This playful method creates a powerful shared picture of the feelings in the group. Checking-in is a simple way for a team to start a meeting, workshop, or activity. By using the metaphor of a rollercoaster this alternative version supports participants to think differently about how they are feeling. People place themselves at different points on the rollercoaster, explaining their dominant feeling right now.
Helps participants to think differently about how they are feeling at the beginning of a workshop or meeting.
Gather the group in a horseshoe around a flipchart/whiteboard. Explain the purpose of a check-in if necessary, that it’s an important tool to take the group’s emotional temperature, to uncover any fears, concerns, or needs. Explain that this is a method to explore the whole group’s feelings in a playful and visual way.
In certain cases, some participants may choose not to check-in. Make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to check-in but if some choose not to, simply check with them after the session to see if there are any issues that might need to be addressed.
Draw a wavy line across the entire flipchart/whiteboard that resembles a basic rollercoaster with loops, steep sections, and shallow sections.
Explain that we are going to draw ourselves on the rollercoaster, depicting how we feel right now, then share that feeling with the group. We’ll do this one-by-one, either in order around the horseshoe or at random.
Give each participant as much time as you think is necessary and practical. It can be as little as one word, or as much as 5-10 minutes.
When everyone has checked-in if there is time then look at the rollercoaster as a whole group and share/discuss any thoughts that emerge.
Tips for running this activity online
- Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows you to use a large, zoomable canvas.
- Draw the basic rollercoaster in the collaborative space and invite users to add themselves to the rollercoaster as drawn notes.
- When facilitating group discussion, we’d recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they’d like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up.The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.
- If you’re not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend the facilitator draw the rollercoaster digitally or on paper and invite the participants to draw an image of themselves and upload it to a shared Google Doc or Slack. The facilitator then places their initials where they’d like to be on the rollercoaster and invites them to describe why.
Johanna Olson, How to Start a Meeting, Kristin Cobble, Time Online, 2014
Source: Hyper Island toolbox
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