Circle Meetings – Intermediate

Student’s voice is an essential part of building community. Circle meetings allow students the opportunity to share ideas, give feedback, and have input into class activity and classroom culture. It is also provides a space for the community to come together as one.

As long as there has been fire, communities all over the Earth have met in circles. Circles support culturally responsive pedagogy as they are grounded in indigenous practice. Coming together as a class to check in, discuss ideas, share opinions, problem solve, or enjoy a collaborative game, helps build a student-centered community where kids feel valued and heard.


“The Circle has healing power.

In the Circle, we are all equal.

When in the Circle, no one is in front of you.

No one is behind you.

No one is above you. No one is below you.

The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity.”

~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~



When setting up your circle routine, there should be some clear rules or guidelines.


It is a good idea to have a talking stick or feather (or whatever significant object is chosen) to help facilitate and allow respectful turn taking. The talking object usually starts with the teacher or meeting facilitator (this role can alternate amongst students as they become more familiar with the routine and expectations of class meetings) and then travels clockwise around the circle.


When the talking object is held, the person is expected to:

  • speak honestly and from the heart

  • speak with respect for others

  • try not to speak at length

  • speak to issues of the circle


All circle members:

  • are respectful of all members of the circle (mutual respect)

  • listen attentively

  • speak kindly; no put downs

  • have the right to pass or participate


Ideas for circle:

Rose, Thorn, and Bud Check In: Go around the circle, students can give a word or brief sentence about what has been good about their day (rose), bad (thorn), and/or something they are looking forward to or a goal they have (bud).

“One thing you wouldn’t know about me by looking at me…”

Feelings Rating  Students can give themselves a 1-10 “how they’re feeling” rating; 1 being the worst and 10 indicating feeling great! Colour coding emotions and having students pick a coloured popsicle stick and then assigning a rating to the level of emotion is another approach. There are many variations. Coming up with one with your students that works for them is best.

Self Care Rating Students can give themselves a 0 (did none of these things this week) to 10 (did all of these things daily this week

  • Got adequate sleep
  • Ate nourishing food
  • Drank lots of water
  • Exercised
  • Spent time in mindfulness, reflection, or prayer

  • Spent time away from digital devices
  • Connected deeply with others
  • Talked about your emotions (“name it to tame it”)
  • Expressed gratitude and practiced a positive mindset
  • Engaged in some kind of creative activity