QUICK REVIEWSView the pdf version of Quick Reviews
- it prints out in 4 pages instead of 6
(and includes some minor revisions)
| in 1 minute
2 minutes in 5 minutes
10 minutes in 20
If you review experiences in
a hurry and cut
5 x 1 MINUTE REVIEWSA lot of valuable information can be shared in just one minute.
Quick sharing exercises that raise awareness and appreciation of
each other can have a big impact. You can also refer back to
these 'checkpoints' in longer reviews.
1.1 CHECK MOOD STATES (UPS AND DOWNS)
To bring out mood changes, ask each person simultaneously to
show their mood state using simple signals such as thumbs up or
down (or in between). Choose a few points during the activity to
see mood states at each point. If you want everyone to see each
other's signal, first get in a circle, then (at each set of
signals) ask ''Any surprises?''
1.2 CHECK ENERGY LEVELS (FUEL GAUGE)
To discover energy levels, ask each person simultaneously to show
their energy level using simple signals. For example: with each
person using their body as a fuel gauge, hands on head = full of
energy, hands on hips = half full, hands on feet = nothing left.
If you want everyone to see each other's signal, first get in a
circle, then (after each set of signals) invite comments. Use
this method to compare energy levels at the start and finish. If
time allows, ask what would help to restore or re-charge energy
1.3 THREE WORDS
''Choose three separate words (not a phrase) that describe what
you experienced during the activity.'' Allow 30 seconds thinking
time, then share in a round. This is usually much quicker than
doing sentence completion in rounds. And it often happens to be
an example of ''less is more'' - a lot can be communicated in
just three words (after a bit of thinking time).
1.4 POSITIVE FEEDBACK ABOUT THE GROUP
''10 good things about you as a group during the activity.''
Encourage comments from within the group, but throw in some
yourself. Go beyond 10 if you can - mainly because the first few
comments (however valid they are) tend to be vague and clichéd.
With this method, quantity brings out quality because comments
tend to get more specific. End by asking what they will carry
forward to the next activity.
1.5 TAKE TIME OUT (MID-ACTIVITY REVIEWING)
Don't always wait until the end of the activity to review. All of
the above techniques could also be used at 'half-time' or any
time during the activity - for example, during natural breaks,
while waiting for a turn, while having a rest or snack, while
sheltering from the weather.
5 x 2 MINUTE REVIEWSIf you have only 2 minutes, say very little, keep things simple
and focus on positives.
2.1 STORY TELLING IN ROUNDS
Without any practice or planning and against the clock (say 2
minutes) the group are challenged to tell the story of the last
activity in rounds. Each person may say only one word (or
punctuation mark) when it is their turn. This is a fun
communication exercise requiring a lot of concentration.
2.2 THREE PICTURES (MAGIC MOMENTS)
Brief moments of personal reflection (with eyes closed, facing
outwards or lying down). For short reviews keep a positive spin.
Focus on what participants are pleased about, or pleasantly
surprised about. For example: ''Picture three 'magic moments'
from the activity that you would like to remember. Picture 1 is
something you did or said. [pause] Picture 2 is something another
person did or said. [pause] Picture 3 shows a magic/good moment
for the whole group. [pause]'' This is a very brief version of
2.3 THREE REPLAYS (FREEZE FRAME or CLIPS)
Snapshots or short video clips of moments that participants want
to remember (e.g. fun, success, improvements, surprises,
discoveries, insights). If these moments are caught on camera and
you can provide instant replays - go ahead. But I much prefer
asking people to recreate these moments AS IF they had been
caught on camera. This is much quicker, more active and more
creative. 'Freeze Frame' is an active way of sharing thoughts
from 'Magic Moments'. You can also launch straight into 'Freeze
Frame' without preparation. For more on replays see
2.4 POSITIVE FEEDBACK FOR INDIVIDUALS
''2 good things about each person during the activity.''
Encourage comments from within the group, but ensure you have
positive comments ready to give to each person in case anyone
receives little or no feedback. Positive feedback boosts
self-confidence. And by highlighting examples of positive
behaviour, you increase the chances that participants will learn
from each other's examples.
2.5 BUDDY TIME
''Talk in pairs about ...'' (Pick a success theme such as
examples of leadership or humour or caring or effort in the
group.) Alternatively, buddies give positive feedback on each
other's performance during the activity. To encourage a balance
of giving and receiving positive feedback, each person takes
turns to make one positive comment at a time.
5 x 5 MINUTE REVIEWS
In 5 minutes you may have time for more open questions. A 5
minute review in a whole group of 10 allows an average of only 30
seconds air time for each person. Extend the methods described
above or try out the methods described below.
5.1 FORTUNATELY, UNFORTUNATELY
The group tell the story of the last activity, taking it in turns
to say just one sentence beginning with 'Fortunately ...' or
'Unfortunately...'. Go round the circle one at a time. Allow
passing. This is called an 'Alternating Round'. Depending on the
pair of sentence beginnings you choose this can help to create a
balanced view of what happened. This is especially useful when a
group seems over-confident or under-confident.
5.2 ACTIVE LISTENING
While you tell the story of what happened, participants show
their feelings at the time. Using head height or hand height they
can show their ups and downs. Moving in and out of a circle they
can show how much they felt involved in a group activity. Using
gestures and facial expressions they can show anything they want
to. To encourage communication with each other, start off in a
circle. Invite help with storytelling if you need it.
5.3 INSTANT ACTION REPLAY (REMOTE CONTROL)
Instant action replay of whole (or part) of the activity in the
time available. Explain that you have the remote control and will
be using various buttons e.g. fast forward, rewind, pause, slow
etc. - and may invent some new buttons. No time for preparation.
