowsimplelisteningtobeacomfort;wedonottrytotakeawaytheirpain.Ifsomeoneisconfused,wesimplylistenandtrustthatinitsownwaythecirclewillprovideclarification.Ifsomeoneisangrywehonortheiranger.Wedontindulgeinpsychologicalmaneuvers.Wedontdirectlycorrect,trytocounsel,heal,orfixanyonesexperienceinanyway.Wesimplylisten.

    Thisprinciple,soveryimportantinbuildingacommunitywherepeoplefeelsafetoexpressthemselves,alsoappliestorestorativedialogue.Whenweusetherestorativequestionswearenottryingtoforceanoutcome.Wearesimplygivingastructuretothecirclesothateachpersonsvoicecanbeheard.When

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    allvoicesareinthecenter,thecirclehasawayofsurfacingwhatistrue,whatisneeded,andwhattodonext.

    Thereareexceptionswhenitisimportanttogiveinformation.WedidntpracticenoninterferencewhenstudentssharedtheirfearthattheJapanesetsunamiwasabouttostriketheirschool.Wegaveinformation.Thisillustratesanimportantpoint:wedontwanttoberigidaboutanyofthis.Noninterferenceandtheotherguidelinesinthismanualareprinciples,notcommandments.

    BuildingTrustintheCircleWhenthereistrustbetweenstudentsitcreatesasocialenvironmentinwhichstudentscansafelyriskselfdisclosure,authenticity,confrontation,andexpressingaffection.Trustisnotautomatichowever,andstudentshavelikelyhadmanyexperiencesofbrokentrust:confidencesbetrayedbygossipareanearuniversalexperience,forexample.Restorativecirclesarealwaysbyinvitation;studentsshouldnotfeelcompelledtosharewhentheydonotfeelemotionallysafewiththosewhoareinthecircle.

    Itcantakeconsiderabletimeandefforttobuildanatmosphereoftrust.Thereisasimplewaytotellhowtrustiscomingalong:observethedegreeofparticipationinthecircle.Ifmanystudentsarepassingandifsharingissuperficial,youmaytakethisasareliableindicatorthatstudentsdonotfeelsafetoshare;thereisinsufficienttrustinthecommunity.

    Wecometotrustothersgoodintentionsthroughexperiencingthemrespondingtousinarespectfulway.Itisperhapsamarkofwisdomtowithholdsharinganythingintimatewiththosewhohaveinthepastbelittledus.Ascircleleadersweshouldencouragepeopletoshare,butavoidencouragingthemtoomuch.Alwaysrememberthattheremaybeverygoodreasonswhystudentsarenotsharing.Letthematurationofthecirclehaveitsslow,positiveinfluenceonstudentssharing.

    Wediscoverhowmuchwecantrustothersthroughinteractionsthattesttheirintentions.Ifastudentsharesathoughtorideathatiswellreceivedthenthatstudentbeginstotrustthegoodintentionsofthepeoplewithwhomitwasshared.Ontheotherhand,iftheideaisbelittledorifthestudentismockedinanywaythenaverydifferentconclusionisreached:thatthesearenotpeopletobetrustedwithinformationthatisinanywayintimate.Yetthestudentsneedforbelongingremainsstrong.Theproblemnowis,HowcanIbelong,withoutbeingintimate?Thisproblemissolvedinmanyways,noneofwhichareconducivetoatrulyhealthycommunity.Becomingabullyisonesolution,forexample.

    Inrestorativecircleswebuildtrustbygivingstudentssafewaystotesthowmuchtheycantrusteachother.Webegininourfirstcirclesbyusingpromptingquestionsthatinvitelowriskanswers.Studentscangiveanswersthatdonotexposetheirinnerlives;thus,theycanfeelfairlysafefromsocialconsequencessuchasteasing.Studentsshouldnotberequiredtotakerisksthatareunreasonable,includingsocialrisksinsociallyhostileenvironments.Studentshavesoundinstinctsabouthowmuchselfdisclosureissafe;theirlevelofparticipationisareliableindicatoroftheriskenvironment.

    Whenstudentswereaskedtosolveproblemsinpast,theywouldrespondIdunno,andIwouldfeelresponsibletocomeupwithasolution.Irecognizedthatthesesolutionswerenotgenerallyeffective.NowIfacilitatestudentsthinkingprocess,andhelpthemcomeupwithsolutions.

    5thgradeteacher

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    Teachersandothercircleleaderscanobservestudentslevelofparticipation,alongwithhowstudentsreacttoeachothersanswers,andsteadilyincreasethedepthofintimacyandauthenticityinvitedbypromptingquestions,choosingpromptsthatinvitemoreintimateexposureofpersonalthoughtsandfeelings.Thiscarefullymanagedandsequencedjourneyintogreaterintimacyandauthenticityisacornerstoneofbuildingcommunitywithcircledialogue.

    Anexampleofalowriskpromptis,Whoisaheroofyoursfromreallifeorthemovies,andwhydoyouchoosethisperson?Noticethatstudentshavealotofchoiceinhowtheyanswer.Theycansayalotoralittle.Theycancopywhatsomeoneelsesaidortheycanbeoriginal.Whatevertheiranswer,theywillhaveanopportunitytogaugehowotherstudentsrespond.Willtheybemadefunof?Willtheiranswershelpthemgettoknoweachotherbetterandperhapsfindsurprisingconnections?

    Whenallstudentsarewillingtoanswerquestionssuchasthismoreorlessauthenticallythetimecomestomovetoquestionsthataremorerevealing,andthereforeriskiertoanswer.Forexample,thepromptmightbesomethinglike,Tellthestoryofatimeyouhadaconflictwithsomeoneelseandwhathappened.Thissubject

    isrelevanttothelivesofallstudents,andtheymayhaveadeepdesiretospeakaboutit.Butitalsoinvitesanswersthataremoreintimateandrevealing.Iftrusthasbeenbuiltintheclassroomtheywillwelcometheopportunitytotalkopenly.Butiftheyknowtheywillberidiculedorthatotherunpleasantsocialconsequenceswillresultitmakesperfectlygoodsenseforthemtoeithernotanswerortodosoinasuperficialway.

    Insummary,usinglevelofparticipationandqualityofsharingasagauge,movesteadilyfromsaferpromptingquestionstowardquestionsthatinvitemoreselfdisclosureandthatfocusonthingsthatreallymattertostudents.

    CharacteristicsofPromptingQuestionsforBuildingTrustandConnectedness forBuildingIntimacyandAuthenticity

    Noncontroversialsubjects Easytoanswerwithoutintrospection Widerangeofchoiceinanswersthat

    arehonest

    Funandfast,invitelotsofsmiling Notparticularlyedgy;donotinvite

    studentsintonewterritory Primarilyaboutstorytelling

    connecting,ratherthancontent

    Subjectsmaybecontroversial Lesschoiceinhowthequestionmaybe

    answeredhonestly Answersmayrequiretimeandintrospection Oftenedgy,invitingstudentstoshareinways

    thatareneworunfamiliar Primarilyaboutemotionalexpressionand

    developingsocialskills(content)

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    GuidelinesareCornerstonesofTrustTherearestandardsforbehaviorincircles.Oneoftheprimarytasksofacircleleaderistoteach,reinforce,andactasguardianofthesestandards.Fromlongexperiencewithmanytypesofcirclesinmanysettings,thecommunityofcirclekeepershassettledonfourcoreguidelines(besidestheallimportantguidelinetorespectthetalkingpiece,addressedearlier):

    1. Speakfromtheheart:Thismeansspeakingforyourself,talkingaboutwhatistrueforyoubasedonyourownexperiences.Whenwespeakfromtheheartweareaimingforeloquence,forchoosingwordsthataccuratelycommunicatewhatweholdtobeimportant.

