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Welcome Circle

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

This week's second highlighted activity by Laurie Frank is Welcome Circle - an engaging way to create a welcome space and acknowledge diversity

This is a great activity for intergenerational groups or groups with buddies from another class.

Choose your questions carefully for this activity. Make sure that everyone gets to go into the circle a few times. Order the questions so that many people are stepping in together toward the beginning. By the end you may have some questions that allow only a few to step in.


1. Gather in a circle.

2. Teach the students a welcome greeting to perform while saying "Welcome": Pat your thighs twice, clap twice, snap twice, then thumbs up.

3. Tell them that you will call out different prompts/questions. If it is true for them, they are to take a step or two into the middle of the circle, e.g., "Everyone who is a student at this school. (All the students will take a step in and you will do the welcome greeting for them).

Examples of things to call out: "Everyone who... has a brother, sister... lives on a farm... likes art... likes to play soccer... is left handed... has moved this year... likes video games..."

4.Everyone who does not step forward then does the welcome greeting.

5. Ask students to take turns giving the prompts to the group.

Reflect Did you find that you had anything in common with anyone else in the room? What? Were you surprised at how many times you stepped in the circle? Why?

Connect How did we welcome each other, and how did it feel? Have you ever felt welcome in another place? What was it like?

Grow What can we do to make everyone feel welcome in this class?

Early elementary modification: Remember that younger students will all want to have a turn asking a question of the group. Create a system where that can happen in one session, or foreshadow that you will play this game again at a specified time. Then have a random way to choose who gets to have a turn this time, and those who will have to wait until next time. Even with a structure there may be sadness about not getting a turn. Be prepared to have a discussion about this teachable/learnable moment.

Middle and High School:

Try doing the activity "Categories and Line Ups"

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities: Cognitive - no major modification necessary Orthopedic - Choose a welcome signal everyone can do. Make sure there is enough time for students to move in and out of circle. Hearing - Have interpreters available, if necessary Visual - No major modification necessary

Used with permission, Laurie S. Frank © 2013, Journey Toward the Caring Classroom, Wood N Barnes Publishing. Laurie learned this activity from Candace Peterson. See Laurie's book and more at

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