Resources for Circles


Quotes for Circles

Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think, or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today. –Malcolm X

“Time passes so fast. Make time to be still.” — Laila Gifty Akita

“No one is born fully formed; it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.” –Paolo Freire

“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.” –Paulo Coelho

History is not the past. History is the present. We carry our history with us. –James Baldwin

click here for more circles quotes on love, community, conflict and harm, decolonization and liberation


SECRET HANDSHAKES: have participants get into pairs and develop a secret handshake with at least 3 elements, and using 3 body parts. Then have each pair share their handshake with the group.

YOUR MOVE (stretch version): going around the circle, each person does their stretch move while saying their name. The whole group copies that stretch move while saying that person’s name.

Debrief questions: How was that for you? What resonated? Why would we ask you to do this? 

(disclaimer: let folks know now’s not the time to do the splits, be sensitive to everyone’s abilities).

YOUR MOVE (dance version): going around the circle, each person does their dance move while saying their name. The whole group copies that dance move wile saying each person’s name. 

Variations: The first person does their dance move. The next person in the circle does the previous person’s dance move and their own (or more).

EXTREME ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS: participants break into pairs. Each pair plays a “match” of rock, paper, scissors, where the winner is the first to win two out of three. Losers must follow the winners and cheer them on as winners play new matches against other winners. Eventually, tournament style, there are only two players left. Everyone is cheering on their “winners” as they play. Finally, a rock, paper, scissors champion emerges! 

click here for more great icebreakers

 Exercises for circles and workshops

Identity Walk

This exercise is a gently introduction to concepts of identity and intersectionality. It invites people to silently consider aspect of their identity as they move around the room. It can be a great icebreaker for a circle process focusing on campus climate, diversity and inclusion (click on the title for a version of this exercise in word).

Listening Exercise

Ask participants to pair up. Person A talks for two minutes about their favorite food. Person B must listen without speaking at all. Person B reflects back what they heard for 1 minute. Then they switch roles. Debrief questions: how did it feel to be listened to? How was it to listen without speaking? What are some takeaways of this exercise?

click here for more exercises for circles and workshops

Circles for Campus Climate

Survivors Support and Community Building Circle

This circle was developed at UC Berkeley through a collaboration of the RJ Center, the Confidential Care Office, Associated Students Sexual Assault Commission and Greeks Against Sexual Assault. It is shaped for survivors, but can also include allies, especially if people initially want to maintain confidentiality when they show up in the space.

Peacebuilding Circle Guide

This is a basic guide for conducting a peacebuilding circle in response to a campus climate event that involves larger groups. Any peacebuilding process begins with separate preparation meetings with individuals or groups who have harmed or have been harmed. At times, the harm is complex and multi-layered, and may require more than one circle. In our process we try to follow chronological order as people work through experiences of harm.

Informational Slides (coming soon)