    2. Listenfromtheheart:Weareusedtojudgingotherpeople.Sometimeswithoutevenknowinganythingaboutanotherpersonwewillmakeassumptionsaboutthem.Theseassumptionscankeepusfromreallyhearingwhattheyhavetosayandwhattheyhavetosaymaybesomethingthatisimportantandhelpful.Sowhenwelistenfromtheheartwearetryingtosetasideanystorieswemayholdabouttheperson.Thisopensupthepossibilityofmakingwonderfuldiscoveriesabout,andsurprisingconnectionswith,eachother.

    3. Noneedtorehearse:Incircleswediscoverthatwecantrustthatwewillknowwhatto

    saywhenitisourturntospeak.Wedonthavetomentallyrehearsewhilewearewaitingforthetalkingpiecetocomeourway.Whenwefindthatwearerehearsing(everyonedoes)wegentlyremindourselvesnoneedtorehearseandbringourattentionbacktothepersonwhoisspeaking.Thisguidelineissometimesreferredtosimplyasbespontaneous.

    4. Withoutfeelingrushed,sayjustenough:Keepinmindthelimitsoftimeandmakingroomforeveryonetospeak.Thisintentionisalsocalledleanexpression.Itisrelatedtospeakfromtheheartbecauseweoftenfindthatwhenwespeakcarefullywecanexpressourselveswithfewerwordsthanwewouldnormallyuse,andthatwhenwedo

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    ourwordsoftenhavemoreimpact.Onewaytothinkaboutthisis,whenyouareconsideringwhattosay,ask,Doesitservethiscircleinagoodway?

    AgreementsareAlsoCornerstonesofTrustTheguidelinesarenearlyuniversalincircleculture.Inadditiontotheguidelines,eachclassroommakesitsownagreements.Agreementsarenegotiatedbytheclass.InthelessonplansincludedinPart3ofthismanualastepbystepapproachfornegotiatingagreementsisdescribed.Agreementwithinthecircleisnotaonetimediscussion;itshouldbeongoing.

    Theprocessofcomingtoandmaintainingagreementsisgovernedbymetaagreements(agreementsaboutagreements).Thesemetaagreementsshouldbeexplicitandunderstoodbyeveryone.Yourclassmaycomeupwiththeirownlist,butcommonmetaagreementsinclude:

    1. Anyonecanaskforanagreementatanytime.2. Anyonecanasktomodifyanagreementatanytime.3. Ifthereisnoconsensusaboutaproposedagreement,itisnotanagreement,anditisthe

    responsibilityofeachmemberofthecircletobemindfulofthisfact.Forexample,ifevenasinglestudentdoesnotagreetokeepthingssharedinthecircleconfidential,thenthereisnoconfidentialityagreementandallstudentsshouldkeepthisinmindwhentheyshare.

    4. Maintainingtheagreementsiseveryonesresponsibility(notjusttheteachers).

    MandatedReporting,Agreements,andTrustInschools,circleleadersareusuallyteachersorsomeotherprofessionalwhoisamandatedreporter.Itisveryimportanttoclarifywiththestudentswhatthismeansattheoutset,andtoremindthemofthisfromtimetotime.Clearlydescribeexactlywhatkindsofthingsyoumustreportiftheycomeup.Ifyouarenotcertain,pleasereviewyourdistrictsmandatedreportingpolicyandanyapplicableprofessionalguidelines.

    Wehavewitnessedseveraloccasionswhenstudentssharedincirclesensitiveinformationabouttheirfamilylives.Thesestudentsfeltsorelievedtohaveaforuminwhichtheywererespectfullylistenedtothattheytooktheopportunitytosharewhatwereforthemveryweightyandconfusingmatters.Inonemiddleschoolclasswestoppedayoungmaninmidshare,tellinghimthatwhilewerecognizehowimportantthesubjectwas,classroomcircleswerenotanappropriateplacetoshare.Inthisinstancehewastalkingabouthisfather,describingbehaviorsthatseemedemotionallyabusive.Itwaspainfultostophimfromsharing;onehastoconsider,Whereelseinhisworlddoeshehaveanopportunitytodiscussthesethings?

    Weheldastaffcircletoexploretheincidentandthequestionsitraised.Oneoftheseissueswasarticulatedbythestudentsthemselves:Youinviteustotalkaboutwhatreallymatters,andwhenwedoyoutellusthisisnottherightplace.Aconclusionwereachedinourstaffcirclewasthatwemustbemoremindfulandproactiveaboutcommunicatingtheintentionofthecircles.Weacknowledgedthatwedidnothaveparentconsenttotalkaboutfamilymattersincircles,andthatitisapoliticalrealitythatrestorativepracticesprogramsarevulnerabletoparentcomplaints.Anotherconclusionwasthatweagreedwiththestudents,andsharedamongourselvesourgriefthatwewerenotabletouseourcirclestomeetthisparticularneed.

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    Thetakeawaylessonhereistobeproactiveaboutcomingtoagreements,andtopaycarefulattentiontomaintainingthem.Otherwiseitwillbeveryeasytolosetrustinthecircle.

    CommunityBuilding(Proactive)andResponsetoHarms:TwoCircleThemesCirclesgenerallyhavetwotypesofbusinesstoaddress.Thefirstiscommunitybuilding:establishingcontactwiththepeople,havingthetimeandopportunitytofullyshowup,toexperiencebeingseenandheard.Thesecondisrespondingtoharm,whichmeanshavingsometimesdifficultdialoguesinwhichharmsarediscussedandpathwaystowardmakingthingsrightareagreedupon.

    CommunityBuildingCirclesareaboutgivingstudentsopportunitytogettoknoweachotherandestablishpositiveconnections,includingagreementsabouthowtheyoughttotreateachother.Everycircleincludescommunitybuildingactivitiesinthebeginning.Somecirclesfocusexclusivelyonthistaskbybuildinganddeepeningconnectionsamongstudents.

    Connectioncanbeinvitedinseveraldimensionsbesidestheinterpersonal.Thereisconnectingtophysicalsensation,forexample.Beforepassingthetalkingpieceyoucaninvitestudentstositquietlywiththeireyesclosedandtuneintowhattheirbodiesarefeeling.Thesamegoesforemotions,andforwhatthoughtsorconcernsmightbepresent.Theaimhereistosupportstudentsinwhateverprocesstheyarefeeling;togivepermissiontocomeasyouare.Thisinturncansupporttheauthenticityofthedialoguewhenthecirclemovesintotakingcareofbusinesssuchasdiscussingconflictsorotherclassissues.

    ResponsiveCirclesusespecifichighqualityquestionstoexplorechallengingcircumstancesandmovetowardmakingthingsright.Choosingquestionsthatarerealforthestudentsisessentialtoelicitingcontentthatmatters.Whenthecontentmatters,thecirclewillbeenergizedandfocused.

    TheRestorativeQuestionsincludedinthismanualarticulatethereal,actualquestionsthatexistwhenthereisconflictorwhensomeonehasharmedsomeoneelse.Studentsreadilybecomeengagedwiththesequestionsbecausethecontentofthecircleistrulyrelevanttotheirlives;itmatters.

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    SequenceofEventsinaCircleThesequenceofeventsisimportant.IfyouestablishaCirclePatternfromthebeginning,anduseitconsistently,studentswillknowwhattoexpect.Thefollowingsequenceworkswell,althoughnoteveryelementisincludedineverycircle.Eachstepinthesequenceisdiscussedbelow.

