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Using Circles to Review Homework Assignments, Part 2

In This Post

In my last blog post, Using Circles to Review Homework Assignments, Part 1, I featured Frederick Community College’s circle approach around homework. Community college students struggle with completing assignments like many of our students do. Students need help meeting the challenges that keep them from completing assignments. One type of circle was featured in my last blog post. Today I’m featuring two more circles to address homework challenges.

Sentence Stem Circles Address Homework

No Excuses

A second circle is using a simple sentence stem check-in prompt at the beginning of class or a check-out prompt at the end of class. This offers students an opportunity to reflect on their learning. Sentence stems are short and specific. For this type of circle, students stand in a circle. For check-in and check-out circles, only one prompt is used at a time. Here’s a list of sentence stems to choose from.

  • “What is one thing you learned from last night’s homework?
  • What is one question you have about last night’s homework?
  • What is one thing you remember about the reading of _____?
  • What is one question you have about the reading of_______?
  • What is something you understand about ______?
  • What is something you don’t understand about _____?”1

 Traditional Circle for Completing Homework

The third circle I’m featuring is a more traditional circle. Because you will ask several prompts, it is typically too long for students to stand. Instruct students to move their chairs or desks into a circle usually around the perimeter of the classroom. Younger children can form a circle on the carpet.

Talking Piece. Select a talking piece which is anything that can be passed easily and safely from one person to another. Only the person holding the talking piece can talk. Those who don’t have the talking piece have the opportunity to listen intently. Over time, students will form a circle in less time than when you first start using them and learn more self-control to wait for the talking piece to talk. Choose three to four of these prompts for one circle time.

  • How are you feeling about completing your homework on a scale of 1 to 10? Ten means you complete all assignments.
  • What about homework makes it important or meaningful to you?
  • When is homework not important or meaningless to you?
  • When you don’t complete your homework, how do you feel?
  • How do you feel when other students don’t complete the homework?
  • When you finish your homework, how do you feel?
  • Thinking about homework assignments, what was a useful homework assignment for you?
  • When you think about homework, what is challenging for you?
  • Imagine that you’re the teacher assigning homework. What homework assignment would you give and why?
  • What could you do to improve your homework completion?

With three circle choices to address completing homework or assignments on time, I’d love to hear which circle(s) you chose to do and how it went.


  1. How to Create Circle Questions for Classroom Learning. No author. January 25, 2021.
  2. Image source: Excuses sign [ 221434]
  • 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?

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