Topic circles

You’re leading a carpet session or whole class discussion and some children are frequently going way off topic, which isn’t appropriate for this particular discussion. How can you accept their responses and show them that you appreciate their contributions, but still encourage them to keep focussed on the discussion at hand?

At the start of the session, draw up a large circle in the centre of your whiteboard (or large sheet of paper – how retro). Note down any contributions that relate to the topic in the circle and put any that don’t¬†outside of the circle. By doing this, you have not dismissed anyone’s response, but have visually shown them that you while you have acknowledged their answer, it is not ‘on topic.’

This was another suggestion put to us during the SALT training we had during INSET last week so I’ve yet to try it. What do you think?


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