    StartingtheCircle510minutes

    1. Arrive(circlekeepercentersself)2. Statethepurposeofthecircle3. OpentheCircle4. TeachandRememberCircleGuidelines5. MakeandRememberAgreements

    DoingtheWorkoftheCircle1530minutes

    6. Connection:CheckinRoundwithTalkingPiece;7. CoreActivities:

    CommunityBuilding/Connection RestorativePracticesContentorDeeperConnection.

    8. Closure:CheckoutRoundEndingtheCircle5minutes

    9. Closethecircle10. Debriefwithcolleagues

    Step1:Arrive(beforethecircle):Checkinwithyourselfpriortostartingthecircle.Assessyourenergylevel,youremotionalstate,physicalcondition,andanythingelsethatwillhaveanimpactonhowyoushowupasacirclekeeper.Thegoalisnotnecessarilytochangeanything,butsimplytobeaware.Thisawarenessofyouractualconditioncanbeapowerfulallyincirclekeeping.

    Step2:OpeningtheCircle:Afterthestudentsareseatedinacircle,itisveryhelpfultohavearoutinethatyouuseasaceremonyatthebeginningofeachcircle.Thismarksatransitionfromregularclassroomtimeintothespecialnonordinarytimeofcircle.

    Thisisagoodtimetoplaceitemsintothecenterofthecircletohelpgiveitfocus.Someteachersreadapoemorsomeinspirationalprose,orplaceabatterypoweredcandleorflowersinthecenter.

    Step3:TeachCircleGuidelines:Remindtheclassof,oraskthemtorecall,theguidelinesthatreliablyhelpcirclesfunctionwell.Writethemontheboardasstudentsrecalloruseposters.Theyare:

    1. Respectthetalkingpiecea. Givethosewhoholdityourfullattentionb. Whenyouareholdingitgivefullattentiontoyourtruthc. Speaktothecenterofthecircle

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    d. Handlethetalkingpiecerespectfully2. Speakfromtheheart:Speakforyourself:yourperspectives,needs,experiences

    a. Trustthatwhatcomesfromtheheartwillbewhatthecircleneeds3. Listenfromtheheart:Letgoofstoriesthatmakeithardtohearothers4. Sayjustenough:withoutfeelingrushed,saywhatyouneedtosay(leanexpression)5. Trustthatyouwillknowwhattosaywhenitisyourturntospeak:noneedtorehearse

    Step4:MakeandRememberAgreements:Inadditiontotheintentions,whichapplytoallcircles,eachindividualclassshouldbegivenmultipleopportunitiestomakeadditionalagreements,forexampleaboutconfidentiality,gossip,andsoon.Letthegroupfinditsownwording.Usealikefiststofivetogenerateconsensus.Allagreementsshouldbebyconsensus.Agreementsarenotimposedbyanauthority;theyarenegotiatedbythegroup.

    Step5:Connection:DoacheckinRoundwiththetalkingpiece.Begineverycirclewithacheckinround,inwhichallstudentsareinvitedtorespondtoaquestion.Thisgivesstudentsachancetoputtheirvoiceintothecircleandfeelconnected.Inthefirstcircles,keepthisquestionverylowrisk,andmakeitprogressivelymorepersonalatapacethecirclecanhandle.Itcanbehelpfultoaskstudentsforideasaboutcheckinquestions.Relevantquestionsarepreferablemeaningthosequestionsthathavetodowiththeactualsituation.So,ifthestudentshavejustreturnedfromaholiday,arelevantquestionmightbesharesomethingmemorablefromyourholiday.

    Step6:RespondingtoChallengingCircumstances:RestorativeContent.Ifthereareliveissuestodiscuss,thisisthetimetomoveintothemwithrestorativedialogue.Itisimportanttonametheissueclearlyandaccurately;itsbestwhenthiscomesfromthestudents,butcanalsoworkwhenissuesarenamedbytheteacher.Lessons3and4inPart3ofthismanualhelpstudentslearnhowtoidentifyandnameissues.Notethattheapproachusedintheselessonsistolearnaboutrestorativedialoguebyengaginginit,throughprogressivelymoredirectandchallengingdialogues.

    Step7:ClosureQuestion.Askstudentstocommentontheirexperienceinthecircle.Ifyouhaveverylittletime(asisoftenthecase)askforatwowordcheckout:Saytwowordsaboutyourexperienceinthecircletoday.Thisroundsoutthecircle.

    Step8:Closethecircle:Inawaythatisintentionalperhapsevenabittheatricalputawaythecenter,ringabell,ormakesomeothersmallgesturetosignalmovingbackfromcircletimeintoordinarytime.

    Step9:Debriefwithcolleagues:Whatdidyoulearn?Anysurprises?Whatmemorablethingshappenedthatyouwanttoremember?Whatfrustrationsdidyouencounter?Findatrustedfriendlycolleaguewhoisalsodoingcirclesanddebriefeachweekwiththesequestionsorsimilarones.Sitinacircleanduseatalkingpiecetrustthecircle!

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    Part Two: Varieties of Circle Formats and Circles for Building Community

    Therearevariouswaystousecircles,andspecificformshaveevolvedtosupportdifferentcircumstances.Thissectiondiscussessomeoftheformsthatcirclestake.

    Thissectionalsoincludesaselectionoftriedandtruecirclesthathelpbuildcommunity.UsetheseinbetweenthelessonsinPart3,asneeded.

    VarietiesofCircleFormats

    BasicCircleInabasiccircleeveryonesitsfacingthecenter.Apartfroman(optional)decorativecenterpiece,thereshouldbenoobstructions,suchasdesksortables.Thecircleisstartedwithareminderoftheguidelinesandagreements,followedbyacheckinround.Atalkingpieceisusedforthecheckinroundandthefollowingrounds.Theleadercanaskforavolunteertotakethetalkingpieceandbegin;itisthenpassedaroundthecircleinaclockwisedirection(havinganagreedupondirectionpreventsconfusion).Somestudentsmaypass;whenthishappens,afterthetalkingpiecehasbeenpassedbacktothefirstperson,theleadercanask,Wouldanyonewhopassedliketoshare?Veryoftenmostorallofthosewhopassedwillraisetheirhands.Goingclockwise,thetalkingpieceispassedtoeachoneinturn.Attheendofthecirclethetalkingpieceispassedagainforaclosureroundinwhichstudentsmaycommentontheirexperienceinthecircle.

    PopcornCircleLikeabasiccircle,butoftenwithoutatalkingpieceandwithoutgoingaroundinsequence.Studentsmayraisetheirhandswhentheyarereadytoshare,andtheleadercancallupontheminpopcornsequence(noparticularorder).Avariationistochallengestudentstospeakinpopcornfashionwithoutraisingtheirhands,solongastheydonotspeakoverorinterrupteachother.Thishelpsdevelopsensitivitytothegroup.Anothervariationistouseatalkingpiece;itisplacedinthecenterandwhensomeoneisreadytospeaktheygotothecenterandpickitup.Whentheyarefinishedtheymayeitherputitbackinthecenter,orholditinfrontofthemuntilsomeoneelserequestsit.Youmightusethisinsteadofabasiccirclewhenitisnotsoimportantthateverystudentspeaks.Itisalsoagoodchoiceforwhenthereislimitedtimeforrespondingtoapromptingquestion.