If time allows, take a risk and hand over the control.
5.4 CONNECTING TO A PREVIOUS ACTIVITY
Use 'Alternating Rounds' to investigate questions such as: ''How
was this like/unlike the last activity?'' ''In what ways did you
perform better/worse as a team compared to the last activity?''
To develop a positive view, ask: ''In what ways did your
performance in this activity show that you have learned something
useful from the last one?'' The group respond with action
replays, verbal responses or both.
5.5 CONNECTING TO THE NEXT ACTIVITY
''Show me what you want to take from this experience into the
next activity.'' Sub groups prepare short mimes or replays.
Alternatively, individuals choose objects to represent what they
want to take forwards.
5 x 10 MINUTE REVIEWS
10 minutes may allow time to explore issues, but is there enough
time for everyone to have their say and end on a positive note?
Extend or combine the methods described above, or try out the
methods described below.
10.1 ROUNDS AND ORBITS
Take it in turns to complete a given sentence beginning chosen by
you or by the group. End with appreciation or looking forwards.
For examples see http://reviewing.co.uk/rounds.htm
10.2 MEMORY GAME (STORY TELLING)
The challenge is to talk through what happened in detail. One
person starts in the storyteller's chair and continues until they
are challenged or give up. The challenger takes over until
10.3 INSTANT ACTION REPLAY (IN THE STYLE OF)
Instant action replay in the style of ... You or they choose film
or TV styles through which to present their replay, e.g. News
Report, Tellytubbies, Shakespearean, Documentary with voice over,
Cartoon, Soap etc.
10.4 POSITIONS (SILENT STATEMENTS)
Each person shows their position on an issue by where they stand
on a curved line. Discuss the issue with neighbours, then in the
whole group. End by checking if positions have moved.
10.5 CHECKING GOALS & EFFORT (BULLSEYE)
''What did you see as the top three priorities for the group
during the activity?" Everyone stands in a circle just out of
touching distance from each other. Place an object at the centre
that represents priority #1. ''How much effort did you each make
towards achieving that priority? If you (as an individual) made
0% effort, stay where you are. If you made 100% effort towards
achieving priority #1 stand in the centre. Give yourself a score
out of 100 and move to that point on your scale. Look around. Is
there anyone you think should have placed themselves closer to
the centre?'' If time allows, repeat the process for priorities
#2 and #3.
5 x 20 MINUTE REVIEWS
You now have many more options, including bringing together what
has happened in shorter reviews.
20.1 HAPPY CHARTS
Making and sharing personal happy charts showing each person's
ups and downs during the activity. Encourage participants to look
for differences, similarities and surprises. Encourage questions
such as ''What made you feel so high/low at that point?'' ''Why
did your mood turn round at that point?'' ''What could you have
done to have raised your own happy level or someone else's?''
20.2 SCAVENGER HUNT
Individuals or pairs have a list of symbolic objects to find and
share with the group. Examples: Something that reminds me of a
high point. Something that represents how I am in this group.
Something that represents what is missing in this group or a goal
that I would like us to set ourselves. A symbolic present for the
person on my left in the group circle. Something that represents
an opportunity I would like to have in this group.
20.3 GUIDED REFLECTION
Participants lie down with their eyes closed while you talk
through the activity with suitable pauses that give them time to
reflect on their own thoughts and feelings. After 5-10 minutes,
end with an opportunity for everyone to speak to each other
one-to-one - especially if the guided reflection leads into a
suitable topic such as thanks, appreciation, encouragement. Or
invite each person to make a statement to the group, such as
''What I like about being in this group and what would make it
20.4 CHAT CARDS
For a group of 10, write down 5 review questions that you want to
ask, each on a separate card. Explain that the purpose is to
become an expert on your partner's views, and warn that anything
you say to your partner may be shared in the whole group. Shuffle
and deal one card to each pair who discuss the question for 2
minutes before passing it on. In the whole group, discuss each
question, but with participants speaking only for their partners.
Cards are not essential for this process, but they do help to
keep pairs focused on the question.
Facilitate open discussion, introducing techniques (if needed) to
encourage participation from everyone in the group. Use any of
the above techniques to help focus, accelerate or deepen the
discussion. You may well need much more than 20 minutes to
conduct a review discussion that respects the diversity of
feelings and opinions in the group AND that generates new
insights AND that encourages further exploration. Many of the
reviewing techniques described above can help to get review
discussions off the ground.
TIME TO STOP: TIDY vs. UNTIDY ENDINGS
Once you raise or explore issues, there are no guarantees that
you will come to a tidy endpoint within the time available. The
best you can do might be to establish where you have got to and
what remains unfinished. Providing that there is no distress,
untidy endings can sometimes be better for learning than tidy
A 'tidy' ending might be a new insight or a new commitment or
something you want to try. An 'untidy' ending might be wanting to
change but not knowing how, or having a question you want to
explore, or recognising a problem you want to solve. However you
finish a review, try to keep the momentum going and keep people
thinking about connections.
You now have a tidy list of 5 x 5 ideas. The untidiness is that
you have yet to decide what to do with them. I hope you will try
some of them out and let me know how you get on - or send in some
of your own tips for 'quick reviews'.
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View the pdf version of Quick Reviews - it prints out in 4 pages instead of 6
(and includes some minor revisions)
Also see: Reviewing when Short of Time
Key pages in the Active Reviewing Guide:
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This page is an extract from
Issue 4.1 of the free monthly e-newsletter 'Active Reviewing Tips'.