Community circles, or proactive restorative circles, are an easy way to give each student an opportunity to speak, but sometimes they can take too long.  This post describes how think-pair-share can be incorporated to increase student talk time without consuming too many instructional minutes. Community Circles Time Management On one of my first formal teacher evaluations, my principal noted that he wanted me to work on time management.  Many years later, I still occasionally struggle with this.  I tend to overplan my class periods and overestimate my students’ abilities to transition and complete activities.  This challenge is especially apparent when I am leading community circles.Read More →

In 2010, I received my first set Dell laptops, which enabled me to have a one-to-one classroom but also began to infect my first batch of zombies.  By the following fall, I was frustrated.  I felt disconnected from my students and attention-seeking behavior began to increase.   I decided to go back to my Girl Scout summer camp roots and created a campfire-like circle in my classroom.  I collected an odd assortment of vintage stools from local estate sales, arranged them in a circle in one corner of my room to create The Lounge.  When students arrived in class, they turned on their laptops atRead More →