Restorative Circles Lesson 7: Maintaining Our Community
Purpose and Objectives
This circle will help to maintain positive changes made through restorative dialogue and other activities that have a positive effect on classroom climate.
Preparation and Materials
If they are to remain healthy, every relationship, group and community needs ways to revisit, renegotiate, and maintain agreements. Your class is no exception. This circle is an opportunity to check in about how we are doing with the agreements we have made, and to see if they need revising.
“Let’s say that you are a doctor, and this class is your patient. It shows up at your office for a routine examination. You take its pulse, run a few tests, ask it a few questions. Then you give your diagnosis. When the talking piece comes to you, share your diagnosis and recommendations.”
Ask for two or three students to volunteer to be witnesses during the circle. Explain: “As a witness your job will be to watch how the circle functions. You may interrupt at any time to share an observation about the circle. However, you job is not to respond to the questions we use during the circle discussion.”
Clarify as needed. It is helpful to agree upon a signal that the witness will use if they wish to interrupt the circle to make a witness comment (e.g. raise hand, ring a bell, etc.)
Use Basic Circle or Spiral Circle. Use these prompts (modify them as needed for your class):
If it becomes apparent that there are agreements that need to be discussed and modified, or if students want to make new agreements, remind students of the meta-agreements. Then use the “Fists to Five” method to support students’ exploration of agreements (refer to Lesson Plan 2).
Ask students who were assigned to the role of witness to briefly make any “witness comments” about the circle. Restrict responses to what they share to “Thank you.”
Close the Circle
Using the talking piece, ask students to share about their experience of today’s circle.