Poster Dialogue asks participants to use words, images/symbols to respond individually and reflect collectively to a series of open-ended prompts. The prompts invite participants to make personal connections between the topics to be explored and their lived experience. The facilitator uses this strategy to assess participant knowledge and opinion.
Prior to the activity, write open-ended statements/questions at the top of a poster-sized piece of paper or spread out on a whiteboard/chalk board–one statement/question per page or area of the board. For example: Triangles are/can be found… Squares are/can be found… Circles are/can be found… To begin, invite participants to use a marker to silently respond to each question/statement, in any order they prefer. If participants finish early, ask them to read and respond to what other participants have written. Once the task is complete, assemble the pages in the same space in front of the full group. Facilitate the groups’ meaning making process to synthesize meaning on individual posters. For large groups, read the words – or most of the words – aloud from each page as way to build interest and support those who can’t read what is written from a distance. Conclude by making meaning between and across posters that look at the same idea from different points of view as described below.
- Which words/responses got the most check marks on the page or did you hear the most as I read what was written?
- What does this group value or think is most important in relationship to this topic?
- Are there specific words/phrases that appear on multiple pages? Why do you think this happened?
- What do these ideas have to do with each other or our larger inquiry?
- If someone has written exactly what you wanted to say, you are welcome to put a check mark by that statement.
- Use images instead of words for students where constructing individual text is challenging. Images can be drawn by the student or supplied for students to place as their response.
- Use the same set of prompts multiple times across a unit of inquiry so that the facilitator and participants can document and assess shifts in knowledge and understanding over time.
- Groups of 5-10 can start with one poster prompt to work on as a group; then, posters can be passed simultaneously until each group has added their comments to the prompt.
- READING/WRITING and SOCIAL STUDIES: Have students reflect on key themes before or after reading. Students can share their understanding of a culture, geographic region or event.