Tableaus on Social Justice Issues

Assign students into groups paying attention to the number of people you wish to have in each group (the more the merrier in this case). Ask each group to choose a social justice issue and portray the issue using a tableau. Ask them not to say which issue they choose. Once students are ready, they will take turns presenting their tableaus. As each group gets into their tableau, have the rest of the class turn away until that group is in their tableau, then have them turn to view the group presenting. Remind the class not to speak while viewing the presenters but to think about what they might be presenting. After a minute, ask the viewers to respond to the tablue by adding themselves into the scene. After everyone has become apart of the tableau, have the original presenters of that tableau “unfreeze” and look at how their viwers have responded. Then, have everyone unfreeze and discuss what they thought the issue was, what the issue actually was, and why the viewers responded the way that they did. The next group can then perform.

Benefits:

  • Teaches social juctice issues or what ever topic is used
  • Team building
  • See other’s persepectives
  • Students may connect on an emtional level

Limitations:

  • A spaciouce room is neccessary
  • The process will be lengthy

Applications:

  • Can be used to lead into larger discussions on the topic
  • Relationship building between performers and audience

Adaptations:

  • Topic is not limited to social justice issues
  • Size and number of groups
  • Discussion on the topic chosen can be discussed beforehand
  • Using a searies of tablues to create a narrative

Atom Grouping

Have students walk around the room in all directions. Every 10-15 seconds tell them to get into groups (choose a number of people per group). However, instead of saying “group” say “atoms”. Once in their “atoms” of the correct number of people, anybody that has not joined an atom can be welcomed into the centre of one to become the nucleas. Then the process is repeated and a new group number is chosen. Eventually the teacher will stop the exercise and the atoms will become assigned groups.

Benefits:

  • Students are assigned into groups in a way that they have no control over
  • This is helpfull when you have students who tend to always be grouped together
  • Warm up
  • Icebreaker

Limitations:

  • A spacious room is needed

Applications:

  • Students learn about adoms

Adaptations:

  • The amount of people per atom is changable

A Tableau Story

Partner student up into pairs. In their pairs, they will begin by shaking hands and mid-shake they will freeze to form their first tableau. Then, one of them will unfreeze and form a new scene with their “still frozen” partner. Students will take turns freezing and unfreezing to form new tableaus until the teacher decides to stop. Each group will then choose their favorite tableau and take a turn performing for the class.

Remind the students not to take too long when deciding on their tableau and to be creative.

Benefits:

  • Stimulates creativity
  • Fast thinking

Limitations:

  • Repetitive actions
  • Some students may physically struggle

Applications:

  • Can bring students out of their shell
  • Expands students understanding of visual representations
  • aould be used as an breaker

Adaptations:

  • Could be used with more than two people
  • Music could be played and students can see how the music affects their tableaus.
  • Students could create narratives

 

The Asynchronous Counting Game

Students sit in a circle facing outwards with the lights off. Students are to then count up to the same number as the amount of participants asynchronously and randomly. If a number is said by more than one student at the same time than the students are to start over.

Benefits:

  • Encourages concentration/ focus
  • Teambuilding
  • Calming

Limitations:

  • Some participants might need brighter lighting to feel comfortable

Applications:

  • When moving from a high energy activity to a low energy activity

Adaptations:

  • Lights on
  • Number can change depending on the age of participants
  • Have students count as high as they can
  • Instead of numbers, use the alphabet

Two Truths and a Lie

Each participant stands in front of the class and says two truths about themselves and one lie, then the class votes on which one is the lie.

Benefits:

  • Encourages listening skills
  • Students learn more about their classmates

Limitations:

  • If scores are kept, keep in mind that the competition might not be suitable for some groups.
  • If all students within a larger group take a turn, the activity will get lengthy

Applications:

  • Can be used as an icebreaker when students still do not know each other well

Adaptations:

  • Teacher can choose how long the activity will go on for
  • Students can keep score of how many times they are correct

 

Thinking Groups

This is a way of grouping students so that they can share, discuss, and reflect their opinions and perspectives on things such as assignments, speeches, shows, etc. First, students are to pair up. The teacher may decide to assign the pairs or allow students to choose who they will work with. Once paired up, the teacher will explain what the students will discuss and reflect on with their partner within a given amount of time. Once the time is up, each pair will join up with another pair to form a group of four. Within these new groups, students will be asked to discuss further on the topic for a given amount of time. Once that time is up, all the students will get into a circle to form one big group where they can share with the entire class what they discussed in their smaller groups.

Benefits:

  • Students get to first work individually before joining a larger group
  • Ideas can grow
  • Sharing of opinions
  • Students can build off of each other
  • Students will see where they need more understanding of the topic

Limitations:

Applications:

  • Students don’t have to sit in a circle. When sharing as a whole, students can just sit at their desks.
  • Can be used to discuss anything
  • Teacher can use the discussion as an assessment of students understanding.

Adaptions:

  • Each group may be assigned a different aspect of the topic to discuss.
  • Ater the pairs and groups share with each other, provide a new aspect of the topic to discuss.

Lumberjack Warmup (Movement)

 

Before You Start:

  • Make sure participants understand the three motions: becoming a tree, chopping down a tree, and having a tree fall.
  • Review when in the game you would perform each motion.
  • Review proper chopping (no touching), as well as proper heckling (no touching or yelling).
  • Play a slow motion practice round.

Set Up:

Everyone standing in a circle facing each other.

