Closing Circle

At the end of the day, I like to end with a closing circle with our students. It brings everyone in the class back together for reflection, some laughs, and preparation for the next day. 

Our closing circle always starts with a check in. Sometimes I do this by simply asking how community members are doing or we do it quickly with a “fist of five” on a one to five scale. If someone is doing great and is feeling awesome, they hold up a hand with five enthusiastic fingers. If someone is having a hard day they might hold up only one finger. This gives the entire group a temperature gauge without much explanation needed. Usually if a student holds up at 1, 2, or 3, I will check in with them privately to see how I can support them. 

After a check in, we enjoy some group sharing time. My favorite exercise is called “high, cheer, random.” Everyone in the group gets to think about and share their highlight of the day, a cheer or praise for someone else, and a random fact. It is fun to see what the highlights were and what students enjoyed throughout the day. As a leader of a group, the highlights give immediate feedback for what resonated with students. We have had days too where everyone’s highlight was the same and this is a bonding moment for the group.

The “cheer” is a great moment of reflection because it requires students to think outside of themselves and recognize someone else in the group. We have cheered on others for sharing their lunch, arriving on time three days in a row, and for giving a student a hug when they needed it. I love the cheer because I get to see how observant our students are and a glimpse at what they appreciate about their peers. They really do care for each other!

The “random fact” of the day is usually so random and brings up a lot of laughs! One time a student shared about finding a new brand of ketchup that they love, and they were so enthusiastic about the ketchup, it was really random and hilarious. We all got to share in their delight that we may not have heard about in a different setting. 

Closing Circle in a Hut at the Library

To end the circle, we look ahead to the next day. We talk about the future plans so everyone feels prepared. It especially helps to remind students what supplies they need for the next day and build some excitement for what is to come. 

Closing circle has quickly become a time that our community looks forward to. In our program we spend about 30 minutes in our closing circle, but a closing circle can also be used with teams at the end of practice, or with adults at the end of a meeting. It brings the group closer together by building community, empathy, and sharing joy.

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