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    Fishbowl(Witness)CircleFormabasiccircleandcheckin.Theninvitevolunteersoraselectedgrouptoformasmallercircleinthecenter;inaclassof24students,invite46intothecenter.Thosewhoarenotinthecenterareinstructedthattheyareactiveinthecircleinthewitnessrole.Thecircledialogueisconductedwiththoseinthecenter;atalkingpiecemaybeusedbutisoptional.Thoseintheoutercirclestaysilentuntiltheyareaskedforwitnesscomments.Witnesscommentsmaybeelicitedatanypointduringthecircle,andshouldalwaysbeelicitedattheendofthecircle.Askwitnessestomakeobservationsaboutthecircle:howitfunctioned,ifitwaseffective,whatcouldbedonedifferently.Oftenitispossibleduringa45minutecircletohavetwoorthreegroupsinthecenter,particularlyifresponsetimeisbeinglimitedandmonitored(seeresponsecirclesbelow).

    SpiralCircleAspiralcircleislikeafishbowl,butwithanemptyseatinthecentercircle.Peopleintheoutercircleareinvitedtocomeandsitintheemptyseatwhentheyfeeltheywouldliketocontribute.Thoseintheinnercircleareinvitedtoleavetheirseatandgototheoutercircleaftertheyhaveshared.Theruleisthatyoumayleavethecircleonlyafterthenextpersontospeakafteryouhasfinishedspeaking.Thistypeofcircleisgoodinlargegroups,andalsofordiscussingchallengingcircumstanceswhennoteveryoneisreadytospeak.

    FeedbackCircleInafeedbackcirclethepersonspeakingisgivenalimitedtimetoshare,andthepersontospeaknextisgiventheresponsibilityoftimingthem.Forexample,therulemaybesharefortwominutes.(Sharingtimeof5or10minutesispossibleinsmallergroups).Thenextpersonusesawatchtotime,andwarnswhenoneminutehaspassedandwhentwominutesisreached.Aftertheshare,theentirecirclecanbegivenasimilaramountoftimetogivefeedback.Ifthetimeallottedforfeedbackistwominutes,thiscanbeonepersonspeakingfortwominutes,twospeakingforoneminuteeach,andsoon.Moveonwhenthetwominutesareup.

    WheelhouseCircleForthiscircleinacircle,askeveryotherstudenttomovetheirchairsafewfeetintothecenterofthecircle,thentoturnthemaroundsotheyarefacinganotherstudent,formingpairs.Givethecircleaquestiontoworkwith,andhaveeachpersonineachpairrespond.Afterafewminutes,ringabellorgivesomeothersignal.Instructtheoutercircletoleavetheirchairswheretheyare,andmovetothelefttwoseats.Thiscreatesnewpairs.Studentsfindthemselvestalkingwithotherstudentswhotheydontnormallyinteractwith.Whenteachersparticipateinthecirclethereisopportunitytoconnectwithmanystudentsquickly.Afteracoupleofrounds,whenitstimeforstudentstomoveyoucanringthebellandcalloutbump!andstudentswillknowwhattodo.

    SmallGroup/StudentCircleLeadersWhenthereisalargegroupwithalottoshare,itcanworkwelltomeetinmultiplesmallercirclesof48studentseach.Thebasiccirclewithtalkingpieceisbestsuitedforthis.Before

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    movingintosmallgroupsexplainwhatthequestionandaskifthestudentswillagreetostayfocused.Thesuccessofthistypeofcircleissupportedbydesignatingstudentleadersforeachcircle,andmakingsureeachleaderhasatalkingpiece.Smallgroupcirclesworkbestwithstudentswhohaveconsiderableexperienceincircleandinclassroomsinwhichthereishighcompliancewithcircleguidelinesandagreements.Whenstudentleadersareinvolvedconsidermakingenoughtimetohaveafishbowlcirclewiththeleadersinthecenter.Asktheleaderstoreflectonwhatworkedwellinthecircle,whatchallengesarose,andwhattheylearnedthattheycancarryforwardwhenleadingcirclesinthefuture.

    BuildingConnections,BuildingCommunityThissectioncontainsideasforcirclesthathelpbuildtrust,positivefeelings,andasenseofbelongingwithintheclassroomcommunity.Whiletheycanbeusedatanytime,thesecirclesareparticularlyrecommendedforwhenstudentsseemreluctanttoshareincircle.

    GoalsforCommunityBuildingCirclesWefeelconnectedtootherpeoplewhenwesensethattheyseeus,knowus,andcareaboutus.Thatswhatconnectioncirclesareabout:beingseen,beingheard,beingknown,anddevelopingaffection.Therefore,theobjectivesforthesecirclesarethatstudentswillfeel:

    theyhavebeenseen; theyhavebeenheard; theyhavebeenunderstood; connectedtootherstudents; theyhavegivenandreceivedrespectandperhapsaffectionfromclassmates.

    ImplicitQuestionsofConnectionWheneverwehumansareinagroupwehaveseveralunspokenquestions,andweimmediatelybeginsearchingforsocialcuesthatwillhelpusanswerthem.Thesequestionsare:

    Whoarethesepeople? Willtheyseemeinawaythatfeelsgoodtome? Cantheybetrusted? Whatismyplaceamongthem?

    Therearemanystrategiestogetanswerstothesequestions.Inmostclassroomseverystudentisintenselyengagedininvestigating,testing,andrefiningtheirstrategiestofindandshapetheanswerstothesequestions,andthenmanagingwhattheylearn.Mostmisbehaviorcanbeeasilyunderstoodaspartofthisinvestigation.Forexample,whenacliqueofstudentsmakesapointofexcludingoneortwostudents,atoneleveltheyaredealingwiththequestionofWhatismyplaceinthesocialstructure?ThebehaviorsofthestudentswhoareexcludedmaybeinvestigationsintoHowcanIbeseeninawaythatfeelsgoodtome?

    Circlesareanidealvenuetosupporttheseinvestigations.Theycanbeusedtodevelopconnections,understanding,belonging,affection,agreements,andtrust.Evenwhencirclesarenotexplicitlyaboutrestorativedialogues(dealingwithaspecificconflict),iftheyarehelpingtoconnectpeopleinapositive

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    waytheyarefundamentallyrestorativebecausetheyhelptorestoreaculturethatispositiveandhealthyandsafe.

    BasicConnection:TheCheckinRoundNearthebeginningofeverycircleisacheckinround.Aquestionisputintothecircle,andthetalkingpieceispassedsothateveryoneinthecirclecananswer.

    Almostanylowrisk,relevantquestionwilldo.Thekeyisthateveryonehasachancetohavetheirvoiceheard,andtorevealsomethingabouttheirinnerlivessothatotherscanseethem,andtheycanfeelseen.Seeifyoucanidentifyaquestionthatisalsoaboutsomethingrelevanttoanactualsocialsituationprevailingintheclass.

    Studentslovetosuggestquestionsforcheckinandcheckout.Itsgoodtoletthemdoso,especiallywhentheyvehadexperiencewithafewcircles.Whenstudentscontributequestionstheyfeelownershipandresponsibilityforthecircle.Onewaytogetstudentquestionsistoaskforseveralideasandthenchooseoneorcombineacouple.Oftenitsgoodtoaddandwhytoastudentsquestion;forexampleastudentmaysuggestWhatisyourfavoritemovie.ModifythistoWhatisyourfavoritemovie,andsharetworeasonswhy.

