Appreciation Circle: Debriefing Activity

Appreciation Circle: Debriefing Activity

Approximate Running Time: 10 minutes + (determined by the number of participants, the length of the program, the depth of appreciation comments, etc)

Minimum Group Size: 3 people

Maximum Group Size: 20 people

Age/ Level: Grade 3+

Space Required: Enough space for a group circle.



“Speaking stick” or ball, anything to indicate whose turn it is to share



No set-up required



The objective of this activity is for participants to have the opportunity to spend the time genuinely sharing appreciation for one another.


Facilitator Guidelines:

This is a simple debrief or end of program activity that can be run in many different ways. Here are some options:

  1. Participants may appreciate anyone popcorn style (meaning no specific order) for the time allotted (i.e. 1 minute per person)
  2. Participants may offer a more focused appreciation (1 person being appreciated at a time until people don’t have anything else to say)
  3. Participants may use a ball of focus. Anyone who wants to be appreciated will take a turn holding the ball and everyone who has an appreciation for that person can share their appreciation while they are in possession of the ball.



It’s essential that the group is focused and showing respect to those who are speaking, and those who are being appreciated. If the group is unable to maintain focus and demonstrate respect, the facilitator may wish to end the activity and debrief why the activity had to end.

All participants should be included in this activity.



Game of Life

Game of Life

Approximate Running Time: 15-20 minutes (including debrief)

Minimum Group Size: 3 people

Maximum Group Size: 30 people (per group – if you are working with a large group you can split them up in the same space to run this activity)

Age/ Level:

Participants must be capable of reasoning and understanding the meaning behind the activity rather than just the simple objective. This activity is suitable for a mature Grade 4 class and older participants.


Space Required: This activity requires enough space for participants to run around freely, as well as enough space for participants to sit in a circle to debrief.



– No materials required



No set-up required for standard activity. However, if the activity space is large facilitators may wish to create a “playing zone” by marking the floor with painters tape.



The objective of this activity is for participants to consider how they work in groups, how they listen to each other, the choices they make as individuals, and how those choices affect others, etc etc.


Facilitator Guidelines:

  1. Ask all participants to stand inside the playing area (taped area, or space in room)
  2. Instruct participants to raise their right hand and point their index fingers to the sky. Tell them that this will be their “sword”.
  3. Ask participants to place their left hands behind their backs with the palm facing out. Tell them that this is their “heart”
  4. In the first round tell the participants: “The objective of the game is for you to stay in the game of life! Go” (allow them to start to play).
  5. After they have eliminated all but one player, start the second round.
  6. In the second round tell the participants: “The objective of the game is for you to stay in the game of life! Go!” (allow them to start to play)
  7. After they have eliminated all but one player, start the third round.
  8. In the third round tell the participants ” The objective of the game is for everyone to stay in the game of life! Go! (allow them to start to play)
  9. After they have eliminated all but one player, and if they have not “figured out the trick” to keep everyone alive yet, start the last round.
  10. In the last round tell the participants: “the objective is for everyone stay in the game of life! Go!”
  11. Participants must follow these rules:
  12. If you step out of the playing field you are out (either the taped area, or a designated area in a space).
  13. If you stab someone in the heart they are out.
  14. Hearts may not be purposely covered.


General Debrief Questions:

The debrief for this activity is largely determined by whether or not the participants were able to keep the entire group alive.

What happened?

How did you stay alive?

To those of you who managed to stay alive the longest, what was your strategy? Why did you feel you needed to kill others?

Do you feel that in order for you to be successful in life, others have to be unsuccessful?

How do others support you in your life?

How can you support others? (Classmates, colleagues, etc).









People Movers

People Movers

Approximate Running Time: 10 minutes

Minimum Group Size: 4 people

Maximum Group Size: 100 + (as many people as you can provide place-markers for)

Age/ Level: Grade 4+

Space Required: Enough space for all participants to stand and move around in lines of 4-8 people


– 1 place-marker per person. This may be: polydots, pieces of paper, foam, pylon, etc.



Participants will be divided into even-numbered groups of up to 8 participants each. Each group requires a number of place-markers, one per participant. The place-markers should be lined up in a straight line. If the group is large, the lines should be set up side by side.



The objective for this activity is for the group to communicate and collaborate to determine a strategy and solve a physical/ mental puzzle using their bodies and a set of place-markers.


Facilitator Guidelines:

1.  Begin by having the participants line up in their groups, next to a line of space-markers (which were previously set up).

