This is a handy little page to help you understand how we classify and organize all of our activities.
This little navigator is the snazziest element on our site and it helps you find the activities you’re looking for quickly and easily (almost as fun as searching for shoes on Zappos.) Selecting any text within the activity finder will bring you to a page containing all activities of that type.
Example: By selecting “<10 mins” you will view only activities that generally take 10 minutes or less!
What the categories mean
As you may have noticed, we have classified our activities in a number of different ways. While we try to make the labeling as self-explanatory as possible, there are some labels you may be extra curious about.
This is how the participants are interacting for the majority of the time during the activity. “Large group”, for instance, would indicate that the majority of the activity is spent with everyone interacting with each other all at once. There may be reflection time or some small group time, but the majority of the activity is in a large group space. This is the single largest difference between activities and also is the reason why we color coded the activities according to their activity type!
Large Group – Engaging with the entire group
Small Group – Working with groups of 2-5 people
Reflective – Work is largely done solo, silently, and is introspectively-focused
Guided Discussion – A discussion that weaves constant conversation and feedback from facilitator to group and from group to facilitator
Lecture – The facilitator is demonstrating or illustrating a topic without much interaction from participants
Essentials– These are the activities that we believe are “essential” aspects of a facilitator’s toolbox. Energizers, introductions, name games, wrap ups, anything that has very little to do with communicating content and a whole lot to do with energy, building trust, transitioning, or other necessary aspects of any good facilitation.
The level of knowledge that participants need to have before the activity starts for the activity to be highly successful.
101 – No previous knowledge (other than a familiarity with basic vocabulary) needed. You could conduct these activities with any group, anytime in your curriculum and they could follow.
201 – Some previous knowledge needed. Groups would need to have some exposure and understanding to these issues prior to this activity to understand and benefit from the activity. That prior exposure does not need to be within the workshop.
301 – Advanced previous knowledge needed. This level of information is quite advanced and is for people who are really looking to dive deep into a particular subject or topic. These activities would not be conducted within an introductory training.
The level of trust and comfort you must have established both within the group and between the group and facilitator before you conduct the activity. Some activities ask participants to share personal information or opinions, and to do that with a larger group requires higher levels of trust. The less personal the information and the less folks share with one another generally means the lower the risk and the lower the level of trust you need to have established within the group.
All activities that necessitate participation do require a level of trust between participants. This initial trust is established by the maintaining of ground rules, the introduction and openness of the facilitator, and the way participants are received by each other (and the facilitator) when they first share/participate. It is important to not underestimate the importance of trust (or the management of risk) and to not rely on previously established group relationships for that trust.
Low – Something you can successfully do toward the beginning of the workshop or with a base level of trust established within a group. These activities are good to conduct towards the beginning of a training or program in order to build a level of engagement and participation between participants.
Medium – Requires some previous trust established between participants. These activities will require participants to share personal facts, beliefs or ideas within a small group environment or possibly even within a larger group environment. Jumping into these activities right off the bat with a new group is not advised.
High – Requires participants to feel quite comfortable and to have formed relationships throughout the training with each other in order to make the most of the activity. Largely these activities will involve participants being asked to share personal thoughts, beliefs, experiences, or ideas with the entire group, which is generally the highest level of risk and exposure for participants.
Note: Trust does not simply mean between the group–it also means within the settings and with the facilitator. (For instance, group of fraternity brothers may have a high level of trust with each other but trust within the training’s specific environment needs to be established too.)Additionally, some folks may never feel “safe” to share even when significant amounts of trust have been established. Vulnerability is likely always going to be an aspect of sharing in these spaces and that is important to respect.
Length of Time
Our best approximation of how long each activity will take from introducing the activity to closing/debriefing the activity. Times are apt to vary with each group you are working with and we encourage you to use these as a guide when planning your training rather than as a rule. We do not encourage cutting any activity off at the time allotted if a group is enjoying, learning, and most of all, benefitting from the activity.
What subject is the activity mostly centered on. This could be a singular subject like, “race” or it could be multiple or intersecting subjects like, “race” and “class.” These categories are what the activity is focused on rather than themes that could come up, as we believe all social justice work is ultimately overlapping and interrelated.
Most activities on this site are designed for folks who are facilitating a training or workshop. However, we have some activities that were created to help train future facilitators and are useful to those of you out there who are planning train-the-trainer programs and retreats. Intended audience separates these two goals by “intended audience.” Train-the-trainer focused activities are categorized under future facilitators while activities that are best for all other workshops and trainings are under participants.
If you can’t exactly find what you’re looking for, try our search feature. Still can’t find it? Email us! Let us know what you were looking for and how we can improve and expand the site for you!