Facilitation Quick Tips: Good News Headlines
By Tracy Wright, MAED | April 25, 2016
Project Director, ETR
Celebrating is good! It’s not something we need to save for the end of a professional development (PD) session, meeting or project. Starting PD or a meeting off by reflecting upon and celebrating incremental accomplishments is a great way to energize the group and honor the hard work that’s been done.
I’m always looking for something new and different to do during PD sessions, whether live in-person or live virtual. This activity is a modification based upon the activity titled “Good News Graffiti” from the work of Dr. Roger Greenaway and his website on active reviewing.
Title: Good News Headlines—or “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!”
Setting: Appropriate for in-person events and adaptable for live virtual events
Time: 15 minutes
- To allow participants to reflect back on work and accomplishments so far.
- To celebrate successes as a way to energize and start the meeting/training off on a high note.
Best Used: As an energizer at the start of a training or meeting. It is most appropriate for groups who know each other and have been working together over some period of time.
- A “sticky wall” and a place to mount it in the room (see below for description); or a large white board or other smooth surface that papers can be taped to.
- Brightly colored sheets of paper (at least one per participant)
- Markers (one per participant)
Place the sticky wall in a prominent place in the room. Add a fun title, such as, “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” Place a variety of colored paper and markers at participant tables.
- Welcome participants and ask them to reflect. As participants arrive at the meeting or training, ask them to take a few minutes and reflect back on the work they have done. Invite them to focus on progress or successes they have achieved since the last meeting (or over the life of a project, if applicable).
- Ask them to develop a catchy headline. Ask participants to come up with a fun, catchy phrase or headline to describe one success or accomplishment. Have them write this on one piece of colored paper.
- Put the headlines up on the wall and review. Have participants post their headlines on the sticky wall. Ask everyone to take a moment or two to review the headlines.
- Process. Ask for comments and thoughts from participants. Optional prompts, as appropriate:
- What themes are you seeing here?
- What’s the funniest headline on the wall?
- What headlines inspire or energize you?
- What do these headlines say about the team’s overall success and sense of purpose?
Variations and Adaptations
- Instead of a sticky wall, use several chart pads on stands or large sheets of butcher-style paper. Provide enough different-colored markers for each participant to have one to use.
- Put up categories on the sticky wall (or chart paper) if you want participants to focus their successes around certain aspects of work.
- Provide a “Personal Successes” space on the sticky wall (or chart paper) if you want to celebrate successes outside of the workplace or project.
Using the Activity in Live Virtual Events
This activity is easily adaptable for live virtual sessions!
Create a slide with your fun title up top and a brief statement about what you are asking participants to do. For example:
Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Please create a fun, catchy phrase or “headline” to describe one success or accomplishment you’ve had related to our project since we last met. Type your headline directly on the slide below.
Note: How you do this activity depends on the capabilities of your virtual training platform. If you can’t have participants use annotation tools and write directly on the slide, you can have them type their headline into chat. Answers on slides are more anonymous. Chat is not. Use what you know about your virtual training platform, your audience and your content to make this decision.
About Sticky Walls
A sticky wall is a piece of lightweight rip-stop nylon fabric, most often 5’ high and 12’ long. It is a used to display and re-position participant-developed cards or pages during meetings or workshops. The “wall” is easy to fold and travel with. It can be used over and over again. Sticky walls require the use of a re-positional adhesive spray, found at most office supply stores.
You can purchase a sticky wall here.
Find out how to make your own (and see tips on how to hang them and use them in trainings) here.
Tracy Wright, MAED, is a Project Director at ETR. She is a skilled distance learning, eLearning and professional development specialist. She has also served as a health education teacher in both middle and high schools. She can be reached at email@example.com.