Weekly Tribes 2015: Yours, Mine, and Ours

This strategy can be as simple or complex as you want. It is very applicable for an instant survey. Because students (and you, the facilitator) respond silently, and can easily observe who has responded with you, there is most often a profound result in like-minded honesty. Sometimes it is important to know you are not alone. And, the ‘no explanation required’ rule of silence can be a strong invitation for participation.

Similar to ‘cross the line’ or ‘come to the line if…’, You, and eventually your students, pose questions or statements for everyone to respond to by standing, or moving (across an area to a line on the floor).

Be sure to set it up for success by establishing a rationale for doing this (what is your topic?) as well as a reminder/explanation of how the agreements will play out.

Present the statement or question and have students respond silently by moving to the line or simply standing where they are. Allow a few moments for students to look around at who has responded similarly. Again, no discussion or comments – that may be part of your reflection process…or not.

Use topics that are ‘yours, mine, and ours’.
Here are some simple, generic starters:

I like it when someone smiles at me.
I feel bad when I see someone crying.
I have said something nice to someone today.
I have said something I wish I hadn’t said.

Here are some deeper, more influential statements:

I didn’t get much sleep last night.
I want to apologize to someone but I don’t know how.
There is an issue here at school that I want to talk about.
There are put downs happening behind (teacher’s) back.
I don’t feel safe at school.

And, of course, these questions/statements can be totally content-driven:

I could teach this, I understand it so well.
I wish I knew the answer, but most of the time I don’t.
I am so frustrated, that I would copy from another to get the correct answer.
I want to ask for help, but I don’t.
I would rather work alone than in a group.

Lots of possibilities! Depending on how it goes, invite students to come up with question/statements. Don’t let this go on too long; it is a great ‘repeat’ activity, or ‘to be continued!”. Be prepared to learn and reflect!