Questions about Crossing the Line

Another day in the life of The Freechild Project… Got an email today from a middle school counselor in Florida who wanted to know more about a popular diversity awareness / team-building activity we share on the Freechild website. Here’s what she wrote:

I have a question about Crossing the Line. If you have a group of 45 students involved, would you process it in the big group, or break into smaller groups of 8-10 and process it there? Also, would you have a student facilitate it or have a seasoned adult facilitator? I am wondering about other questions involving how others TREAT them. Would it be valuable to add something like when someone has made fun of them based on sexual identity or other categories? Since we are trying to build cohesiveness, we want to show that ALL participants have been picked on at some time and how that feels. Thanks for the info. any other great activities for building cohesiveness, acceptance, etc?

And for the sake of sharing my process with you, here’s most of how I responded to the questions:

Question 1: If you have a group of 45 students involved, would you process it in the big group, or break into smaller groups of 8-10 and process it there?

Yes, I would break the group into smaller groups – IF the students in the training have interacted before and ready to process what may be tough issues intensively with their peers. If not, you could still use small groups IF you had at least one person in them who would keep the conversation “safe” – student or adult. Not necessarily to facilitate – because you or another seasoned facilitator should do that from the front of the room to keep a sense of large group cohesion – but definitely having that individual to guide is a good thing.

If not, then don’t break into smaller groups. I’ve done this with really large groups (100+) and its turned out okay. Just don’t expect to be able to mine the depth of experiences within the group that way.

Question 2: Would you have a student facilitate it or have a seasoned adult facilitator?

Do you have an experienced student facilitator? I have seen that become a spectacular and deep experience. I have also co-facilitated the event with students.

Question 3: Would it be valuable to add something like when someone has made fun of them based on sexual identity or other categories?

Absolutely appropriate and necessary, given the environment. The great thing about Crossing the Line is that it is adaptable to the situation. That much said, if you raise the issue you have to be prepared to address it in debriefing the activity.

Question 4: Any other great activities for building cohesiveness, acceptance, etc?

Yep – dozens, literally. The Freechild Project has two publications that I’d suggest you take a look at, and they’re both free online:

You can find these and others at the CommonAction website.


CommonAction staff is available to train Crossing The Line and much more. Contact me to talk about the possibilities by emailing adam@commonaction.org or calling (360)489-9680.

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