Leadership Inspirations Activities

Wordsmithing

Make as many words as possible

Duration

20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

Index cards, paper, pens

 

SUMMARY

 
This activity is a great way to have participants start to think about goal setting and project planning. They will be tasked with making as many words as possible using a set of letters written on index cards. This activity comes with a twist that may add stress or conflict, things groups encounter in their organizations all the time!

 

SET UP

  • Break your group up into smaller groups of 4-5 people each. 
  • Pass out 26 index cards, one blank piece of paper, and pens to each small group. 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Have each group set aside one index card to be used later.
  • Tell groups that they will be writing letters of the alphabet on the remaining 25 index cards. They will only be able to write one letter per index card. 
  • The intent is to come up with as many words as possible using the index cards.
  • They will only be able to use an index card once in any given word, which means they may decide to write down multiples of certain letters.  
  • Give groups five minutes to decide what letters they want to write on their index cards. 
  • After they have written down a letter on each index card, have them agree on a goal for how many words they think they could make out of their letters. They should write this goal on the last (26th) index card. 
  • Then, have groups put all of their cards together in a stack with the goal card on top. 
  • Collect the stacks and pass them back out to different small groups.
  • Once everyone has a new stack of cards, tell groups that they will have seven minutes to try to reach their new goal with their new stack of cards.
    • All words must be actual, known words (no acronyms, slang, etc). 
  • Have them record the words they create on the blank piece of paper.

VARIATIONS

  • For a second round, facilitator can collect all index cards from the teams and lay them out in a grid pattern. Groups must identify as many words as possible in 5 minutes. All letters in the word must be connected. 
  • You can also lead this activity like a game of team Scrabble. After everyone has written down their 25 letters, let them know those will be their game pieces. One group will start by making a word on the floor with their index cards. Play will continue to the left and the next group will need to try to build a word off of the first teams word. If a team can’t make a word they will be skipped. A team can only make one word per round. The first team to use all of their index cards wins.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Alignment

  • Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
  • How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
  • Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?