Teaching Tip Tuesday: Inside-Outside Circle

As we begin October, this month’s strategy of the month is Summarizing and Note-Taking.  Click on the links below to access pdfs of the powerpoint, handouts, and cheat sheet from the PD I presented on Friday, Sept 28.

Bishop ppt on summarizing

Bishop’s handout for summarizing PD

summarizing & note taking cheat sheet

All three of the above documents will give you some ideas of how to incorporate this high-yeild instructional strategy during the month of October.

For my Teaching Tip Tuesday posts for the month, I will give you an additional instructional activity idea that you can try in your classes.  This week’s activity is….


Inside-Outside Circle (Kagan, 1994) is a summarization technique that gets students up and moving.  It provides a way to get students who normally would not talk to interact with others.  After students read a section of text, the teacher divides the group.  Half of the students stand up and form a circle with their backs to the inside of the circle.  They are partner A.  The other half of the students form a circle facing a partner from the first circle.  These students are partner B.  Partner A will speak first, quickly summarizing what they read.  This takes about a minute.  Then partner B speaks for the same length of time, adding to the summary.  If the teacher stands in the center of the circle, he/she can easily monitor student responses.

Now it is time to move.  Have the students who are partner A raise their right hands and then move two people to the right to meet with a new partner.  Repeat the summary with partner B speaking first.  For the third move, have all students who are partner B raise their right hand and move two people to the right.  After they are with a new partner, they continue with the summary with partner A speaking first.  Depending on the size of the class, teachers may have students move more or fewer times to complete the activity. Inside-Outside Circle holds all students accountable for having something to say.  The teacher can use this activity as a formative assessment by standing in the center of the circle and listening to the conversations that take place.

Websites on Inside-Outside Circle:

Inside-Outside Circle Directions – PDF


Norm Green Shared Pair Circles – PDF


Strategies to Probe Deeply into the Text


Inside-Outside Circle by Spencer Kagan


Inside-Outside Circle



One thought on “Teaching Tip Tuesday: Inside-Outside Circle

  1. Pingback: Teaching Tip Tuesday: One-Word Summaries | MSB instructional coach blog

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