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Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

Need to decide between two companies’ textbooks? Or whether to go to a block schedule or not? Consider using a Venn diagram to help your staff look at issues that divide them.

Materials Needed

  • Pencil and paper
  • Whiteboard or chart paper

Time Required


More Ideas for
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And don't miss our Great Meeting series. Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb offer a short course on creating meetings that work, based on their popular guide, Great Meetings. They present ideas to help you learn how to lead meetings that generate ideas; analyze problems; define a vision; evaluate ideas and make decisions; plan for long-range needs; encourage group participation and keep groups on track; and much more.

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This tool has many potential uses.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

This activity can be used to guide a discussion of an important issue on which the staff is divided. It can also be used as a tool for examining disagreements with smaller groups or individuals.

Say, for example, that your staff must make a decision about which social studies textbook series to purchase or about whether students in grades 4-up should have recess time in their schedule. A Venn diagram, a familiar tool to most teachers, can be used to examine both of those issues and many others. It can be used to examine almost any issue that has your staff divided into two camps.

Draw a Venn diagram on a board or chart and label the left side Position A and the right side Position B.

If you sense there is a "minority" opinion on the staff, it is a good idea to look at, and seek to understand, that position first. Solicit from the group that position's strongest points are write them in the Position A area of the Venn diagram.

Then do the same thing for the other point of view and write its strongest key points in the Position {B} area of the diagram.

Next, examine the intersection of Positions A and B. Where do those two groups' opinions overlap? Upon what points do the two sides agree? Write those points in the areas where the two circles intersect.

Then choose one issue on which the two sides do not agree. Discuss that issue thoroughly, and see if a resolution can be found. (If you have a sense of which issue the two sides might most easily resolve, start with that issue.) Continue talking about the differences. Alternate between the Position A and Position B circles, talking about and trying to solve one issue at a time.


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