Staff Development Strategies

Block Party

Lori Cullen Brown's picture
A great strategy for setting context, establishing a collective understanding of a piece of text related to a specific topic. Useful in the classroom as well as in professional development activities.


This group activity can be used with a variety of texts, poems, articles or whole books. It works well with large

1. Facilitator writes quotes on index cards prior to session. You may choose one quote per participant, or repeat some quotes.

2. Participants randomly select quotes/cards and spend a few minutes reflecting upon their quote’s meaning for them and their work. (3 minutes)

3. Participants mingle and share quotes in pairs. Participants are encouraged to share with three other participants in 5 minute segments. (15 minutes)

4. (Optional) Form triads or quads and share quotes and insights about the text and its implications for our work. (Extension: Speculate on the purpose/origin of the text.) (12-15 minutes)

5. Whole group sharing of ideas and questions raised by the experience. This can be done popcorn style or as a round, but is usually not a conversation. (10-12 minutes)

6. Facilitator shares the source of the quotes, posting the link, distributing the article etc. for future work. (1 minute)

7. Debrief the process (5 minutes)

Note: At the National Facilitator’s Meeting in Chicago the following possibilities were shared: 1) Have participants exchange cards/quotes after each round. 2) Use this format to share end of year reflections or start up aspirations. 3) Using quotes from longer pieces can open up the conversation in large, mixed groups where students and family members might have previously been excluded from the discussion of the material.