    ResponsiveCircleTypeofCircle:Basic,Popcorn,Fishbowl,SpiralManyclassroomsdedicateacircletodiscussinghowtobringproblemsthatstudentsarenoticingtotheattentionofthewholeclass,sotogetherthewholeclasscanworktosolvetheproblem.Conveneacircleandaskthestudentsforideasaboutwhatkindsofproblemsmightbeappropriatetobringtocirclesfordiscussion.Thenaskwhatagoodproceduremightbefornamingtheseproblems.Letstudentscontributeideasuntiltheyarriveatasolution.Atypicalsolutionistohaveaboxintowhichstudentscanputnotesaboutproblemstheyfeelshouldbediscussedincircle.Somecirclescanbededicatedtothisdiscussion.Basicandfishbowlcircleformatsareusefulforthis(seelessonplans).Thesecirclescangivestudentsthefeelingofbeingempowered.Theycanalsohelpteacherswhofeeltheyhavebeencarryingtheburdenofclassroomproblemsolvingbythemselvesexperiencethereliefofhavingstudentswhopartnerwiththeminthisimportanttask.Seelessons5and6inPartThreefordetaileddescriptionsofcirclesofthistype.

    StoryoftheDayTypeofCircle:Basic,Popcorn,SmallGroupAfterafieldtriporotherspecialeventwherestudentshavehadanunusualexperience,theirlearningisgreatlyenhancedbythistypeofcircle.Gatherstudentsintothecircleand,usingthetalkingpiece,invitethemtotellastoryinwhichsomethingissharedfromtheirdaythatwasmeaningfulorinterestingtothem.Youmayhavetomodelthis;thisactivityisbestdoneasastoryinwhichthereisabitofplot.Itcanhelpifyousuggesttheytellitinthethirdperson:AboywaswanderingonthetrailonedaywhenhespottedarabbitEncouragethemtoadddetails.Astheystudentstoeachothersstoriestheymayrealizetheirdaywasricherthantheyhadpreviouslybeenawareof.Toclosethiscircleinvitecommentsfromstudentsaboutonethingthatstoodoutforthem.

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    SomethingSpecialTypeofCircle:BasicThisisaversionofshowandtellthatworksforanyage.

    Inviteeachstudenttobringsomethingspecialfromhometosharewiththeclass.Besuretodiscusswhatisandisnotappropriatetobring.

    Remindthemthedaybeforethecircle. Besuretoputanicelargefabriconthefloorinthecenterofthecircleforthisactivity. Inthecircle,goaroundandhaveeachstudentinturnshowtheirsomethingspecialandputitin

    thecenteronthefabric.Encouragethemtoarrangetheiritemsoitbecomespartofacollageorsculpture.Somestudentsmayforgettobringanitem;itworksverywelltosimplyhavethemdescribewhattheywouldhavebroughtandwhatitmeanstothem,andthentohavethempantomimeplacingtheobjectinthecenterwiththeothers.

    Iftimepermits,invitestudentstoshareasecondroundfocusingonwhattheythoughtabouttellingtheclass,butdidnotsay.Almostalwaysthissecondroundwillbemoreintimatethanthefirstround.

    Aftereveryonehassharedtakeafewmomentstoappreciatetheobjectsinthecenter.Youcanaskstudentsiftheynoticeanypatterns,similarities,ordifferencesinwhatpeopleshared.

    Toclosethecircle,haveeachstudentinturnpickuptheiritem(includingtheimaginaryitemsplacedbythosewhoforgottobringsomething)andreturntotheirseatswhilethewholeclassremembersoutloudwhattheysharedabouttheitemandwhyitisspecialtothem.Welearnedthislastpartaboutrememberingoutloudfroma4thgradeclassthatinventeditspontaneously,andwehaveusediteversince.Itisoftenaverytouchingandbondingevent.

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    TheGuestHouseRumiThisbeinghumanisaguesthouseEverymorninganewarrival.Ajoy,adepression,ameanness,SomemomentaryawarenesscomesAsanunexpectedvisitor.Welcomeandentertainthemall!Eveniftheyreacrowdofsorrows,WhoviolentlysweepyourhouseEmptyofitsfurniture,still,Treateachguesthonorably.HemaybeclearingyououtForsomenewdelight.Thedarkthought,theshame,themalice,Meetthematthedoorlaughing,Andinvitethemin.Begratefulforwhoevercomes,BecauseeachhasbeensentAsaguidefrombeyond.

    TheGuestHouseCircleTypeofCircle:PopcornThisisagoodcircleforhighschoolstudents.Wehaveuseditwithgreatsuccessincontinuationandalternativeschools,wherestudentsvolunteertocometoacirclethatisnotpartofaregularclass.BeforeusingtheGuestHouseformat,haveatleasttwoorthreegettingtoknowyoutypeofcirclessostudentslearnaboutthetalkingpiece,guidelines,andmakeagreements.ClearagreementsaboutconfidentialityareespeciallyessentialforGuestHouseCircles.Tosetthetoneforthiscircle,readthepoemTheGuestHousebyRumi.Thepoemspeakswelltotheintensityoftheinnerlifeofteens.Itisreadatthebeginningofeachcircle. Beginbyarrangingthecenterwithseveraltalking

    pieces. Readthepoemandthenannounce:Theguest

    houseisopen.Everythingiswelcome.Whensomeoneisreadytobegin,pickupatalkingpiece.

    Theremaybeseveralminutesofpregnantsilencebeforesomeonepicksupatalkingpiece.

    InGuestHouseCirclestalkingpiecesarenotpassedaroundbutareinsteadplacedbackinthecenter.Thereareoftenafewmomentsofsilentwaitinguntilanotherstudentpicksupthetalkingpiece.

    WitnessRound:Beforeclosingthecircleinvitestudentstomakewitnesscommentsaboutthecircle.Witnesscommentscanbeaboutanythingtheynoticedduringthecircletime.

    ClosingRound:Invitestudentstopassthetalkingpiececlockwiseandshareabriefcommentabouttheirexperienceinthecircle.

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    LovingtheQuestionsCircle3TypeofCircle:Basic

    Whenwethinkofthewordconflict,whatisthenextwordthatcomestomind?Formanyofus,itisresolution,whichrevealsanagendathatwealmostalwayshavearoundconflict:eitheravoidit,orresolveit.Butthereisathirdoption,whichistosimplybepresentwiththeconflict.Thiscirclehelpsuslearntoholdquestionsthatmaybeunanswerable.Italsogivesusachancetoconnectwitheachotheraroundourwonderings.

    Invitestudentstositinabasiccircle.Itcanbehelpfultodimthelightandmakeroomforthestudentstoliedown,ifspacepermitsandifthestudentsareaccustomedenoughtocircle.

    Whenstudentsaresettledin,readtheRilkequoteintheboxtotheright/

    Explaintostudentsthatthiscirclewillbeaboutlivingquestionswehavebutperhapscannotanswerourwonderings.Giveanexampleofsomethingyouwonderabout.

    Havestudentsturntheirchairsandfaceoutwardsfromthecircleandclosetheireyes.

    Readthepoemagain.Invitethemtoaskaquestionofthemselves(notoutloud.)Whiletheyarethinking,readthefollowingquestionsasexamples,leavingafewmomentsbetweeneachquestion;askthemtofreeassociateandseeifthequestionsyouaskleadtootherquestionsoftheirown.

    o Whatdoyouwonderaboutyourself?o Whatdoyouwonderaboutyourfamily?o Whatdoyouwonderaboutyourclosestfriends?o Whatdoyouwonderaboutyourteachers?o Whatdoyouwonderaboutnature?o Whatdoyouwonderabouttheworld?o Whatdoyouwonderaboutthenight?o Whatdoyouwonderabouttheuniverse?

