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This strategy encourages students to reflect on their learning and process information presented in the lesson. Similar to other closing strategies, it asks students to pick out important pieces of information and to question anything they don’t completely understand. As a teacher, it is a tool that will be used to gauge understanding and determine if anything needs to be re-addressed in future lessons.

How to use

1. Triangle

After a lesson, have students draw a triangle and next to it write down three important points from the presentation or reading they just saw or completed.

2. Square

Then, have students draw a square and next to it write down anything that “squares” with their thinking or anything they agree with.

3. Circle

Finally, have the students draw a circle and next to it write down anything that is still “circling” in their head or questions that they have.

*For Primary Grades PK-1, this strategy should be used in whole-group rather than as an independent task, with the teacher charting ideas. Of course, since many children will want to participate, there might be more than 3 ideas in each shape.

When to use

Use Triangle-Square-Circle as a closing activity or exit ticket as a formative assessment of students’ understanding of a lesson. It can also be used before reviewing for an assessment, so the teacher knows which areas to focus her test-prep on.


Alternate Triangle Options

Rather than having the triangle represent items that stood out to the students, they can instead write down items that need more clarification.

Alternate Circle Options

Rather than having the circle represent things students are still thinking about, they can instead write down how this information fits into prior knowledge or write down how this information will “stay around” and be used in everyday life.

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