Friday Lesson: Accessing Thought Through Focus

Courtesy of Justin McGlamery & Michael Gessford|

Understanding the power of focused individuals and groups and how to redirect that focus can help you guide groups through the stages of group development. If teachers, counselors, and facilitators can get their groups comfortable with the approach that participants must learn from each other and with each other, then they should be able to successfully navigate their groups onto a higher level of functioning.

Both children and adults sometimes have difficulty navigating the uncertainties of group and team development. Both groups seem to have become more connected to electronic media, affecting their ability to concentrate on the organic creation of original thoughts. They come to believe what they hear and read using electronic media. Being able to turn their focus internally allows groups and individuals better access to their own original thoughts. Access to their thoughts enables people to create new ideas. This exciting discovery therefore increases the value that people put on their own ability to be critical thinkers. This increased self-worth will enable them to become innovators and thinkers of the future.

The following activity provides individuals with an opportunity to focus on their own participation. It also builds a sense of cohesion within the group, as practice builds proficiency.

The Clock (Webbing Adaptation)

We learned this activity while we were working at Renbrook Summer Adventure in West Hartford, CT. It is a stand still variation of Karl Rohnke’s group initiative “The Clock” from Cowstails and Cobras.

The objective is to pass the water knot that ties the webbing into a Raccoon Circle all the way around the circle, reverse directions and pass it the other way back. It is a timed event.

You need a piece of one inch tubular webbing that is tied together with a water knot to make a loop. A typical Raccoon Circle, which is 15 feet of webbing, works well for a group of 10 to 12 people. Adjust the webbing length from that.

Participants stand, holding the webbing in their hands and facing the center of the circle, so that the water knot is in plain sight to the group. It should be located in front of the facilitator, who is also the timekeeper for the activity. On the facilitator’s “go” signal the group must pass the knot around the circle, sliding the webbing through everyone’s hands as it travels. Once the knot travels a full revolution and arrives back in front of the facilitator, the group reverses direction and slides it around in the opposite way, until it gets back to the start/finish line in front of the timer once again. At that point the clock is stopped.

Possible debriefs include goal setting for the group, common language, coordination of physical efforts, common shared physical activity, the distracters that arise during the activity, and what was each person focusing on as the water knot traveled.

This lesson is compliments of Michael Gessford and Justin McGlamery. To find more information and to contact the authors, please visit:

Thanks for joining us in March, 2010 for Friday Lessons. Michael Gessford and Justin McGlamery are the coauthors of Focus Your Locus.

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