SOS: Circle of Viewpoints

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Circle of Viewpoints

SOS Big IdeaCircle of Viewpoints, developed as a Visual Thinking routine at Harvard’s Project Zero, is used to help students develop the skill of identifying different perspectives of a topic, text, or event. The structure it provides encourages students to break the habit of seeing things from a single point of view.


SOS StepsMaterials: any text or video segment that can be explored from different perspectives, anchor chart with Circle of Viewpoints questions, paper, and writing utensils

  1. Introduce the text or video segment to students. Allow them time to read or watch. (This could be an opportunity to incorporate another SOS that is focused on comprehension.)
  2. As a whole group, create a list of different viewpoints represented in the material.
  3. Ask each student (or small group) to select a viewpoint he/she would like to explore.
  4. Looking through the lens of the selected viewpoint, students have students respond, in writing, to the following prompts:
    • I am thinking of (name the event/issue) from the point of view of …
    • I think ….(describe the topic from your view point), because…
    • A question/concern I have from this viewpoint is…
  5. Finish up by asking students to share their thinking, in small groups or as a class.

SOS Sum It UpThe Circle of Viewpoints routine promotes exploration of issues and events from different perspectives and can be used across many curriculum areas. Students will strengthen their ability to take multiple perspectives, if they practice this routine on a regular basis.


SOS More IdeasThis routine can be extended in a variety of ways.

  • It can be used with different grade levels by varying student response type or depth (for example, younger students could respond orally.)
  • It can be a basis for student exploration using material from multiple areas, such as within a a piece of literature wars, conflicts, or other significant historical events, common playground issues, such as friendship and bullying

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