Staff Support – Using the TLE (Tribes Learning Experience)

Submitted by M. Cole

GRADE:  This is written for staff support, but could easily be adapted for any work in progress, grade 4-12


PROVIDE FOR INCLUSION – A You Question, Energizer, or Linking Strategy:

Appreciating Others     (Basic Book – p. 213; MS Book – p.242; HS Book – p.323)

  • Using a 4 square grid, have participants develop an appreciation for the following people based on their reflections on TRIBES:

(1) self; (2) student(s); (3) teacher(s); (4) anyone.

  • Use a community circle to have individuals share one appreciation

Reflect on how this strategy can be used in lesson planning


To apply the TRIBES Lesson Format for one upcoming lesson.

Think constructively; work on tasks together.


  1. Chain Reaction (Basic Book – p. 224; MS Book – p.255; HS Book – p.336)
    1. Create small groups (Tribe size of 4-6 people)
    2. Have one person start the chain reaction by asking 1 question about TRIBES – specifically about lesson planning or integrating TRIBES in the classroom
    3. Have the second person answer the question and then ask 1 question to a third person in the group.  Continue the chain reaction pattern until everyone has asked and answered a question.
    4. Use reflective questions to process the learning.
  1. Lesson Development – either with your elbow partner from the Chain Reaction group, with other participants, or individually
  1. Based on time & group dynamics – choose one of these processing experiences:
    1. Peer Review & Feedback – with anyone in the group – share your lesson plan, practice attentive listening (use Warm/Cool Feedback Protocol)
  1. Community Circle Metaphor – “When I’m working on TRIBES Lesson Planning, I am most like [name an animal] because I [name a behavior or quality].”   (Basic Book – p. 228; MS Book – p.259; HS Book – p.340)


What did you learn/ relearn / unlearn about using the TRIBES Lesson Plan Format?

How did the peer review help your work?

What do you feel more confident with now?


Invite appreciations in a closing community circle – genuine & specific.


Warm/Cool Feedback Protocol

Purpose: to ensure that peers receive direct and respectful feedback on the work they present, as well as the opportunity to reflect on the feedback in a continuous improvement effort


  1. The presenter/developer share materials – highlighting the process used to create the work and identifying any main ideas or overarching principles.
  1. The “listening” partner offers warm feedback in response to the shared materials and explanation.  Warm feedback focuses on the relevance, applicability, and possibilities of the work without general praise for the individual.

Examples:                    “The ______________ connects well with our group norm of _______.”

“This ________________ could be combined with ___________.”

“This might allow our audience to understand…”

Non-Examples:  “You’re the best ever!”

“You did such a wonderful job on this.”

No discussion, reply, or conversation is engaged in at this time – just attentive listening by the partner who shared the work.

  1. The “listening” partner then offers cool feedback in response to shared materials and explanation. Cool feedback focuses on questions and clarifications of the work without general criticism or negative judgments for the individual.

Examples:                    “I’m not sure I understand ________. Tell me more about your thinking.”

“I don’t quite see the connection between ______ and ____.

Can you help me understand your thinking?

“Could ________ have a negative effect on  __________?

I’m not sure, can we explore this a bit more?”

Non-Examples:  “This isn’t very good at all.”

“What were you thinking when you put this together?”

No discussion, reply, or conversation is engaged in at this time.  Pass options are always          available.  Developers may not respond during this step but should document feedback.

  1. Reflection & reaction to feedback. The presenter/developer reflects on and provides further explanation to any response he or she chooses to.  The presenter/developer is reminded that the response is not meant to answer questions but to talk about her or his thinking.  During this step, the “listening” partner practices attentive listening – this is not an open discussion.
  1. Debriefing – participants reflect on the process and the use of the 4 Agreements.  How did this protocol contribute/support our collaborative work?

Group Development Process

►Cognitive Theory

Multiple Intelligences

►Cooperative Learning


►Reflective Practice

►Authentic Assessment