Tools & Practices

Change-Up Meeting

Change-up meetings are attended by the whole community at a frequency determined by the individual community. They are characterized by the use of the Community Mastery Board to initiate, implement, and evaluate issues or problems that affect the community. Issues (called “awarenesses”) are brought up, solutions are brainstormed, and an action is decided upon (using “sense of the meeting”).

This isn’t a time to flesh out all the reasons why a solution may be a good idea or not, just a quick brainstorm and a decision to try something for a week. It is suggested that any change-up meeting cover only a manageable number of awarenesses – three is a good rule of thumb.


Gameshifting is a tool that allows a community to better facilitate meetings. Part of its purpose is to make the implicit social rules explicit, and thus give permission to change them. It can help the group alter its dynamic so it can function more efficiently to accomplish different sorts of tasks. The fancy word for this is “polymorphism”: taking many forms.

Groups often get stuck in singular patterns: the teacher is in charge, the boss must be pleased, tip toe around the executive secretary, some people talk and others listen. When groups get stuck in those patterns, creativity and the ability to adapt are impaired. While a singular existing pattern might be usable for one type of outcome, it limits the group to that one kind of outcome. Being able to intentionally change the patterns helps groups engage polymorphically: they can take many forms, and achieve many kinds of outcomes.

The Gameshifting process takes the individual cycle of intention, creation, reflection, and applies it to group dynamics.  Students learn how groups can rapidly change forms to accomplish different things, and can apply these skills to resolve conflicts and create and explore together.

The Gameshifting Board is a visual aid to assist in Gameshifting. They are adaptable to many different kinds of groups and meetings. A sample whiteboard is divided into categories like Mode, Interaction style, Body arrangement, Body energy, Roles, and Start/End. A good example of what each category might mean is the Start/End section, which says Start: on time, threshold, attendance.

A marker (a small magnet works well) is placed beside the convention we decide to follow, whether the meeting will start on time at 9am, or when we feel we have enough people to start, or when the required attendees show up. If we decide to follow a different convention, we can move the marker.

This helps make intentional culture, makes group dynamics smarter, and helps us alter the dynamics as needed. For example, are we jumping in, or are we raising our hands? The Gameshifting Board both asks and answers that question as we make use of it, and helps us be intentional about the dynamics we are working in.

Community Mastery Board (CMB)

A CMB is a tool by which culture is created.  It is divided into 4 columns: Awareness (community-wide problems that need resolution), Implementation (the decided-upon action for each awareness), Practicing (the changes we are currently practicing), and Skilled or Mastery, which means the change has then become the new established norm, and a bit of culture has been created.

Culture Committee (CC)

Culture Committee serves to bolster open communication and intentional culture creation and is comprised of both ALFs and students. Its role is two-fold: to help solve conflicts and to brainstorm ways to improve the culture of the learning community. In engaging in this process, the culture becomes stronger and more cohesive.

Conflict Resolution: When a person finds themselves in a conflict, the first step is to stop, take a breath, and think about how to handle it. Then they can talk through the problem with the other party and/or ask for help in talking with the person. When a problem cannot be solved with these basic steps, a person can fill out a Request to Meet form to be sent to the Culture Committee.

The Culture Committee meets on a regular basis and will talk through the conflict with the requester in order to come up with an action plan. If necessary, the other party may be brought in to the meeting to facilitate the resolution.

Improving the Culture: The “preventative care” of the Culture Committee is to create conditions that minimize conflict, finding the root cause and underlying cultural conditions that need change. The committee might find issues that they think need to be addressed within the community, which they can then bring to the Change-up meeting that is attended by all of the learning community members.