Our school is a Restorative Practices school. Part of what we do to address behavior and classroom management proactively is to conduct circles on a regular basis. As a teacher in the school library, I see each class every six days. It can be difficult, at times, to make time for these circles, but I have seen great benefits and opportunities to incorporate circles into the lessons I teach, giving each student the opportunity to contribute to the conversation in a controlled environment.
A talking piec is used and passed around the circle in one direction. Each student responds to a given prompt. For example, during this first cycle, we are using the following prompts:
Kindergarten: One of your favorite animals (Book, Book, Book features farm animals)
First Grade: What are you curious about in the library? (Curious George in the Library)
Second Grade: Library Expectations
Third - Fifth Grade: A book they read this summer or are looking forward to reading
In this way, I get to know the students and they get to know each other. Circles are a great way to break the ice, get students settled, and ready to learn.