By CommonAction - The youth engagement specialists  



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Guide for Facilitators

Reflection Activities


INTRODUCTION: Taking action, making change, experiencing new adventures... these are awesome reasons to get out and do something. But the richness of the experience, the learning from the experience, these are equally important if we are going to transform society through action. Reflection is integral to learning, because it helps us build self-awareness, strengthen personal and team growth, and improves our action for the next time.


POINT TO PONDER: "We learn not from doing, but by thinking about what we do.” - Unknown source.


DIRECTIONS: The following are a list of reflection activities that are relatively easy-to-use, with few materials needed.


Emotional Go-Around

Participants are asked to show with a word, their body, or a facial expression how they feel right at the moment.  Let people show their reaction, one at a time, and then have participants explain their reaction.  This activity can give the facilitator a sense of the group mood and gives the participants a chance to express how they feel at that moment.


Service Skits

Split the students into groups of three or four and ask each group to portray their service experience through a skit.  Give each group 10 minutes to plan what they will do and up to five minutes to share their skit with the rest of the group.  After each group’s presentation, have the whole group process reactions, give suggestions for effective future projects, and give positive feedback to the actor/actresses.  This activity could take 30 minutes to an hour to complete.



Take your students on an imaginary tour of their service experience.  Ask participants to find a comfortable position (lay on the floor, rest your head on the table, lounge in a chair) and close eyes. Play relaxing music at a low volume.  Ask participants to become aware of their breathing, ask them to leave their present thoughts and clear their minds.  Once the participants appear to have relaxed, ask them to begin remembering their service experience.  To assist them in remembering their experience mention common events, allow participants to remember how they felt before they did their experience, what their expectations were, what happened in their preparation, how they felt during their service experience.  To stimulate their thinking you might mention some of what you remembered.  Slowly bring them back to the present.  Ask them to become aware of their surroundings, again concentrating on their breathing, and open their eyes when they are ready.  Ensure that a quiet tone is maintained.  Continue to play music, and ask participants to share their recollections with another person and finally have people make comments to the whole group.


Group Banners

Using a large pieces of banner paper and markers, ask students to get into pairs and depict their experiences using a combination of words and pictures.  Give them about 10-15 minutes.  When completed ask each pair to share their banner with the whole group.  Use their banners as a jumping off point for processing the experience. 



All Tied Up

Have the group stand in a circle.  Holding the end of a ball of string, hand the ball off to a participant.  Ask them to reflect on a particular question (e.g. what was something new you learned today?).  Once they have answered the question ask them to hold onto their piece of the string and to pass the ball onto someone else.  Continue the process until everyone has reflected on the question, and has a section of string in their hands.  When completed, you should have something that looks like a web.  When they are all done talking, make some points about the interconnectedness of people, how they are all part of the solution, for if one person had not contributed to their service projects the outcome would’ve been different, etc.  


Service Journals

Ask students to keep a journal of their conference experience through regular (after each activity) entries.  Provide framework for the journals (e.g. who will read it, what should they write about, how it will be used).   Variations on the Activity Journal include team journaling, and circle journals.  You can also provide particular questions to respond to, and use hot topics from activities to reflect on.  You may ask participants to reflect on conference topics, including quotations and readings from authors, music groups, etcetera.



Time Capsule

As students are being introduced to your conference, have them put memorabilia and initial attitudes related to Peace Jam and their school’s projects on paper to  start the time capsule.  This could include a short project description, an agenda for your conference, or anything else relevant to what’s going on.  Have the students write down how they are feeling at the start of the weekend, how they feel at different points of their school’s projects (e.g. what they expected at the beginning of the year, how they felt about your topic or conference before this weekend, what they feel/felt (before, during or after) their project as a whole.  Put everything into a “capsule” that will be opened and read aloud and discussed (perhaps anonymously) at the end of the your conference.



Reflection Ideas Honoring Multiple Intelligences

To learn more about reflection, click here>



Suggested Citation

Fletcher, A. (2002). FireStarter Youth Power Curriculum: Participant Guidebook. Olympia, WA: Freechild Project.


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