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Protocol Toolkit Item: 1a


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A group activity to develop and build consensus on a timeline and necessary action steps associated with a project or plan. Best used when collaborative planning of a project is needed.


Chart paper/whiteboard or presentation slide Sticky Notes, multiple colors Pens/Markers


35 Minutes


In preparation for this activity, a large timeline will need to be created using chart paper or created on a whiteboard space. If this activity is being done virtually, a timeline on a presentation slide with shared access can be used; many online whiteboard resources are available (Zoom whiteboards, Jamboard, Padlet, etc.). We recommend that the timeline have appropriate time frames labeled (days, weeks, months, etc.) for the discussed project or plan.


Step 1:

Introduce Protocol Share the following information with participants:
  • The group will work together to create a timeline of action steps for a project or plan.
  • The group will work in teams to determine “action steps” for the project or plan.
  • Once their team has decided on “action steps” to be taken on the project or plan, they will write each “action step” on a sticky note.
  • Instruct teams to write only one “action step” per sticky note so “action steps” may be easily moved around the timeline during the discussion portion of this activity.
Note: We recommend that each team has different color sticky notes. This helps when further clarification is needed.
  • Provide participants with the Sample Timeline Handout as a guide (See “Resources” section for link to a sample handout).
  • Briefly review the handout with participants and highlight the main components. Let participants know they will use the handout for the next step in the activity.
Virtual Implementation: Electronic copies of the Sample Timeline Handout can be shared with each participant or one per team.

Step 2:

Team Timeline Development Team Roles:
  • Teams should spend 1-2 minutes deciding on roles.
  • All team members may take notes on a Timeline Handout, or a team may decide to use one master copy to record their ideas. Actions agreed upon by the team will also be recorded on sticky notes.
  • Scribe: Person who will record their team’s “action steps” on sticky notes. One action goes on one sticky note and should include the date(s) on the back. The scribe will place them on the whole group timeline as the presenter shares the team’s action steps with the whole group.
  • Presenter: Person who will share the action steps the team developed with the whole group. The presenter reports on their team’s plan for the year as the scribe places the team’s sticky notes on the whole group timeline.
  • Timekeeper: Manages the team’s time and ensures they come to a consensus on actions in the given timeframe (15 minutes)
Team Time:
  • Participants will spend 15 minutes with their team discussing the topic and developing their “action steps.”
  • Participants will use the Timeline handout during this team time but will put agreed-upon action steps on sticky notes as described above.
  • When 15 minutes have passed, instruct participants to return to the leading group.
Virtual Implementation
  • Place teams into breakout groups for this section of the protocol. Ensure each group has a virtual Timeline Handout to record action steps.
  • Scribe will write the team’s action steps on the shared whole group timeline in the next step.

Step 3:

Teams Share Out
  • Ask each team’s presenter to share their team’s “action step” sticky notes with the whole group as the scribe places their team’s sticky notes along the large timeline on the wall.
  Note: As each team places their “action step” sticky notes onto the timeline, a brief discussion may need to happen to clarify actions or gather a deeper understanding of a team’s action. Virtual Implementation
  • Scribe will type action steps into the shared timeline presentation slide (online resources that work well with this activity include Jamboard, Padlet, and other online whiteboard tools).

Step 4:

 Whole Group Agreement
  • Once all teams have shared their “action step” sticky notes, the facilitator should work with the group to combine duplicates or similar actions. 
  • The group should discuss the placement of the actions on the timeline if there are differences of opinion on when actions should occur.
  • One timeline should be developed and agreed upon by the entire group.

Step 5:

Debrief Questions
  • The facilitator will lead a discussion based on the following Debrief Questions:
    • What stood out to you as you went through this process?
    • What takeaways do you have as you look at the timeline we created as a whole group?
  • Let participants know the timeline will be periodically reviewed and revisited to gather more feedback and ensure activities are completed accordingly.
  • Be sure to thank all participants for participating.

Resources & Further Reading

Sample Timeline Building Template

Examples of Use

  • Can be used to create a PLLN or collaboration network implementation plan.
  • Can be used to engage a school’s/district’s community in implementing an initiative or project
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