    3ThiscircleplanisadaptedfromoneofthemanyfinesuggestionsprovidedontheOjaiFoundationsCouncilinSchoolswebsite.Seehttp://cis.ojaifoundation.org/lessonplans

    "Havepatiencewitheverythingunresolvedinyourheartandtrytolovethequestionsthemselvesasiftheywerelockedroomsorbookswritteninaveryforeignlanguage.Don'tsearchfortheanswers,whichcouldnotbegiventoyounow,becauseyouwouldnotbeabletolivethem.Andthepointistoliveeverything.Livethequestionsnow.Perhapsthen,somedayfarinthefuture,youwillgradually,withoutevennoticingit,liveyourwayintotheanswer."

    RainerMariaRilke,in"LetterstoaYoungPoet"

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    Next,invitethemtosayoutloudsomethingtheyarewondering.Usethepopcornformat.Invitestudentstotraintheirintuitionbywaitingforamomentaftersomeoneelsesshare,thenchoosingatimetospeakwhentheyarenotspeakingoversomeoneelse.

    WitnessRound:Invitestudentstofacethecenter.Havethemsharesomethingthatstoodoutforthemaboutwhatpeoplewonder,andwhatitisliketowonder.

    ClosingRound:Usethetalkingpieceandinviteeachstudenttoshareafewwordsabouttheirexperienceoftodayscircle.

    ThanksgivingCircle4TypeofCircle:Basic,Popcorn

    Anotherdimensionofconnectionistobringtomindthosethingstowhichwefeelapositiveconnectioninourlives.Invitingaroundofsharingthanksgivingisonewaytodothis.Ausefulprompt,basedonaMohawktradition,istodirectthanksgivingto(inthefollowingorder):

    1. SourcesofInspiration2. Grandparents,ParentsandotherAncestorsandTeachers3. Moon,Sun,Stars4. WindsandClouds5. Birds6. Trees7. Animals8. Plants9. Waters10. TheEarth11. People

    Preparation:Forthiscircle,prepareslipsofpaperorindexcardsinadvance.Eachoneshouldhaveoneitemonitfromthelistabove.Alsopostthelist.Notethatthereisaspecificorderinhowitispresented,whichisthesequenceusedtraditionally.

    Roomsetup:Openspaceforacircle,withapodiumorotherdesignatedspaceforspeaking.

    CircleActivity

    o Reviewthelistandgive(orelicitfromstudents)examplesofeach.o Passouttheslipsofpaper(orhavestudentsdrawthemfromabag).Studentscanmeet

    ingroupsoftwoorthreeandsharewhattopictheyhavedrawn.Togethertheycanbrainstormwhattheyarethankfulforinthattopic.

    o Studentslineupinorderbasedonwhattheywillbegivingthanksfor,followingthenumberedlistabove.Oncetheyarelineduptheycanmovetoformastandingsemicircle.

    4GroupsliketheEightShieldsFoundationthatemphasizeoutdooractivitiesandnatureconnectionaselementsofculturerepairhavebuiltwaysofexpressinggratitudeintotheirdailyactivities,meetings,andevents.ThiscircleisadaptedfromCoyotesGuidetoConnectingwithNaturebyJonYoung,EllenHaas,andEvanMcGown.

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    o Oneatatime,inorderbeginningwithsourcesofinspirationandendingwithpeople,studentswalktothepodiumandsharewhattheyarethankfulfor.Encouragethemtoincludedetailsandsharestoriesthatilluminatewhytheyaregrateful.

    Aclassprojectmaybetovideotapethepresentationandthenpresentthevideoinsomewaytothecommunity.Anotherprojectmaybetorepeatthisactivityataparentnightorotherassembly,andtheninviteaudiencememberstosharewhattheyarethankfulforalso.Thismaytakesomepracticeuntilstudentsfindtheirvoicesofthanksgiving.Butconsiderthatthecapacitytofeelandexpressgratitudehasthepotentialtobeprofoundlyrestorativeofgoodfeelingswithinacommunity.Asateacheryoucanmodelthisbysharingthingsyouarethankfulforoutsideofcircletime,perhapsatthestartoftheclassdayorwhenbeginninganewlesson.Whenyouareteachingmathematics,canyouthinkofanyancestorsofmathematicsthatinspireamomentofthanksgiving?

    Manyclasseshavecircleswherestudentsareinvitedtoexpressappreciationofotherstudents.Insomeclassesthisworkswell.Butitcanalsobecomemoreaboutestablishingandmaintainingcliquesbaseduponpopularitythanabouttrueappreciation.Watchoutforatendencyforthecircletoleavesomestudentsoutandgiveothers(themorepopularstudents)mostoftheattention.Thepracticeofthanksgivingdescribedabovecanbeaviablealternativewhenthepracticeofappreciationisntquiteworking.

    EnergyManagement:CalmingActivitiesSometimestheclassneedstocalmdownandgetfocusedatthebeginningofthecircle,orduringthecircleiftheenergybecomestooboisterous.

    TheQuietestSound

    Tellstudentsthatwearegoingtoseehowlongwecanhearthevoiceofabell.Havethemraiseoneoftheirhandsandclosetheireyes.Whentheyhearthebell,slowlylowertheirarmsasthesoundofthebellfades,finallybringingtheirhandstorestontheirlegswhentheycannolongerhearit.

    OuterandInnerVoice

    Thisisanextensionofthepreviousactivity.Wearelisteningtothetruevoiceofthebell.Askthemtonoticeif,whentheycannolongerhearthebellwiththeirears,ifitstonecontinuestoresonatewithinthem.Aswiththepreviousactivitytheywilllowertheirarmsandresttheirhandswhentheycannolongerhearthebell,butthenallowtheirhandstoraiseupslightlyifthereissomewayinwhichthebellisresonatingwithinthem.

    SecretVoice

    Thisisanextensionoftheprevioustwoactivities.Explainthatthebellcanspeakonlyinitsonetruevoice,butthathumanscanchooseavarietyofvoices.Suggestthatwhenthevoiceofthebellisresonatingsomethoughtorimagewillappearintheirimaginations.Thisisthesecretvoicethat

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    wehearwhenwelistentoourselves.Havethemlifttheirhandswhentheirimaginationpresentssomethinginresponsetothetoneofthebell.Usethetalkingpiecetoshareinthecircle.

    SpeakingwithOneVoice

    Thisactivityhelpsalignvocalenergy.ChooseasyllablesuchasAhoroh.Haveeveryoneresttheirhandsontheirlegs.Together,veryquietlysaythesyllable.Leadtheclassbyraisingyourhandsandincreasingthevolumeuntileveryoneshandsarestraightupandthevolumeisatmaximum.Afterapausesuddenlydropyourhandsandbesilent.Repeatuntiltheclasscanholdsilencefor5secondsaftereveryoneshandshavedropped.Ifyouwish,youcanaskastudentwhobreaksthesilenceearlytobeitandleadthenextround.

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    Part Three: Restorative Circles in the Classroom: Teaching Skills and Setting Things Right

    Restorativepracticesarebesttaughtthroughdirectexperience.Thesevencirclesdescribedinthissectionareanexperientialcurriculumthatteachesrestorativeconceptsandengagesstudentsinrestorativedialogue.

    Studentsengageindialoguebeginningwithsemihypotheticalsituations(Lesson3:TheChipsScenario)andmovetowardreal,hereandnowconflicts(Lesson5:RestorativeDialogue).Lesson6demandsmorehonestyandauthenticity.Forstudentstobefullyprepared,itmaybenecessarytorepeatearlierlessonsseveraltimes.

    Wehavetypicallytaughtthesecirclesoveraperiodof12to14weeks,interspersingthemwithsomeofthecommunitybuildingcircleideasalreadydescribedinPart2.

