Steered Story

Steered Story

To begin this exercise divide the participants into groups of 5 to 8.  One group will go at a time with the others being observers.  Members of the group should stand in a semi-circle facing the sidecoach and observers.  Make sure it isn’t a line, but a semi-circle.  This allows the participants to see and listen to one another better.

The side coach will ask for or provide a topic for the story.  Once the topic is chosen, the sidecoach will sit on the floor in front of the semi-circle.  The sidecoach will point to one person who will start the story.  When that person has told a portion of the story, the sidecoach will signal that person to stop while pointing to another person in the line.  That person will pick up the story without hesitating, even if it was in the middle of a sentence or word.  Go through until each person has gone about twice.

In reverence, talk about what it was like making the story.  Was it a good story?  Did it have a beginning, middle and end?  How did the story change or stay the same between people?

Adapted from:

McKnight, Katherine S., and Mary Scruggs. The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Myth, the sources, Creativity, Imagination, and scripture.

Wisdom Mirror

Wisdom Mirror

To begin this exercise break the group up into pairs.  Give the pairs a topic of conversation that you have decided on.  One person in the pair begins to talk about the topic that you have given.  They are the initiator.  The other person in the pair, the follower, mirrors the words that the first partner exactly out loud.  Their goal is to speak the words that the initiator is saying exactly.  After a short time the sidecoach will say “Change” and the follower will now start to be the initator, picking up where the two just left off.  The first speaker will now become the follower and begin to mirror the words of the new initator.  The goal is to have no break in the flow of the conversation.  For example:

Sidecoach:  Ok the topic is meditation.  First speaker begin!

1st Speaker (initiator): Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

2nd Speaker (follower): mirroring speech simultaneously Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

After a period of time

Sidecoach: Change!  Try not to stop the flow.

Change the initiator and follower several more times throughout the conversation.

In reverence, talk about what it was like sharing the conversation.  Was it hard to keep the flow?  Did it get easier as you went along?  Did you begin to know what the other person was going to say?  Did you share some wisdom or learn something new?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: The Sources, Wisdom.  This could work with any theme if you provide it as the topic of conversation.

Big Thoughts Little Words

Big Thoughts Little Words

In this simple exercise, participants use the size of a word to understand its importance.  Each participant will need a piece of paper or a spot on a white or chalk board.  Ask participants to write an important word on the paper as large as they can.  Tell them to fill the whole paper or spot on the board with the word.

Next have them flip the paper or erase the board and write the word as small as they can.

You can use words you are talking about or even phrases in this activity.  Also, you can do this with as many words or phrases as you would like.

In reverence, talk about how the meaning of the word changed when its size changed.  Do some words seem like they need to be big or small?  How did it feel to write the word or phrase in different ways?  What power do the words have big or small?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.

It’s Greek to Me

It’s Greek to Me

For this exercise, you will need one person who is in on the trick.  One will be the “Philosopher” and one will be the “Reader.”  Send the reader (your plant) out of the room and decide as a group on a short word.  For example, Love.  The reader comes back in and the philosopher, who has a pointer or wand, spells out the word starting sentences with the consonants and tapping out a code for the vowels with the pointer.  The vowel code is:

A- One tap

E- Two taps

I- Three taps

O-Four taps

U-Five taps

So for our example Love:

Sidecoach: Listen carefully to get the word. (This gives the L)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer four times (This gives O)

Sidecoach: Very carefully watch my pointer (This gives the V)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer twice (This gives the E)

Reader: The word is Love.

Now the rest of the group can try to be readers and discover the trick.

In reverence, talk about how this relates to things we read.  Do we have to decipher it like this?  What do we take out of what we read?  Can scripture, readings, or stories be hard to interpret?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.

Writing For Three

Writing For Three

For this exercise you will need a piece of paper for each group.  The paper should be divided into three columns with a number 1, 2 or 3 and a word or subject at the top of each column.  Begin by dividing participants in to groups of three.  Then you can explain how the game will work.  The participants will sit in a circle and will always pass the paper to their right.  You can either say “pass” or “switch.”  Practice passing the paper so participants get in the habit of just passing to the right.  Now explain that after you tell them to pass, you will say a number of one of the columns.  When they hear the number they should start writing about the word or topic immediately.  Between the three people, they will all write about the topics.  For example:

Writing for 3

Sidecoach: Ok first person ready.  Two!  Write!  (Wait 45 seconds or so) Ok Switch next person!  One! Write! (Wait 45 seconds or so) Ok Switch next person!  Three!  Write! 

You should continue around at least twice and randomly say the numbers.  At the end you should have paper filled with three different people’s writing on the three subjects.  Have the groups read together what they wrote.

In reverence, talk about what it was like writing in a community.  Did they just write their own or did they try to read and add to what was there?  Was one person’s idea of the topic the same or different?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Community, scripture, grace, the sources, learning and growth, common ground.  This would be a good exercise for any of the themes.  Just change the topics to fit that theme.

Name Raps/Role Call

Name Raps/Role Call- Begin this warm up game by splitting up the participants into groups of 5-8.  Next, tell everyone to take a moment and think of a few words that rhyme with their name and have something to do with their personality.  Now you can teach the basic scheme of the rap.  It goes like this:

All: Sha booya, ugh ugh sha booya role call

1st person in group circle: Hi, my name is ________.  I like to_______.

All: Sha booya, ugh ugh sha booya role call

2nd person in group circle.

So for  my name:

All: Sha booya, ugh ugh sha booya role call

Me: Hi, my name is Matt, I like to wear a silly hat

Try to not get too caught up in the speed or accuracy.  It can be something totally silly that rhymes.  The idea is to get the brain in an open mode and get to know each other.

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture.

Also a great Warm up.