Facilitation Quick Tips: 1-3-6

Facilitation Quick Tips: 1-3-6

By Debra Christopher, MSM | November 3, 2015
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR

This is an extremely grand processing activity used by my mentor and friend, Pat Wolfe, when she conducts her Training of Trainers on The Brain and Learning. It gets all the minds in the game and culminates in ideas and actions that nourish the group! 

Title: 1-3-6

Setting: Appropriate for in-person trainings


  • Process information and reinforce social-emotional learning
  • Showcase collective ideas and insights
  • Reinforce comprehension
  • Allow application to real-life workplace situations

Best used:

  • At culmination of training or training segment
  • To energize the group while also addressing learning objectives

Materials Needed:

  • Sheets of paper (8.5 X 11), one for each participant
  • Chart paper, one sheet for each group of six
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Pleasant music or chimes to signal people to move into a group


  1. Give each participant a sheet of paper (8.5 x 11). Ask people to fold their sheets into three sections. Have them label the sections “1,” “3,” and “6.” They can use these sections to record their ideas and “ah-ha’s” throughout each segment of the activity.
  2. Guide participants through the “Individual-1” segment of this activity.
Individual-1. Spend some time thinking about what you have learned in this session. Jot down key things you’ve learned and their implications for your work.


  1. Guide participants through the “Trio-3” segment of this activity.
Trio-3. When you hear the music or chimes, find 2 other people and form a trio. In your trio, take turns sharing your lists. Then discuss and create a collective list of what the group decides are the 4 to 6 most important concepts or implications of the session.


  1. Guide participants through the “Sextet-6” segment of this activity.
Sextet-6. When you hear the music or chimes, with your trio find another trio and form a sextet (group of 6). In your sextet, share your trio lists. Then decide on the 6 most salient concepts or implications for your collective work. Record on chart paper using words or pictures, and be prepared to share with the full group.


  1. Ask each group of 6 to post their chart paper on the wall. Conduct a “gallery walk,” inviting everyone to stroll alongside the chart paper gallery for a few minutes.
  2. Process with the large group. Ask for any insights, questions or ah-ha’s during this process. Invite participants to take photos of the charts using their mobile devices (this often happens organically).

We always love to hear about how these activities go. Be sure to let us know about any of the ways you adapt this exercise and how it works for you in your trainings.

Debra Christopher, MSM, is Director of Professional Learning Services at ETR. Contact her with questions and ideas at debra.christopher@etr.org



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