    Theselessonshavebeendevelopedoveraperiodofthreeyearsandhavebeentestedinmanyclassrooms,mostlyingrades48.Wehavefoundthatsomeonthespotadjustmentsarealmostalwaysnecessary.Trythemastheyarewrittenuntilyouaresureyouhavethebasicintentionforeachlessonclearlyinmind;thenmakethemyourown.

    Lesson7isaboutmaintainingcommunitybyrevisitingthecircleguidelinesandtheagreementsmadebytheclass.Itisahelpfulwaytobuildandmaintaintrustwithinthecircle.

    Bepatientandwillingtoadaptandimprovise.Ifitseemslikecirclesareparticularlychallenging,includeyourstudentsinproblemsolving.Goodluck!

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    TeachingRestorativeConceptsandDialogue:OverviewoftheTeachingCircles

    Week Page CircleTitle Purpose

    1 33 IntroductiontoCircles

    IntroducecircleformatTeachcircleguidelinesIntroducethetalkingpieceCultivateconnectionamongstudents

    2 38 CircleAgreements EstablishtrustandsafetyTeachaprocessofconsensusMakeagreementsaboutsharingandconfidentiality

    3 42 TheChipsScenario IntroducerestorativejusticeDevelopabilitytoidentifyhowanincidentmayaffectmanypeopleinmanywaysIntroducetheconceptofmakingthingsrightasanalternativetopunishment

    4 48 TheIssuesthatAffectUs

    Engagestudentsinidentifyingissuesthataffectthem,theclassroom,andtheschool.

    5* 52 FishbowlCircleDiscussions

    UserestorativequestionstodiscussissuesaffectingtheclassroomLearnhowtousethefishbowlcircleformatGainexperiencewithaskingrestorativequestions

    6* 59 ExploringConflicts,ExpressingAffection

    Userestorativequestionstoexploreandmovetowardresolutionofconflictswithotherstudents.UseRestorativeQuestionstoexpressappreciationofotherstudents

    7 63 MaintainingOurCommunity

    IdentifyanddiscussanyissuesthatmayhavearisenwithGuidelinesandAgreements

    Deepenstudentssenseofownershipandresponsibilityforcirclesandclassroomclimate

    Newagreementsmaybeproposedandexistingonesmodified

    *Circles5and6canandshouldberepeatedmultipletimes.Theycanbeusedanytimethereisaconflictbetweenstudents.Theyaremeanttobecomeacoretoolusedintheclasswheneverneeded.Circle7canbeusedanytimetheclassisnotfunctioningwellasacommunity(toomuchdisruptivebehavior).

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    Lesson1OverviewIntroductiontoCircles

    Objective Orientstudentstocirclesandhowtoparticipateinthem.

    Time 3045minutes

    Purpose Circleshavetheirownsetofguidelinesthatareessentialforthemtofunctionwell.Thislessonintroducesthoseguidelinesandbeginstheprocessbywhichstudentswillbecomeskillfulparticipantsincircles.

    Materials Talkingpiece;somethingtoputinthecenterofthecircle;aposterofthecircleguidelines,orwritetheguidelinesonthewhiteboard.

    OtherPreparation Figureoutinadvancehowtogetyourclassseatedinacirclewithouttablesordesksinthemiddle.

    Activities

    Overview Giveaclear,simpleandhonestexplanation,usingyourownwords,ofwhytheclasswillbemeetingincircles.

    ShapeoftheCircle Everyoneshouldbeabletoseeeveryoneelsesfacewithouthavingtoleanforward.Thisisimportantandwillrequireeveryonescooperationeachtimewegatherinacircle.

    CheckinRound Reviewthelistofpromptsonpage12orInvitestudentstoeachtellaboutatimetheyhavesatinacircle.

    IntroducetheFourCircleGuidelines

    Speakfromtheheart

    Listenfromtheheart

    BeSpontaneous/Noneedtorehearse

    LeanExpression

    TalkingPiece Introducethetalkingpieceandhowtouseit:

    Passitrespectfully

    Givefullattentiontotheoneholdingit

    CircleAgreements Introduceconceptofcircleagreementsandwhytheyareimportant.Theywillbediscussedinthenextcircle(generallyheldatthesametimenextweek).

    ClosingRound Eachstudentsharesuptothreewordsabouttheirexperienceinthecircletoday.

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    LessonPlan1IntroductiontoCirclesPurposeandObjectives

    Circleshavetheirownsetofguidelinesthatareessentialforthemtofunctionwell.Thislessonintroducesthoseguidelinesandbeginstheprocessbywhichstudentswillbecomeskillfulparticipantsincircles.

    Objectives

    Understandreasonsforbeingincircle. Knowafunctionaldefinitionoftheshapeofaclassroomcircle. Learnthefourcircleguidelines. Learnhowtouseatalkingpieceinthecircle.

    PreparationandMaterials

    Figureoutinadvancehowtogetyourclassseatedinacirclewithouttablesordesksinthemiddle.

    Youwillneedatalkingpiece.Examplesincludeasmall,softtoy;aspecialstickorstone;arattleorgourd;orsomeotherobjectthatcanwithstandbeingpassedaroundtheclassmultipletimes.

    Choosesomethingtoputinthecenterofthecircle;apieceofdecorativefabricplacedonthefloororalowtable,withflowersorotherbeautifulobjects.Thetalkingpiececanresthereuntilitisused.

    Prepareaposterofthecircleguidelines,orwritetheguidelinesonthewhiteboard.

    Introduction 5minutes

    Beforeyoubeginyourcircle,giveaclear,simpleandhonestexplanation,usingyourownwords,aboutwhytheclasswillbemeetingincircles.Ifyouarecompletelytransparentaboutthepurposeandgoalsthestudentswillbemorelikelytotrustthecircle.

    Explain Wewillbemeetingincirclestolearnwaystobettercommunicateandsolveproblemswemayhavewitheachother.Wellbetalkingaboutrestorativejustice,whichisawaytomakethingsrightbetweenpeopleaftersomeonehasdonesomethinghurtful.

    Theshapeofthecircleisimportant.Evenifwecannotsitinaperfectlyroundarrangement,weconsideritacirclewheneveryoneisabletoseeeveryoneelsesfacewithouthavingtoleanforward.

    MoveintoCircle Givestudentsstepbystepinstructionsforhowtomoveintothecircle.Wedonotprovideasuggestedscriptforthisbecauseitwillvarydependinguponyoursituation.Becauseeveryclasshasauniqueconfigurationyouwillhavetodevelopthesequenceofstepsthatworksbestforyourclass.Beespeciallyvigilantabouthavingstudentsmovetheirchairssafely;itmaybehelpfultodiscussthisanddemonstratepriortohavingthemmove.

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    OpentheCircle(afterthecirclehasformed) 35minutes

    Explain Besidestheshapeofthecircle,weputsomethinginthecenter.Aswedomorecirclestogetherwelldecideasaclasswhatweshouldputinthecentertosymbolizewhatwewantourcommunitytobe.

    SetupCenter Afterstudentsareseated,placesomethinginthecenterofthecircle:acolorfulpieceofclothcanbeplacedonthefloororalowtable,anddecoratedwithflowersorasmallbowlcontainingwaterorstones.Dothisinamindfulmanner,withatouchofceremony.

    Dedication Returntoyourseatandreadanappropriatepoemorringabell.Announcethatthecirclehasbegun.

