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Spend a Penny

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

This fun activity ensures that all meeting participants are actively engaged and participating; everybody gives their 2 cents (or a five cents!).

Materials Needed

  • Five pennies for each participant

Time Required

More Ideas for
Instant Meetings

Be sure to see our Instant Meetings Archive for additional ideas.

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.

Have you an "Instant Meeting" idea that you would like to share. Send your idea to
[email protected].
Type Instant Meeting Idea in the Subject line of your email.

This format can be used for an entire meeting or for the part of it that focuses on discussion a topic of school-wide interest or importance.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

Do the conversations at your meetings always seem to be dominated by a few outspoken and opinionated -- and perhaps even pessimistic -- participants?

The next time you plan a meeting where you will present a topic for school-wide discussion -- a topic about which you want to hear from everybody in the room -- come prepared: At the start of the meeting, "pay" each participant 5 pennies. Each time a participant wants to speak, he or she must "spend" a penny.

If your group is small, or if you don't want the discussion to go too long, you might give participants only 2 or 3 pennies. If you give everybody 2 pennies, then each person has his or her opportunity to give their two cents.

If you want to really motivate discussion, you might even bring along nickels. Each time a participant speaks, he or she will "trade" a penny for a nickel. That way, the participants "earn interest" for their ideas.

You might want to state up front that in this "meeting economy" no lending or borrowing is allowed.


Ask meeting participants for feedback on this meeting. You might do that in a follow-up email the next day, or you might ask participants to fill out a quick Meeting Evaluation Form as they leave the meeting room. The form provides a simple checklist with a space for comments and suggestions.