Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

Debriefs

Playdough Debrief – Use This Classic Tool After a Team-Building Activity

I love simple processing activities. When I finish an activity or a day’s worth of programming I often need an easy tool to debrief all of the emotions and experiences we have shared. It doesn’t get much easier than playing with playdough! The classic toy helps the kinesthetic and tactile learners in your group learn while they shape it into different objects. Use this activity for groups looking to move and create while they process.

playdough-processing-tool

Playdough Debrief

Number of Participants: 6-45
Time:  5-15 minutes
Activity Level: Low
Props:  Playdough

Objective: To use the playdough to sculpt your thoughts about an activity or workshop.

Description:
Instruct the participants to use playdough to sculpt their emotions or feelings about the activity or workshop.

That’s it! It doesn’t get much easier than that. Have you used playdough as a debriefing tool? What tools or props do you use to process a group?

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift

 


Saying Goodbye – A Great All-Day Processing Activity for Team Building and Leadership

This is a great processing activity that links workshops from the beginning to the end, and creates a sense of camaraderie amongst group participants by raising self-esteem.

Saying-Goodbye-Team-Building-Processing-Activity

Saying Goodbye

Number of Participants: 5 and up
Time: 15-25 minutes
Activity Level: Low
Props: Paper, Markers, Tape

Objective: To leave positive remarks on another participant’s paper that is hanging around the room.

Description:
Write each participant’s name on a piece of paper, and hang that paper on the wall. Throughout the day, encourage participants to write positive remarks on someone’s paper if they noticed something worthy of a comment.

At the end of the day, encourage the participants to read their paper and take it home as a keepsake of the day’s events.

Source: The Leadership Training Activity Book by Lois Hart & Charlotte Waisman, pg. 71

If you would like information on how to implement this activity or any other activity into your programming or curriculum, do not hesitate to contact the Paradigm Shift consultants at ryan@myparadigmshift.org or at 918.931.2053


Take a Stand Debrief – A Perfect Way to Process a Team Building Activity

Adding props to a debrief or processing activity can often help participants open up to the rest of the group. Take A Stand Debrief utilizes props to create conversations about an activity, initiative, or even at the end of a day.

Paradigm Shift

Number of Participants: 2-200
Time:  5-20 minutes
Activity Level:  Low
Props:  Any prop that you have handy

Objective:  To encourage the group to process an activity

Set Up: Place several throwables or random items around the room.

The object of this debrief is to encourage the participants to stand by a throwable or item. Each item will have a specific meaning or description pertaining to the previous activity or sequence of activities. After the participants take a stand by the item, they discuss their thoughts with the others standing by them. This creates an opportunity for participants to discuss their thoughts with like-minded individuals.

Example: Place a red, green, and yellow throwable in three different areas of the room. Ask the participants to stand by the red throwable if they felt frustrated or if the activity halted their progress, to stand by the yellow if they were confused by the activity, and to stand by the green if they felt like they completely understood and enjoyed the activity.

Facilitator’s Notes:

  1. Be creative with your props and you will be surprised by the participants’ in-depth answers.
  2. Use photos, numbers, toys, books, etc. as props.

Have you used this style of a debrief before? What was effective for you? What is your favorite prop to use?

 


Likert Scale Debrief

There are times before, during, or after an activity when the facilitator needs to check in with the group and Likert Scale Debrief fulfills that need.

Likert Scale Debrief

Number of Participants: 1-100
Time:  1 – 15 minutes
Activity Level:  Low
Props:  None

Objective:  To rate a participant or group’s energy level, engagement, etc., using their own personalized Likert Scale.

Description: Before, during, or after an activity, ask the participants to pull out their Likert Scale. Likert Scales are made by holding 10 fingers in the air. The participants will hold out a number of fingers rating anything the facilitator or group wants to rate. Typically 10 is high and 1 is low, but feel free to mix it up from time to time to measure the participants’ focus.

Examples:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how safe did we play in that last activity?
  2. How was lunch?
  3. How much effort did you put into that game?

Facilitator’s Notes:

  • Feel free to use the Likert Scale Debrief for as short, or as long as you would like. You do not always need to elaborate on why the participants held up a certain number of fingers.

In what circumstances would you use the Likert Scale Debrief? Have you used this activity or one similar to it?

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift
ryan@myparadigmshift.org


Tweener

I first learned Tweener with Jerrod Murr at a Project Adventure training with Nate Folan. I instantly moved this activity towards the top of favorite activities list.  Tweener is a fun, active, and versatile activity that can be used as a name game, icebreaker, energizer, a debrief, or for just plain FUNN (Fundamental Understanding Not Necessary!).

Paradigm Shift

Tweener

Number of Participants: 5-25

Time:  5-15 minutes

Activity Level:  Moderate

Props:  A soft throwable that is about the size of a soccer ball. (Make sure it is soft…it can often hit participants in the head)

Objective: To hit the throwable through the legs of another participant.

