Closing Circles | Training For Change

Closing Circles


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Training for Social Action Trainers


Training Tool

We're rapidly scaling up our online training to meet movement needs in this moment. 

Looking for fresh ideas for your closing circles? Here are some of our favorites that we have used with different groups:


Stand in a circle. Each person gets a chance to share something they have appreciated about the person to their right. Then the person to their left affirms. (In this way, people give an affirmation and then get an affirmation: so they’re not thinking of something to say while they’re getting an affirmation.) Give people a minute to think of something and then, starting with the facilitator, go completely around the circle.


Stand in a circle. Give a minute for everyone to come up with a picture of a postcard to describe their learning for that day. Go around and share their picture that would be on their postcard.


Go around the circle with each person saying one word (or phrase) representing: something they learned today; or the attitude they hope to bring tomorrow; or something they appreciated about themselves that day; or some way that they shined today; or some area of learning they hope to learn tomorrow.


Close with a song you know and can easily teach. Call and response songs are great (where the facilitator calls out a line and the participants respond with the same line), since they take less time to learn and so people tend not to get into the “performance” of it as much.


Stand in a circle. Announce: “I have terrible news. The sky has fallen down! It lies before us: there is the sun, and the moon, and there are the clouds. We need to carefully lift the sky in place. To do that, we need to lift it up from the ground all together – we cannot have pieces sliding off because we’re uneven.” Demonstrate raising the sky from your knees, up above your head, to tossing it into the air. Explain that the sky sticks better when you yell: so as you toss it into the air you all need to yell really loud. (Note physical abilities and height and being sensitive to those.)


Stand up in a circle. Face left. Everyone rub back of person in front. Then switch, turn around, and rub back of person on other side.


Stand in a circle holding hands. Leader squeezes hand on one side in a simple pattern. The person receiving the squeeze then squeezes the hand of the next person in the same pattern. The pattern (pulse) gets passed around the circle. Once it is well started on its way, first person sends a different pattern in the other direction. Try to make them cross, whenever they meet.


How to Use Online

You don’t have to abandon your closing circle activities when gathering online!  To simulate the circle, you can use a slide with a circle on it and add participants’ names around it (or invite them to add themselves to a shared document like a Google slide or using annotation tool in your online software).  Once you have everyone around your virtual circle, you can do any number of variations where you “go around the circle.” Get creative!


Where These Tools Come From: Items marked * reprinted with permission from Alternatives to Violence Project’s Manual Basic Course (Revised02). For more dynamicas and other nonviolence training tools: Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), PO Box 152, Blauvelt, NY USA 10913,