2. Each group must split into two groups. There should be an even number of participants on each side of an empty       place- marker. The groups will look like this, depending on the number of participants:


1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
  1. The objective of the activity is for each half of the group to reach the opposite side of the line from their starting point, by switching places with the other half of their group (ones to twos and twos to ones, etc)
  2. In order for participants to complete the challenge they must follow these guidelines:– Participants must always look forward, towards the other half of their group (i.e. ones must look at twos, twos must    look at ones)

    – Participants may only move forward (towards the opposite side of their group)

    – Participants may only move forward if there is an empty space in front of them, and if there is an empty space in front of the person in front of them.

    – While participating in the activity participants must not step off of their space-markers.

    – If anyone fails to follow the guidelines, everyone must restart the activity.


    General Debrief Questions

    How did your group solve the puzzle and complete the challenge?

    What was the hardest part?

    How did you feel you did personally?

    How could you have been a better team mate?

    How did you support your team mates?

    How did your group communicate?

    What did you learn from this activity





Take A Stand

Take A Stand

Approximate Time: 20- 45 minutes

Minimum Group Size: 3 people

Maximum Group Size: 200 people


Age/ Level:

Participants must be able to consider their values and viewpoints, and empathize with others, in order to take part in this activity. Recommended for Grade 4 and up.


Space Required:

A room large enough for all participants to gather in the centre of the room, and then spread out into four corners of the room with enough space for private discussions.



  • 1 pen or pencil per participant
  • 1-2 index cards per participant (can be cut in half – can also use recycled paper instead of index cards)
  • 1 large paper, or powerpoint slide, with a numbered list of statements (see Resources for a sample list)



The participants will each be given 1-2 index cards, and a pen or pencil, and asked to sit in a circle.

The four corners of the room should each be labeled with big signs, one in each corner with: “Agree”, “Disagree”, “Strongly Agree”, and “Strongly Disagree”.



The objective of this activity is for participants to reflect on their personal beliefs and values, and consider their peers’ beliefs, values, and perspectives.


Facilitator Guidelines:

1.  Show participants the list of numbered prompts (on a PowerPoint slide or flipchart paper)

2.  Ask participants to write their responses to each statement next to the statement numbers on their index cards. Their responses should list whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. They can use the abbreviations SA/ A/ D/ DS

3.  After they have written their responses to each statement, participants should fold their index cards into paper airplanes, and launch them into the middle of the circle. 

4.  Invite participants to pick up a paper airplane and read the first statement in silence. 

5.  Ask participants to walk to the corner of the room with the sign that correlates to the answer to the first statement, as shown on the paper airplane they picked up. 

6.  When the participants are in the four corners of the room, the facilitator will ask them to discuss why someone may have responded with SA/ A/ D/ DS for that statement. Each corner group should choose a speaker to share their group’s response with the larger group. 

 7.  After each corner has shared their responses, invite all participants to re-fold their airplanes and throw them across the room, and then pick up a different airplane and repeat the entire process for the second prompt (and then the third and fourth prompts and so on)


Facilitation Variations:

SA/ A/ D/ DS may be changed to simply “Agree” or “Disagree” for smaller groups, or if the facilitator would like to


Each group should select a speaker to represent that group’s    opinions and responses to group debrief questions.



Sample list of prompts:

Cheese is bad for you

Computer games should be limited to 1 hour of game time everyday

Everyone should do 60 mins of physical activity every day

Individual work is easier than group work

Talking about myself is easy

I feel accepted in our Community

Student voices are integrated into decision-making at our school

It’s better to hear everyone’s idea than to make an executive decision

You must go to a top-tier university in order to be successful

If you study hard and work hard you would be financially successful

Wealth is a privilege that only a few deserve

Homeless people are lazy

I have a responsibility for the wellbeing of others

Teachers should be allowed friends with their students

We should only focus our fundraising and awareness on terminal illnesses that affect large populations of people.


Service Learning Prompts:

I have a responsibility for the wellbeing of others

The service we did is sustainable

Homeless people are lazy

The government plan to fight poverty is enough


General Debrief Questions

  • How did you feel when you had to justify and defend your point of view?
  • How did it feel when you had to justify a point of view that you didn’t agree with?
  • Why is important to share your opinions?
  • How does awareness of others help your understanding of others and develop empathy?
  • How do personal experiences shape opinions?
  • Why is it important to respect others’ opinions?
  • What is empathy? Why is empathy a good skill to have?
  • Usefulness/effectiveness of being able to think in someone else’s shoes
  • Spectrum vs. black and white divisions (SA/A/D/SD vs. A/D)



Notes – Safety, planning for groups, etc

This activity is very similar to Diversity Circle, however it is unique in that it requires participants to justify differing viewpoints and empathize with their peers’ viewpoints.