Effective circulation techniques are essential to effective teamwork. Make your circulation purposeful with a specific path mapped out and a specific plan for each pass.
1st pass: Move around to make sure that everyone is on task and following directions. Do not answer questions except those that help teams begin their work, primarily clarifying questions. Do not check homework.
2nd pass: Make sure everyone is working. Ask/Answer questions that help students with their developing understanding.**
3rd pass: Ask/answer questions to help students complete the task.** Listen carefully to student thinking and encourage them to move on to the next problems or extend their thinking.
4th pass: Continue listening and asking questions that help students correct any errors you note. Ask higher order thinking, extension or reflective questions.
As you circulate, always be on the lookout for errors or misconceptions. Be sure to continually check for understanding and offer positive reinforcement. Design your routes so that you visit every side of every study team. Follow varied routes and stick to them. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled off course by teams that try to rely on your assistance instead of listening to each other.
Most teachers find it helpful to carry around an answer key or pages from the teacher edition when circulating. Do not carry a writing utensil with you. You do not want to find yourself doing the problems for the students. If you want to model something, find another student in the team or in the class who has done a step correctly and have them show the student or team the work they have done.
**When circulating and asking clarifying questions, feel free to restate the discussion points to add to the discussion. Encouraging students to reread the discussion points aloud to the team is a great way to get the conversation going. Remember that everyone on the team needs to agree to questions, and your response is best when it is a question that helps them answer their own question. Obviously some clarifying questions simply need to be answered.