Set Up: Arrange the group into a circle and instruct the participants to touch feet with those on both sides of them. Make sure they spread their legs a little, but at a comfortable width.

Description: The objective of this activity is to open-palm slap a soft ball (really soft, like a yarn ball or thumb-ball) between the legs of another participant. Start with the ball on the ground at the beginning of each game. If the ball goes between someone’s legs, it is a goal, and all participants will loudly cheer this accomplishment by imitating their favorite soccer announcer.  If the ball goes into the gap created between the legs of two participants, it is a tweener, and the entire group will meekly and softly say “tweener!” Continue play in this manner until all are tired or too much blood has rushed to the heads of the tweener superstars.

Variations:

  • If a participant hits the ball between another person’s legs, the goal scorer gets to share their name, an interesting fact, or any other intriguing detail.
  • A debriefing variation is to ask the participants to share something when either a goal is scored or there is a tweener.  Use this after an activity or initiative. When a goal is scored, encourage the participants to share their viewpoint of the day or of an activity. When there is a tweener, both participants whose legs split the tweener use one word to describe the activity.
  • An active variation can be played by placing two Tweener groups on opposite sides of a gym or field. When a goal is scored, the person who was scored upon runs to the other group and joins their circle. If there is a tweener, the person who hit the tweener runs to the other group. This variation will have people crisscrossing the field or gym.

I encourage you to play this one…use it as an icebreaker and then follow it up with as a processing activity later. In my experience groups will share more when they are active and familiar with the debriefing process.

Let me know if you have any questions on how to implement this into your programs!

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift


Board of Directors

I love ending days on a positive note, that’s why I always try to end a particularly productive or stressful day with an uplifting activity…Board of Directors. I first learned Board of Directors from Jerrod Murr (yes…my personal assistant), after a great day at one of the 20 Camp volunteer trainings. Read the description below and introduce Board of Directors to your groups, I strongly encourage it.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Props: Dry Erase Board/Poster Board/Etc. & Markers

Description: This is a feel-good activity that can be used to start or finish a day. Start with one participant to describe, and ask every other participant to come to the board and write one word to describe that person. The participant who is writing the word can share why they chose the word, and when done, the next person will come up and share, and then so on until everyone has shared for the first participant. Move on to the next participant and follow the same process until each person has described every person in the group. It is totally OK to repeat words to describe one or more of the participants. The only rule to this activity is that the person being described cannot talk while others are writing about them.

When finished describing each team member, the board should be completely filled to the max with descriptive words illustrating the entire team. Ask the group to share their emotions at the end of the activity, or how they felt while they were being described. Use this activity to show the group how powerful they can be as an entire group, that one participant may not have all the traits written on the board, but as a group they encompass many character traits.

If you have any questions about this activity, or would like to talk to me about implementing this into your curriculum, please contact me.

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift
ryan@myparadigmshift.org


The Hundreth Monkey and Traffic Signs

This week’s activity comes from the recently published Project Adventure book, one of the best activity books I have ever read: The Hundredth Monkey: Activities That Inspire Playful Learning. In my opinion it should be sitting by the desk, bag, or shelf of every facilitator for both quick reference and to develop sound foundational theory for experiential based adventure activities. On page 225 of The Hundredth Monkey is a powerful activity that would benefit all groups…Traffic Signs.

Hundreth Monkey Cover

No one puts it better than the authors of the book, so here is a quick excerpt from his book explaining the activity:

Materials/Props

Three pieces of flip chart paper per group and a variety of markers.

Setup

Write the word Go at the top of one sheet of paper. Write Yield on another and Stop on the final sheet.

Framing

Say to the group:

“Traffic signs can help us to navigate out in the world. They can also help us to navigate among ourselves, as members of a working group giving us direction and an understanding of the expected.

Procedure

  1. Ask participants to discuss and record behaviors that will help the group to succeed on the sheet labeled Go– behaviors they want to “Go” with.
  2. Ask participants to discuss and record behaviors that may be distracting to progress on the sheet labeled Yield – behaviors they want to be cautious of.
  3. Finally, ask participants to discuss and record behaviors that hinder a group’s ability to succeed and lead to disengagement and distrust on the sheet labeled Stop – behaviors that should “Stop” or rarely happen.

Reflection/Closure/Discussion

  1. How does exploring group behaviors and expectations provide direction for a group? Why is direction important?
  2. How are these lists going to help us? How are we going to remember what we discussed?
  3. Have you ever discussed norms in a group before? Is it helpful?

Tips and Comments

Post the signs in a visible location to refer to in the future. Periodically ask participants to evaluate their progress according to what is written on each sheet.

I love using this activity to start and finish a training or initiative. This allows the group to develop and discuss the different traits or norms they feel would benefit the group. When facilitated before, the participants will use the group-generated Go, Yield, and Stop sheets to help guide them through an initiative. When facilitated after, the group will provide comprehensive feedback to determine what worked well and what didn’t work so well.

Please contact me if you would like more information about this activity, or how to implement it into your program’s curriculum.

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift
www.myparadigmshift.org

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