Series: Engaging Newcomers in Language & Content

Building School Culture with Community Circles
Lesson Objective: Build positive school culture with a weekly community circle
All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

Thought starters

  1. What types of activities take place during the community circle?
  2. Why is the community circle especially beneficial for newcomer students?
  3. How could you start a community circle at your own school?
1 Comment
I like the Community Circle. I just wonder how long the activity should be, and if there is any point during the activity where students collaborate and converse about independent topics that are not teacher-led/created.
Recommended (0)


  • Building School Culture with Community Circles Transcript
    Allison Balter: Good Morning Julio. Hey, Fernando. Hey Carlos. One way that we

    Building School Culture with Community Circles Transcript
    Allison Balter: Good Morning Julio. Hey, Fernando. Hey Carlos. One way that we build community at our school is through a weekly Community Circle.
    Let's get started.
    Really, the focus is on having a positive and joyful environment.
    Speaker 2: If you see this guy, is going to take to the river.
    Allison Balter: Several homerooms and their teachers come together and we do a variety of activities and celebrations.
    Speaker 3: In my opinion, Community Circle is like a way to build a big strong community.
    Christi: We express our feelings and we celebrate all our work.
    Jay: If we have a problem, we always try to find a solution.
    Harlin: We can show how we are growing together and how can we improve.
    Allison Balter: So happy to see you guys here at Community Circle today. We have a lot of exciting things to do and some surprises.
    One of the pillars of our model is providing socioemotional supports for students as well as academic and linguistic supports because our students are all coming new to the country. This is a new environment, new culture. We want them to feel supported and feel part of a strong community.
    We're going to have some student representatives share what they've done in elevated thought all year. Let's give them some snaps.
    We usually start by going through the calendar, what's coming up in the next two weeks? Then, we also build in opportunities to showcase student work, things that they've been doing in school academically or out of school.
    Harlin: We work as a team but mostly, we learn how to inspire us to create a painting.
    I, in front of the people, we're showing courage and perseverance because it's very hard and not everyone can stand up in front and talk to the people like it's nothing.
    Christi: We came to the idea that the mural can be about humans connect to life and to their environment cities.
    I was feeling ... but I didn't nervous. But it was good because I was thinking that, they can see what I am doing and they can be inspired.
    Allison Balter: Now, we're going to do something a little bit different from Community Circle. We want to shout out and celebrate some of your teachers. I know some of you guys have worked really hard to help make that happen. We're going to start with Celine. Celine, can you come join us up here please? Loud and proud.
    Celine: Dear Mr. [Mobley 00:02:31] Thank you for having me when I have problem in the class.
    Allison Balter: We also spend time doing celebrations. We have celebrations of our students, celebrations of our teachers and really recognizing positive things that are happening.
    Jay: Dear Mr. Stevenson, I want to say that thank you for always try to help me. ENLANCE community is represent by the Community Circle because when I arrived to ENLACE I thought that ENLANCE only was an academy for learn English but not is only this, is also an academy that show to you how to you can use your values.
    Lesiety: Thank you for being a special teacher throughout all this year.
    I met new people and they shows me I can feel more comfortable. Now in Community Circle and I don't in there [inaudible 00:03:24] ... I talk them, I ask my classmate, I ask my friends. I know I can participate.
    Allison Balter: I think one piece of advice that I would give schools that are thinking about Community Circle is give students more and more ownership of it as the year goes on. I think that makes them more and more invested in the community.

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