Agreement Circles

Agreement Circles is a kinesthetic process that engages students in debating ideas concerning the topic of study, allowing them to activate prior knowledge, speak and listen, analyze, and think critically. Students stand in a large circle, decide their stance on a topic or issue and indicate their stance by either moving to the inside of the circle or remaining in the original circle. They then discuss or debate their opinions in small groups containing students from each circle. After discussions conclude, students return to the large circle and have an opportunity to indicate whether their stance has changed or not by standing in the corresponding location.

Instructions

  1. The teacher prepares a series of statements about the topic being studied. The statements should allow students to agree or disagree with the ideas presented.

  2. To begin the activity, the students stand in a large circle.

  3. The teacher reads the first statement and gives students a few moments to think and decide whether they agree or disagree with the statement.

  4. Students who agree or strongly agree move to the inside of the circle, while those who disagree or strongly disagree remain standing in the original circle.

  5. Students who moved inside the circle ( indicating they agreed with the statement) turn and face their peers who remained in the original circle ( indicting they disagreed with the statement) and then form mixed, small groups containing some students who agree and some who disagree.

  6. The small groups debate and defend their opinions for a few minutes.

  7. Following the small group discussions, students reform in a single circle. The teacher re-reads the statement and directs students to reposition themselves if they have changed their opinions, by again moving to the inside of the circle if they agree, and remaining in the original circle if they disagree.

  8. This activity can be repeated multiple times with different statements.

Helpful Tips

  1. The teacher may also provide grids for students to note others' opinions and who agreed and disagreed.

Differentiation

  1. For lower level students, the teacher may provide sentence starters, question starters, or response starters for the students to use. The teacher may also provide grids for students to note others' opinions and who agreed and disagreed.

     

  2. For more advanced students, the teacher may request an oral or written summary of the discussions.

Materials

  1. A series of statements relating to the thematic unit or topic phrased so that students may either agree with or disagree with the statements.