Share Your Ideas Here

Share Your Ideas Here

A place for anyone who cares about wellbeing in schools to share their good ideas and ask us (and each other) questions.

By |2017-11-02T14:15:26+00:00April 17th, 2017|Community, Wellbeing news & information|15 Comments

About the Author:

Everyone thrives in a great school. Students are fully engaged and enjoy learning; relationships across the school are positive and respectful; creativity, diversity and critical thinking are valued and everyone feels they belong; it takes courage and commitment to create such a school. Growing Great Schools™ was established by Sue Roffey with partners around the world to promote ways for all schools to become great schools. Our partners are individuals, organisations and schools whose main purpose is education for wellbeing – to build healthy relationships, resilience and social and emotional development.


  1. Bridget Whitcher 9th January 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Hello Sue, I hope you don’t mind me posting here. I am about to reinvigorate Circles at my school. Most teachers have been trained and those that have not been trained, I will endeavour do so as soon as possible in Term 1. I am wondering how to reinvigorate it- I am thinking of suggesting of coming into classrooms (if teachers wish) and facilitating two Circle sessions, with the teacher present. Teachers can then plan the third session, keeping much the same format, but changing one activity (or more) if they wish. Does this sound ok?
    I am also wondering if I can plan Circles that can indeed match aspects of the Personal, Social and Community Health of HPE from the Australian Curriculum? Or have I got the wrong idea? Open to feedback. I simply want to not only foster the wellbeing of our students, but also of our teachers. Thank you.

    • Sue Roffey 1st October 2017 at 10:10 am

      Hi Bridget,

      I have a horrible feeling I didn’t reply to this. It came in the day before I left for Australia and got buried. I don’t always check this website. Emailing me direct is always the best bet. Anyway, you can of course plan Circles according to your needs and if this includes the PSHE curriculum that would be fine so long as all the activities are paired or small group, not individual worksheets. It is the principles that matter. I like your ideas of going into classrooms to support staff – you might also like to have a ten minute slot a month at staff meetings to share good ideas. The teacher toolkits for the Wellbeing Stories will have lots of Circle activities. Be ready around the end of the year.
      Apologies again for such a slow response, Sue

  2. Sue Roffey 7th January 2016 at 3:15 am

    Circle Trainer Melissa Rowe shared with us this mindfulness / meditation script written by one of her students, Chloe:

    Chloe’s Relaxation Journey

    Close your eyes. Breathe in happiness and breathe out sadness. Have five deep breaths, one … two … three … four … five … Feel your body feeling calm and relaxed. If you have any angry feelings go back to your breathing and breathe your anger issues out.

    See yourself walking along a path, have a look around can you see grass, dirt, trees. What’s on your path? When you get to the end of your path you see a magical kingdom and as you walk down to the kingdom a queen welcomes you. You see a castle. What is it made out of? Maybe it’s something yummy like liquorice, marshmallows or chocolate. The queen helps you into the castle you open the door and inside you see a cheesecake man, he looks friendly and clumsy. He shows you a pool made out of chocolate. How does that make you feel inside? Happy, hungry or maybe excited. You decide to go swimming in the chocolate pool. It feels warm like hot chocolate. Spend some time swimming in the pool enjoying the hot chocolate, you might like it, you can drink it, swim in it or sit in it.

    Now imagine there is a beautiful rainbow unicorn with a long rainbow coloured tail. The queen is standing with the rainbow unicorn; she invites the you to go for a ride. You jump onto the unicorns back and grab a big handful of it’ coloured mane, before you ride off the queen feeds the unicorn some golden carrots to give it endless energy for your travels. The queen nods her head and says, “goodbye, have an amazing time together.” The unicorn gallops through the green lush land, as you gallop along you notice some coloured fairy bread flowers; they have every colour of the rainbow on them. As you ride along you notice some big pink fluffy cotton candy clouds come into the sky. You notice how the clouds make you feel inside, you might like to go up into the sky to feel them and break some off to taste. The smell of the cotton candy clouds are sweet strawberry, you break some off and pop it into your mouth and you can taste its sweetness as it melts on your tongue.

    You feel free at last, your worries have gone away. You guide your unicorn back to the grassy ground, your body is relaxed.

    Now calmly start to wake up, feel your feet, wriggle your toes and stretch your legs, tense and relax your back, stretch and turn your arms, shrug your shoulders and relax. Turn your head from side to side, now open your eyes and look at your surroundings, bring yourself back to where you are.

    You feel ready to continue your day.

  3. Jo Glazebrook 10th October 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I believe in using circles for so many aspects of my teaching. So much so that I have arranged my room so I can have a circle (students sitting on the floor) within 10 seconds. All the desks are permanently pushed against the wall and much of the bulky furniture has been removed. Students store their things in a book bag that hangs on the back of the chair.

    One parent commented that they didn’t like the idea of their kid staring at a wall all day! Their misconception being that students should remain at their desk all day, that they should be always looking at the board from their desk and that having a narrower space to focus when concentration is needed is a bad thing.

    I reassure my parents (and supervisors) that this environment allows for seamless movement around the room for myself and my students. It is easy to train students to look at me if I need to stop them when they’re at their desk. Instructions happen on the floor, in groups, outside, standing up and rarely at their desk. The days of chalk and talk teaching are long gone.

