Inside-Outside Circle

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



Activating Prior Knowledge
Vocabulary Development
Comprehension Strategies
Summarization Techniques
Writing Across the Curriculum
Getting to Know Students
Technology Tools