Thursday, June 30, 2016

Inside-outside circle vs. Inside-Outside Socratic Circle

Inside-outside circle

Inside-Outside Socratic Circle is a cooperative learning strategy that
gets students up and moving. No flat butt learning! This seminar is designed for quick exchanges of information, opinions, questions, answers or ideas. This engagement protocol will delight your kinesthetic learners and motivate your opt out, can’t, or won’t students to engage and cooperate with their peers. This seminar can also be used for introducing and or reviewing new concepts in a jigsaw cooperative learning format. Teachers can use this protocol for differentiation, by placing “struggling” student that need repeated exposure to concepts in a circle that presents first. The student gets to listen and ask questions from all or a few of the students that presented before it is their turn to present.


1. Students form two concentric circles with equal numbers of students in each circle. Students rotate right or left, facing a new partner and discussing the teacher’s statements, questions, or concepts. Information from a previous jigsaw reading activity can be shared. Students count off by 2’s. The 1’s form the inside circle and the 2’s form the outside circle. The 1’s and 2’s face each other and formally great their buddy.

2. Students in the inner-circle respond to the teachers prompt by teaching their partner. Students must use complete sentences when they are presenting information to their partners. If a student cannot give a cogent answer when prompted, then the student on outside circle helps re-teach and recap the missing details. The outside circle student leans in and listens to their partners, and then they recap what their partners shared and taught them and or ask questions. The idea is practice active listening and academic conversation skills whenever possible.

The teacher walks around and listen and interrogate presenters and listeners to check for understanding. Strategy one: the teacher poses a different question for every rotation and only the one circle presents. Strategy two: the teacher poses the same question for every rotation and both circles take turns presenting and listening. The teacher's role is to facilitate the logistics, the questions, check for understanding and guide discussions.

3. When the first question or prompt has been discussed and answered (1-3 minutes), the students in the inside circle move clockwise one or two people. You may repeat the first question or ask a new one but this time, the outside circles are the presenter. This time, have the outside student respond to the prompt or answer the question.

1. Jigsaw Procedures: Students are paired or placed into cooperative groups of no more than 4, they are assigned a chapter, passage, or section of a text to read, text code, text rank, and analyze and or do a keyword outline and summary. Assign students Lotus Notes or Cornell Note and or paper for a keyword outline. Participants read their section independently and record information, looking for keywords, interesting statements, important points, brand new information, or answers to questions.

This is wide open for discussion!

“Tell your partner two important things you learned from your reading!”

“List 5 characteristics of the main character.”

“Describe 2-5 images in the chapter/passage.”

“What is the main idea of the selection? (purpose, summary)”

“What is the author's purpose…?”

“Which is the most important detail in the text... ? “

“What is the author's message…?”

“Share your favorite statements that you ranked as first, second and third and why are they important to you.”

“Try to name 2-5 possible ramifications of….”

2. Jigsaw Procedure: The students in the inner circle are given 2-3 minutes to share their part of the jigsaw text they read. Then, students in the outer circle are given time to share their opinions, ask questions with his or her partner of the inner circle. On the teacher’s signal JIGSAW! the students take one step to their left in the outside circle and have another quick discussion with their new partner. Have the students in the inside-circle share with the partner and repeat the above process until everyone in the inner circle has shared with the outer circles.

Have the outside student start the presenting process by sharing with the inner circle partner. Teachers can differentiate by placing “struggling” student that need to hear concepts repeated a few time on the circle that is listening and asking questions first. can move counter-clockwise two people. Follow this pattern until you feel students have a firm grasp on the material you are reviewing.

Extension: Taking notes and using notes is not necessary and will slow down the process. If you are going to require notes make sure you give sufficient time for the students to record new ideas and information in their Cornell notebooks.

  1. Fun, kinesthetic, differentiated, and cooperative learning activity. 
  2. Jigsaw cooperative learning activity that provides opportunities for classroom discussions and gets students moving and listening. 
  3. Engaging and highly effective way to develop academic speaking, listening and thinking skills. 
  4. Advanced Think Pair Share Listen and Recap/Rephrase, students read, think, pair up and share their ideas. 
  5. The teachers can do a quick formative assessment with all students and work with students that need clarification. 
  6. Students are actively learning from other students, not more chalk and talk from the teacher. 
Note: If there are an odd number of students, the teacher becomes part of the discussion circle.

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