I’m going to ask a question in a moment and it has a very rapid response. We don’t need to even talk about it. But I’m going to ask you now to reflect back on this morning.
We’ve spent a good deal of time, several hours together now. We’ve done a variety of experiences, continued to build relationships and skills within the group and build comfort level.
Out of five, from zero to five, how would you rate your morning?
And the way I would like you to express that rating is simply using what I call fist to five.
A fist would suggest that it was a zero out of five being really, really poor, wish I wasn’t here, wish I never got out of bed, through to five was outstanding, couldn’t flaw, there was no flaws, couldn’t faltered. And of course all the numbers in between based on one hand, one set of fingers.
So think back over the morning. Just take a few moments now to think about your morning in terms of the reasons that you were here. If you were here just for a fun time then your kinda rating well how much fun have you had?
If you were here to gain all sorts of different ideas to integrate into your curriculum or maybe earn some understanding of programming principles, whatever it is, clearly we’re only halfway through the program… but out of five, fist of five and we all do it together, no talking is necessary but once it’s out there just get a glance. Have a look at what other people have expressed as well.
So just take a few moments now to think about that. Your morning.
Okay, on the count of three. One. Two. Three.
(group is displaying their Fist To Five)
Have a look around. Okay. Have a look around. Okay. Okay, thank you. Great.
How To Play Narrative
Fist to Five is possibly one of the simplest and quickest processing or debriefing strategies I know. Ideal if you don’t have a lot of time, or are leading a group which is not very verbal.
First up, ask your group to gather together, preferably in a circle, and then place one of their hands behind their backs. Circles work best, because no-one will see what others are about to do, which is the perfect set-up.
Next, explain that you would like each person to extend a certain number of fingers on their hand – from zero to all five – to represent their assessment of a topic you are about to pose.
The scale can vary of course, but the simplest measure is to suggest that zero is the lowest possible score and five is the highest score.
You now pose the question or statement on which you would like your group to consider their qualitative response. Allow a few moments for your group to consider their options and on your signal, ask everyone to reveal their hands and extended fingers – all at the same time.
Invite your group to survey the results of others – perhaps making a mental note of anything significant – and then move on.
Practical Leadership Tips
This exercise is also known as the Five Finger Debrief.
It is often enough to simply ask your group to observe the variety of ‘scores.’ However, for deeper understanding, consider asking a number of volunteers to explain their score so that the rest of the group can understand their rationale.
It’s important that your language makes it clear that you want everyone to reveal their hands at the same time – lest, a few sneaky folks (who are often unsure of how others will react to their score) will quickly change their score in response to peer pressure.
One further tip – encourage individuals to not be influenced by others and how they may score the particular topic. If (almost) everyone extends the same number of fingers, expect there to be a significant level of peer pressure to be present within your group.
If peer pressure is not an issue, the strategy to hide hands behind backs is not necessary – simply invite people to shoot their score in front of the group.
Any time you invite your group to reflect is another opportunity for them to practice their social and emotional competencies, not to mention, build their emotional literacy. Fist to Five is ideally suited for this purpose because it does not rely on a verbal response but still invites each person to reflect on their thinking and feelings and respond numerically without having to say anything. That said, as described above, I often invite sharing in small groups (before leading large group plenary) to help tease out the reasons behind the number of extended fingers. Accordingly, this can help to understand other’s emotions and perspectives, too.
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Out Of Ten: Use two hands, for a score out of ten.
One To Five: Prohibit the clenched fist (a score of zero,) and require people extend at least one finger to represent their lowest possible score.
Non-threatening method to invite sharing in a group.
Useful Framing Ideas
It may sound like…
“WITH ONE HAND BEHIND YOUR BACK, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO EXTEND FROM NONE TO FIVE FINGERS ON YOUR HAND TO INDICATE YOUR SCORE OF … [enter topic of conversation ] … WITH NO FINGERS, OR A CLENCHED FIST, MEANING THE LOWEST POSSIBLE SCORE AND FIVE EXTENDED FINGERS BEING THE HIGHEST.”
“LET’S CHECK IN ON HOW SAFE WE WERE ON THAT LAST ACTIVITY – EXTENDING A CLENCHED FIST TO MEAN THE LEAST AND ALL FIVE FINGERS EXTENDED MEANING THE MOST, HOW SAFE DID YOU FEEL … [enter name of experience…]”
The inspiration for the Fist to Five, and many more fun & engaging reflection strategies, was sourced from the following publication: