Gateway to restorative practices logo

Using Circles to Review Homework Assignments, Part 1

In This Post

Do your students struggle with turning in their homework?

Could your students use some strategies to help get their homework competed on time?

What are students learning from their homework?

Decorative image: homework from overhead

Frederick Community College in Maryland features 16 faculty instruction guides on a variety of topics. The one that caught my eye is, “Restorative Circles.” I know that higher education is using circles, but this is the first time I’ve seen a faculty guide on the topic. Here’s the list of types of issues addressed in circles.

Using Circles to…1

  • break the ice
  • create ground rules
  • check the class climate
  • make students aware of potentially offensive language
  • address hot buttons
  • gauge students’ understanding
  • end class on a positive note
  • encourage questions and mistakes
  • for peer review

Do any of these sound-like topics that are relevant and applicable to the students you work with? Recently I posted a new blog, Using Academic Secondary Concentric Circles for Test Reviews, hoping to encourage secondary educators to try restorative circles. I hear that some schools are discontinuing homework, but if you still assign homework this blog post is for you. Using Circles to Review Homework Assignments can be used with all grade levels, but it is another simple circle option secondary teachers may want to consider.

Challenges with Homework

Even though this is a community college, their students struggle with completing their assignments on time, as did many of my students at the high school and college levels. Numerous students face life management challenges that prevent them from submitting assignments on time and are in need of strategies to meet those challenges head on. I’m featuring three different circles one can consider using on the homework topic. The first one is in this blog post. The other two options will be in the next blog post. Choose one or use them all! First is Frederick Community College’s circle approach.

Using Circles to Complete Homework Assignments2

  • Ask your students to list three things that they find get in their way of completing homework or assignments on time.
  • Next, ask the students to write down three strategies that can help them complete their homework/assignments on time.
  • Then ask the students to find a partner to share their responses with. Instruct them to choose their top distraction and their top strategy for completing assignments that they will share in the large group circle.
  • Finally, direct students to create a large standing circle, usually around the perimeter of desks or tables. Go around the circle and have each person share their response to their top distraction and their top solution for overcoming the distraction.

Don’t miss part 2 of this blog post!


  1. Restorative Circles.
  3. Image source: Homework math []
  • Are you relieved when certain students are absent?
  • Do you have students who “push your buttons”?
  • Do you find yourself butting heads with the same students day-after-day?

Get Your Free Download

11 Restorative Practices De-escalation Techniques for Navigating Power Struggles

Discover practical techniques you can implement right away.

As a subscriber to this email list, you will receive bi-weekly blog posts from Gateway to Restorative Practices.