    CheckinRound 10minutes

    FocusingQuestion Tellaboutatimeyouhavemetinacircle,suchasaroundadinnertable,campfire,foragame,orinotherclassesorsituations.Taketurnssharing,goingaroundthecircle.OPTION:Chooseanotherquestionfromthelistofpromptsonpage12oruseyourownprompt.

    CoreActivity 25minutes

    CircleGuidelines Circlesworkbestwhenwefollowimportantguidelines.Wewillusethesameguidelineseverytimewemeetincircle.Themoreweusethem,themorewewillcometounderstandandappreciatehowtheysupportthetimewespendtogetherinthecircle.

    Describethefollowingfourcircleguidelines.

    1. Speakfromtheheart:Thismeansspeakingforyourself,talkingaboutwhatistrueforyoubasedonyourownexperiences.Whenwespeakfromtheheartweareaimingforeloquence,forchoosingwordsthataccuratelycommunicatewhatweholdtobeimportant.

    2. Listenfromtheheart:Weareusedtojudgingotherpeople.Sometimeswithoutevenknowinganythingaboutanotherpersonwewillmakeassumptionsaboutthem.Theseassumptionscankeepusfromreallyhearingwhattheyhavetosayandwhattheyhavetosaymaybesomethingimportantandhelpful.Therefore,whenwelistenfromtheheartwearetryingtosetasideanyassumptionsandjudgmentswemayholdabouttheperson.Thisopensupthepossibilityofmakingwonderfuldiscoveriesabouteachother.

    3. Noneedtorehearse:Incircles,wediscoverwecantrustthatwewillknowwhattosaywhenitisourturntospeak.Wedonthavetomentallyrehearsewhilewearewaitingforthetalkingpiecetocomeourway.Whenwefindwearerehearsing(everyonedoes)weremindourselvesnoneedtorehearseandgentlybringourattentionbacktothepersonwhoisspeaking.Thisguidelineissometimesreferredtoasbespontaneous.

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    4. Withoutfeelingrushed,sayjustenough,keepinginmindthelimitsoftimeandmakingroomforeveryonetospeak.Thisintentionisalsocalledleanexpression.Itisrelatedtospeakfromtheheartbecauseweoftenfindthatwhenwespeakcarefullywecanexpressourselveswithfewerwordsthanwewouldnormallyuse,andthatwhenwedoourwordsoftenhavemoreimpact.Onewaytothinkaboutthisis,whenyouareconsideringwhattosay,ask,Doesitservethecircle?

    IntroducetheTalkingPiece

    Explain

    Activity

    Thisactivityteachesrespectforthetalkingpiece.Itinvitessharingfromimagination.Everyonegetstopracticesilence,andtheyexperiencespeakingtowardthecenterofthecircle.Forthisactivitychooseatalkingpiecethathasaninterestingshapeandtextures,suchasapieceofdriftwood.

    o Inourcircleswewillfrequentlyuseatalkingpiece.(Showthemthetalkingpiecetheywillbeusinginthenextactivity).Onlythepersonwhoisholdingthetalkingpiecemayspeak.Thepersonwhoisholdingthetalkingpiecehasaresponsibilitytomaintaintheintegrityofthecirclebyspeakingfromtheheart.

    o Itissometimesimportanttobesilentwhenholdingthetalkingpiece;thiscanhelpustolistentoourheartsanddiscoverwhatistrueforus.

    o Whenwespeak,wespeakintothecenterofthecircle,addingourvoiceandourwisdomtothevoicesandwisdomofeveryoneelse.

    o Passthetalkingpiecerespectfullyfromonepersontothenext.o Sometimeswewontusethetalkingpieceo Letspracticepassingthetalkingpiecearoundthecirclesilentlyand

    respectfully.

    Demonstratepassingthetalkingpiecebypassingitfirstwiththepersonsittingnexttoyou,andhavingthempassitback.

    Next,passitaroundinsilence.Aseachpersonreceivesit,askthemtoholdandlookatituntiltheynoticesomethingaboutitsomethingtheyseeinit,orsomethingthatitremindsthemof.

    Doanotherroundinwhicheachstudentcansharewhattheysawinthetalkingpiece.Askthemtospeakintothecenter.

    Agreements Besidestheguidelines,whenwemeetincircleswemightaskforadditionalagreements.Anyonecanaskforanagreement.Commontypesofagreementscoverthingsliketreatingwhatissaidasconfidential(notgossipingaboutwhatissharedincircle),agreeingnottoteaseeachotherlaterwhensomethingserioushasbeenshared,andsoon.

    FocusingQuestion Dontuseatalkingpieceforthis;invitebrainstorming.Thisapproachwillhelptoclarifyanyquestionsthatstudentsholdaboutagreements.

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    Nexttimewemeetincirclewewillseeifwecancometosomeagreements.Whataresomeagreementsthatyouthinkmightbegoodforustodiscuss.

    ClosingRound 5minutes

    FocusingQuestion Usethetalkingpiece:Sharethreewordsthatdescribeyourexperienceofthecircletoday.

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    Lesson2OverviewAgreementsObjectives Studentswillbeintroducedtotheimportanceofagreements.Studentswilllearn

    thefiststofiveprocessforconsensus.Thecirclewillhaveanopportunitytomakeagreements.

    Time 3045minutes

    Purpose Theprimarypurposeofagreementsistoprotectthesafetyandintegrityofthecircle.Thiscirclecanhelptobuildtrust,safetyandintegritybyinvitingstudentstoworktogethertocomeupwithagreements.

    Materials TalkingPiece Somethingtoputinthecenterofthecircle Aposterofthecircleguidelines,orwritetheguidelinesonthe

    whiteboardPreparation Selectanactivitytoopenthecircle;perhapsaskastudenttoreadapoem.

    Activities

    OpentheCircle Ringabell,readapoem,etc.

    CheckinRound Usingthetalkingpiece,eachstudentsharesatimewhenanagreementwasmadeandhowitworkedout

    Guidelines Reviewthecircleguidelines Reviewappropriateuseofthetalkingpiece

    ConsensusandFiststoFive

    Explainwhatismeantbyconsensus TeachtheFiststoFivemethodforworkingtowardconsensus.

    MakingAgreementsfortheCircle

    Invitestudentstoproposeagreements;usetheFiststoFiveconsensusmethodtomakegroupagreements.

    Explainthattherulesaboutagreementsincludethesemetaagreements:

    Anyonecanaskforanagreementatanytime. Anyonecanasktomodifyanagreementatanytime. Ifthereisnoconsensusaboutaproposedagreement,itisnotan

    agreement,anditistheresponsibilityofeachmemberofthecircletobemindfulofthisfact.

    Maintainingtheagreementsiseveryonesresponsibility.

    ClosetheCircle Usingthetalkingpieceaskstudentstoshareabouttheirexperienceinthecircletoday.

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    LessonPlan2AgreementsPurposeandObjectives

    Eachclassroommakesitsownuniqueagreementsaboveandbeyondtheuniversalcircleguidelinesintroducedinthepreviouslesson.Theprimarypurposeofagreementsistoprotectthesafetyandintegrityofthecircle.Theyarenotprescribedbythecircleleader.Agreementsthatareprescribedbytheclassroomteacherarenotagreements;theyarerules.Whilerulesareimportant,theyarenottheprimaryfocusofthiscircle.Thecircleleaderhastheresponsibilitytoensurethatthegrouphasopportunitiestodiscusstheirneeds,tocometoagreements,andtorevisitandmakenewagreementsasneededanytimethecirclemeets.

    Objectives

    Studentswillbeintroducedtotheimportanceofagreements.

    Studentswilllearnthefiststofiveprocessforconsensus

    Thecircl