Inside Outside Circles is a Kagan structure that I first learned how to use in my Methods course.
Each Kagan structure establishes a way for students to find someone to talk to and a way for them to talk about something.
In the case of Inside Outside Circles, students are paired up with a series of partners. This is an excellent activity to use in language classes because it creates a low-anxiety opportunity for output--they are only speaking with ONE other student. Furthermore, this structure gives students the opportunity to repeat a task multiple times.
How does Inside Outside Circles work?
Divide your class into two groups (or into an even number of groups--4, 6, etc.; you can have multiple sets of circles in a class).
Instruct one group to form a circle, standing nearly shoulder to shoulder, facing outward.
Instruct the second group to form a second circle. This circle should be on the outside of the first circle, and each student in the second group should be standing directly in front of a student in the second group. They should be facing each other.
Assign a task to each pair. Here are some ideas:
- Greet each other in the target language.
- Share one fact you remember from a recent lesson.
- Re-tell a recent class TPRS® story.
- Ask a question about a recent text or story.
- Share your own card from Card Talk.
- State one sentence describing a recent MovieTalk.
- Translate a sentence from a printed text.
Once each partner has had an opportunity to speak, the task is complete and students wait for the teacher's signal to move on.
After most pairs are finished or a set amount of time has expired (30 seconds to 1 minute), yell "ROTATE!".
The outside circle rotates one place to the left–clockwise–and finds themselves with a new partner. The inside circle does not rotate.
Repeat the task and rotation as many times as you wish!
Want more Kagan?
I have greatly benefited from multiple Kagan trainings throughout my career as an educator, and I would highly recommend hiring a Kagan trainer to work with your school or organization. Click here for more info.
Here are some other Kagan activities that I have blogged about in the past: