TEMPLE EMANU-EL, DALLAS

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTIONS FOR

WORKSHOP #2 (Oct 18, 2020)

Object Matching:

 

1. One person starts by holding an object up to the camera. 

2. Everyone else holds up a nearby object that “matches” the original object. This can be a realistic match or your own interpretation of a match (think Apples to Apples, if you’re familiar with that game).

3. The original person chooses which object they feel best matches theirs (can be true or silly, it’s up to the individual).

4. The person whose object was declared the “best match” finds a new object in their space and holds it up to the camera.

5. This process repeats.

 

I am a Tree:

1. Person 1 strikes the pose of a tree and says "I am a tree".

2. Person 2 strikes a pose of an object that might be in the same image of the tree and states what it is. For example: "I am an acorn."

3. Person 1 strikes a new pose of an object that might be in an image with the acorn and states what they are.

4. This goes back and forth until someone is ready to end it. To end it simply strike the pose of a tree again and say "I am a tree".

5. Remember, this is not a stagnant picture but rather an evolving image.

The idea here is that both individuals are going on a journey with one another.


 

Gibberish Spelling Bee:

 

1. Identify three students to participate.

2. Person 1 comes up with a word in Gibberish. It could be anything (e.g. “flark”, “higgledy”, “floratiko”). Either you, as the teacher/leader, or anyone you identify can type the word in chat so that all can see.

3. Person 2 will provide a definition of the word. For example, “Floratiko. Floratiko is the act of locking yourself out of your home. Floratiko.”

4. Person 3 uses this new word in a sentence. For example, “Floratiko. I can’t believe that this is the third time this week I have floratikoed myself --  my mom is going to be so mad!”

5. There are a number of ways to proceed. You can choose an entirely new set of 3 students for the spelling bee and play a new round. Alternatively, you can also do this in a “line” of sorts:

  • The student who was Person 2 becomes Person 3 in the next round.

  • The student who was Person 1 becomes Person 2 in the next round.

  • You choose a new student to fill the role of Person 1 in the next round.

Proceed in this fashion until every student has had a chance to participate as Person 1, Person 2, and Person 3.


 

Word Ball:

 

1. You may choose to have participants do this activity all together in the main session, or if you have a group larger than 10, you may choose to split them up into breakout rooms.

2. Assign a number to each of the participants and ask them to rename themselves by placing their number in front of their names. This creates an order -- essentially a “virtual circle”. We find it easiest if the host assigns number 1 to themselves.

3. The host holds an imaginary ball and “passes” the ball to the next person in sequential order by throwing the ball directly into the camera. When passing the ball, the host says a word.

4. The next person “catches” the ball, repeating the word that was passed to them by the previous person. They then pass the ball to the next person, saying the first word that comes to mind.

5. This continues until the last person catches the ball and then passes their new word ball to the first person. The cycle repeats for as many times as you wish.

 

Notes: This activity should be done quickly. When people play this game for the first time, they may want to spend a lot of time thinking of the “right” word. It’s helpful to remind them the right word is the first word that comes to mind and the objective is to be as quick and spontaneous as possible.


 

Story Ball:

 

1. Person 1 throws an imaginary ball toward the camera and says the first line of the story.

2. Person 2 catches the ball, repeats the line that was thrown to them and throws the ball back to Person 1 adding a new line of the story.

3. Person 1 catches the ball and the cycle repeats.

 

Notes: 

* Try to keep the lines short. Brevity is great here!

* Either person has permission to end the story at any point and start a new story.

* Ideally the class will have done a warm-up (like Word Ball) before moving into this activity.


 

Sway/ Stop:

 

First you are going to demonstrate the acts of swaying and stopping:

  • “When I say sway, we’re going to sway. Sway.” [Sway from side to side]

  • “Great! Now, when I say stop, we’re going to stop. Sway [sway from side to side]. Stop [stop swaying].”

  • “Now, we’re going to reverse the meanings of those two instructions. When I say stop, we’re going to sway. And when I say sway, we’re going to stop.”

 

Call out these reversed instructions a few times and see how students do. It is inevitable that some folks are going to perform the wrong action. And when they do, remember to acknowledge and embrace the mistake. It’s OK to make mistakes -- and when we do make mistakes, it demonstrates that we’re making progress toward improving. The fact that we have made a mistake means that we actually made an attempt to begin with and that can be celebrated.

 

Now, we move on to the next level, “Name” (say your first name) and “Clap” (clap once). Introduce these instructions the same way we did for sway and stop. First have the students practice saying their first name when you call out “name” and clapping when you call out “clap”. Then reverse their meanings and play a bit more.

 

Now, you’re going to combine sway/stop and name/clap, using their reversed meanings (i.e. “sway” means stop, “stop” means sway, “name” means clap, and “clap” means call out your first name).

 

The third level is “shrug” and “jazz hands”. Introduce these similarly to the way you did for the previous two levels.

 

Now, do all three levels together!

Note: Students can help create more levels for the future to make this even more challenging!


 

Word-at-a-Time Oracle:

 

1. Ask for 3 volunteers

2. Number the students 1, 2, and 3 (can do this by instructing students to rename themselves with a number in front of their name)

3. Tell them that they will be speaking one word at a time in that order to form complete sentences.

4. Ask someone in the “audience” to come up with a question that they want answered. 

5. The volunteers will respond to the question one word at a time.

 

Notes: It often takes a couple of rounds for students to get used to the word-at-a-time aspect. Ironically, this is probably one of the more difficult exercises to do. Even though each person is contributing only one word at a time, we often put pressure on ourselves to come up with a word that is very meaningful or “meaty”, as it were. And the reality is that the smaller words, like “a”, “but”, “the”, so”, etc., are just as important to create a meaningful, coherent sentence. Also, at its core, this activity is about creating a meaningful statement together with others, and that is something we almost never do, and it can take practice. Sometimes the person right before you states a word that takes the sentence in a completely different direction than the one you had been planning. And it can take a little time to learn how to quickly discard your original plan, accept what your partner has brought into the space, and then build on top of that.


 

Campfire:

 

This is a great way to harvest information from the class at the end of a session. The goal is to have students reflect on what they learned that day, what they’re taking away from the time spent together, what they noticed, or something they appreciated about an activity or person(s) in class that day.

 

1. It’s helpful to start with a question for the group. For example: What is one new thing you learned today?

2. One person at a time will pretend to reach for a piece log next to them and will throw it towards the camera as if throwing it into a fire. 

3. While throwing the log, they will share a learning from class that day.

4. After each person shares, the whole class will rub their hands together as if warming them by a fire and say “ooo, ahhh”. This is important! It’s very gratifying and affirming to see and hear your contribution being acknowledged in this way.

5. This activity is usually done “popcorn style” so there isn’t a particular order students participate in, but rather jump in when they have a thought to share. 

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