Common Vocabulary

Open Circle Program Description and Key Vocabulary (available in 8 languages)

Open Circle teaches social and emotional skills that can help children form positive relationships and become successful learners. Twice each week during the whole school year, the class will meet in a circle for about 15 minutes. Lesson topics will include listening well, including one another, cooperating, understanding feelings, teasing, bullying, recognizing differences among people, getting calm, problem solving, positive self-talk, and more. The goals of the lessons are to create a safe, caring and highly engaging classroom environment and to give children the skills they need to succeed academically, solve interpersonal problems and build positive relationships.

You can help your child develop these skills by discussing and practicing them at home. Ask your child to tell you what we talked about in the last Open Circle Meeting or to show you a favorite Open Circle activity.

Here are some examples of the vocabulary words your child is learning in Open Circle lessons at school.

Ally: A person who speaks up or takes action to help someone.

Body Language: A way to express feelings using your face and body.

Brainstorming: Thinking of many ideas.

Bullying Behavior: When one or more people severely or repeatedly harm someone with words or actions.

Bystander: A person who observes a situation and does not speak up or take action.

Calm Breathing: Breathing in and out deeply and slowly in order to feel calm.

Compliment: Saying something about someone that is true, specific and positive.

Cooperate: To work together to get something done.

Dangerous or Destructive Behaviors: Actions that are dangerous (someone might get hurt) or destructive (something might get damaged or broken). When children see dangerous or destructive behavior, they should tell a responsible adult right away.

Nonnegotiable Rules: Rules that cannot be changed.

Nonverbal Signals: A way of communicating without words.

Open Circle Meeting: A time in school for students to learn and practice specific social and emotional skills that will help them form positive relationships and become successful learners.

Positive Leader: A person who does things to help the group and sets a good example.

Positive Self-Talk: Saying encouraging things to yourself.

Problem: A situation that causes someone to feel confused or upset.

Reflection: Pausing and asking yourself questions about an experience.

School Listening Look: A way of listening to others in school by keeping your body calm and looking at the speaker.

Speaking Up: Expressing ideas, feelings, and opinions in a respectful way; looking at the person or group; and speaking slowly, clearly, and loudly enough.


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