    I am really glad I went with my instincts and changed my room to a very unconventional style. I have parents on board, they like my philosophy. I have other staff curious about how I make it work and I have students who are free to move around.
    What I’d really like are a room full of node chairs but they are $445…..each!!!!!!

    Wish I had a rich sponsor who would help me to keep pushing the boundaries for our students by funding all my creative ideas!!

    I would love to know what others do with the restrictions of your physical space.

  4. Sue Roffey 8th November 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Positive Feelings: Sharing Stories – this is a good activity for students from mid primary upwards.

    Divide a piece of paper into six squares. Write one of the following in each square
    Happiness: Find something that makes you BOTH happy
    Excitment: What has been an exciting event for you recently? What happened?
    Safety: What one thing makes you BOTH feel safe
    Achievement: What have each of you done recently that you have been pleased with?
    Relaxation: What three things can you discover between you have you know reduces stress
    Courage: Have you ever done anything that took courage – that you were a bit scared of but did anyway? How did you feel afterwards?

  5. Sue Roffey 13th June 2014 at 2:40 am

    My lovely friend and colleague Alison Soutter shared these ideas with me today.

    !. BALLOON STRENGTHS: Have enough balloons for each person in the Circle. Inside each balloon place a strength affirmation, it doesn’t matter if you have several the same. They can be things like “you have been kind to someone this week” “you help others feel cheerful” “you have courage” “you show you are learning” . These will depend on the age of the participants. The students blow up the balloons and then at a given signal they throw them in the air and without touching them with their hands see long they can keep all of them in the air. (you may want to do this in smaller groups who compete with each other) When everyone has had a turn each person takes one balloon and bursts it. They then take out the strengths affirmation. They think for a moment about how this might apply to them and then each person in turn stands up and gives his affirmation to someone else. When someone has an affirmation they either sit with their arms folded on on the floor. This ensures no-one is left out.

    2. BUBBLE BREATHING: Give a group a bowl of water, some washing up liquid and some paper clips. The group uses the paper clips to make a bubble blower. Everyone in the group has a turn to blow a bubble – being mindful of this activity – how they are breathing, watching the bubble grow and appreciating its beauty.

  6. Trudy Pretorius 12th June 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Bethany Knights, a wonderful teacher from St Thomas’s, Mareeba, shared the ‘Smiling Mind’ website which takes students through relaxing, empowering guided meditation sessions. A great way to end a Circle. The meditations are worth it for young and old alike. Thanks Bethany!

  7. Sue Roffey 7th June 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Just come across this Ted talk which is well worth a watch. I have been thinking about how Circle Solutions can grow ‘solutionaries’ – giving students a space to imagine and find answers to issues in their lives. Personal, interpersonal, whole school – community and perhaps even beyond.

  8. Sue Roffey 17th May 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This research article by Tim Murphey and Septina Nur Iswanti entitled Surprising Humanity: Ideal Classmates in Two Countries (Japan and Indonesia) shows that what we do in Circle Solutions applies across the world!

  9. Sue Roffey 17th May 2014 at 7:01 am

    Belly Breathe: Just come across the great little Sesame Street clip teaching kids the value of breathing for emotion regulation. They will love this. What a great closing activity.

  10. Kathy Colville 7th May 2014 at 11:05 am

    We are seeing the positive effects of all classes holding circle time at least once a week. This is the core of our engagement strategies. We now have sets of the Car Cards and the Fish cards which are great topic starters. I have used these cards in several contexts, even Toastmasters!

    • Sue Roffey 9th May 2014 at 7:04 am

      Thanks Kathy, you are the first person to use our revamped site! Really pleased to hear that things are going well. Sue

  11. Sue Roffey 23rd April 2014 at 11:52 am

    Photo Feelings

    Learning: 1. To show that different experiences can lead to similar feelings. 2. to talk about feelings in a safe way 3. To practice listening skills

    Using photos such as the Picture This cards from Innovative Resources or the Yarnabout cards – or just ones you collect. Spread them out in the centre of the Circle and ask students to choose one that might make someone feel ONE of the following emotions (it is a more powerful activity if all students are looking for the same feeling): happy, sad, proud, worried, excited, scared. You can of course expand this list according to the age, stage and needs of your students. The example here is ‘excited’. Each student tells their partner why they picked this card up and everyone listens carefully because partners feed back to the Circle for each other – eg. Max picked up this card because the seaside can make someone feel excited – Becky picked up this card because visiting a fairground recently made her feel very excited.

    Comment on how well everyone listened to each other and that excitement can be found in lots of places, doing lots of different things. You can then ask students to think about how excitement makes them feel inside and is that a good feeling to have.

    Extension Activities: What makes any situation exciting? What might make learning exciting? What can we do to make this classroom an exciting place to be? Should school always be exciting or would that be exhausting? What other feelings are good to have in a classroom?

  12. Sue Roffey 23rd April 2014 at 10:47 am

    David had students not wanting to move chairs for Circle sessions because they had their ‘own chair’. When they were able to put their name at the back of each chair they were happy to reclaim their own at the end of the Circle! !

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