How To Play:

  • Play begins when a designated player raises both arms over their head with palms together to form a “tree” and says “Wah!”
  • The two players on either side of the tree become lumberjacks and must chop the tree down by placing their own palms together and simultaneously make one chopping motion toward the midsection of the tree while also saying “Wah!” (Remember not to actually touch the tree with the chopping motion.)
  • When the tree is chopped, it falls by bending at the waist, saying “Wah!” and pointing to another member of the circle. The fallen tree may point to anyone in the circle except the players directly next to them.
  • The player whom the fallen tree points at must immediately become the next tree by raising both arms together and saying “Wah!”
  • The game continues with the players on either side of the new tree chopping it down, the tree falling and pointing at another player, and the player pointed at creating the next tree.
  • If it any time a member of the circle hesitates, performs the wrong motion or does not say “Wah!”, that player must step outside the circle. The game stops to let the player step out and starts again when a new tree goes up (anyone may do this).
  • Players outside the circle remain active by walking around the circle and distracting the remaining players by heckling them (without touching or yelling).
  • As players are eliminated, the circle continues to shrink until the final four players are congratulated as the winners.

 

Source:

http://www.playworks.org/blog/game-week-wah

 

Benefits:

  • Warm up
  • Communication skills
  • Icebreaker
  • Concentration and focus

Limitations:

  • May take a while for participants to get the hang of it
  • May not be suitable for younger children

Applications

  • Team building
  • Icebreaker

Adaptions:

  • Don’t eliminate players, work together to go as fast as you can.
  • Change the “Wah!” to something else, like “Uma!” or “Oprah!
  • The eliminated players work together to distract the uneliminated players

 

 

Using Elements of Theatre to Transform the Classroom

Our discussion in class today was on ways to utilize the elements of theatre to create a purpose in the classroom which therefore reflects the lesson and then the students. Our professor demonstrated this in our drama class by first playing a specific style of jazz music as we walked in. Because the theatre review we were discussing was about racism and included examples such as Hurricane Katrina, The Civil War, and Gone With the Wind. The Civil War and Gone With the Wind took place in the same era as the jazz music our prof had been playing. Without us even realizing it, our prof had entered us into a setting of the 1860’s-70’s, New Orleans. To further the connection, the music contained subject matter that related to the message portrayed by the theatre review. Through this, she set the stage for what we were going to discuss in class.

To begin our discussion, our professor told us of her teacher friend who did an edited Shakespear play with her students. While rehearsing, she would have her students write their favorite quotes on leaves and hang them up around the room. By the time the students were ready to perform, their room had been transformed into the setting of A Mid Summer’s Night. 

From this example, we began to turn our own classroom into a stage where we sat in a circle with props set up in the middle. We went around the circle and each made up a part of the story, building off each other. As the narrative evolved, our professor moved props around the stage. As the props changed, so did our story. The key elements of the drama altered our storyline.

Cocktail Hour

Part One:

Number class off into four groups and assign each group a corner of the room. Once in their corners, have them sit and close their eyes and visualize something. For example, ask students to visualize a teacher that impacted them in some way (negative or positive) and then come up with adjectives for that teacher. Each group will collect their adjectives on a piece of paper.

Part Two:

Pick a scenario in which the four different perspectives/ roles can be used and assign each group a perspective/role. For example, if the scenario was “teacher’s pay being cut by the government” the groups could include: teachers, students, news reporters, and the government. Now, assign each group a task and goal pertaining to the scenario. For example, the news reporters are to try and figure out why teachers are on strike. Once every group understands they are to do, they are ready to go to the “Cocktail Hour” to mingle with the other groups and work to accomplish their tasks and goals. Give them a time frame such as 5 minutes for the Cocktail Hour. Once Cocktail Hour is over, have the students return to their groups to share and discuss the information they gathered pertaining to their goal. Students are to then come up with a written headline for a newspaper using their newfound information and then also form a tableau to go along with the headline. When the groups are ready, have each group present their tableau to the class while the class guesses the headline. Have the groups say their correct headlines.

Part Three:

For students to observe what they have just accomplished, have them once again close their eye but now have them reflect on their adjectives that they came up with at the start of the activity. To finish, you may ask them how they feel about those adjectives after experiencing the “cocktail hour” or have them summarize their feeling in a sentence.

 

Benefits:

  • Groupwork
  • critical thinking and discussion
  • New perspectives
  • Any scenario can be used for the cocktail hour to fit any curriculum
  • Encourages students to be visual
  • Helps students understand the situation

Limitations:

  • Lengthy in time
  • A regular classroom with many desks and chairs may not be enough room

Applications:

  • Can fit any curriculum depending on the chosen scenario

Adaptions:

  • Any scenario/ issue can be chosen
  • Can fit any curriculum
  • After creating the headline as a group, students could individually write their own article to go along with the headline.

Imaginary Ball Toss Name Game

 

For this activity, participants are to stand in a circle about a foot apart. One participant begins by pretending to throw a ball to another participant in the circle. The receiver of the imaginary ball pretends to catch the ball by clapping their hands. They then pass the imaginary ball to a different participant. This process goes on until everyone has caught the imaginary ball and then it repeats with participants always throwing to the same person that they originally threw to.

To increase the difficulty, an actual ball may be added. This time, when participants catch the ball, they will say their name before passing it.

Benefits:

  • Memorization of names
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Icebreaker
  • Encourages concentration

Limitations:

  • May not be timely
  • Communication may be unclear

Applications:

  • Icebreaker
  • Warm up
  • Can be used as a brain break

Adaptions:

  • Adding actual balls
  • Two balls may be added to increase focus and concentration
  • Reversing so that participants throw to who had originally thrown to them.
  • Instead of saying their own name, participants say the name of who they are throwing to.