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Small Ball Discussions

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

The “Have-a-Ball Brainstorm” activity is ideal for times when you want to hear from everyone; when you don’t want one or two people to monopolize the conversation.

Materials Needed

  • a soft rubber/sponge/Nerf ball

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.

This activity might be used for any part of a meeting where your intent is to collect opinions and perspectives from all participants.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

This simple activity can be used when you want to gather input on an issue or topic from everybody involved. The only prop needed is a soft rubber/sponge/Nerf ball.

Start the meeting by introducing the topic of discussion. Then explain that you're going to toss the ball to someone. The person who catches the ball will have the floor to express his or her thoughts. Once the ball-holder has shared his or her ideas, that person will toss the ball to someone else, who will have the floor. Only the ball-holder can speak. Mention that you would like staff members to try to be sure that everybody gets the ball one time before anyone gets it a second time.

As a result of this activity, you will have heard the opinions and perspectives of all stakeholders; no one had an opportunity to monopolize the conversation. And you would have had a little light fun too!


The purpose of this activity was to gather all ideas. If the ultimate goal of the meeting is to decide on next steps or come to a group consensus, you might record all viable ideas/alternatives and use one of the consensus techniques (such as Multivoting or Pick 3 -- Drop 3) to help the group arrive at the solution/conclusion.