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